When we started looking into living long-term in Spain we really didn’t know anything about the process. When we did some research it all seemed a bit intimidating.
We are now back in Spain with our long-term Visas. I can tell you that the process wasn’t as complicated as we thought. Yes, it takes organization getting all your paperwork together. That’s what this post will cover. But once done everything pretty much sailed through. Just to give you an idea: we started working on getting our documents July 23rd (2020). We had documents ready by August 16th. We had our appointment at the local Spanish consulate on September 1st. On September 11th we were told that we were pre-approved. On September 16th we picked up our Spanish Visas. The whole process took less than 2 months. On September 30th we were on a plane to Spain.
Note: Our case was simple. Yours might not be. Readers often tell us that they’re having problems getting Spanish health insurance from overseas, that their finances are complicated, or they have questions about common law relationships and/or children. Sometimes they’re dealing with a difficult consulate and can’t get a straight answer. I recommend Marta at Balcells Group to deal with these more complicated cases. She handles the A-Z of Spanish Visas. More detail here.
What I cover in this post
A. Why the Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa
B. The “Broad” Strokes of getting a Spanish Non-lucrative Visa
C. Requirements where you apply might be different. And getting help
E. The Nitty-gritty of Paperwork and Documents
F. Apostilization and Translations
G. Other important details
H. Total Costs
I. We have our Visas. Now What?
J. Summing it all up
A. Why the Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa?
There are different types of long term Spanish Visas: the Student Visa, the Youth Mobility Visa, the Work Visa, the Au Pair Visa, the Entrepreneur Visa, the self-employed/autonomo Visa, the Working Holiday Visa, the Golden Visa, and the Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa.
As retirees not wanting to invest lots of money (the Golden Visa requires a minimum 500,000 Euro investment in property) the Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa easily made the most sense. It is a Visa for people who want to live long term in Spain, who have sufficient financial means to not work, and who don’t have a serious criminal record (ie. charged with a felony). And the great thing about the Non-Lucrative Visa (which I’ll sometimes refer to as the ‘non-lucrativo’ for short) is that you can renew and after 5 years obtain Permanent Residency in Spain. Obtaining Permanent Residency was the whole reason we applied in the first place.
- You can stay in Spain up to a year, then for renewal periods of 2 years. Once you’ve totalled 5 years, you can apply for Permanent Residency (Note: within these 5 years, you can only be out of Spain a maximum of 10 months if you want to qualify). You can even become a Spanish Citizen after 10 years (but you have to renounce, in theory, your original nationality)
- You can apply not only for yourself, but also for family members
- You can sign contracts, rent property, sign utility contracts etc.
- You can send your children to Spanish school
- You can invest in Spain, making money that way
On the other hand,
- You cannot work for a Spanish Company and you can no longer work remotely from Spain (they’ve just started cracking down on that..).
- You cannot get any public benefits (including public healthcare)
- You have to file Spanish taxes (if your country has a tax agreement with Spain you don’t have to worry about double taxation). See this post for more on that.
We’re in our early 50’s and thinking about where we can settle long term. For us the non-lucrativo was the perfect Visa to stay long-term in Spain while working towards Permanent Residency.
B. The “Broad” Strokes of getting a Spanish Non-lucrative Visa
- You have to apply at your local consulate (you cannot do it in Spain). This was a bit inconvenient for us as we’ve been travelling around the world for the last 6 years. We had to go back home to Montreal to apply for the non-lucrativo
- Get all the required documents (which I will cover in detail) and make sure they are up to date. Your documents have to have dated within 90 days of your Visa appointment, not more.
- Get government documents (like criminal records and marriage certificates) Apostilledor, if your country is not part of the Hague Convention, authenticated and legalized which is the equivalent to having it apostilled (I have a section below on getting documents apostilled)
- Get required documents translated by an official, Spanish-approved Spanish translator
- Assemble all your documents, make copies, get a couple of passport photos
- Have your Visa appointment where you’ll submit your documents and pay your Visa fees
- Once you get pre-approved you can book your flight to Spain. The Visa will be finalized and you can then pick up your Visa and go to Spain.
C. Requirements where you apply might be different. And getting help
One of the things we quickly learned is that while the process is generally the same everywhere you apply, the requirements might vary slightly not only on the country you’re applying from, but also the specific consulate. For example, we had an Australian tell us that we needed a fixed address for our application. We had a Mexican tell us that you not only need a fixed address, but also a lease.
We were confused by the different stories we were getting.
That’s why you really need to consult with someone official. I wrote the Spanish consulate in Montreal and they told us that we in fact did not require a lease. I also consulted with a Marta at Balcells Group when doing our documents and she told me that the boxes requiring an address could be left blank.
You don’t need someone doing your documents for you if your case is straight-forward like ours was. You can do it alone. But don’t be shy to write the consulate that you’ll be applying at with any specific questions. And consult with an immigration lawyer if you want a professional to look over all your documents before you submit them (who can also write you a “motive” letter if required).
All the above is important because if there is a major mistake or omission in your documents, the consulate might reject your application which might mean you have to re-apply.
Note: We applied in September 2020 during Covid times. The processed was altered: we first sent in scanned documents which were reviewed by the consulate. The lady was very helpful, going through everything is great detail. Having seen it all, she then gave us an appointment date. So when we actually brought all the documents they had already been reviewed which made everything a piece of cake.
It’s very important that documents be dated within 3 months (not more) of your appointment date. They have to be current.
For most of your documents that’s not a big deal – leave the date blank until a short time before you apply. But for documents that are issued to you from other parties, you need to plan. They included, for us:
Criminal Records. It took a 4 days for us to get our Canadian criminal records in the mail.
Marriage Certificate. It took 3 days to get an updated wedding certificate in the mail.
Medical Certificate. We had medical exams done at a private clinic. It took a week to get them in the mail.
Bank Letter. I had to arrange an official letter with my bank. That took a week.
After obtaining the above, I used a company to get the Criminal records and Marriage Certificate authenticated (part of the apostille process) in Ottawa. They required official documents and it took a week to get the documents back, adorned with official stamps from Global Affairs Canada.
I then had to get the Criminal records, the Marriage certificate, and the bank letter (not the medical certificate – it had been issued in 3 languages including Spanish) translated by an official translator. Scanned copies were fine, she didn’t need originals. That took about 4 days.
As you can see, there were several steps involved and I couldn’t do certain steps before I had done preceding steps.
Just to give you an idea: I started working on getting documents on July 23rd. By August 16th I had all my documents prepared and sent them all electronically to the Consulate. So it took a bit less than a month to prepare everything. We got our appointment at the Consulate for the 1st of September.
Tip: Plan before executing. Before you do anything, figure out how you will get your documents. And pre-arrange your translator and how you’ll get your documents apostilled. You want to have all the steps planned out ahead of time so that when you get your documents you can have them apostilled and translated without delay.
I’ll have much more below on documents and the translation and apostilization steps.
E. The Nitty-gritty of Paperwork and Documents
As I say, the general requirements are mostly the same wherever you apply. I’ve included links of the requirements below for:
Non-lucrative Visa Requirements – Montreal (website recently updated)
Non-lucrative Visa Requirements – Los Angeles (website recently updated)
The difference can be in some of the unwritten details as I described further above. It’s why I mention that writing the Consulate with specific questions (especially as regards to address/lease requirements in Spain) or consulting with a Spanish immigration lawyer is a good idea.
Related: Embassy vs Consulate – what’s the difference?
I’ll start with the things that’ll take a bit more time.
1. Evidence of Economic Means
On paper it’s simple. You need to prove economic means of 2,130 Euros/mo for yourself and 532 Euro/mo for each dependent that is applying with you.
In practice it’s not as clear. So what do you need?
Marta (my Spanish lawyer) suggested the following “Current bank certificate showing your funds. The minimum amount requested for 2 applicants is 33.000€*. You can show as much accounts as you have. You can also show the balance of the last 3 or 6 months. In case you receive some monthly incomes you can also demonstrate it. For instance: if you are the owner of a Real Estate and you are renting it. Some people have some kind of investment account that you could also show”.
* 2,130/mo for myself + 532/mo for Lissette (my dependent) = 2,662/mo for the 2 of us = approx 33,000 Euros/yr.
What we did. I had my bank manager write me a letter, indicating our current bank and investment balances, saying we’ve been customers for many years. He signed the letter and had the bank stamp it. In addition he produced statements supporting the amounts in the letter. On top of that, I did a spreadsheet showing our monthly bank and investment balances for the last 6 months.
Note: Anything submitted had to be translated. In our case we had the bank letter translated by the officially Spanish translator.
Note 2: Because we applied with Lissette as my dependent (otherwise the economic means you need to show are much higher) I had to arrange for a updated marriage certificate showing we were married. It had to have been issued in the last 3 months. The marriage certificate had to be both apostilled (more on that later) and translated into Spanish.
2. Medical certificate
It has to be issued in the last 3 months by a doctor with the following text:
“This medical certificate confirms that Mr. / Mrs. [……..] does not suffer from any of the diseases that can have serious implications for public health in accordance with the provisions of the 2005 International Health Regulations” This certificate must be issued in a letter format and must include the official stamp of the medical center or the doctor.
What we did. We went to a large private health clinic in downtown Montreal. I had booked it about a month in advance and told them exactly what we needed, including the requirements of the letter. They said they could do it.
The clinic did the basics: blood tests, urine tests, a simple medical exam, x-rays, an eye test. It all took about 90 minutes.
A week later we both received medical certificates in the mail, the letter in English, French and Spanish (which saved us from having to have the document translated).
Note: the medical certificate would have had to be translated had it not had a version in Spanish. No Apostilization required.
3. Criminal Records
You need to have a “negative” criminal record (ie. no felony offences) issued from any country where you’ve lived over the last 5 years. And it has to be issued within 90 days of your visa application date.
Our Canadian criminal records were very simple. You need a criminal record issued by the RCMP (the equivalent to the FBI in Canada). The easiest way in Montreal is to go to one of the many companies that do this. They all have a direct connection to RCMP headquarters in Ottawa where the request will be handled. You have to do fingerprints, sign a document…and that’s it. Took us about 30 minutes.
We received the criminal records 4 days later in the mail.
Note: you will have to have the criminal records apostilled (more on this later) and then translated into Spanish.
In our case criminal records were much more complicated because we had also lived in Croatia for a year in 2017. And in Croatia everything official is complicated. We had to get country records from Zagreb as well as municipal records from Split. Both had to be apostilled in Croatia. Not only that, we then had to have them translated from Croatian to Spanish. The whole thing cost $800. Unbelievable.
4. Medical Insurance for a company entitled to operate in Spain.
Part of a non-lucrative visa is being self-sufficient for healthcare, thus the need for private health insurance while in Spain.
Theoretically we could have continued with our Expat insurance policy with Allianz Insurance (we’ve been travelling full-time around the world the last 6 years). But since it’s worldwide health insurance, it’s expensive.
So when we went to Spain we set up an appointment with Adeslas, one of the largest private health providers in Spain. It cut our insurance costs in half. On top of that, their policy covers 3 months consecutive outside the country.
I wrote about it all in this post: Opening a Spanish Bank account without an NIE. And securing private health insurance
Our agent is Genoveva Loicq in Jaen. She speaks French and Spanish but not English (use Google translate if contacting her). Her email: [email protected] . Tell her that Frank and Lissette recommended her.
Note: the policy automatically renews after a year which is a requirement of the Visa process.
Note 2: Adeslas can only be paid from a Spanish bank account as I mention in the above post. We signed up with Sabadell bank and had no issues (see the above post for more info).
Note 3: Some expats get private insurance to initially apply for their non-lucrative Visa, then opt out after the 1st year. More on Convenio Especial.
Note 4: You’ll get a NIE (Foreigner’s Identity Number) when your on-Lucrative Visa is approved. But you can apply for an NIE without going through all that – many foreigners get their Spanish NIE before deciding that they want to reside in Spain. And getting an NIE will help you with many of the details of everyday life (as stated up top: sign contracts, rent property, sign utility contracts etc).
Related: Health Insurance in Spain: A Semi-Insider’s Guide for Expatriates
The above documents require the most work to obtain. The forms that I list below require detail but are easy.
5. Application for a National Visa
This form is the application form for all kinds of long stay Visas in Spain.
You can find a blank form here.
The form is pretty straightforward. Box 20 should be filled out as “Residence without work permit”. Box 22 should be “more than two”. Don’t forget that dates should be day/month/year. Don’t glue a photo where the form says “Photo” (I was guilty of that).
I’m attaching an example of how to fill out an application for a National Visa
Note: no apostilization or translation necessary.
6. Form EX-01
This form is specific to the Spanish non-lucrative residence Visa.
You can find the blank form here. You’ll find Spanish Instructions on the 2nd page
More complicated than it should be and how you fill it out depends on what the individual consulate wants. Fill out sections 1 and 3. In section 3, where it says “Domicilio en Espana” we were told to write our Canadian address. Below section 3 check off the box that says “Consiento…”. In section 4, check “inicial” and leave everything else alone. Above the signature box enter the city, day, month (in Spanish) and year, ex: Montreal, a 7 de agosto, 2020.
I’m attaching an example of how to fill out Form EX-01
Note: no apostilization or translation necessary.
7. Form 790, Codigo 052
Form 790-052 is a residency authorization application form and has to do with payment to obtain an NIE and other certificates.
It’s the easiest form to fill out. After filling out your name, nationality and telephone in the top section, the only box to check off below is 1C “Autorizacion inicial de residencia temporal”.
I’m attaching an example of how to fill out Form 790, Codigo 052
Note: no apostilization or translation necessary.
F. Apostilization and Translations
A ‘Hague Apostile” is an international certification that makes documents between different countries valid. Countries have to be part of the Hague Convention (sometimes just called the Apostile Treaty). When both countries are part of the Treaty, the documents from one country are made valid in another country by having the issuing country certify the document. In the USA for example, this is done by each state’s Secretary of State.
Surprisingly, Canada is not part of the Hague Convention and the process is slightly different. There are 2 steps required for ‘Apostile equivalency’ in Canada. 1) Canadian issued documents have to be presented to Global Affairs Canada in Ottawa where they are authorized, 2) Those documents, after having been authorized, have to be legalized at the Consulate of the country they are to be presented in.
What we did. We didn’t have to go to Ottawa physically to get our documents authorized. Different companies can do it for you. We used a company in Ottawa and sent them original documents (in our case our marriage certificate and criminal records) by courier to their office in Ottawa. They had them authorized at Global Affairs (that took 3 working days), then they were couriered back to us.
Note: theoretically the company would have sent them to the Spanish consulate in Montreal for the 2nd part of the Apostilization process (legalization) but, after talking to the Spanish Consulate, I decided doing that was a waste of time and money. Since the documents had to be presented to the consulate anyway they could just legalize them when I handed them in. That’s what we did and it worked out fine.
In the case of our Croatian criminal records, the Apostilization was done by judges in both Zagreb and Split. Since Croatia is a member of the Hague Convention it was easy.
Documents that have to be translated into Spanish cannot be translated by anyone, they have to be translated by official, Spanish government-approved translators.
This list gives you the official list of all official translators.
We used Raquel Flores [email protected] for our English language documents. As mentioned previously, she never needed original documents: I send her scanned copies of our apostilled documents (criminal records and marriage certificate) and she had them translated in 3 days. She then sent them back to me in PDF format, electronically signed.
I also used a Croatian -> Spanish translator for our Croatian documents. She was also excellent.
G. Other important details
Passport. You need a valid passport with at least 1 year remaining on it and at least 2 blank pages. This was an issue for me because I came back to Canada with a full passport. After speaking to the consulate, I applied for an urgent passport from Passport Canada. Because of Covid they only deal with urgent cases and I needed a note from the Spanish Consulate that I urgently needed a passport for our Visas. I had no issues: it took me 2 days to get a new Canadian passport*.
*If anyone needs info on getting an urgent, last minute passport during Covid times write me. I’ll tell you the process.
Marriage Certificate. We needed an updated Marriage Certificate (issued in the last 90 days) because (for the financial “Evidence of Economic Means”) I wanted to list Lissette as my dependent. We ordered it online on the Quebec website and it was received in our mailbox 3 days later.
1 passport photo. You need 1 passport sized photo for the Visa. It has to be dated in the back. Always good to get a few extra copies though (you’ll need 2 more photos when you go to Spain and get your TIE. But that’s another problem for another day…)
1 Full set copies of everything. When setting up your appointment at the Spanish consulate, they’ll tell you to bring the original documents as well as a set of copies for them. I recommend 2 sets of copies just in case. When you get your Visa they’ll give you back your originals.
Copies of Passports. The consulate will ask you to make photocopies of every page of your passport (even if blank).
Keeping your passport. The consulate may keep your passport during the application process. They did with us, telling us that it shouldn’t take long and that it would save us a return trip to the consulate.
Motivo letter. Some consulates may ask that you provide a “motivo” letter which explains why you’re applying for a Non-lucrative residence Visa. We had our lawyer do one in Spanish. But it was not required and the Consulate didn’t even look at it. Double check with the consulate where you’ll be applying.
Where will you be living? We didn’t have to give an address or even a location in Spain where we might want to live. We did mention it might be Granada but said that we weren’t sure yet. They were fine with that. Nowhere in the forms did we ever have to give a Spanish address.
Forms required for both you and your spouse. We both had to fill out forms and get documents. The only common document was the marriage certificate.
Visa Fees. The last thing at your Visa appointment: paying your Visa fees to the Consulate. It cost us $ 777.70 Canadian each (that’s $585 USD each). And they accept cash or money orders. We arranged our cash ahead of time and gave them exact bills and change.
H. Total Costs
Costs will depend on your circumstances but here is what we had to pay for the 2 of us (ie. total)
Consular fees $1,555
Canadian Criminal Records 120
Croatian Criminal Records 676
Medical Certificates 1,166
Marriage Certificate 65
English to Spanish translator 300
Croatian to Spanish translator 125
Authentication of Documents 217
Other minor costs (copies, photos) 100
$4,324 Canadian (about $3,250 USD)
Wow! Didn’t realize how much it added up to until I summed it all up. And that doesn’t include our airfares to come back to Canada for the application process. But 99% of you won’t have to produce criminal records from a country like Croatia and hopefully most of you have a family doctor who can produce those medical certificates for a lot less money.
I. We have our Visas. Now What?
Before being “final”-approved, the consulate will tell you that you are pre-approved. At that point you have to make your travel arrangements to Spain. Once you have done that, and shown them proof of your flight, the Consulate tells you that your Visa has been approved. You now have 30 days to pick it up.
Also, the Visa is only good for 90 days from your stated arrival date in Spain. You’ve been “provisionally” approved to stay in Spain but there’s a last step that you can only do in Spain: that is going to a local office of the Oficina de la Extranjeria (foreigner’s office) where you apply for your Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (ie. your Foreigner Identity card, or TIE) which will be your residency permit for your 1 year stay. You should be making your appointment at the Oficina de la Extranjeria within 30 days of entering the country.
Note: We used Marta to make our appointments at the foreigner’s office and do the paperwork for our TIE. You might find yourself buried in bureaucracy when arriving in Spain and I recommend you do the same. Contact her here.
J. Summing it all up
Reading all the above it seems like a lot of work and a lot of rules to follow. Really it’s not that bad. Start with your Spanish private insurance. You might have to open a Spanish bank account. There’s no time restriction on these. When you start on your documents, start with the ones that require more time (criminal records, medical certificates, proof of economic means, updated ID’s like passports or marriage certificates). Then get those apostilled and/or translated. Then you fill out the consulate forms.
It all kind of flows and before you know it, you’re done. If you’re the organized type and you’ve researched it all, it’s not really that complicated.
So don’t get discouraged looking at all the above.
The reward is that you get to live in Spain, at worst just a year but just maybe for the rest of your life. So it’s worth it 🙂
Related: Renewing your Spanish Residency (and why using a lawyer is a good idea)
Related: The best (and cheapest) way to access your money as Expats
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Hi love your blog and iam almost done with all the paperwork for my Non-lucrative visa application to move to Alicante, Spain but iam trying to pay the 790-052 tax that iam suppose to pay before turn in all my paperwork at the Spanish Consulate here in NYC but every time I fill out the form and I put my NYC address it keeps telling me to put a correct address, do I need to put an address in Alicante even though I don’t have an apartment there yet? I mean how can I have an address when I have not moved there yet? All I need to do now is pay the approximately $11 tax for the administrative cost and iam done and I can’t believe iam having so much problems doing it online…help!!! Thank you!
I’m very sorry, but we didn’t have to do it that way. It’s all a bit foggy right now but my recollection was that we filled out the form and submitted it, I believe paying the form to the consulate (we’ve had to deal with this form for renewals here in Spain. But never for our original NLV application)
I would recommend writing the NY Consulate for clarification.
Sorry I can’t be of more help on this.
Thank you, I love the blog
What company did you use in Ottawa to send the criminal record from the RCMP to Global Affairs? It only took 3 days? I have been waiting over 4 months for Global Affairs to send me the certification, now I must update everything because it took so long.
I’m sorry, I don’t remember the company. But I think it has more to do with when we did it – it was in August of 2020 during the height of Covid. I’ve heard that over the last year things have been backed up everywhere, I get constant complaints about delays…
Hi Frank – as has been said many times on here – thank you so very much for this extremely informative post.
The one comment I would make is that people need to be aware that, if their long term goal is to secure permanent residency in Spain via the NLV process, you are only allowed to be out of Spain for a total of 10 months across the 5 year period. I don’t think that this has been mentioned anywhere in the blog or the comments.
So – you can, as others have stated, maintain your temporary residency on the NLV by ensuring that you are in the Country for at least 6 months of the year (Make sure it’s at least 183 days) but, as I say, if your ultimate goal is to secure the permanent residency after the 5 years, then you must not be out of Spain for any more that 10 months across that 5 year period.
I believe this is correct but I’m happy to be corrected.
Thank you Archie. You’re absolutely right and, to be honest, I only found this out a few months ago. Many of the things in the post were based on our experience but others were pointed out to us by others as well. So thanks for mentioning it, I’ll include that in the post.
On a side note, how would they ever enforce that if, let’s say, you never leave the Schengen zone?
Hi, great article!
Do we have to get private health insurance before we apply for the non lucrative visa or just when I get to Spain? We are in our 50’s and won’t be working, we have no health insurance at all at the moment.
It’s a requirement of the NLV, you’ll have to get it before applying 🙂
PS. You might want to contact Marina at Beaurocracy.es. Among other things, they take care of private health insurance needs here in Spain.
Thank you Frank for both answers, I’ll put them in my contacts.
Good luck Jo!
Thanks for the valuable info,
You mentioned that one can obtain their NIE in advance, any suggestions on how to go about that. I am in Los Angeles:
“You’ll get a NIE (Foreigner’s Identity Number) when your on-Lucrative Visa is approved. But you can apply for an NIE without going through all that – many foreigners get their Spanish NIE before deciding that they want to reside in Spain. And getting an NIE will help you with many of the details of everyday life (as stated up top: sign contracts, rent property, sign utility contracts etc).”
Hi Gary. I’m sorry, that has to be done in Spain at a local foreigner’s office. Many people come here prior to deciding to reside in Spain and will get their NIE then. We could have done that for example when we came here to find a base (some people will do a scouting trip to find a base and apartment prior to going through the NLV procedure).
I was wondering if it was the same propress if you have a french passport even though I also have an american one
Hi Atina. No, if you have a French passport you wouldn’t have to go through all that we went through. I’m not sure what it entails for EU citizens but we have a few neighbours here that I’m sure are not registered anywhere…
thank you ,now I need to find out what will be the implication of the wealth tax if I sale my house in San Francisco and if my social security and 401K will be taxable in Spain and California. I am planing to come to Spain the fall to see what will be the best place for me .have a great summer
I wrote a post about taxes that touches on the wealth tax: it’s on our new blog that focuses only on Spain. Post here.
Just remember that your first 1 M Euros are generally excluded from the wealth tax and that rates on income above that vary greatly depending on the region of Spain. If ever you need a tax expert write me personally, we have a Spanish tax guy here.
Thanks so much for helping us!
What agency did you use for the Criminal Check? I am in Montreal and wondering which ones to use.
Hi Jasmine. It was “Agence d’Empreintes Électroniques – Digital Fingerprinting Agency” in Place Versailles. No issues at all.
You rock Frank!!!!
victor and nadine stockmann
question we have our papers in order and ready to mail to the toronto consulate
my question is what did your consulate fees pay for was it just the visa or was there more
also did they look at your visa email or phone you and say this is what you are required to pay
Hmm, I’m not sure I understand your question. But I just looked again at the Consular website and I see they’ve changed everything and fees aren’t clear.
Firstly, we paid consular fees of $778 Canadian each in late 2020. When I look at the website now (link here), I see the “Visa fee” is the equivalent of 80 Euros.
I’m not sure why the discrepancy between 80 Euros and $778 Canadian. Somehow I doubt the fee has gone down.
If in contact with them I would ask. And if you could give me an update I would very much appreciate.
Can you tell me if you’ve left Spain since getting your NLV, and if so what the process is on re-entering?
We have our NLV and returned to the UK for 2 months initially for Xmas but then we had to stay for various reasons.
On March 1st we caught a ferry UK to France (passport stamped) and drove overland for 7 days entering Spain on the Atlantic coast. No border control, so no passport stamp.
We need to make sure our passports show we returned to Spain otherwise it could invalidate our visa renewal, so we visited both French and Spanish police stations at the border and none could help or would stamp the passport.
Any ideas what we should do?
I’ve only gone to Mexico and had no issues (was properly stamped when I came back).
I don’t know why you would have an issue – you re-entered the Schengen in France and were stamped. No issue there. When we entered the Schengen the 1st time (ie on our initial NLV) we flew in to Lisbon where we were stamped and then connected to Malaga. Lisbon was the point of entry and when we needed proof they looked at our entry stamp there.
If you’re still worried you can write Marta the lawyer who I’ve listed in this post. But, unless I’m missing something in your story, there’s nothing to worry about.
Frank. My understanding is that under the NLV rules, we have to be in Spain 6 months of the year to be a resident, and can only visit the rest of Europe for 90 in 180 days.
Having had a stamp to say we’ve re entered Europe (schengen) isn’t the same as saying we’re now back in Spain.
Also, if we are only allowed in the rest of Europe for 90/180 days and there is no proof we have left France and re entered our country of residence, (Spain) it could look like we have overstayed our 90 day limit (despite only travelling through for 7 days) and we could be subject to a fine?
Do you have a different understanding of the regulations?..It would be great if I was wrong.
All the Best
You’re right about the rules Cat. But how can they prove you’ve never re-entered Spain if they don’t have borders within the Schengen zone? That’s why they look at your Schengen entry/exit stamps.
If you’re really worried about it you should email Marta and she’ll tell you. I personally wouldn’t worry about it.
Apologies Frank. I just wrote you a reply but missed off the initial Hi Frank, which made the tone all wrong! Would very much like to hear your thoughts on previous email.
No problem at all Cat. Like I say, I don’t think you have to worry. But if you have doubts write Marta – she won’t charge for a question like that and will give you a definitive answer so you don’t have to worry.
Thanks a million
Will be in touch with Marta today. We didn’t get an exit stamp from the UK, so we might not be in the clear yet – but having thought about your replies, am feeling a lot less anxious.
Let me know how it turns out Cat 🙂
Frank, The link to list of official Spanish translators wasn’t working the last time I checked. Would you send it?
I see they just updated it in December 2021. I’ve updated it on the post. You’ll find it here as well.
I very much recommend Raquel Flores as I’ve indicated.
Found you via Spain Revealed interview
Great article! Provided me and no doubt others with a strong starting foundation. I appreciate the effort, thought and informational organization.
A few questions…
– Would you consider providing a few cross border tax consultants’ names both in Canada and Spain. I may have a Spain mock tax return prepared based on my current Canadian income. Also want to be aware of any Canadian tax pitfalls that might arise moving abroad.
-What RBC bank services were reduced or eliminated on your investments and accounts due to living abroad? For example CIBC won’t initiate changes or trades on investments unless I’m in Canada.
No doubt there will be more questions as I move forward on this most excellent adventure!
Muchas Gracias por todos😎
I’m not an expert on the taxes. I’ll be filing this year in Spain for the 1st time. Theoretically there shouldn’t be taxes payable if you pay in Canada because of the tax treaty. If you write me personally I’ll give you my tax accountant in Montreal (he’s excellent) and the tax accountant I’ll be using in Spain (recommended to me by someone I know. Don’t have 1st hand experience yet…)
Had the same issues with RBC as you’re having with CIBC. They would tell me to call the RBC hotline for my trades and they gave me the same story (got stuck doing only GICs). You have to talk to your financial advisor and tell him it’s an issue. Once I did that I was able to deal directly with him, doing trade online and signing them digitally. You have to have a good relationship with your guy. Otherwise you either do your trades when you’re in Canada or you don’t tell them where you are 🙂
This article has been invaluable, thank you so much for this and your blog!
My question is regarding a dependent partner; I am in 12 year relationship with a working musician, which means I make a lot more money than he does. My financial resources are greater than his, although he would have $30k to contribute. We both get social security, and if I can’t work remotely I would have to start relying on dividends from my IRA.
All of which is to ask can I call an unmarried partner a dependent?
Do you have to have double the money in an account for year 2, or can you show you can support yourself from ss plus divs?
What do you think? Should I do a consultation with an immigration lawyer? If yes, can you please send me Marta’s info?
I’ve written you directly (on your email) with Marta’s info. Unfortunately your question is a bit more complicated than what we had to deal with. I’m sure she can help you out with specifics. And I know you’re unmarried but there are allowances to common-law couples. I’ve had quite a few people in that situation write me with questions (again though, it’s a bit more complicated and requires the advice of a lawyer).
Wish you the best of luck!
I am in the process of applying for a non-lucrative visa currently. I do have the translator lined up but received a message from the embassy stating that currently all documents in English or French do not need to be translated. Did you submit your translated documents? I’m thinking I should get them translated just in case. Also how long did the embassy keep your passports?
I’m very surprised by the comment that documents don’t have to be translated. Which consulate is this?
We just renewed our Visa here in Spain and of course everything had to be translated
It took 11 days between our appointment and being told that we were approved. It took a further 5 days until we came to pick up our visa = 16 days total that they hung on to our passports.
When you guys applied for the visa, did you only need one proof of finances letter or do we both require one? Thanks
We had 1 letter listing both of our balances. We had 2 copies and stuck one in each application. In our case we both had enough to qualify individually, but in the case of dependents I would you would just have to make sure that the total sum is sufficient for the primary applicant as well as other dependents.
Hope that helps 🙂
My wife and I are planning to apply for a Non Lucrative visa and found your information most helpful. We don’t fully understand the “New Marriage Certificate.” We were married in the UK 50 years ago and have a copy of the marriage certificate, will this suffice?
Hi Ed. All documents used should be dated within the last 90 days – the reasoning I guess being that you might have gotten divorced over the last 50 years. They want to make sure all is current.
Luckily it’s usually pretty easy to get an updated document. Just make sure that you get it within 90 days of your visa application 🙂
this has ben invaluable, thank you so much! My husband and I are currently going through the process from the UK. We’re at the stage of sending off for documents and filling in forms, however I have a question: Like Lisette, it makes more financial sense for me to apply as a dependent but I am unclear where we show this. Is there a section on one of the forms to show I am applying as a dependent rather than a separate application? Also, I am assuming that even though I am applying as a dependent I still need to complete and show my own set of everything including the “new” marriage certificate? Any help at this stage would be most gratefully received!
Thank you very much, glad it’s been helpful.
You’ll have to fill out a separate application as if applying individualy. I wondered the same when we applied. When the time comes for the interview they’ll mark down your situation.
Hope that helps 🙂
Thanks Frank, super helpful, much appreciated.
Hope life in Nerja is good…when we eventually do get back over, we will be based in Competa not too far from Nerja and we miss it! Cat
Thank you for this very informative post I’m literally following your foot steps from Montreal and found this post to be absolutely helpful and inspiring step by step guide on how to reach this visa.
I have a couple of questions and not sure if this is the right forum for it but was tempted to ask or happy to arrange a direct exchange.
– What has your experience been like with the Banks and Funds Transfer from Canada? I will be continuing to work for my Canadian company and they have no issue with this situation so I will continue to get paid in Canadian dollars and transfer the funds into Spanish Bank Account. Have you had any issues with that?
– Given that its almost January Do you have any insight on the Canada/Spain Tax filling regulations and any recommendation or suggestions how to go about? I have seen that there is a Tax Treaty but haven’t really dug too deep, any recommendation would be great.
– On lighter note did you start by speaking Spanish?
Thanks again I agree the chance to live in Spain is definitely worth this process.
Thank you for inspiring post
I answered your private email so I’m just answering this for the benefit of readers who may have the same questions.
1)I use RBC to transfer funds and it usually takes about 2 days and you can do a max of $2500/day. Rates are not the best (and they charge a $10 fee), you actually get a better rate pulling money out of an ATM with your credit card but I do transfers out of convenience. We opened a Spanish account at Sabadell. I have a post on that on the blog.
2)I was actually communicating with an accountant last week and I’ll give you details once I finalize everything with him. But he seems to be good and was recommended by an expat friend. Yes, there is a tax treaty and there shouldn’t be anything payable (Canada and Spain have approx same level of tax). You have to file if you spend more than 183 days in a calendar year in the country
3) We both get by with Spanish, Lissette 100% (her 1st language), I’m at about an 80%. The level of English here generally low so really recommend learning
Don’t be shy with any other questions Reza.
Super blog post. We are also wondering about the relative taxation levels and how that process works. I was wondering what you’ve learned about that since your reply to Reza a year ago? Thanks so much for the detailed, useful info on this blog!
Thanks for the kind words. I have a post on taxes here. I will be filing this year in Spain but I don’t expect to pay taxes. But that’s our situation and so much depends on your income, where you’re from, and how much you’ve paid in taxes at home. You’d really have to consult a tax specialist. Sorry I don’t have more info on that 🙁
Thanks for this great and informative post. My wife and I are looking to do the same, maybe next year when covid has died down. I did have a couple of follow up questions that I hope you don’t mind my asking.
1) with regards to bank certificates, did your lawyer or the consulate mention anything about the accounts needing to be in a savings or current account? For example, we have aome money set aside in an index fund with our bank. Would that be acceptable to them?
2) Would you be able to share the cost of your Spanish lawyer and whether your were satisfied with the service they provided?
Any additional help would be appreciated!
No problem at all:
1) No, doesn’t matter what accounts. If you can produce something official showing where you have your money then no problem. In our case we had our cash and investment accounts with RBC. But lots of people will have bank accounts at a bank and investment accounts at an investment company. However you have it, try to get an account manager to do a letter for you so it’s official.
2) Very happy with our Spanish lawyer. We used them for a few documents relating to overstaying our Schengen stay (we were stuck in Spain 4 months in lockdown) as well as having them draw up “Motivo letters”. The letters were 75 Euros and 50 Euros each respectively. I also asked Marta if she could review some of our forms before submitting them to the consulate. She was going to charge me 50 Euros for that but she never ended up charging me. I also came back and asked her a few questions on other topics and she never charged me for that either. They offered to take over the whole Visa application for us (I can’t remember how much, I think it was for the equivalent of about $1200 Canadian each) but we didn’t want to spend that kind of money and really wanted to do it on our own. But they were very fair and very helpful.
Don’t be shy if you have any other questions.
I just bought a house last year. I have no cash in bank accounts. I put all my money into home loan. Is the saving at home loan qualifying for the fund proof?
I think you might have an issue with that Peter. Besides liquidity, they might question your motive for wanting to have residency in Spain if you’ve got all your money invested in a primary residence at home.
phew. wow what a list. you deserve credit just for getting through them. great news that its all done now and you’re where you wanted to be Frank
Ahhhh… Bureaucracy. Isn’t it great?
Having secured a few Temporary Residence Permits myself (5 in 3 different countries),
I know how good you guys must be feeling right now! It’s a jolt of excitement, realization,
along with a big “we did it” exhale! Congrats to you both.
Oh… and you do realize that you have just penned the “How to Guide” to Spanish
non-lucrative visas, right? Everyone behind you will be using this as a blueprint now.
And remember, “Legal residency” and “Tax residency” are two TOTALLY different things.
You may not even be liable to Spain’s onerous tax system? (contact off board if you want)
Again, well done.
Thank you Michael. We’re unfortunately familiar with dealing with taxes – Lissette has to file US taxes every year despite not having lived in the US for over 20 years. We’ll have to do the same for Spain, fortunately for us (I guess) Canada has an equally onerous tax system (35% tax during our peak earning years…never mind all the sales taxes). While not a tax expert, I’m told that our tax treaty should offset any differences when we file.
I’ll send you some info to ponder…. tomorrow.
And how come my formatting looks like a 5 year old was typing?
Hmm, not sure what formatting you are looking at Michael. Your icon looks cranky though.
Fantastic! Super useful post. We’re in our late 50’s, living in Ottawa, and have been thinking of working towards living in Spain. You’ve made it seem manageable. Good to know that they’re accepting visa applications during these times, we had our doubts…
We actually dealt with the consulate in Ottawa back in March when we had questions (the Montreal consulate must have been closed at that time because we could never get an answer to anything). Anyway, the Spanish consulate in Ottawa was fantastic, always answering quickly to any questions we had. You’ll be in good hands 🙂
Congratulations again to both,
It does seem mind boggling process, but you made it.
Just FYI and to above Edith’s remark: some countries (special treaties I assume) allow duel or even triple citizenship. My husband has three of them and myself I have two. Many other countries do not allow it, so one obviously needs to choose their “loyalty” lol.
Yes, Lissette for example has dual citizenship: Canadian and American. But as you mention some don’t allow it, although I’m not sure in practice how (or if) the Spanish apply the rule.
I acquired Swedish citizenship several years ago, when Sweden started to allow dual citizenship. I guess I just assumed that it was about the same for all EU countries. From what I have read about Spain (and it’s not much), they allow dual citizenship for Ibero-Americans. Another thing is that apparently it’s kind of easy to lose Spanish citizenship. The advantage I suppose of getting Spanish citizenship is freer movement within the EU?
Interesting what you say about dual citizenship for Ibero-Americans. I don’t know about that…but if so maybe Lissette with her Puerto Rican heritage/American passport could get dual citizenship?
I think the advantage to citizenship primarily access to social benefits like healthcare and being able to vote. I mention that under the Visa we have to be in Spain 6 months plus 1 day but once we have Permanent residency we have (I believe) the same ability to move around the EU.
I think with Lissette’s roots from PR, she actually qualifies for Spanish
citizenship a lot faster. (2 years only?) I would have to double check…
but I know PR qualifies as “Spanish” in Spain’s eyes.
Thanks Michael. I’ll check into that. Appreciate it.
Alana & Joe
Great information, thank you so much for posting! We will be following you to the area in a few short months..we will be using the Toronto Consulate.
Let me know if you have any questions. Good luck!
Alana & Joe
Will look forward to the rest of your post on the Foreign Identity Card..
It’s proving to be a little difficult – very hard to get an appointment at the foreigner’s office right now. But they’re making allowances for that…
I’ll be doing a post when we actually have it in hand which might be a while.
Alana & Joe
Frank would you care to pass along who you used with regards to your Spanish lawyer. We could sure use your reference.
I neglected to pass on prior, congrats to both of you on getting your NLV…good luck with the rest of your journey finalizing everything. We will stay in touch may meet up with you both one day!
Thank you both. I’ll send you a private email with details.
I am surprised that a person has to renounce their citizenship to become a citizen of Spain (with some exceptions, it seems). I wonder how that really works in practice. Even if Spain makes you renounce your citizenship that doesn’t mean your country of origin recognizes that renunciation. At any rate, I guess there is no reason to get Spanish citizenship if you meet all the requirements for residency.
You are exactly right Edith. Spain will view you as being exclusively Spanish…but if you’re American for example, you’ll still be viewed as an American citizen 🙂 Theoretically though you are required to renounce it if that means anything at all…
And your 2nd point right on as well.
I have friends who obtained Spanish citizenship years ago. They never gave up their US citizenship. They have 2 passports which allowed them to go to Spain this summer. They do own a house in Nerja. But I seriously doubt that it cost over 500K euros.
Thanks John. Always differences between the official line and the practicalities. Spain might not recognize dual citizenship but at the same time I don’t know how they can enforce renouncing your first citizenship. Curious, why did your friends opt to get Spanish citizenship?
And did they get their visa on a non-lucrativo or on a Golden Visa?
Stephanie in NB
Thank you for this information. It’s all very helpful and inspiring!