For members


Getting a medical certificate for Spanish residency: What you need to know

Some Spanish residency visas require applicants to get a medical certificate to prove that they’re in good health. What exactly are these medical certificates, what do you need them for and where do you get one from?

doctor medical certificate
Getting a medical certificate for Spanish residency. Photo: Sozavisimost / Pixabay

If you’re trying to apply for a visa to get residency in Spain, there are lots of different documents and different types of proof that you’ll need for the process. One of these documents is the certificado medico or medical certificate. 

What is a medical certificate?

The certificado medico or medical certificate needed for Spanish residency is actually not a certificate at all, but a letter from a registered health practitioner stating that you are in good health.

According to the Spanish government, a medical certificate states that you do not suffer from certain diseases that may have serious public health repercussions and may spread internationally quickly, in accordance with the provisions of the International Health Regulations of 2005.

The International Health Regulations 2005 establishes two lists. The first list includes smallpox, poliomyelitis caused by wild poliovirus, human influenza caused by a new virus subtype and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The second list includes cholera, pneumonic plague, yellow fever, viral hemorrhagic fevers (from Ebola, Lassa, Marburg), West Nile fever and other diseases of special national or regional importance, eg. Dengue, Rif Valley fever and meningococcal disease.

This means that basically, your letter must state that you do not suffer from any of the above. 

What visas do I need to show a medical certificate for?

If you’re applying for Spain’s non-lucrative visa or NVL, which allows you residence for one year, you will need to supply a medical certificate with your application.

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

You may also need to provide a medical certificate for Spain’s Golden Visa, working visas or other types of visas, but it will usually depend on the consulate you are applying from as we have heard reports of some asking for it, while others don’t.

How do I get the certificate?

Usually, it’s a case of going to your doctor or GP and asking them for a letter to state that you’re in good health. Remember that the letter must have been issued within the last three months. 

The Spanish government suggests that it is written something along the lines of: “This medical certificate certifies that Mr./Mrs. (…) Does not suffer from any of the diseases that can have serious public health repercussions in accordance with the provisions of the international health regulations of 2005″. 

However, recent reports from readers in the UK say that GPs are either not familiar with the process, don’t have time or a refusing to issue these letters. This means that you may have to go to a private medical practice and pay for the associated tests involved. The cost of this will entirely depend on which health tests you need and which private practices you attend. 

We have heard reports on prices anywhere from £20 up to £110. 

Is there anything else I need to do? 

Yes, once you have the letter, you will need to get it apostilled, so that it will be officially recognised in Spain.

In the UK, this is done at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). Be aware that the office will not issue your apostille if your GP or doctor isn’t registered with the FCDO, so you need to make sure that they are either part of the General Medical Council or the Nurse and Midwifery Council.

A couple of readers have reported that they have asked their local surgery to send a letter to the FCDO stating that their doctor works there and that has solved the issue.

Some consulates may also require you to get the letter translated by an official translator into Spanish.

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For members


Worker, retiree or investor: What type of Spanish visa do I need?

If you’re from a non-EU country you will need a visa in order to stay in Spain for longer than 90 days, but knowing which type of permit is best for you can be tricky. Here's how to find the right one for you based on your circumstances.

Worker, retiree or investor: What type of Spanish visa do I need?

If you are a citizen of a non-EU country then you may benefit from the 90-day rule, allowing you to visit Spain for 90 days out of every 180 without needing a visa. Countries including the UK, USA, Canada and Australia all benefit from this rule.

Citizens of certain countries require a visa even for a short trip – find the full list here.

However, the tricky part comes when you want to move to Spain and spend longer than just those three months. What are your visa options, whether you want to move to Spain to retire, to work or even to set up your own business? 


The best option for retirees is to apply for the non-lucrative visa (NLV). This allows you to live in Spain for one year, but as the name suggests you are not allowed to work.

In order to apply an applicant must show they have €27,792 at their disposal for one year (€34,740 if it’s a couple), as well as comprehensive health insurance.

If you want to stay in Spain beyond this year, you can either renew it for a further two years (again proving you have the financial means) or change your visa for a work permit or a self-employed permit through the residence modification process.

The NLV is also the best option for those who want to live abroad temporarily. Those who want to stay in Spain for more than three months, but are not planning on living here permanently. It’s ideal for those on a sabbatical for example who have savings or investments and who do not need to work in Spain while here, but want to stay here for a year. It’s also the best option for those who have the financial means to do so.

READ ALSO: What are the pros and cons of Spain’s non-lucrative visa?

retiree in Spain

The NLV is the right visa for most non-EU retirees who want to live in Spain. Photo: pasja1000 / Pixabay


If you plan on moving to Spain for work or in order to look for a job, then you will need a work permit. Unfortunately getting a work permit can be tricky because in most cases as a non-EU national, the position you apply for must be on Spain’s shortage occupation list.

Your employer will also have to prove that there were no other suitable candidates within the EU to be able to fulfill the vacancy. This means that only highly skilled workers or those that work in industries that need workers are likely to be successful. These mostly include jobs in the maritime or fishing industries or sports coaches.

If you are wanting to become self-employed, then the entrepreneur visa could be a good option, allowing you to live in Spain for one year in order to open up a business. Be aware however your business must be considered as anything of innovative character with special economic interest for Spain.

You will have to prove you have the necessary qualifications to set up your business and will also have to submit your business plan to the authorities for it to be approved. The entrepreneur visa can be extended for a further two years after your initial one has been granted.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Spain’s visa for entrepreneurs


If money is no object and you want to invest in a Spanish property then, you’ll want to apply for Spain’s golden visa. To be eligible, you must invest €500,000 before taxes in a property here. It won’t allow you to work, but it will allow you access to the entire Schengen area. This will also allow your spouse and any dependent children to move to Spain with you.

Another option for investors is the entrepreneur visa as described above, if you want to use your investment to set up a business in Spain.

Joining family members:

If you happen to have a family member who is an EU citizen and lives in Spain or a non-EU relative that has residency in Spain, then you have another option. This is called the family reunification visa. However, in order to be eligible, you need to be a spouse or a dependent child and your relative must have the means to financially support you. 



Enrolling on a course and applying for a student visa is one way for non-EU citizens of any age can live in Spain beyond the regular length of a tourist stay. 

You will have to apply for a short-term or long-term student visa, depending on the length of their course. A student advantages can several advantages such as being able to work part-time or bringing over family members. 

READ MORE: What are the pros and cons of Spain’s student visa?