Non Lucrative Visa for Spain: How I Applied in Just 1 Week

Non Lucrative Visa for Spain: How I Applied in Just 1 Week

By |2019-10-14T11:09:20-04:00July 28th, 2019|Personal Stuff, Spain, Travel Tips & Advice|41 Comments

Non Lucrative Visa for Spain - How I applied in one week

Date: July 2019

I did it. My application for the Spanish non lucrative visa has been submitted.

This non lucrative visa for Spain allows a person to:

– stay in Spain for up to 1 year
– rent a place to live and sign up for utilities
– renew your residency at the end of the year (you can apply for permanent residency after 5 years)

It does NOT allow you to work in Spain, use government healthcare or government benefits of any kind.

This visa looked like a great option for me and so I applied.

And contrary to what I had heard and read, almost all of which explains that you need a ton of time to complete this process, I managed to do it all in one simple week.

Of course, if you have more than a week, that’s a bonus and you can complete the process in a more relaxed manner. But if you don’t have much time, a week is sufficient to get your stuff together and apply.

Here’s everything I did to make this happen:

Application Location

You need to apply in your home country. And you need to apply at the Spain Embassy or Consulate that has jurisdiction over your state or province. For me, my home address is in Florida, so I had to apply at the Spanish Consulate in Miami.

Interestingly enough, each Embassy and Consulate seems to have slightly different requirements for the non lucrative visa but the core is basically the same. You can find any extra requirements on the website of the Embassy or Consulate where you need to apply. Also, some Embassies and Consulates require you to make an appointment to apply for the non lucrative visa and some don’t. Definitely check this in advance as it could take a couple of months to secure an appointment.

Luckily, for me, the Consulate of Spain in Miami does not require appointments, so as soon as I had all of my paperwork together, I simply showed up the next day and applied.

Non Lucrative Visa: Documents, Documents, Documents

The paperwork is of course the heart of the application process.

When I applied for my visa, the man at the consulate told me that I was the first person in over 6 months to apply for a non lucrative visa and to have all of the paperwork in order on their first visit. He said that most people are missing some paperwork and need to come back at least a couple of times before they have it all right.

So, presumably, if you follow everything I did, you should also have all of your paperwork in order the first time around!

*No guarantees though and you really need to find out the specific requirements of the Embassy/Consulate where you’ll apply to make sure you don’t need other items that I didn’t need.

But again, it only took me 1 week to get it all together. While that might not be realistic for everyone (I probably had a little luck on my side), you definitely don’t need months or even weeks to get this stuff done.

Here’s what you need:

1. Passport (should have 2 empty pages and be valid for at least 1 year past the date on which you’ll apply)

  • bring your actual passport
  • make a photocopy of EVERY SINGLE PAGE of your passport (this includes blank pages, personal information pages, everything!)

2. Driver’s License

  • bring your actual driver’s license
  • make a photocopy of the front and back of your driver’s license

3. National Visa Application Form

  • fill out the National Visa Application PDF on your computer and then print two copies of the completed application form
  • paste a passport photo of yourself (headshot with white background) in the upper right hand corner box on each application form

4. Form “EX-01 – Formulario”

  • This is the authorization for residency form (it’s #11 on that link)
  • Fill out the PDF version of this form on your computer
  • It needs to be filled out and printed out in one go as you cannot save this form once you enter your details
  • Fill out Section 1 and under “Domicilio en Espana“, if you don’t have an address in Spain already, simply type in the city (Localidad) and the province (Provincia) where you plan to live, leaving the rest of the address section blank
  • Do not fill out Section 2
  • For Section 3, simply fill out the “Telefono movil” and “Email” boxes and leave the rest blank
  • Print out this form and make 2 photocopies of it as well

5. Form “Tasas Extranjeria – Modelo impreso 790”

  • This Tasas Extranjeria form (it’s #12 on that link) needs to be filled out and printed out in one go as you cannot save this form once you enter your details either
  • In the upper right corner, where it says “Ejercicio“, enter the year in the four boxes
  • Fill out the section “Apellidos y nombre” in the format of Last Name, First Name, Middle Name (Smith, Johnathan Greg)
  • Fill out the “Nacionalidad” box with your nationality
  • Repeat the previous three steps on pages 2 and 3 of the form
  • On pages 1 and 2, check the box that says “Principal
  • Do not fill out any other boxes on this form
  • Print all 3 pages of the form and make 2 photocopies as well

6. Criminal Background Check

  • For US citizens, you can obtain either an FBI background check OR an official state background check (here’s an example from Florida) if your home address has been in the same state for at least 5 straight years
  • You cannot use a simple background check that you can order and print online (it needs to be one of the two official versions above)
  • When you order the background check, it needs to be a version that is notarized by the issuing authority, which is pretty standard
  • It must be translated into Spanish (some states, such as Florida, allow you to order the background check in both English and Spanish which makes it much easier; otherwise, when you receive it, you need to get it officially translated and notarized)
  • Once you have the official background check in Spanish, you need to send it off for an Apostille certification (this is a specific certification of the document, in addition to the notarization, that is done by the state government where the background check was issued)
  • Example: For me, I had to send my notarized, Spanish-language Florida background check to the Florida Secretary of State in Tallahassee; the cost of the Apostille stamp was only $10 if I got it done in person or I could have sent it to them by mail, which takes about 2-3 weeks; since I was on very limited time, I used a service that sent off my document, got the Apostille stamp from the Secretary of State and had it back in my hands all within 48 hours
  • When you have your Apostille-certified, Spanish-language background check, make a photocopy of the Apostille certificate and the background check as well as a photocopy of the English-version background check as an extra precaution

7. Medical Certificate of Good Health

  • You need your doctor to sign off that you don’t have certain communicable diseases as per the International Health Regulations of 2005
  • I simply used the template that can be found at #8 on this page, printed it out, brought it to my doctor to review and he signed and stamped it
  • The document needs to be in Spanish, so if your doctor is not willing to sign the template above (which is in both English and Spanish), you will need to get the English version officially translated

8. Proof of Spanish Health Insurance

  • This sounds tricky but it wasn’t too bad of a process in the end
  • Every non lucrative visa applicant needs to show proof of having private Spanish Health Insurance
  • You CANNOT use travel insurance or any insurance from your home country (some people get away with it but there’s a high chance you’ll be rejected if you don’t have insurance from a Spanish company)
  • It needs to be a health insurance plan without deductibles and without co-payments
  • I used the company Sanitas and ended up paying about 70 Euros per month for the required insurance
  • Sanitas was excellent, they knew exactly what was required for non lucrative visa applicants, the process was quick and I found their coverage to be one of the better deals out there
  • From the first email I sent to Sanitas, I had the official certificate/confirmation of health insurance letter in my inbox within 72 hours (they move very quickly if you need them to)
  • Make sure they send you all of the documents in Spanish
  • Print out the official health insurance certificate/letter they send you, as well as the proof of payment and a copy of your policy (what it includes and excludes), all in Spanish
  • Make a couple of photocopies of everything

9. Visa Fees – Money Orders

  • The only way to pay for your visa application is with money orders
  • You need to get two money orders from your bank or the post office
  • As of right now, the non lucrative visa fee for US citizens is $140 to apply and another $12 tax (one money order should be for $140 and the other for $12 – they need to be separate)
  • For citizens of other countries, simply find the visa fee page on your local Embassy or Consulate’s website to see what you need to pay
  • DO NOT fill out the “Pay to the order of” section of the money orders in advance
  • The staff at the Embassy/Consulate will fill that out for you

10. Proof of Financial Resources

  • To obtain this visa, you need to show proof of investment income of 2151.36 EUROS per month OR a total of 25816.32 EUROS in bank accounts, investment accounts or a combination of both (it increases by about 540 EUROS per person per month if you’re applying with a spouse or children)
  • Technically, the income you show should not be derived from actual work as the visa is designed for those who have sufficient money to spend 1 year in Spain without working
  • You should print out your bank statements and investment account statements for the past year (yes, 12 months of statements for each account!), make a photocopy of them all and bring them with you
  • Make sure the statements have your name and address listed on them so that it is very clear that they are your bank/investment accounts

11. Proof of Accommodation in Spain

  • You can use either a notarized invitation letter from family or a friend in Spain who will be responsible for your accommodation, an actual lease for an apartment/house in Spain or a deed of a property if you own a house/apartment in Spain (once I got to Spain, I contacted the excellent team at Globexs to find a great short-term apartment to get me started)
  • OR you can write a letter explaining why you chose a particular town/city in Spain to live in
  • Since I don’t have a place in Spain yet, I went with the letter option
  • Simply write a few paragraphs about why you want to move to Spain and why you chose a particular town or city to live in
  • At the bottom of the letter, include a list of everything that you’re including in your application such as application forms, medical certificate, proof of health insurance, bank statements totaling ‘x’ amount and so on
  • The letter needs to be in Spanish
  • As I have decent Spanish-language skills, I simply wrote the Spanish version myself
  • If you’re not able to do that, you’ll need to get your English letter officially translated into Spanish
  • Get the English and Spanish versions of your letter notarized
  • Make a photocopy of the notarization certificate, the Spanish letter and the English letter

Time to Apply

Once you have everything listed above, it’s time to actually apply for the non lucrative visa. Again, depending on where you need to apply, the Embassy or Consulate may or may not require you to make an appointment in advance. I did not need an appointment and so, once I had all the paperwork in order, my application process went like this…

      1. 1. Woke up at 4:15am
      1. 2. Started the drive to the Consulate of Spain in Miami at 4:45am
      1. 3. Arrived at the consulate at 6:20am
      1. 4. Got in line outside the office building where the consulate was located (There were already two people ahead of me, 2 hours before it opened!)
      1. 5. Wait, wait, wait and wait some more, until the consulate opened
      1. 6. Received a number and took a seat in the waiting area
      1. 7. Waited 5 minutes until my number was called
        1. 8. Handed over everything they asked for and within 15 minutes,

      I was done!

    Non Lucrative Visa: The Next Steps

    I was told that my non lucrative visa would be ready in about 4 weeks. They will let me know by email and then, I have 30 days to pick it up in person. If I didn’t need my passport during those 4 weeks, I could have left it with the consulate and they would have mailed it back to me with the visa inside once it was ready. But I do need my passport over the next month so I’ll have to come back to pick up the visa myself once it’s ready to be collected.

    After that, you need to enter Spain within 90 days. And then, there’s a couple of final steps to the process to actually get your residency card and register yourself properly in Spain. Hopefully my visa will indeed be approved and after I complete the next steps, I’ll be sure to update this post.

    Any questions? Just let me know!

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  1. Nidal Aldabbas October 12, 2019 at 6:41 am - Reply

    Thanks for the very helpful and valuable information and if I may ask you some questions:

    1-Is it required that the family or person who gets the non lucrative visa to live in spain. Can he use the visa to spend his summer vacation in spain.
    2-If I have relatives living in spain can I use their address as my Address in Spain.
    3-IF i have an medical insurance plan in my country Do I still have to buy the spanish medical plan.

    I really appreciate if you can help me on the above


    Nidal Al Dabbas

    • Derek October 12, 2019 at 6:50 am - Reply

      Hello Nidal – Here are the answers…

      1. If you get the visa, you need to spend at least 6 months in Spain during the year you have the visa.
      2. Yes, you can use their address but you still need to have them write an official letter, get it notarized and you need proof of their IDs as well. Each consulate has different rules for this but you just need to follow the instructions for these situations.
      3. Yes, you need Spanish medical insurance. They do not accept any medical insurance from outside of Spain.

      Hope that helps!

  2. Rodrigo October 1, 2019 at 10:03 pm - Reply

    Thanks Derek, this is the best summary I’ve found anywhere.

    I have an appointment in a week and I’m finalizing the paperwork. I have a couple of questions: can you use bank statements printed from the website, and do they have to be translated? I’m traveling with my family, do I need to present a marriage certificate and a birth certificate for my child? does it need to be apostilled? The last one. Do I need to present a US tax return? Sorry about all the questions., and thanks for all good information.

    • Derek October 2, 2019 at 1:57 am - Reply

      Hey Rodrigo – You can use bank statements printed from the website. That’s exactly what I did. And you don’t need to translate these.

      If you’re traveling with your wife and she is not from the EU, she needs to apply for the visa as well. You need the marriage certificate but you also need her application, background check (with apostille), medical certificate, Spanish health insurance and so. You cannot add a spouse automatically without her applying for the visa too.

      I didn’t need to present a tax return. Doesn’t seem to be a requirement but definitely make sure you bring one year of bank statements as they do want them for that long.

  3. Shelby September 24, 2019 at 11:33 pm - Reply

    Hi Derek, thank you so much for such a helpful and concise blog post! Regarding “officially translating” documents, did you use one of the certified translators listed by some of the Spanish consulates? I’m reading conflicting information about who can actually translate documents, and the DC Consulate website has little to no information compared to the others. Thanks for your help!

    • Derek September 25, 2019 at 2:47 am - Reply

      Hey Shelby – I actually didn’t need to translate my documents. Since my address is in Florida, I was able to get my background check and notarizations in Spanish automatically as the government provides that service. For the medical certification, if you follow the link above, it is in both English and Spanish and you can have your doctor sign that. The health insurance company will provide you with your required letter and details in Spanish (since they’re based in Spain). As for the personal declaration of why you want to live in Spain, I simply wrote it in English and Spanish myself.

      • Shelby September 25, 2019 at 10:58 am - Reply

        Ah you certainly are a lucky duck! If only more states were more progressive. Regarding the medical cert, you said you printed it and brought it to your doctor? So it wasn’t on the Doctors letterhead? We did the same thing, but now we’re reading that it has to be on letterhead and ours is not. Wondering if we’ll have to go back again.

        • Derek September 25, 2019 at 11:04 am - Reply

          I printed out the medical certification, brought it to my doctor, they made a photocopy onto their official letterhead and then we all signed it. From what I know, it does need the letterhead of your doctor and the doctor’s official stamp too.

  4. Army @ ClimberMonkeysAbroad September 23, 2019 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    Wow – this is the most informative, concise, and well-written post I’ve read thus far about this topic! My husband and I love Spain (it has amazing rock climbing!) THANK YOU so much!

    Do you know if the Schengen rule still applies (for countries other than Spain obviously) once you receive this non-luc. 1year visa? 🙂

    • Derek September 24, 2019 at 3:02 am - Reply

      Thanks for commenting! For the Spain visa, the only benefit for the Schengen zone is that the time you spend in Spain does not count towards the 180 days you can stay in the Schengen area. But you still can only spend 180 days in the rest of the Schengen zone.

  5. Jody Edmunds September 13, 2019 at 8:44 am - Reply

    Hi Derek, I’m going through the same process but from the UK. (I’m an American with a long term residency permit in the UK). The consulate I have to go to and deal with is in Edinburgh and they have been far from helpful. When I submitted my paperwork, they gave me a receipt so that I could track the progress online. Did you have access to that as well? The reason I ask, is I’m a bit worried that they have filled out the wrong form for me even though I too filled out the national visa application. When I check online, there is a PDF of my ‘application’ that the consulate typed in based on my application that I turned in. The application does not say National Visa (Visado Nacional) but instead says Schengen Visa (solidited de visado schengen). It does not seem correct to me! Most of the 3rd country nationals that they deal with are probably applying for a Schengen Visa, but as an American, you don’t need one. I am so worried that it will only be a schengen visa and when I show up to get my residency permit in Spain they’ll tell me it is wrong and to go back and get what I need. So, I’m trying to correct it before they issue it to me! Thoughts?

    • Derek September 13, 2019 at 11:46 am - Reply

      Hey Jody – I saw something about tracking the progress online but I never checked since they told me that I would hear from them via email. So I just waited for the email. You could always call the consulate and explain what you see online and double check that it is correct. That’s really the only thing you can do – confirm it with them.

  6. Julissa September 9, 2019 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    Hi Derek, do you have any insight on if a non-lucrative visa would be possible for someone who works remotely for a US company? It wouldn’t “technically” be working in Spain, but I’ve heard some consulates have denied these, wondering if Miami would be the same. Thanks so much for the awesome article!

    • Derek September 9, 2019 at 7:56 pm - Reply

      Hey Julissa – That’s the big question that doesn’t seem to have a clear answer. I can’t speak for the Miami consulate but I’ve also heard that some people in your situation have been denied and some have been approved. Sorry I couldn’t be of more assistance.

  7. Matthew September 2, 2019 at 10:11 am - Reply

    Hey Derek, awesome news about the VISA and also can’t believe it was approved so quickly, nice!

    If you are up for it once you’re done and settled there, would you mind posting an article about your experience of getting your residency card once there? I hear you have 30 days after landing to get that all sorted out…

    I applied for my non lucrative just over a week ago so I’m holding thumbs now.

    One other thing, did you get your NIE issued with your non lucrative?

    All the best!

    • Derek September 2, 2019 at 4:26 pm - Reply

      Hey Matthew – Absolutely! I’ll be writing a post about that as soon as I’ve completed the process. My appointment is not for another 3 weeks but if all goes well, I’ll write it soon after.

      And yes, the NIE is actually printed on my visa in my passport.

      Good luck and hope you get the visa quickly too!

  8. Jim August 29, 2019 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    Hi Derek:

    Congrats! I envy you for being able to go through Miami. We need to go through LA and they are a LOT stricter (but not as bad as Houston!). I’m kind of dreading the LA process as you have to make an appointment online – and ONLY online – but there’s seems to be a persistent lack of appointments available. Wish I could move to Florida for a few months and take up residency!! 🙂 Still, were planning on moving to Valencia next June/July.

    • Derek August 30, 2019 at 6:50 am - Reply

      Hey Jim – Good luck over there with the process! Let me know how it goes. And yes, I have heard the same about the LA consulate being much stricter for some reason. Still worth it though!

  9. Barbie August 22, 2019 at 8:11 am - Reply

    Hi… my husband and I just turned in our application for a “residence retiree visa” I think it’s the same as a non lucrative visa. We live in Florida and are waiting to hear back. We spent a long time getting the paper work together and were fortunate to have gotten it all correct the first time. We processed the paper work a week ago in Miami. They did not tell us how long it would take and just said they’d keep us updated by email.
    Have you received your visa yet? And if so, how long did it take you to get it?
    Another thing I would like to share is we were originally going to get our health insurance with Sanitas until someone who already was living in Spain said to read the policy carefully as parts of their coverage( hospitalization) is not covered for 10 months on the policy.
    Be sure to read any policy carefully so your not taken by surprise if you need medical help.
    Love to here back from anyone as to how long a waiting time they had in receiving their visa from Florida. Thanks , Barbie

    • Derek August 22, 2019 at 4:07 pm - Reply

      Hey Barbie – I received an email 10 days after I applied telling me the visa was ready. I’m heading to Florida in a few days to pick it up. As for the insurance, that’s strange because you can’t apply for the visa unless you have insurance that covers hospitalization during the entire year. I know that my policy from Sanitas definitely covers it as it’s a full requirement of the visa. I attached the detailed coverage to my visa application and they said it had everything I needed.

  10. Markus August 16, 2019 at 3:45 am - Reply

    Can’t thank you enough for sharing your experience…will be of great help.

  11. Simon August 14, 2019 at 5:44 am - Reply

    Congratulations! Derek.
    You shared an amazing idea…very informational.

  12. Agatha Nolen August 12, 2019 at 7:51 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for the helpful and detailed information! I’m walking my first Camino from Madrid in October and will be wondering what happens next as I hear everyone falls in love with the people and countryside. I appreciate you taking the time to document all this to help us.

  13. Kim August 12, 2019 at 7:51 am - Reply

    Derek: thanks so much for sharing. Great information and residency in Spain is my goal!

  14. Diego August 2, 2019 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    Hey Derek,

    Great info on this post and super helpful. One question that I’m having trouble finding an answer to: in terms of your residence in the US, do they always check your driver’s license as part of the process? I’m currently traveling abroad and my driver’s license is from a different state than my mailing address so I’m wondering how that will play at the Spanish consulate when I go to drop off my documentation. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • Derek August 2, 2019 at 5:13 pm - Reply

      Hey Diego – I honestly don’t know 100% but I do know that they wanted to see my driver’s license in order to confirm my address. You could always email the consulate as well and ask. I can’t speak for all of them but the Miami consulate was very quick to respond to any emails.

  15. Eduardo July 31, 2019 at 8:48 pm - Reply

    So, did you buy your flight ticket to Spain before the interview? how did you calculate when to travel if you didn’t know how long the process would take?

    • Derek August 1, 2019 at 8:58 am - Reply

      Hey Eduardo – I didn’t buy my flight ticket to Spain yet. You have to choose a date that you plan to enter Spain and generally, it should be 2-3 months in the future. But once the visa is ready, you have 90 days to enter Spain. So if the visa is ready before the date you entered, you can head to Spain early.

  16. David July 31, 2019 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    Hey Earl,
    Congratulations on your application. My wife and I have been looking at Italy or Spain for the last 5 years and it’s time to get on with it. It should be fairly straightforward for us, we appreciate the extra boost you’ve given us.
    Simply being able to fill in a department or town makes things a lot easier.
    Thank you again and have a great time in Spain!

    • Derek August 1, 2019 at 8:59 am - Reply

      Hey David – Glad it gave you the boost and I wish you all the best with your own application!

  17. Sara July 31, 2019 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    Wow, congrats! Not gonna work with Houston consulate as they require proof of a lease for a year..or they did when I got mine in 2016.

    • Derek July 31, 2019 at 4:53 pm - Reply

      Hey Sara – From what I’ve heard, that’s no longer needed at most consulates. I’ve talked to people who’ve applied at pretty much every consulate in the US and a letter explaining why they want to move to a particular city in Spain seems to have been sufficient. Certainly makes more sense than having to provide proof of a lease!

  18. Maria July 30, 2019 at 11:12 am - Reply

    How exciting! I was wondering how this affects the limitations of Americans to travel within Schengen region? You’ll be carrying an American passport, so what saves you from the restrictions of only being in Schengen region for 90 our of 180 days….without your Spain days counting? Or, even flying between EU zones? Do you stand in the ‘Citizen’ immigration line or the ‘tourist’ immigration line? This visa is great and simple if you only intend to stay in Spain, but can you expand on the ramifications or benefits outside Spain’s borders? Thanks.

    • Derek July 31, 2019 at 4:57 pm - Reply

      Hey Maria – The visa doesn’t really help with the Schengen area apart from having your days in Spain not being counted towards the 90 days.

      As for which line you stand in when entering Spain, to be honest, I’m not sure. But I’ll guess that it’s still the line for non-EU citizens (if you have a passport from outside the EU) and then you would hand over the residency card when at the desk. In the end, the visa is indeed designed for those who want to spend more time in Spain. It’s not designed to help foreigners spend more time in the Schengen zone. For that, you would need to look at other visa options if you simply wanted to stay in the Schengen zone for more than 90 days.

      • Maria August 12, 2019 at 7:47 am - Reply

        Thanks Derek. I was thinking more about what the impact would be for those who do get the Spanish visa but want to pop up to France or Germany for a few days. If Spanish dates don’t count, then that is advantageous. Thanks for clarifying.

  19. Christine July 29, 2019 at 9:51 am - Reply

    Earl – thank you thank you thank you. I have been procrastinating on getting a Visa forever. Both my husband, I and little dog are ready and your post came at just the right time. Thank you Earl!!!!

    • Derek July 29, 2019 at 3:48 pm - Reply

      Hey Christine – My pleasure and let me know if any questions arise as you begin the process!

  20. Robert Rogina July 29, 2019 at 9:50 am - Reply

    Earl – you wrote – “Sanitas and ended up paying about 70 Euros per month” – instead of me asking what does it cover, Ill ask, what to your knowledge does it not cover?. We are both in very good health ” no issues” no meds at all.

    • Derek July 29, 2019 at 3:47 pm - Reply

      Hey Robert – It’s quite comprehensive actually. If you go to the Sanitas websit, it’s the “Mas Salud” plan. In your case, you should be covered for pretty much anything that might happen as you’ll see.

  21. Kelly July 28, 2019 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    I’ve been looking at this Visa for sometime –this breakdown was so extremely helpful! Thanks for sharing your experiance; figure it’s time to start procrastinating. 🙂

    • Derek July 29, 2019 at 3:46 pm - Reply

      Sure thing Kelly! Good luck with applying and definitely time to make it happen!

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