Key Facts about Spain’s Non-Lucrative Visa 2021
Here’s a quick overview of the non-lucrative visa Spain (NLV). We’ll look at the requirements, application process, fees, and more in detail in the article below.
- The residence visa is open to all non-EU, EEA, or Swiss citizens.
- You cannot apply for the non-lucrative visa in Spain, only in your home country.
- Each embassy and consulate interprets the requirements slightly differently.
- The Spanish National Immigration Service issues the NLV for two years.
- After the initial two years, you can renew the NLV for 2 x two-year extensions.
- You can register dependent family members on your application.
- You cannot work in Spain on a non-lucrative visa, but you can transfer to a work permit after one year. The legislation does not explicitly exclude remote work.
- You must reside in Spain for at least 183 days per year, and this may make you resident for tax purposes.
- You’ll need to prove you can financially support everyone included on the application. The legislated minimum is 400% of the IPREM, or €27,115 for the primary applicant. You’ll need extra for family members.
- The NLV is the most popular Spain retirement visa.
- You must obtain private health insurance for everyone on the NLV application.
- Using a quality Spanish Immigration lawyer will improve your chances of being accepted and save you lots of time and effort. You can book a consultation with our expert NLV partner here.
Now, let’s explore these in more detail.
The information in this article was verified by our expert Spanish immigration law partner in July 2021.
- Key Facts about Spain’s Non-Lucrative Visa 2021
- What does non-lucrative mean?
- What are the advantages of a non-lucrative visa?
- What doesn’t the non-lucrative visa allow?
- Who can apply for a Spanish non-lucrative visa?
- Spain Retirement Visa
- Non-lucrative visa Spain requirements in 2021
- Application process for the non-lucrative visa
- How much does the non-lucrative visa cost?
- How long does the non-lucrative visa application take to process?
- How long do you have to get to Spain after the visa is granted?
- What is the renewal process for the non-lucrative visa in Spain?
- Remote work on the non-lucrative visa
- Freelancers, digital nomads, and contractors
- Non-Lucrative Visa for UK citizens after BREXIT
- Can I transfer my Spain non-lucrative visa for another visa or permit?
- Tax implications of the non-lucrative visa
- NLV vs the Spain Golden Visa
- The easy way to get your Spain non-lucrative visa.
What does non-lucrative mean?
Non-lucrative means that you can support yourself without earning an income in Spain. For this, you need to show sufficient savings in a bank account. Alternatively, you must be able to show guaranteed income, like a trust fund disbursement or pension. Another path is income from investments like dividends, rental income from an investment property, or interest earned.
You cannot carry out economic or professional activity in Spain. In short, you can live here as long as you are not a burden to the Spanish people or taking jobs from locals. In Spanish, the visa is called “residencia no lucrativa España.”
The Spanish non-lucrative visa is classified as an income visa. To see other options for this type of visa, please see our detailed article.
What are the advantages of a non-lucrative visa?
- There is no investment in the Spanish economy required for this visa.
- The visa is issued for two years and is available to be renewed for 2 x 2-year periods. This means it can meet the 5-year threshold for permanent residency.
- It can be 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.
- The residency allows travel to any of the 26 SCHENGEN member nations without a visa.
- You can convert the non-lucrative visa to one of Spain’s Work Permits after the first year.
- Immediate family members can be included on your visa. Your dependents can attend school or study while on the visa.
- You can study in Spain while on a non-lucrative visa. This includes paid internships.
- You can make investments. These investments include shares in a business, stocks, and funds in Spain.
- It makes an effective Spain retirement visa.
- If you have all your documentation in place and meet the requirements, the visa is almost always approved. In this way, it is an easy visa to get for US citizens and other nationalities.
What doesn’t the non-lucrative visa allow?
There are four main restrictions or conditions.
- You cannot do any work that generates an income working for a Spanish company or Spanish clients. Remote work was a gray area, but recent advice is that it can be a problem. Please see the section on Remote Work for the latest expert 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 private healthcare insurance.
- No benefits are claimable by you or your family members on the visa.
- You must spend more than 183 days of per year in Spain to renew the visa. This can make you a legal tax resident in Spain.
Who can apply for a Spanish non-lucrative visa?
This program is open to citizens of any non-EU nation. What’s more, your family can be a part of the application. Eligible family members include your spouse or civil partner and any dependent children. This is a very popular path for United Kingdom (UK) citizens to move to Spain post-BREXIT.
This visa is ideal for:
- Retirees who want to live in Spain.
- Anyone with a pension, annuity, or endowment.
- Those with healthy savings accounts.
- Beneficiaries of income-producing investments.
- Remote workers with an overseas employer or clients.
- Anyone who can afford to live in Spain without working!
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, you can retire to Spain on this visa and then 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.
Non-lucrative visa Spain requirements in 2021
There are four requirements for the application. First, you’ll need to show that you:
- Can financially support yourself and any family members without working.
- Have sufficient healthcare insurance.
- Are in good health.
- Don’t have a police record for any serious crime.
We’ll cover each requirement in detail.
2021 Financial requirements for the non-lucrative visa
You need to show that you have sufficient funds to cover yourself and your dependents for the duration of the visa.
To come up with the amount, the Spanish government uses the IPREM or Public Income Index. It is the figure the government uses to calculate many official thresholds.
The monthly IPREM for 2021 is €564.90, giving an IPREM of €6,778 for a year.
The minimum amount you need to show is 400% of the IPREM, so €27,115 in available savings or guaranteed income.
You’ll need an additional single annual IPREM of €6,778 for each family member on the application.
What is the amount of money I have to prove I have?
This table shows the minimum total financial requirement for a range of applications.
|Who is applying||Amount Required|
|Applicant + 1 dependent||€33,894|
|Applicant + 2 dependents||€40,672|
|Applicant + 3 dependents||€47,415|
Applying with the exact amount 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 Spain partner is an expert in NLV applications and has a track record of success for clients worldwide. Their experience and relationships with the Spanish immigration service are the best in the business. You can book a consultation with them here.
Applying using savings instead of income (or a combination).
The legislation for the NLV talks about income. And embassies and consulates are much more likely to approve applications that show income that exceeds the requirements.
In our Spanish Law partner’s experience, there are cases where embassies and consulates will approve applications that don’t meet the income requirements. However, in these cases you’ll need to show significant savings.
Please use these as a guideline only. If you don’t easily meet the income levels, we strongly suggest getting a good Spanish immigration lawyer to help with your application.
Applications with these combinations of income and savings (for a single applicant) may be approved:
- Some regular qualifying income and at least €30,000 of savings in your name.
- No income but savings of at least €60,000 in your name.
Generally, the 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.
Recent experience is that UK citizens applying in places like London and Manchester may get more flexibility, especially if they own property in Spain.
Health Insurance requirements for the visa application
You and any dependents on the application must be covered in the case of any health requirements.
The health insurance policy must be:
- A private healthcare policy.
- Written by a Spanish insurance company.
- Full coverage in all of Spain.
- Free of co-payments.
- For the full term of the visa.
For more information on Expat health insurance, please see our detailed article.
You’ll need a medical certificate that is less than 90 days old. It should say that you are in good physical and mental health. You must also be free from any contagious diseases.
This document must be translated into Spanish.
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. Again, the certificate must be less than 90 days old.
The report should show that you do not have a criminal record of any convictions that would prevent the visa from being issued.
This document must be translated into Spanish and must be certified with the Hague Apostille process.
Application process for the non-lucrative visa
There are two parts to the process, one in your home country and another in Spain.
Home country application process
The first thing to note is that your application must be submitted in your home country at the nearest Spanish Consulate or Embassy.
We strongly suggest using an experienced Spanish Immigration lawyer to submit your application.
The documentation, translation, and certification requirements are specific and unbending. Get any of them slightly wrong, and your application will be rejected. Importantly, if your application is rejected, your application fees will not be refunded. You will lose what you have paid.
Also, be aware, the application process can vary slightly for each consulate or embassy. An excellent Spanish immigration lawyer will help to ensure that your application succeeds the first time around.
Standard documents for all non-lucrative visa Spain applications also include:
- Your passport and certified copies of each page.
- Two copies of the completed application form
- EX-01 – Formulario
- Tasas Extranjeria – Modelo impreso 790
- Your visa fees (see below for full details of the visa fees.)
On arrival in Spain
When you enter Spain, you’ll need to apply for a residence card within 30 days of arrival. You’ll receive a TIE, the name for your foreigner’s identity card.
How much does the non-lucrative visa cost?
Visa fees for the non-lucrative visa vary by country of the applicant due to reciprocity treaties. The fees must be paid in the local currency, usually by bank order. Here are some standard country fees in Euros for comparison.
- USA – €123
- Canada – €507
- Most others – €80
How long does the non-lucrative visa application take to process?
Application processing times will vary depending on where you apply. Most applications are processed between 2 and 5 weeks, but in some countries can take up to 3 months. Applications in the UK and USA can vary depending on with consulate you use to apply. Applying with all your documentation in perfect order 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 get to 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 visa in Spain?
The non-lucrative visa is renewable for two additional two-year periods.
The renewal process will follow a similar process to the application, with a couple of key differences.
- You must have lived more than 183 days in Spain in the each year of the visa. This requirement can have tax implications.
- You can apply in Spain.
- The financial requirement is 800% of the IPREM (to cover the full two years).
- If you have kids of school-going age, you’ll need to show they attended school.
Remote work on the non-lucrative visa
There is a difference between your application and the reality of living in Spain on a NLV. There is no legal restriction on working remotely while you are in Spain on a non-lucrative visa. However, it is not a simple as that as you need a successful application first!
Remote Work: UPDATE JULY 2021
Our partner has recently advised us that embassies in San Francisco and London are rejecting applications that show remote work. The assumption is that other embassies and consulates may follow this example. Our partner has queried this ruling with the Spanish Immigration service and is awaiting a response.
Remember, you submit your initial visa application to your nearest embassy or consulate. And, different consulates treat remote work in different ways. There is no provision for remote work in the legislation, but it does fit the intent of not being a burden on the state.
- Our present advice is that you should not include remote work on your application. However, your nearest consult assesses your NLV application, and they don’t all agree on one set of 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. from pensions, investments, etc.). And, some consulates may ask you to declare that you will not work remotely.
- Some embassies and consulates are checking bank statements for evidence of a paid salary. If there is historical evidence that you have a salary you have a problem. The consulate may insist on a letter form your employer stating that they have terminated your employment.
- Once you have been granted a non-lucrative residence permit and live in Spain, there is no legal restriction on remote work for non-Spanish companies. It does not matter which embassy or consulate processed your initial visa application.
- If you are living in Spain on a non-lucrative residence permit, you will normally be resident in Spain for taxation. So, if you declare remote work income in your Spanish tax return, it won’t stop the Spanish immigration department from renewing your NLV. This is true regardless of where the visa was first issued.
To guarantee success, you should look to one of the standard ways of showing income for the non-lucrative visa application.
If you are looking to work remotely, we strongly suggest speaking to our partner. They will ensure your application has the best possible chance of success. Click here to book a consultation today.
Other options for remote workers in Spain
For those who need to work remotely form Spain there is one other option. There is a Spain Self-Employed Work Permit. Our partner is confident that in certain circumstances this could be a reasonable option. You’ll need to be very carful in how you frame to work and how you manage the application, but it is a possible pathway. Our partner will be happy to help you to ensure your best chance of success.
Portugal’s D7 Passive Income visa is another great option for remote workers. It has no restrictions on remote work.
Freelancers, digital nomads, and contractors
You can’t legally work on this visa while in Spain if your clients are in Spain. But, like remote work above, if all your clients are outside Spain, you may be fine with your application. If you are in this category it is best to seek advice on your specific circumstances.
If your business can be done from Spain, then the self-employed Spain work permit (autonomo) may be a better fit.
Again, many freelancers and digital nomads who can show an income other than their location-independent business use this visa.
Non-Lucrative Visa for UK citizens after BREXIT
UK citizens who were officially resident in Spain before 31st December 2020 can remain in Spain. The Withdrawal Agreement sets out your right to remain and the conditions. You’ll need proof of your residence from before BREXIT, and you should apply for your TIE card.
Anyone who was not legally resident in Spain from 1st January 2021 will be covered under the Legal Regime for Foreigners. This means you’ll need a visa or residence permit.
British citizens must now follow the application process like any other non-EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen. This means that British citizens must apply at the nearest Spanish embassy or consulate in the UK.
The rest of the NLV information in this article is applicable to UK citizens.
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 from a NLV to another visa or work permit. However, you can only transfer after the first year. This includes transferring to one of Spain’s ten available work permits. The employment can be either as an employee of a Spanish company or as a self-employed individual.
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 the NLV. You’ll need to complete a new immigration application.
Tax implications of the non-lucrative visa
Please note – this advice is general in nature and is not specific to your circumstances.
To meet the renewal criteria, you must live in Spain for 183 days per year or just over six months. If you live in Spain for more than six months of a year, you could be liable for registration as a Spanish tax resident.
This classification means that all your global income may be liable to Spanish taxation rates, payable in Spain. Be aware, different countries have tax treaties with Spain, avoiding double taxation, but it is worth investigating the implications of this ruling.
NLV vs the Spain Golden Visa
For anyone looking to buy a house or invest in Spain, the Golden Visa may offer some key advantages. The main differences are:
- You can work in Spain (self-employed or for a company) on the Golden Visa.
- 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 be a Spanish tax resident.
- The application process and requirements are simple and clear.
- You don’t have to visit Spain while applying, a designated layer can do it all for you.
- You can apply while living in Spain.
Please see our detailed article to see if the Golden Visa is the right one 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. If you have the time, patience, and are confident you can get everything 100% correct the first time, then there is no legal impediment.
What will a good Spanish Immigration lawyer do for your NLV application?
- Provide a qualified Spanish Immigration lawyer to listen to your needs.
- Let you know if this is the right visa for you (and be honest if it is not).
- List and explain the documents that you will need and any translations that are required.
- Fill in the forms for you in Spanish.
- Draft a motivation letter that will be accepted.
- Review all of your documents and the application to ensure first-time success.
- Organize the translations of documents into Spanish.
And what will a bad lawyer do?
- Offer a “free consultation” that is a quick call with a non-lawyer to hook you in.
- Push visas that don’t suit your needs.
- Make you do all the administration and paperwork yourself.
- Submit applications that get rejected but still claim fees.
Why use the WCIL Trusted Partner?
We chose our Spanish immigration partner because they deliver outstanding value and service. In fact, we’re so sure of their service that we offer a 100% money-back guarantee for the cost of your initial consultation. If you are unhappy for any reason, at any time, we’ll refund you, no questions asked.
“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
- We guarantee you’ll have a clear and realistic immigration plan after your first consultation.
- You’ll receive a clear and binding quote for the work you agree with our lawyer, no ugly surprises.
- The €50 initial consultation fee is discounted from future costs if you engage our partner to help you move to Spain. If you use our lawyer, the first consultation is effectively free.
- Your initial consultation has no obligation or risk. You decide how you want to proceed.
- Why do we charge for the first consultation? Our qualified lawyers give targeted, actionable advice that is tailored to you. No copy/paste solutions and no wasting your time.
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 the right appointments with local authorities.
- Completing all relevant documentation and translations.
- Sort out day-to-day administration. This can include setting up bank accounts, insurances, utilities, and more.
Come and join us in Spain, the country of sunshine, vino, and the Mediterranean lifestyle!
Alastair Johnson is the Head of Content for Where Can I Live. He’s lived in five countries and travelled to many more and is a citizen of South Africa and Australia. He currently lives in Spain as a permanent resident. With personal experience of immigration law and lawyers plus three years of research and analysis for WCIL, Alastair is a recognized expert on global immigration opportunities and legal migration.