The non-lucrative residence residency is a Spanish visa available to non-EU citizens who have sufficient economic means to stay in the country without engaging in any work or professional activity. It is one of the easiest routes to permanent residency in Spain, provided you meet the income/savings conditions. You can also use it to bring your family with you.
How does it work?
The non-lucrative visa enables you to legally live in Spain and apply for a 1 year residency permit, which you can extend for up to four more years so long as you continue to meet the residency requirements.
After living continuously in Spain for 5 years, on your third renewal you can request a permanent residency permit, which will be valid for 10 years and will grant you access to the Spanish State Healthcare system, travel discounts and other benefits available to Spanish nationals and permanent residents.
Bear in mind that in order to keep your residency rights, you won’t be able to leave the country for more than 6 months in any 1 year period, or a total of 10 months during the first 5 years of residency. (This rule has been successfully challenged in the Supreme Court (June 2023) so we are expecting a change in the law soon) Once you obtain permanent residency, this period will be increased to 12 consecutive months or a total of 6 years during the 10 year period of your residency card.
Essential requirements and documents you will need for a non-lucrative visa
You are a non-EU national
Evidence (usually in the form of bank statements) that you are financially stable and have sufficient means to sustain yourself and your family members/dependants. You will be required to show at least 400% IPREM for yourself, plus 100% IPREM for any extra family member you include in your application (28,000 euros plus 7,200 euros per dependent) (2023).
A recent criminal record certificate (issued less than 3 months prior to the application) from the countries you have lived in during the past 5 years, translated into Spanish by a sworn translator and legalised or apostilled
You have no medical condition that could pose a threat to public health
You have comprehensive health cover that is equal or superior to that provided by the Spanish public health service.
Proof that you are no longer working
The consulates in the UK now require evidence that you are no longer working. There is no definitive guide available as to what form this evidence must be in and what is considered acceptable may also differ between consulates. Therefore we offer the following only as a guide:
If you have recently finished working for an employer -
your P45. If the P45 is not available, then you can request a letter from your employer - on letter headed paper and signed.
If you were self-employed -
a letter from your accountant confirming that you have ceased trading and have advised HMRC. Or you can request a letter from HMRC stating that you have notified them that you have ceased trading.
If you have taken early retirement and not been working for some time -
a print out of your National Insurance record (available from the Government Gateway) showing that you have not made any National Insurance contributions.
If you are in receipt of a State Pension-
your annual letter showing your rate of pension for the following year (we understand that they do not require this letter to be translated) or your S1 form
If you are unable to provide any of the above documents the alternative is to make a sworn declaration in front of a notary, confirming that you are not working and then have this translated and apostilled. You will need to verify your identity to the Notary when you attend.
You also need to pay the visa fee, which varies according to the country you are applying from, and present a medical certificate that complies with the requirements set by the Spanish Consulate and Immigration Office (see section below) .
To check the full list of requirements and documents you need to present, please check the consular guide on the non-lucrative visa* (the English version starts on page 4, and the list of requirements and documents on page 5-6).
*This document is from the Spanish Consulate in London UK so if you are applying for the non-lucrative visa from a different country, some details might differ slightly. We advise checking with the particular consular authority in your region*.
Obtaining a medical certificate
You need a medical certificate which states that you do not “suffer any of the illnesses which may cause grave public health risks in accordance with the International Sanitary Regulations 2005”. The certificate should be issued no later than 3 months prior to the date of the application, along with your other documents. If issued by a doctor from your country, the certificate must be translated into Spanish by a sworn translator.
To save time and money, you can also use Age in Spain’s direct link to an English-speaking doctor in Spain, who can give you the required official Spanish medical certificate which meets the Spanish Government’s Health Regulations. This certificate is a Spanish document and so does not require legalisation or translation. For more information and to request an appointment, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sorting out your health insurance cover
It is vital that you put into place the correct type of health insurance cover when applying for a non-lucrative visa. The Spanish authorities will check that your health insurance offers at least equal cover to the Spanish Healthcare System, without any co-payments, excess or exclusions. If you are a UK national with a UK retirement pension, you can use your UK NHS cover, using an S1 form. Everyone one else needs to purchase private health insurance.
There are many health insurance companies and policies to choose from, so make sure that you know what you are buying. Age in Spain can help. Contact us to speak to a healthcare advisor, with extensive experience of the different systems and healthcare providers in Spain. The advisor can help if:
You want to have a one-to-one discussion about your healthcare options - public and private healthcare
You want to discuss your private health insurance options before getting a quote or at any point in the application process
You need a medical certificate to support a new VISA application
You are over 70 and looking for private medical insurance
You want access to English speaking healthcare services (not widely available in the state system)
You wish to use your S1 but you want private healthcare cover as a back up to Spanish state healthcare. As well as giving a wider choice it can be useful in the first few months of moving to Spain as there can be a delay in getting your Residency document (the TIE ) which you need before you can fully register with the Spanish state healthcare system
The advisor can arrange instant quotes and comparisons to suit your requirements, including the cover options if you are having trouble in finding a policy because of any pre-existing medical condition, your age, if you want an English speaking medical service or the option for international health cover when travelling.
If you decide to use a health insurance company with which we directly partner through our referral system, we will receive a small donation from the company to support our vital services - at no extra cost to you- if your policy is accepted. This will not affect the independence or quality of the help we give you. We will always be transparent with you to help you ensure you can make an informed decision about the policies in order to best meets your requirements .
Visa application process - How to get started
Start the process for your visa application at the Spanish consular office for your region and country. You will probably need to book an appointment by email before going in person to the office. Consult the Spanish Consulate website for your country to find the office you need.
Send an email to the consulate with the following information:
Subject line: the type of visa you are applying for (in this case, the non-lucrative visa).
In the body text:
Your personal details: full name, nationality, passport number and phone number.
Type of visa you are applying for (non-lucrative visa).
Reason for requesting the visa.
Desired date of the appointment. The consular office will confirm the date and time of your appointment taking into account your desired date.
How long does the process take?
Once you have attended the interview and submitted your documents the notification period can take up to 3 months, depending on how busy the consular office is.
Once approved, you will have 1 month after the notification to collect the visa in person. It is then valid for you to enter Spain within 3 months. If you enter Spain after the expiry date, you may be refused entry.
Requesting your residency card (TIE)
After receiving the visa, you have one month from the date of entry into Spain, in which to apply for the TIE - Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero - at the Immigration Office or Police Station. You will need to book an appointment at a police station to get your fingerprints taken and apply for your biometric residency card. Check here how to apply for your residency card.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have any translated versions of the forms required for the application?
Yes! We have an unofficial translation of the EX-01 form, required to apply for your visa. You can access it by clicking here. It is important to note, you should not complete this unofficial form for your application, but simply use it as a guide to complete an original copy of the EX-01.
What are the renewal requirements for the non-lucrative visa?
You can request a renewal of residency up to 60 days prior to the expiry date of your residency permit, or within 90 days of its expiry date. Renewing the non-lucrative visa gives you 2 more years of residency, so you need to show you have enough financial means to live in Spain for two years at the time of its renewal.
What if my visa request is rejected?
There are many reasons why a visa application might be rejected. We strongly recommend that you check the official website of the consulate from your region, to ensure that you have the most up to date and correct information before you start.
If you are rejected, there is a right of appeal against the decision. In this case it is advisable to take appropriate legal advice from a qualified lawyer with experience in immigration law.
What if I want to work in Spain (Spain-based)?
If you reside in Spain for at least a year as a non-lucrative resident, but due to your financial situation you cannot sustain yourself any longer, you can change your non-lucrative residency permit into a full residency and work permit. To do so you will need an employment pre-contract and the appropriate work qualification.
Can I travel to other EU countries with the non-lucrative visa?
Yes. With the non-lucrative visa you will be able to visit other EU countries for up to 3 months in every 6 month period, always respecting the entry requirements of each EU member state regarding travellers with long term visas (UE Nº 265/2010) and Covid safety measures.
Want to keep up to date with news and articles to help you live your life in Spain? Sign up here for our free quarterly newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox.
Before you go! We absolutely depend upon the vital support of people like you to ensure that our services and guides are freely available for everyone who needs help. Since the ending of our successful UK Government funded residency project earlier this year, we no longer get any government financial support. So from July 2022, we don’t have enough money to keep our Infoline and Casework support services running full time.
Can you help us?
Your regular donation of just €10 per month will enable us to provide a weekly friendship call to an isolated older person, every week of the year.
Your one off donation of €50 will enable us to make a home visit to a vulnerable person who is struggling to access vital services.
A regular donation of €100 per month will enable us to open our phone lines for longer, so we can continue to help make a difference every day of the week.
And remember, if you are a tax payer in Spain, you can claim up to 80% tax relief on your donations of up to 150€ in any tax year and 35% tax relief on amounts over that. So a 20€ donation could cost you only 4€ - or a donation of 100€ would cost you just 20€. We will send you a receipt so you can reclaim your tax when you submit your tax return.
The content displayed on this blog is the intellectual property of Age in Spain. You may not reuse, republish, or reprint such content without our written consent. All information posted is merely for educational and informational purposes. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Should you decide to act upon any information on this blog, you do so at your own risk. While the information on this blog has been verified to the best of our abilities, we cannot guarantee that there are no mistakes or errors. We reserve the right to change this policy at any given time, of which you will be promptly updated. If you want to make sure that you are up to date with the latest changes, we advise you to frequently visit our website disclaimer notice.
Age in Spain provides information about service providers for information only. This list is not exhaustive, and is subject to change at any time. None of the service providers are endorsed or recommended by Age in Spain. You should research whether a service provider will be suitable. Age in Spain does not accept any liability arising to any person for any loss or damage suffered through using these service providers or this information.