Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV) - Guide
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 working. It is one of the easiest routes to permanent residency in Spain. It is available to people who live in Spain who do not work and those who work remotely in another country, so it is popular with digital nomads. You can also use it to bring your family with you.
The Spanish authorities are currently developing a new remote working visa for startup businesses. We will update our guides as soon as the details are published.
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 12 months during the first 5 years of residency. 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 that you are financially stable and have sufficient means to sustain yourself and your family members/dependants. For a single applicant, this amount is approximately €28.000 (2021)
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 private health insurance
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 medical certificate service which gives you a private online video consultation (15-20 minutes) with 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
It is vital that you take out the correct type of private health insurance when applying for a non-lucrative visa. The Spanish authorities will check that your private health insurance offers at least equal cover to the Spanish Healthcare System, without any copayments, excess or exclusions.
There are many health insurance companies and policies to choose from, so make sure that you know what you are buying. Age in Spain partners with ASISA, which offers a new health insurance policy specifically for English-speakers who visit and live in Spain which meets the visa requirements. Contact our free service email@example.com for personalised information and assistance in selecting the policy that best meets your needs. Or, if you prefer, use this link for a direct quote. By using this link, you will also support Age in Spain’s vital work with older people in Spain without any additional cost to yourself if you purchase a policy. Click here for more information about what we offer.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
Can I work remotely in Spain for a company/business based in another country?
Yes. Whilst the non-lucrative visa does not allow you to work for a Spain-based company or business, this visa does not prevent you from working remotely for a company based in another country. However, the non-lucrative visa does not allow you to open your own business in Spain, work for a franchise of your company based in Spain or work remotely for a company based in Spain. Note that an employment contract is not accepted as sufficient economic means when applying for the non-lucrative visa, only evidence of your income and/or savings.
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.