The Spanish non-lucrative visa is a popular residence visa option for non-EU citizens looking to live in Spain. However, the non-lucrative visa doesn’t allow you to work; to qualify, you must show that you can financially support yourself. This article will cover the non-lucrative visa financial requirements for 2023 + how to apply successfully.
The information in this article was verified by our expert Spanish immigration lawyer partner in December 2022.
What is the Spanish non-lucrative visa?
- The NLV provides long-term residency status in Spain to non-EU / EEA / Swiss citizens.
- It is a Passive Income Visa – you must show you can support yourself during your stay.
- The visa gives you and your family the right to live and study in Spain.
- It is an excellent option for anyone looking to retire to Spain.
- It is a pathway to Permanent residency (PR) in Spain, Spanish citizenship, and an EU passport.
- In Spanish, the visa is called “residencia no lucrativa España.”
Who can apply for a Spanish non-lucrative visa?
This program is open to citizens of any non-EU/EEA/Swiss nation and their direct families. Eligible family members include your spouse or civil partner and any dependent children.
- People with a pension, annuity, or endowment.
- Those with enough savings to live on.
- Beneficiaries of income-producing investments.
- Retirees who want to live in Spain.
Spain’s non-lucrative visa requirements
There are four requirements for a successful application. You’ll need to:
- Show that you can support yourself and any family members without working.
- Obtain qualifying health insurance.
- Prove you are in good health.
- Have a police record free of any serious crimes.
NEW: 2023 financial requirements for the Spain non-lucrative visa
The financial requirement uses IPREM (an index reference figure used in many official calculations.) The Spanish Government has announced IPREM for 2023 of €600 per month (a 3.6% increase on the 2022 amount.)
This means that the Spanish non-lucrative visa financial requirement for 2023 are:
- Primary Applicant: 400% x annual IPREM= €28,800
- Each Dependent: 100% x annual IPREM = €7,200
This table shows the minimum 2023 financial requirements for an application using the 2023 IPREM.
|Who is applying||2023|
|Applicant + 1 dependent||€36,000|
|Applicant + 2 dependents||€43,200|
|Applicant + 3 dependents||€50,400|
Using the exact amount in your application does raise questions. For this reason, the suggestion is to have €35,000 as a minimum for an Applicant + 1 Dependent. If you include more dependents on your application, add a similar buffer for each one. Discuss this amount with your Spanish immigration lawyer; they’ll be able to give you advice specific to your case and application.
Our non-lucrative visa immigration lawyer’s advice – 2023 financial guide
Meeting the exact amount in your application may raise questions. For this reason, the suggestion is to have €30,000 as a minimum annual income for a single applicant. They suggest a similar buffer for each dependent. Discuss this amount with your Spanish immigration lawyer; they’ll be able to give you advice specific to your case and application.
Applying using savings instead of income (or a combination).
Our Spanish Immigration Lawyer partner has managed successful applications that don’t meet the income requirements. In these cases, they present evidence of significant savings instead.
Their experience is that applications with these combinations of income and savings (for a single applicant) can work:
- Some regular qualifying passive income and at least €30,000 of savings in a bank account in your name.
- At least €60,000 in a bank account in your name without passive income.
Generally, the savings can be in a bank account in your country. But, for some nationalities, including China and Russia, funds should be deposited into a local Spanish bank account.
Recent experience is that UK citizens applying in the London and Manchester consulates may get more flexibility, especially if they own property in Spain.
Health and medical insurance requirements
You need to pick one of two options for qualifying insurance.
- Spanish private health insurance. This cover is the best choice if you plan to live in Spain long-term.
- Expat health insurance. A good choice if you plan to live in more than one country in the future.
The private medical or health insurance policy for your non-lucrative residency visa application must:
- Be a valid private health insurance policy from an insurance company authorized by the Spanish government.
- Offer full health insurance coverage in all of Spain.
- Have no co-payments.
- Cover at least the entire term of the visa.
You’ll need a medical certificate proving physical and mental health. You must also be free from contagious diseases listed in the 2005 International Health Regulations.
The report should be issued by the Police Department where you have lived for the at least the last year. Consult with your Spain immigration lawyer, as the exact periods vary for different embassies.
If you have a criminal record, we recommend speaking to a quality Spanish Immigration Lawyer for advice before applying.
What are the advantages of the Spain non-lucrative visa?
- You don’t have to invest to qualify.
- You can renew the visa for 2 x 2-year periods. This means it meets the 5-year threshold for permanent residency.
- It is a pathway to Spanish citizenship and an EU passport.
- You only need to spend six months per year in Spain to be able to renew the visa.
- It allows visa-free travel to any of the 26 SCHENGEN member nations.
- You can convert the non-lucrative visa to one of Spain’s 10 Work Permits after one year.
- You can include family members on your visa. Your dependents can attend school or study while on the visa.
- You can study in Spain. This includes paid internships.
- You can make investments in the Spanish economy. Possible investments include shares in a business, stocks, property, and funds.
- You can buy a house in Spain, as an investment or as your home.
- It makes an effective Spain retirement visa.
- It is an excellent immigration option for US citizens, UK citizens, and other nationalities.
Spain’s non-lucrative visa restrictions
There are four main restrictions.
- You cannot do any work that generates an income working for a Spanish company or Spanish clients. Remote work is a grey area, so please see the section on Remote Work for the latest expert legal advice. However, paid internships are allowed as they are classified as education.
- You don’t have access to the public healthcare system. You must have sufficient Spanish Private Health insurance or Expat health insurance.
- Neither you nor your family members cannot claim benefits.
- You must spend more than 183 days per year in Spain to renew the visa. This can make you a legal tax resident in Spain.
Spain retirement visa
Spain does not have a specific retirement visa. But the NLV fits the bill perfectly.
As long as you meet the requirements and have the financial means required, you can retire to Spain on this visa. If you want, you can transition to permanent residency after five years.
As a retiree in Spain, you’ll not be working. And you will be able to show pensions and investments as evidence of your financial security for your retirement.
The non-lucrative visa application process
There are two parts to the process, one in your country of origin and another in Spain.
Part 1: Home country application process
The first thing to note is that you must apply in your home country at the nearest Spanish Consulate or Embassy.
You’ll need to translate most documents into Spanish and have some certified with the Hague Apostille process.
An experienced Spanish Immigration lawyer will help with documentation, translation, and certification requirements. Importantly, your application fees will not be refunded if your application is rejected.
Standard required documents for all non-lucrative residence visa applications also include:
Part 2: On arrival in Spain
You’ll need to apply for a residence card within 30 days of arriving in Spain. There is no specific non-lucrative residence permit; you’ll receive a TIE, the name of your foreigner’s identity card.
How much does the non-lucrative visa cost?
Visa fees for the non-lucrative visa vary depending on where you apply (due to reciprocity treaties.) You pay fees in local currency, usually by bank order.
- USA – €123
- Canada – €507
- Most others – €80
How long does the non-lucrative visa application take to process?
Application processing times vary depending on where you apply. Most applications are processed between 2 and 5 weeks, but in some countries, it can take up to 3 months. Applications in the UK and USA can vary depending on the consulate where you apply. Ensuring all documentation is in perfect order before you submit it will speed up the processing time.
Once the visa is granted, you have four weeks to collect your document, or the visa can be canceled.
How long do you have to enter Spain after the visa is granted?
You have 90 days to arrive in Spain after your local consulate or embassy issues your visa.
What is the renewal process for the non-lucrative residence visa in Spain?
You can renew your non-lucrative residence visa for two additional two-year periods. This gives you a total of five years of residence.
- Initial non-Lucrative Visa > 1 year
- Renewal 1 > 2 years
- Renewal 2 > 2 Years
The renewal process is similar to the application, with three crucial differences.
- You must have lived more than 183 days in Spain for each year of the visa.
- You can apply for the renewal in Spain.
- If you have kids of school-going age, you’ll need to show they attended school.
After five years of living in Spain, you are eligible for Spanish permanent residency (PR).
Remote work on the non-lucrative residence visa in Spain
Remote Work: Advice from our expert Spain immigration lawyer
Our partner has recently advised us that embassies in San Francisco and London are rejecting applications that include remote work. Other embassies and consulates have followed this example.
To avoid rejection, only use passive income or savings in your application.
- Our present advice is that you should exclude remote work from your application. However, your nearest consult assesses your NLV application, and consulates sometimes have differing interpretations of the rules. Some consulates may still accept income from remote work for non-Spanish companies as part of the income to qualify for the NLV. However, most consulates insist that all income is passive (i.e., pensions, investments, etc.). And some consulates may ask you to declare that you will not work remotely.
- Some embassies and consulates check bank statements for evidence of a paid salary. If there is evidence that you are paid a salary, the consulate may want proof that your employer has terminated your employment.
However, once you have been granted a non-lucrative residence permit, there is no legal restriction on remote work for non-Spanish companies.
We strongly suggest speaking to our partner if you plan to work remotely. They will ensure your application has the best possible chance of success.
Other immigration options for remote workers in Spain
There is one other option for those who want to work remotely from Spain. There is a Spain Self-Employed Work Permit. Our partner is confident that this is a reasonable option in certain circumstances.
You’ll need to be very careful in how you frame the work and manage the application to succeed.
We’ll have details of the new Spanish Digital Nomad visa as soon as it is released. The draft is perfect for remote workers in Spain.
Freelancers, digital nomads, and contractors
There is exciting news: Spain is launching a new Digital Nomad Visa in 2023. It looks perfect for freelancers, digital nomads, and long-term contractors.
Until then, if you are looking at the NLV, you can’t legally work if your clients are in Spain. But, like the remote work above, if all your clients are outside Spain, you may be OK with your application. If you are in this category, seeking advice on your specific circumstances is recommended.
If you can run your business from Spain, then the self-employed Spain work permit (autonomo) may be a better fit.
Spain non-lucrative visa for UK citizens after BREXIT
Since 1st January 2021, UK Citizens have fallen under the Legal Regime for Foreigners. This ruling means you’ll need a visa or residence permit to live in Spain.
British citizens must now follow the NLV application process like any non-EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen. This means British citizens must apply at the nearest Spanish embassy or Spanish Consulate in the UK.
For more information, please see our guide for UK citizens moving to Spain after BREXIT.
Can I transfer my Spain non-lucrative visa for another visa or permit?
You can transfer to another visa or work permit after the first year. This includes transferring to one of Spain’s ten available work permits.
If the new visa or permit requires you to apply in your home country, you must return home and apply. An example of this is Spain’s student visa.
You cannot transfer from another visa or permit to a non-lucrative visa.
Tax implications of the Spanish non-lucrative visa
Please note that this is general advice and is not specific to your circumstances.
To meet the renewal criteria, you must live in Spain for 183 days per year. If you live in Spain for more than six months a year, you may become a Spanish tax resident.
Your worldwide income may be liable for Spanish tax. Be aware that most countries have tax treaties with Spain, avoiding double taxation.
You can book a consultation with our expert Spanish Tax Partner to start effective tax planning.
Spain non-lucrative visa vs. Spanish golden visa
The Spain Golden Visa may offer some advantages for anyone looking to buy a house or invest in Spain.
- You can work in Spain (self-employed or for a company).
- There is no minimum stay requirement, so you do not have to live in Spain. You only need to visit Spain once per year.
- You do not have to become a Spanish tax resident.
- You don’t have to visit Spain while applying; a designated lawyer can do everything for you. Or, you can apply while living in Spain.
Please see our detailed article to see if the Spain Golden Visa is right for you and your family.
The easy way to get your Spain non-lucrative visa
Can you do it yourself?
Yes, you can manage the application yourself, but it increases the risk of delayed or rejected applications.
A good Spanish Immigration Lawyer will make the process simple
- They understand Spanish Immigration Law and are experts in NLV applications.
- Assess if this is the correct visa for you (and be honest if it is not).
- List and explain all the documents you need and any translations that are required.
- Fill in the forms for you in Spanish.
- Draft a motivation letter the consulate will accept.
- Review all documents and the application to ensure first-time success.
- Organize the translations of required documents into Spanish.
“Thanks to Where Can I Live my consultation went very well. The lawyer was very pleasant and helpful. I am just starting the process of a non-lucrative visa for Spain, and I had a lot of questions which he answered quite clearly for me. I was also pleased to see how much they will help me and the low cost of their services.”
Victoria M. March 2021
And, once you have your visa, our partners can help you to settle in easily. They can help with getting your residence card and much more.
- Securing suitable appointments with local Spanish authorities.
- Completing all relevant documentation and translations.
- Sort out day-to-day administration. This includes setting up a bank account, insurance, utilities, etc.
If you would like help from our trusted Spain Immigration lawyers, please click here to book a consultation.
Non-lucrative visa Spain FAQ from Where Can I Live