Spanish Resident Visa Process – Non EU Citizens

Spanish Resident VisaDoesn’t a US citizen need a visa to live in Spain?  (Spanish Resident Visa Process)

You bet!  As of today, we are still waiting for our Spanish Resident Visas.

Yes, we can go to many countries for 90 days without a visa, but that just wasn’t long enough for us.  We wanted to really immerse ourselves and live there for a while. Back in October of 2011, we began to research our visa options on all of the countries of interest to us.


Just FYI,  this process is valid not only for US citizens, but for Non EU citizens.  So, it is also valid if you are from Australia, Canada, and other countries as well.

We decided upon Spain as our top destination choice, we then began the laborious process of researching what needed to be done.  Let’s just say, there isn’t a step by step guide-book out there for this. In fact, most information found isn’t geared towards someone from the United States.  I stumbled upon a few expat forums and blogs, where “Americans” (US citizens) were trying to figure out the same thing.  Each of these asked the question, but I couldn’t find any with the answers. How do we apply for a Spanish Resident Visa?

I then looked up the Spanish Consulate in the USA and found that there were several visa options published. Mind you none of which were an exact match for what we wanted or would be qualified for.  I thought, well we could apply for the resident visa even though we don’t have “family roots” in Spain and see if they will accept us anyway. Eventually, I called the Spanish Consulate. I informed the gentleman of our plans and he suggested we apply for the “non-lucrative visa”. This of course wasn’t published on their website.  If approved, this will give you a 1 yr residence in Spain, but you are not allowed to work. You can only dump money into the country and cannot take.  Hey, this sounded perfect.


UPDATE September 2016

The process below remains the same, but as of 2014 once you submit your paperwork the actual approval process is much faster.  It no longer takes 3 months, as they have gone digital!  This means approval can be anywhere from 1-4 weeks rather than months. Great news, but be prepared and remember you have 90 days to enter Spain once you pick up your visa.

He emailed me the criteria and the application.  I think we can do it. We met all of the requirements, just a short checklist of a few things:

Spanish Resident Visa – Non Lucrative Visa 
(current info at the time of this writing, please refer to website for current info)

1. We will not accept incomplete applications. You must apply in person.

2. Passport valid for a minimum of 6 months. If you are not a US citizen you must show proof of legal residency in the US (Green Card or proper visa). B1/B2 holders do not qualify to apply for a visa in this Consulate Office.

3. 2 recent passport photos, passport size with white background.

4. Financial proof. This is the most important requirement for this type of visa. You must bring documents showing that you have enough money.  For 1st person is 26,000 euros per year, each additional family member is 6,400 euro per year.
(so a family is roughly 45,000 euros per year)   – either in bank accounts, savings or investments – to be able to live in Spain without earning money. If you are going as a dependent, you must bring a marriage certificate (spouse) and birth certificates (children). These documents need to be translated into Spanish and once translated they must have the Hague Apostille. Please contact the Secretary of State of the state you live in for further information.

5. Address in Spain – If you have already a place to live or a lease agreement, you should support your application with any documents you may have. If not, list the nearest city to your intended location.

6. Health Insurance. Proof of health insurance coverage while in Spain. We do not accept insurance cards. We need a letter from your insurance stating that you will be covered while travelling to Spain. Travel medical insurance with a minimum coverage of 30,000 Euros or its equivalent in US dollars.

7. Police Record. Certificate of good conduct issued by the police department of the city or cities in which the applicant has spent 6 months or more during the last year. This document needs to be translated into Spanish and once translated it must have the Hague Apostille.

8. Medical Certificate typed on doctors stationary verifying that the applicant is in good physical and mental health and free of any contagious illness. This document needs to be translated into Spanish and once translated it must have the Hague Apostille.

9. You must bring all original documents plus two photocopies of each.

10. The visa fee (Money Order or exact cash only):

This seemed simple enough and the process began. We will write more detail on the process in a later post.


Do you want to save hours of online research and going down the path of that paper chase?  Would you like to be organized and impress the consulate with your application?  Do you want to be sure you have everything on the check list complete and in the correct order?

If yes, you really need to buy our Live In Spain ebook.  It will help you cut through the red tape and save you hours of time.  Consulate members have been very impresses with hundreds of our clients.

Buy our Live In Spain eBook today!

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  1. Pingback: 10 Tips for Spanish Resident Visa Application - for the American Traveler | Wagoners AbroadWagoners Abroad

  2. Can I work remotely from Spain for a US company and still apply for a non lucrative visa?

    Thank you! Your site has been most helpful.

    • Hi Rose. There are people who do that, but you would really need to verify with the embassy or consulate. Technically you are working, but you aren’t taking a job from the local Spanish population. If you qualify for the $ in your savings, without your monthly income, that would be best. I am sorry we can’t be more specific, as that is a tricky one.

  3. Heidi,
    I have read you need ~€75,000 savings in the bank to apply for the non-lucrative visa. But I can’t find it listed on the official websites. Is this true? Do you know the exact financial requirements?

    Did you find out the answer to the question about working remotely from Spain for a USA company? That is my plan as well…

    • Where did you read about €75,000? That seems high, but it depends on the requirements specified by your consulate. I’ve seen the requirements vary, so I would definitely recommend asking for clarification.

      As far as working remotely from Spain while working for a US company, I would definitely check with the consulate. I would recommend not using your primary email address/name if you do ask the consulate.

      I would imagine that they would not consider the situation you describe as acceptable, and if the US company has an official presence in Spain, that could cause complications. Me personally, I would not risk it, but each person’s tolerance for risk is different.
      Alan Wagoner recently posted…The purrrfect thing to do in Chiang Mai – Adventures With AnyaMy Profile

    • Beth,

      That number is the minimum number specified in the visa requirements documentation. I’ve seen this number vary from consulate to consulate, but it’s a minimum number for the Primary person. If possible, I would recommend documenting more than that number, and preferably a multiple of that number.

    • Hey another Heidi! 🙂 Thanks for contacting us. So glad you fell in love with Spain and would like to return. Let us know if you need any assistance with the visa process.

      Taxes: This is a slippery slope. We do pay taxes in the U.S. As far as Spain in concerned, we aren’t property owners and we don’t have an income. I would suggest you refer to Legal4Spain for further info on taxes.

  4. Wow you all are so Informative thank you! To be clear – you all used this visa to stay in Spain? So you needed to show that you had $100,000? But in another post you wrote that you aren’t rich. Sorry, I know people’s definitions of rich can vary. I just am wondering if I read something wrong and it’s possible to have this visa without $100,000

    • Thank you for your comment Therese. Yes, I guess it all depends on definition. When we applied, we needed to show we had $44k for a family of 4. We made difficult choices and sold our home, cars, stock and most of our belongings to add to our savings. The money we started with is pretty much gone at this point, so it isn’t as if it just stayed in savings. Think about exactly how much you spend each month and multiply by 12. If you stop eating out for meals, no more starbucks, no more new shoes or clothes and completely stop buying for a year or two, as we did… the money adds up. It is amazing how much we all waste because it is just $4 or on sale or what ever reason we make up. Don’t buy anyting new other than the food you will consume. Start to sell the belongings you currently have.

      So though people may not have money in the bank at the moment, if you make choices not to spend and live very simply, sell your belongings, home and car, the savings can add up quickly.

      The current requirements are

      “Have financial means to cover the costs of the stay and return and, where applicable, those of his family, according to the following amounts:
      Support for 400% of the monthly IPREM, amounting to 2130.04 euros.
      For the support of each of their families, 100% of IPREM amounting to 532.51 euros.”

      So for a single person it is 2130 euros times 12 months 25560 Euros or about $28k.

      Keep in mind this is all for the retirement on Non lucrative visa option. There are other visas available that do not have this requirement. We did not qualify for those (student visa, family heritage, etc)

      I hope that helps.

      • Hello to all, very good well don so Informative I like the way you present it thank you. just to make sure of one thing ,you needed to Shaw 44k for all Four persons, so it means $12k is ok for one person. another thing please : how many time you are allowed to travel outside Europe with the current permit and are you entitle for permanent permit? Please give more us details of your residency permit conditions…Many thanks god bless you all..cheers

        • Evan – For a family, the PRIMARY applicant must show approximately 26k Euros, and each family member is 6K after that. It’s not 12k. With any resident visa (student, retirement, non-lucrative, etc.) there are no limitations on your travel into and out of Spain. After 10 years (4 renewals) you can apply for permanent residency.

  5. I just wonder how can I resolve the accommodation problem. I still haven’t applied and not sure when they will approve and I can come. How can I know that they will approve within 3 weeks or 4 months.
    I also haven’t decided where to live in Spain. Do you have any idea how can I find a solution for visa application. Is there any accommodation options which are fully or mostly refundable for a year.

  6. Hello,
    My wife and I are Americans(retired) who have been living in Poland for the last 10 years. We plan to move to Costa Blanca region in August 2018 for better weather. We are just beginning the process of getting organized to make the move. I found your blog on the net and just going through the visa possibilities although the non-lucrative seems like the one. Haven’t they renamed that the retirement visa. We do have Permanent Residency Cards from Poland that are good for life but only American Passports so I assume we will not be considered as EU Citizens. I could have applied for Polish citizenship based on my roots years ago but never considered leaving Poland until now. However, it takes two years to get it. I, too, have been writing a blog since before we moved to Poland in 2007……