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READER QUESTIONS

Reader question: How do I officially give up my Spanish residency?

If you're leaving Spain for good or for a long period of time, then you will need to make sure that you deregister before you leave, essentially giving up or renouncing your Spanish residency. Here's how to do it.

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Renouncing Spanish residency. Photo: Rudy and Peter Skitterians / Pixabay

There are several reasons you will want to make sure you renounce your Spanish residency when you leave, rather than just simply leaving.

The most common one is so that you can prove that you’re no longer resident in Spain for tax purposes. 

How do I go about renouncing my residency? 

In order to renounce your residency, you will need to go back to the National Police Station or Oficina de Extranjería where you first originally registered or received your residency documents. Remember that in some regions or cities, you will need to make a ‘cita previa‘ or prior appointment in order to visit, and sometimes this can take several months to get.

You will need to take your residency documents such as your green residency card featuring your NIE or your TIE along with your passport.

If you are an EU citizen and have a green residency document, you will need to complete the modelo EX-18 or EX-18 form and check the box that says ‘Baja por cese’. The form then gives you space to state the reason why you are leaving.

In the case of non-EU citizens, you only have to renounce your residency if you have permanent residency or you’re leaving before the date that your residency or visa will expire. In this case, you should take the above documents to the Oficina de Extranjería, where they will give you the necessary forms to complete.

They will ensure that you don’t have any outstanding taxes, fees or fines to pay before cancelling your residency. 

When you give up your residency, you will be issued with a stamped document detailing the date when you renounced your residency and the reason for it. This is proof that you are no longer resident in Spain, should you ever need to show it to anyone.

The authorities will keep and destroy your residency documents so that they are no longer in your possession and will no longer be valid. 

Remember, if you are a citizen of a non-EU country such as the UK or the US, you cannot simply undo this process if you change your mind. It will mean starting from scratch and applying for your visa all over again, if you’re eligible. 

READ ALSO – Q&A: Everything you need to know about Spanish residency for Brits post-Brexit

Are there any other places I have to de-register from?

Although you have officially renounced your residency after going to the National Police Station or Oficina de Extranjería, there are still a few other things you need to do.

The first is to go to your Ayuntamiento or Town Hall and inform them that you want to de-register from the padrón, this will ensure that you will no longer be listed as living at your address.

READ ALSO – Empadronamiento in Spain: What is it and how do I apply?

You must also remember to inform your bank of your plans to move. You can either decide to close your account or change your account from a resident one to a non-resident one, if you will still have financial obligations in the country. Showing them the certificate you received at the National Police Station or Oficina de Extranjería should suffice in being able to change your account. 

This step is important because if you simply just withdraw your money and leave, you may still incur charges if it’s not closed properly.

READ ALSO:

What are my tax obligations after leaving Spain?

If you renounce your Spanish residency and move to another country, it’s most likely that you will not be a tax resident in Spain anymore. However, you may still need to present one more tax return in the year after you leave as taxes are presented retrospectively. 

If you still own a property in Spain, you will need to complete a non-resident tax declaration form every year. You will also need to pay tax on earnings from any rent you receive. 

READ ALSO: How to deregister as self-employed in Spain

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For members

VISAS

What financial proof can I show for Spain’s non-lucrative visa?

A non-lucrative visa is one of the residency options for non-EU nationals who want to move to Spain, providing they have enough financial means. But what exactly counts as financial proof? Can you show evidence of rental income or pensions or does it have to be money in the bank?

What financial proof can I show for Spain's non-lucrative 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 and is valid for one year.

The visa, which is also referred to as the non-working residence visa at some consulates, 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.

For 2022, applicants need to prove that they have 400 percent of the annual IPREM (Indicador Público de Renta de Efectos Múltiples). In 2022 the annual IPREM, is €6,948.24, so four times this amount is a total of €27,792.96.

For every family member included in the residency application, it’s an extra 100 percent of the IPREM, which is an extra €6,948 for the year.

This means that a couple will need to prove savings or passive income of €34,741.20.

READ MORE:

In recent years, many applicants have been confused about the exact nature of the non-lucrative visa, using it to live in Spain, but to continue working remotely for companies abroad. This in fact isn’t allowed as you are still earning money and working in Spain, even though it’s for a foreign company. Many consulates are cracking down on this, meticulously checking that you’re not still receiving funds for working.

But what exactly counts as proof of income and what can you show to the consulate to show how much you have?

This is where it starts to get tricky because, in fact, different Spanish consulates around the world define savings and assets slightly differently and are asking for different methods of proof.

Spanish Consulate in London

The Spanish Consulate in London states that applicants for the non-lucrative visa need to have:

“Financial means required to cover the living expenses and, where appropriate, those of their family members, for one year…The availability of sufficient financial means will be evidenced by the submission of original and stamped documents that verify the perception of a periodic and sufficient income or the holding of an estate that guarantees the perception of that income. If the financial means come from shares or participations in Spanish companies, mixed or foreign companies, based in Spain, applicants shall prove, by certification thereof, that they don’t carry out any work activity in such companies and will submit an affidavit to that effect”.

This means that the consulate will accept passive income as well as savings, such as rent from a property or dividends from a company, as long as you’re not actually working for that company. Proof could include documents such as bank statements and contracts.

Spanish Consulate in New York, US

The Spanish Consulate in New York states:

“The applicant must submit the originals and a copy of the documents proving that they have sufficient financial means to cover the expenses of residing in Spain for the initial year of the residence permit, or accrediting that they have a regular source of income, for themselves and, where applicable, for the family members accompanying them… Foreign documents must be legalised or apostilled and, where applicable, must be submitted together with an official translation into Spanish.”

While the wording is slightly different from the Spanish Consulate in London, they also state that they will accept proof of a regular source of income, so again in theory they will accept income from passive sources such as rental income.

Spanish Consulate in Sydney, Australia

The Spanish Consulate in Sydney, Australia uses the same wording as the consulate in New York.

Spanish Consulate in Toronto, Canada

The Spanish Consulate in Toronto, Canada is far more specific about what type of proof and types of passive income it will and won’t accept. It states that applicants need:

“Three most recent bank statements. Bank statements from other countries must be legalised. Investments will be considered a supporting document. You must have the total quantity when you apply for the visa. The applicant must submit the originals and a copy of the documents proving that they have sufficient financial means to cover the expenses of residing in Spain for the initial year of the residence permit, or accrediting that they have a regular source of income, for themselves and, where applicable, for the family members accompanying them.”

What the experts say

Immigration lawyers at the international relocation company Where Can I Live suggest that you should prove that you have slightly more than the required amount because “Applying with the exact amount does raise questions”.

For example, if the required amount for you and your partner is €34,741, they suggest that you actually prove that you have €35,000 instead, to act as a financial buffer. They also suggest you have a financial buffer for each family member on your application, showing you have more than the required amount each time. 

They say that “savings can be in a bank account in your home country. But, for some nationalities, including China and Russia, the funds should be deposited into a local Spanish bank account”.

Immigration lawyers at Balcells Group based in Barcelona say: “Many times the different Spanish consulates request a bank certificate of liquid money in your account. The exact date of the certificate must be as close as possible to the application day. Bear in mind that it will depend on the consulate, but the government will usually look at bank statements from the last six months”.

Legal experts at Immigration Spain say that there are two ways of proving income: “Either proving that you have sufficient means for the whole period beforehand (for example in a bank account) or by accrediting the existence of any type of source that periodically generates income, such as a pension or the rent of a house you own”.

They suggest that the proof can be in the form of “Bank statements, property deeds, certified checks or credit cards, as long as they are accompanied by a bank certification that accredits the amount available as credit on the card”.

What the applicants say

In reality, applications can always play out a little differently, so we had a look at what type of proof real people were asked for when they applied for Spain’s non-lucrative visa. These experiences were published on the Spanish NVL Facebook group.

One person who applied through the San Francisco consulate said: “As long as you show the required amount over three months’ worth of statements, you can use your savings account. I used my combined checking and savings account + Roth IRA investment”.

Another person applying through the Manchester Consulate in the UK said: “We presented six months of bank statements. Translation of bank statements was not required – they do spend some time going through them looking at funds coming into the accounts and questioning where from. They are looking for evidence that you are still working which would be an automatic no no. As long as you have proof of funds then that is ok, that’s all they are interested in…. There is no request for any information about mortgages/credit card debt at your appointment so if you have those then just don’t refer to it in any of your paperwork. On the bank statements, they have to be stamped by the bank so a downloaded statement from online banking could get refused. We use Barclays and you can get a stamped print from a machine in the branch which was accepted”.

Another applicant in Chicago in the US said they needed: “Proof of adequate liquid financial resources and income: Bank statements from the last three months from all your bank accounts; social security benefits, private or public retirement benefit other (Army Veteran, Teachers’ unions, etc); proof of sufficient periodic income, including but not limited to: investments, annuities, sabbaticals and any other source of income, providing sufficient funds to live in Spain without working…. If you are not officially retired you cannot present your retirement plan (IRA, 401-K) as proof. You also need the last three years of complete TAX IRS returns”.

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