Here you will find a complete guide about one of the most requested and easy-to-get visas: the non-lucrative residence visa. If you are planning to move to Spain and not working in the country (at least for the first year), or to retire in the country, this will be your best option. In this article you will find all the documents, requirements and legal process step by step to get this residence permit.
What is the non-lucrative visa?
The non-lucrative residence residency is one of the different types of Spanish visas granted to non-EU citizens who have enough economic means to stay in the country without working. As that is also true for the applicant’s relatives, as you can also bring your family with you.
This permit will allow you to say in Spain for one year after entering the Spanish territory, as we are talking about an initial residence authorization.
Then, you will be able to renew it every 2 years (that is the length of the renewal), until you get the permanent residency (after 5 years in the country).
One of its main characteristics is that it does not allow you to carry out any type of economic or professional activity in Spain. In other words, you cannot work for any company operating in the country. It has a non-profit nature.
Nevertheless, you do not need to invest in the country to obtain a visa. This, apart from other of its few requirements, makes it an easy visa to acquire and process.
With the nonprofit visa, the only thing you have to worry about is having enough means to support yourself (and your family). If you can prove that you have sufficient funds and that your stay in the country will not cost the government anything, you will be able to get the residency. We will see exactly how later in this article.
For whom is it most ideal?
Even if it does not allow you to work, it is still one of the most sought-after visas. Who is the Spanish non-lucrative visa ideal for?
- All those who want to retire in Spain.
- Foreigners who have sufficient economic funds to support themselves in the country without the need to work.
- For all those individuals who want to stay during their first year in Spain without working (to visit and discover the country); but after one year they would like to continue with their professional activity. Thus, the non-profit visa is ideal in this sense because, as we will see later on, it will allow you to modify towards a work permit after your first year.
Which are the benefits that this residence permit offers?
Let’s now analyze which are the main advantages and upsides of the non lucrative residence permit in Spain:
Bring your family with you
Through a joint application, you will be able to get the residence for your spouse and children easily.
Unlike other procedures such as family reunification, which requires you to have lived in the country for one year, with the non-lucrative that is not necessary. You will be able to get them the visa at the same time you get yours.
All you have to do is prove that your financial means are also sufficient to cover them.
Get the long term residency, and then the nationality
We are talking about a temporary residence permit that lasts 1 year. After that, the first and second renewals last 2 years.
And at the time of applying for the third one, you will be able to get a long-term residence permit in Spain, with which you will be able to live in the country without renewing it for 5 years.
This will finally allow you to get Spanish citizenship; since every year you live in the country with this permit counts towards the total necessary for nationality.
If you are a Latin American citizen or from the Philipines, you will only need 2 years with the nonprofit visa to obtain citizenship.
Although you will not be able to work, you will be able to invest
Many of our clients ask us if it is possible to invest under the non-lucrative residency.
As they know that this visa does not authorize them to carry out professional activities; they think that investing is something they can’t do, either.
However, you can invest with this visa. That is to say, you can make any kind of investment (for example in company shares) and thus get an extra source of income.
Possibility of studying and doing paid internships
This visa is similar to the student visa in that it also allows you to enroll in an educational center and study.
But that’s not all. Because, as an internship is created for educational purposes, you can also internship in a company and be paid for it.
Possibility to work abroad
Even if you cannot work in Spain, you will be allowed to work with/in other countries.
In other words, this is an ideal visa for all those foreigners who wish to keep their business or activities in their country of origin (or in any other country other than Spain); but still living and residing regularly in the Spanish territory.
So, if you would like to start working remotely from Spain… this is your ideal option.
No need to invest to obtain this permit
In the same way as other permits such as the investor’s visa, which requires you to invest in real estate to get the residency, the non-lucrative residence visa is different. You don’t have to invest in the country to get it; you just have to prove that you have enough money to sustain your living expenses.
Travel with total freedom in Europe
Finally, another advantage is that it will allow you to travel through the Schengen territory without any problem and with total freedom.
There are several requirements you must meet in order to be eligible for the also called retirement visa. Let’s go study each of them:
Demonstrating you have enough money on your bank account
As we have mentioned before, this residence authorization does not allow you to work in the country. Nevertheless, ensuring that you will be able to have a living will be necessary, so the Government does not have the need to maintain you.
That is why having sufficient funds or economic means to sustain yourself in the country will be one of the main requirements.
But, how can you know that you really meet the minimum amount necessary?
In order to answer that question, we will use the IPREM, an indicator that defines the minimum amount of money an individual must earn on a yearly basis in order to be eligible for different subsides in the country.
The minimum amount of money you must have to get this residence permit
In the case of the non-lucrative visa, you must prove that you have 400% of the IPREM annually on your bank account. For this year 2020, the IPREM is 537,84€ for a month. As the measurement unit we are interested in is the year, our target will be 6.454,03€.
That is, the main applicant for this visa must demonstrate he or she has is 25.816,12€. Nevertheless, we suggest you have a bit more than that if you would like to have a successful application.
Take this number as a minimum reference point. Especially because depending on which consulate you apply in (for example in Washington or Moscow), the minimum amount is much higher. We, therefore, recommend that you to consult our lawyers to find out exactly how much you will have to prove according to your country of origin.
Also, bear in mind that the currency used must be the Euro or any other international currency that can be converted into the Euro.
Proof of income
How can you demonstrate you possess that amount of time?
The general Spanish immigration law states that you can use any kind of proof. Nevertheless, many times the different Spanish consulates request a bank certificate of liquid money on your account. The exact date of the certificate must be as close as possible to the application day.
Credit cards or property values can also be used here, as long as you also submit with them a document that certifies their validity from your bank.
Bear in mind that it will depend on the consulate, but the government will usually look at bank statements from the last six months.
In addition, the funds must be under the name or on behalf of the main applicant of the visa.
Must the money be in the same bank account?
The answer is no. You can have part of the money in a Spanish bank account and the other part in an American one, for example, and it will still be accepted.
Nonetheless, depending on your country of origin, the Spanish Immigration Office can request you to have the exact amount in a Spanish bank account. That something that happens if you are from China or Russia, for example.
Hence, our advice is to open a bank account as soon as possible (we can help you with that), and transfer the money there.
Required incomes and means to bring your family with you
As many other residence permits, the retirement or non-lucrative residency allows you to do a joint application. This means that you can also bring your spouse and children that are under the legal age (or over if you could demonstrate you are in charge of them) just by doing your application.
Then, if you would like to do the joint application in order to bring your relatives, the minimum amount of money you must demonstrate you have increases. For each member you are bringing with you, you must demonstrate an additional 100% of the IPREM, which refers to an extra 6.454,03€ annually.
Having private health insurance
Like any other residence authorization, you need an insurance policy with full coverage in Spain.
Nevertheless, we stumble upon a difference here. If in all the other cases the policy could be public or private, with the non-lucrative visa is not the same. Why? Because your insurance policy must be private. It’s another way to show that the state won’t have to take care of you financially.
But the conditions do not stop there:
- It must also be contracted with a Spanish company that just operates in the Spanish territory.
- The insurance policy contract must be, at least, one year long. That is the period you are requesting a permit for.
- All the specialties of the Spanish public healthcare system must be included in the contract; with no copayments.
We advise you to contact us so that we can recommend a valid health insurance policy adapted to your needs.
Application process: How to get the Spanish non lucrative visa
One of the main advantages of this permit is its simple application procedure.
The legal process is divided into two parts: the initial visa application in the country of origin, and obtaining the residence card once you enter Spain.
The application for this residence authorization must be done at your country of origin or there where you have your legal residency. Entering in Spain as a tourist won’t allow you to manage the procedure. You must start from outside the country.
First of all, you will have to send all relevant documents to the Spanish Consulate (you will find which documents in the following section).
The government delegation in charge of analyzing all the files will have 1 month to submit their results. In the case of not obtaining one within this period, the request will be rejected due to “administrative silence”.
Once you get a favorable answer, the visa will be stamped in your passport, and you will be able to move on to the next step: travel to Spain.
Obtaining the TIE or foreigner’s identity card
Once you have your visa you will be allowed to enter Spain freely. And you must do so within a maximum of 3 months.
In this case, it won’t be necessary to obtain the NIE number once in Spain. This identification comes stamped on your visa.
However, once in Spain, the first thing to will be to register in the municipality where you will be living, and within a maximum period of 1 month, you go to a police station, register your fingerprints, and receive the TIE or foreigner’s identity card.
That’s how easy it is. You will be able to enter the country and receive your residence permit within 40 days. Without having to do anything else.
On the exact day that you are given the visa in your passport, you will already be a legal resident in the country, so it will start counting towards obtaining citizenship.
Which documents should I submit?
Which are the exact documents you will need in order to get the non-lucrative residency visa? The requirements for this permit are the following:
- National visa form.
- Form Ex-01.
- Insurance. As we mentioned, this insurance needs to be from a Spanish Company and not an international one; and private
- Bank certificate, demonstrating the possession of over €25,000 per year.
- Photos, 3×4 cm with white background.
- Original Passport.
- A medical certificate, demonstrating that you do not suffer from any of the recognized diseases that would prevent your entry into the country.
- Criminal records, properly translated and legalized. More here on how to get this certificate.
Main causes of denial and what to do
It is not uncommon to find cases in which the non lucrative visa application is denied. Among the main causes, we find the lack of sufficient economic means; since it is something that varies according to each consulate, and in some cases, they can request up to double what is legally established.
However, failure to comply with any of the requirements explained in this article will be a reason for denial.
But can anything be done in that situation or have you lost the opportunity to start living in Spain?
In these cases, and in order to ensure that you can securely obtain your residence permit, it is best to go to a lawyer. An immigration lawyer may initiate an appeal or court process. In this way, it can be argued that the application was unduly rejected and thus obtain the visa. Only in very particular cases can the application be resubmitted without a legal process behind.
At Balcells Group we can help you approve your request if you have had any denial problem.
How to renew the non lucrative permit
That is also a common question. I get my non-lucrative visa for one year. But then, what?
You have two different options.
The first one is to renew your permit. If you still fulfill the conditions (800% of the IPREM on your bank account, private insurance policy…), the renewal will be possible.
Note that in this case, you will have to prove an amount of money sufficient for two years, not for one as in the initial application. That is because, as the renewal lasts two years and not one, the monetary requirement also doubles.
Second, you can also change the initial authorization into a work permit, as we will see below. And you can change to a work permit to work for a company or to become a self-employed individual.
Non-lucrative visa modification to work permit
As we have just seen, you can also transition into a work permit through a residence modification.
That is the best alternative for those individuals who have enough savings to stay one year abroad (in Spain) but then would like to continue working in order to earn a living.
In that case, you can spend part of your last non-lucrative months searching for a job in the country. Once you find it, the procedure for your employer will be easy. Why? Because you already possess an authorization to live.
He or she will just need to present an authorization to make you able to work in the country. That will grant you an authorization to live and work in Spain for two additional years.
But you can also transition into a work permit as a self-employed individual, so you don’t work for anyone but for yourself. You would then become “autónomo” in the country.
Taxes to be paid with the non-lucrative residence visa
Finally, we wanted to include a section in which we could discuss the taxes you will have to pay with this visa in Spain.
First of all, because this residence card requires you to stay a minimum of 183 days a year in the country to renew, you will become a tax resident.
- This basically means that you will have to pay income tax on your worldwide income. Keep in mind that there are double taxation agreements. These will prevent you from paying twice for the same income if it was generated in another country but also paid in Spain.
- In the event that you decide to invest, for example in company shares, and you generate a profit from your investments, you will have to pay capital gains tax.
- In addition, in the case of buying a property, there may also be taxes associated with the transaction.
You will find a detailed list of all the taxes you will have to pay as a foreigner and at what percentage here. However, it is best to contact our tax lawyers for advice on your particular case.
And, if you have any other legal dobut, we are at your complete disposal!