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MOVING TO SPAIN

What you need to know about applying for Spain’s non-lucrative visa

If you're not from the EU and you want to spend more than three months in Spain at a time, this may be the visa for you. Here are the steps to apply, the requirements and some expert tips.

passport visa

Spain’s non-lucrative visa – visado de residencia no lucrativa – allows non-working individuals with a reliable source of income or substantial savings to live in the country for more than three months.

The visa could be for those who want to retire in Spain, those who receive a passive income from their home country or simply those who want to spend a year living in Spain and have ample savings to do so.

Requirements

To be able to apply for the non-lucrative visa, you must prove that you have a sufficient amount of savings to support yourself and your family. Find out the minimum amount you need here. As the name suggests, the visa does not allow you to work or study in Spain.

How to apply

The first step is to apply for your visa appointment at your local Spanish embassy or consulate. You cannot apply from Spain. This must be done three months prior to when you want to move. While you’re waiting for your appointment, you need to get all your documents in order, which may take a while. You will need:

  • An EX-01 Form

This will need to be printed, filled out and signed and can be found here.  

  • A 790-52 Form

This is a payment form, for paying your visa fees. You will be requested to pay the fee at your visa appointment. 

  • A photocopy of your passport
  • A passport photograph

This must be a typical passport-style official photograph, measuring 2×2 inches or 5×5 centimeters.

  • Proof of funds

A document showing proof of the funds you need to support yourself. It’s a substantial amount, so you have to make sure you have this money available. It must be an official document signed or stamped, not just a photocopy of your bank statement.

READ ALSO:

How much money do Britons need for Spain’s non-lucrative visa in 2021? 

How much money do Americans need to become residents in Spain?

This is a trickier question than it may seem as there are often discrepancies in what constitutes “sufficient financial means” between Spain’s regions, provinces and even the Spanish consulates and embassies from which foreigners apply for the visa.

Spain’s Royal Decree states that sufficient financial means “will not exceed the level of resources by which social subsidies are granted to Spaniards or the amount of the minimum Social Security pension”.

  • A health certificate proving you are in good health

This must be no older than three months before your visa appointment date and include an official signature or stamp from a doctor.

  • A certification of ‘absence of police records’   

You will need a background check to prove you don’t have any criminal records before applying for your visa. This also can be no older than 90 days before your visa appointment. How you get this certificate, will depend on which country you’re applying from.  

Non-lucrative visa for Spain
Non-lucrative visa for Spain. Photo: Google Images (CC)
  • Medical insurance

As you won’t be paying social security in Spain, you won’t have access to the public health care system, so you’ll have to get private medical insurance. This must be a specific type of cover with no co-payments.

READ ALSO: What are the best private health insurance options in Spain for Brits?

  • If applying with your family, you will also need to show marriage and birth certificates Each member of your family will also need to show the above documents. You will also need to show more funds for each subsequent family member. 

Translations

Remember that all your documents, minus the Spanish forms, need to be translated into Spanish. This must be done by an official sworn translator and apostilled to prove authentication. Ask your embassy for a list of official Spanish translators. 

Common issues when applying 

  • Not getting the correct health insurance
    Make sure you don’t just buy any health insurance to get your visa, as not all of them will be accepted. Make sure to ask at the embassy which health plans they recommend. 
  • Not showing proof of funds in Euros
    You must show the necessary amount to support yourself in the equivalent number of Euros. It can’t just be shown in GBP or USD. Sometimes it can be very tricky to get your bank to give you a letter to show how much you have in EUR as of course, the amount will keep changing depending on the currency exchange. 
  • Not getting all your documents translated properly
    As mentioned above, all your documents need to be translated by an official sworn translator from a specific list. Even things like bank statements or bank letters must be translated and certified. 

Once your visa has been granted and you arrive in Spain

Even though the non-lucrative visa is granted for one year, the visa you receive from your home country will only be valid for 90 days. Therefore, when you arrive in Spain, you must contact your Local Immigration Office (Extranjería) to make an appointment to get a Tarjeta de Identificación de Extranjero or TIE. Remember, you will need to bring all your original translated documents with you to the appointment.

READ ALSO: BREXIT: How to apply for a TIE residency card. 

The visa and TIE card will allow you free movement within the Schengen Zone while living in Spain.

While the non-lucrative visa is issued for a period of one year, it can be renewed after this time while you’re still in Spain. 

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MOVING TO SPAIN

How to find temporary accommodation in Spain when you first arrive

One of the most common questions people moving to Spain ask is where they can rent temporary accommodation while looking for somewhere more permanent. This can be particularly tricky, but we've found some of the best places to look.

How to find temporary accommodation in Spain when you first arrive

So you’ve sorted out your visas, you’ve done all your packing and have either sold or moved out of your home, but when you arrive in Spain you’re not exactly sure where you’re going to stay.  

Of course, it’s not the best idea to sign a contract ahead of time for a more permanent place before you’ve actually seen it in person. Photos don’t always accurately represent what the house or apartment looks like in reality and you won’t really be able to get a feel for the neighbourhood without being there. 

On top of this, rental scams are rife in some places in Spain, particularly in the bigger more popular cities like Barcelona. Often people will place an ad (which usually looks too good to be true) and get you to wire over a deposit to secure it in advance, but here’s the catch – the place doesn’t usually exist.

This is why it’s important to never hand over money to secure a place to live in Spain before you’ve actually seen it in person and you can get the keys as soon as you sign the contract.

But, finding a place to live in a new country can be difficult and it can take time, so while you look for somewhere, you’re going to need temporary accommodation for a couple of months. This can be tricky too because often temporary accommodation is geared towards tourists and you’ll be paying tourist prices too.

While Idealista and Fotocasa are two of the most popular sites to look for accommodation in Spain, when you only want somewhere for a couple of months, there’s no point looking there, as most places will have yearly contracts.

Keep in mind with short-term rentals for a couple of months, you’re going to be paying higher than the average monthly rent, however, for this, the apartments are usually fully furnished, including kitchen utensils, wi-fi already connected and offer you the flexibility of shorter contracts.

Short-term rental agencies

Specialised short-term rental agencies are the best way to go, which will allow you to sign contacts for less than the typical one year. These types of agencies are usually found in Spain’s big cities that are popular with foreigners, such as Madrid and Barcelona.

Trying searching in Spanish too by typing alquiler de temporada or alquiler temporal plus the name of the city or town you’re looking in. This way you may be able to find places that offer better value. 

Barcelona

In Barcelona, check out aTemporal an agency that started up precisely to fix the problem of trying to find accommodation in-between tourist accommodation and long-term rentals. They rent out apartments for anywhere from 32 days to 11 months.

ShBarcelona is another agency that specialises in these types of rentals and have properties all over the city.

READ ALSO – Moving to Barcelona: A guide to the best neighbourhoods to live in

Madrid

In Madrid, try DFLAT, which was created by two professionals from the Instituto de Empresa University after discovering the difficulties professionals and foreigners found when looking for an apartment in Madrid. Sh also has a good branch in Madrid.  

Valencia

In Valencia, Dasha Living Space has both short and long-term fully furnished flats available and  Valenvi Flats also offers rentals for between three and six months.

READ ALSO – Moving to Valencia: A guide to the best neighbourhoods to live in

Airbnb

While the nightly rate of Airbnb apartments is typically too expensive to rent for a couple of months, you may be able to find some deals. Often when you input dates for a month into Airbnb, you’ll find that several places have a monthly discount offered. Also, some owners will do a deal for a couple of months. If it’s winter for example and they know they’re not going to get many tourists anyway, they may be willing to negotiate.

Vrbo

Like Airbnb, the properties on Vrbo are rented out directly by the owners. While the site is also mainly focused on tourists, some owners may negotiate outside of the tourist season.

Housesitting

If you’re willing to try something a little bit different, then housesitting could be the way to go. This is where you live in somebody’s house for free, in exchange for looking after their pets and their property.

Often people only need someone for a few days, but sometimes you’ll see house sits available for a month or longer. This is perhaps a better option for those who are flexible on where they might want to live and are trying out a few different places. It’s also better for those wanting to live in smaller towns or villages rather than the bigger cities, as there are fewer postings for these popular locations. Trusted Housesitters and Mind My House are good options. 

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