How To Move To Spain – Non Lucrative Spanish Visa, Housing, Settling

If you want to move to Spain from the US or any other country, you have come to the right place!  Welcome to Wagoners Abroad Spain Travel Blog.   We have plenty of knowledge about getting a non lucrative visa Spain, as well as living in Spain for more than 6 years!  It can all be overwhelming planning a move to Spain and you will get years of experience from this page and our blog.

Move To Spain - Planning your move to Spain, Best places to live in Spain, Getting a non lucrative Spanish visa to live in Spain, Getting settled in Spain with schools, banks, and more. We have been through the process and have helped hundreds of others through it too. Now is the time to live your dreams and move to Spain. Click to read more on

We think Spain is one of the best places to live for families!  Of course we have our opinion and chose it as the country to raise a family, but you will have to see if it is a fit for yours.

After all, we’ve helped hundreds of people / families move to Spain! Especially with the Spanish non lucrative visa for Americans.   

This is the mother of all moving to Spain posts, so go ahead and save it to your favorites right now.  

Okay, now that you have done that, read on.

Living in Spain as Americans has been a dream come true. Keep on reading and we will help you with how to move to Spain and obtain that Spain non lucrative visa.  With tips for planning and preparation for your move to Spain, as well as our experiences about public education, banking, housing, road trips, medical insurance and more.  Oh and we can help you with obtaining your Spanish non lucrative visa as well.  We have helped so many people and families with making their dream to live in Spain, come true. Keep on reading and if you would like help, we offer consulting! (We can help you with the visa process, deciding where to live and more).

Moving to Spain from the US or any other country!

Of course, we focus on Americans moving to Spain, but most of the information will apply to any other Non-EU citizens.  There is also general information on how to move to Spain, which is great for anyone!

So you won’t have trouble finding our various posts on how we obtained our Spanish Non Lucrative Visa and how we were able to move to Spain, I thought it would be helpful to organize them all here for you.  When looking for residency in Spain, there are several options for the Non EU citizens, specifically US Citizens, Canadian Citizens and Australian Citizens.  Alan has written a very detailed and very affordable ebook to help you through the process of how to apply for the Non Lucrative Visa Spain.  There are many other types of Spanish visa options available, but this is what worked for us.

Move to Spain and visit Setenil de las Bodegas Sentinal de las Bodegas Spain - City built into Rocks. We can live in Spain because we have the non lucrative visa. You can apply for one too!

How can a US citizen move to Spain?

With this Spain non lucrative visa, you need to prove that you are able to provide for you and your dependents financially as well as showing proof of health insurance in Spain.  They want to be sure you aren’t going to take jobs from the locals as well as tap into the health care system.   There are many other resident or long stay visas that may suit your needs better, but we haven’t been through that process ourselves.  We have helped successfully coach many people/families through the Spain Non Lucrative Visa Application process, so don’t be shy about asking us questions.  Check out our consulting services and fees.

Ronda Romantica Spain

Even more…

Below I will list the articles we have written on our process for our initial Non Lucrative Spanish Visa Application as well as the process for renewal.  When you are approved for the Non Lucrative Residence Visa Spain, the visa allows you into the country.  You have a limited time to get your affairs in order and register with your local police station/ foreigners office.  You will need to provide your lease and the visa paperwork provided to you by the consulate to apply for your actual resident card.

Mijas Spain - Apply for your Non Lucrative Residence Visa

This resident card is valid for 1 year.  After that time you may apply to renew up to two times for two years each.  Each time you apply to renew, you again need to show proof of financial support as well as medical insurance coverage.  We review the details of our experience for you via the links below.   Please let us know if you have any questions.


Planning to drive in Spain?

Check out our Driving in Spain ebook now!
Driving in Spain- Everything you need to know & more. If you are planning a trip to Spain and intend on driving, this is an essential book for you. We offer you a complete guide to driving in Spain.

How to move to Spain from US or any place abroad

Moving Abroad - How to Choose location and find rental

Moving to Spain as American?
How To Select The Country, Town & Make The Move

No matter if you are moving abroad long-term, short-term or perhaps you are just going on vacation/holiday,  these tips will apply to all.   Check it out!  Do you want to know what our first 500 days of living abroad were like?   Are you curious about all of our family travel and exploration in Spain and many other countries?  Let us help you with all of our information about where to live in Spain!

There are so many amazing places to live in Spain, but we chose Costa Tropical.  Therefore, we have quite a bit of information on why we feel Almuñécar is the best place to live in Spain.  Of course, this is our opinion and it may not be perfect for everyone else.  If you need help choosing where to live in Spain, we can help.  We have traveled to every province and just about every major city.  So if you are looking for typical Spanish locations or something with expats in Spain, we can help you out!  As a result, you may find out Spain relocation packages helpful or just a la carte consulting.


Learning Spanish and Education in Spain

Planning to have kids attend School in Spain?

Check out our Education in Spain ebook now!


    • Education in our Spanish Public School – Tutoring

Homeschooling in Spain – This is what we know…

We are often asked about homeschooling in Spain. Is homeschooling illegal in Spain? Are there options to homeschool Spain? We share resources & information. Read more on

7 Reasons To Study In Spain In English or Spanish – Universities!

Why not give your university student a gift of a lifetiem and have them study in Spain!  You may select programs to study in Spain in English or in Spanish. Read more on

The Most Common Moving to Spain from US Questions

How to apply for the non-lucrative Spanish visa?

Do US citizens need a visa for Spain?

We Can Help with your Spanish visa!

We understand the entire process to apply for a non-lucrative Spanish visa and know it can be completely overwhelming.  Many people have successfully moved to Spain from the US using all of the free information we have provided here.  Others have opted to get our help and take advantage of our expertise.  We have been through it and helped hundreds of others through the process.  All of this via our expertise with voice or email consulting, our selection of ebooks, which will guide you through the entire process.

Our books are very detailed and will walk you through every step of the process.  We also include each of the US Consulates and their unique requirements, plus Canada.  This is a huge time saver when it comes to tracking down all which is required for the visa.  It puts it all on one easy to find a place for you and prevents you from wasting hours of time trying to scour the web.

How To Apply For Non Lucrative Visa Spain Requirements & Renewal Process

More info on Getting your Spanish non-lucrative visa in our Live in Spain eBook Here!

This is well worth the low cost, with all of the time you will save.  If you want even more help, from a simple skype conversation to full project management, we also offer consulting services.  You can speak with us live to get those nagging questions answered.  Feel free to contact us for more info or click on the book below.

Buy Now Button

More info on getting your Non Lucrative Visa Spain or Spain Retirement Visa Here

Your step by step guide to obtaining a Spanish non lucrative Visa
It’s time to Live In Spain!
Tips and Tricks for the non-lucrative visa for Spanish Residency
Do you want to live or retire in Spain?  If you are an American or Canadian, or even just an English speaking resident of a non-European Union (E.U.) country and want a long term visa in Spain, then Live In Spain is what you need. This is the book that will help turn that dream into a reality. Read If you're interested in applying for either a Retirement or Non-Lucrative Visa, you're going to want Live In Spain. Read more on

Initial Application Process for Spain Non Lucrative Visa or Spain Retirement Visa
Above all, it’s easy to Move to Spain!


Expert tips for prep before the move and Once You Arrive for your move to Spain

As you are preparing to move to Spain, our expert tips and advice will help you with your residency paperwork, setting up accounts with banks, utilities & services. We will also save you money on ATM's, transfers and cars. This will be helpful if you are moving to Spain from the US or just about any other country. Read more on

    • All of our expenses are shared with you, to help provide you with a data point to plan your trip. Here is Our Budget for Living in Spain and Reality (First 4 months)
    • Do you want to know where you can travel effortlessly?  What is the Schengen Zone?  Can I travel to other countries with the Spanish Resident Card?

Spain Forum by – Join the independent information network for expats in Spain.


Renewal of Spanish non lucrative Visa,
Application for Non Lucrative Spanish Visa for Residence in Spain

The full non lucrative visa renewal process in our eBook.  Read more here.
Spain non lucrative visa renewal process. You've had Spanish residency with the Spain non lucrative visa or the Spain retirement visa and it's time to renew.  Here's the full Spanish residency renewal process & requirements all in one place! Read more on

MONEY!  Cost of Living in Spain

This can not possibly represent the entire country, this is just what we have experienced in our town, with our lifestyle.  We share our cost to live in Spain, every detail for the first 16 months!  Your life will be different!  🙂

A Local’s Guide to Tipping in Spain?

Do you tip in Spain? Tipping in Spain may be a bit different from what you are accustomed to. We provide you with advice from locals and our Spain tipping guide. Read more on

Spain Travel Blog - helping you Move to Spain! With expert tips and advice for the Spanish non lucrative visa application, preparing to move to Spain, getting settled in Spain and the non lucrative visa Spain renewal process. We can also help with where to live in Spain, education, driving and so much more. Read more on

Searching for rentals in Spain (apartments, villas, townhomes and more)

If you don’t know where to live in Spain, do your research in advance.  And if possible go on a scoping trip.  When working with agencies, they will only show you what they have on hand and many people don’t list with an agency, so look at all options.  It is likely one house is listed with many different agencies, so look around and find the best price.  Here are a few of the property search sites which have Spain holiday rentals as well as long-term and short-term rentals.

Shorter Stays

If you plan to visit Spain for more than 1 week or 1 month, you should be able to negotiate.  Many times it is best to rent something for 1-2 weeks, this will allow you time to get to know the area while searching for your long-term rental.  Besides, it’s best to see properties in person, as some photos may be very outdated.

If you aren’t planning to move to Spain, but instead want to visit Spain?  We have a wealth of information available to you for free! Click on an image below.  

We help you plan your trip to Spain. Read more on

More info on getting your Non Lucrative Visa Spain Here

This ebook is your step by step guide to obtaining a Spanish non lucrative Visa or retirement visa to Live In Spain.  We offer time and money saving Tips and Tricks for the non lucrative visa for Spanish Residency.  
Live In Spain eBook

Move to Spain Consulting

If you want a quick answer or someone to speak with, we also offer consulting.  Check out our Spain nonlucrative visa consulting page now, for our latest offers!

Move to Spain Relocation Packages

From relocation planning and the Spanish non lucrative visa application to residency and getting settled, we offer our expertise and knowledgeable advice.  We can help you with your move to Spain with children or without.  Most importantly, we offer custom packages for your move to Costa Tropical.

Click here to read more about our relocation to Spain packages.

Much more information is available on the Non Lucrative Residence Visa Spain (Application, Getting Settled, Renewal, Driving and Education) in our Wagoners Abroad publications.


Live In Spain – Spain Visa Requirements | Driving In Spain | Getting Settled in Spain | Residency/Visa Renewal | Education In Spain | Almuñécar Walking Guides

Disclosure:  Some links presented on this page are affiliate links, for which we will receive a small % of commission if you purchase something.  This is always at no extra cost to you.

Sign up for the Wagoners Abroad Newsletter and for a limited time, receive your free ebook “Experience Spain – Getting Started With Spain Facts and Information”.

Organized Tours

Look at all of the organized tours for you to enjoy from being active on walking or biking tour, to enjoying a food or wine tour.  Viator offers so much to do and has so many great offers for you.  Click here to see their latest Spain Deals!

Getting Around Europe

    • Train – If you are wanting to explore Europe via train, Click here for Europe Rail deals.
  • Bus – There are many options for comfort levels and bus options,  you may click here to Discover Europe by Bus

Using public transportation in Europe

It is ver easy to make your way around Europe using trains, planes, and buses. There are several different options for each mode of transportation.  Therefore, the best way to view all options is to check with Go Euro.  They will seek out the best way for you to get from one place to another and then you may filter, but fastest, cheapest, shortest, and so on.  You can look between the different modes of transportation and see which works best for your schedule.  Click the image to begin your search.

What is Spain known for?

I think if you ask anyone in Europe what Spain is known for, they will quickly respond with sun and beaches, but there is more to it than that! Read more on


What to buy in Spain

What To Buy In Spain, Souvenirs, Gifts & Things To Enjoy Right Away! If you aren't sure what to buy in Spain, here's a great list for you.  From things to buy in Spain as souvenirs, as well as things to buy as gifts from Spain too. What's Spain famous for?  We're about to tell you. Read more on


Where to Stay in Spain!

We have the best Spain holiday rentals here:

Property Owners: you may list your holiday property or room rental for free!

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Spain Travel Blog - helping you Move to Spain! With expert tips and advice for the Spanish non lucrative visa application, preparing to move to Spain, getting settled in Spain and the non lucrative visa Spain renewal process. We can also help with where to live in Spain, education, driving and so much more. Read more on

35 thoughts on “How To Move To Spain – Non Lucrative Spanish Visa, Housing, Settling

  1. Wow what a guide Heidi. Just awesome, awesome. So comprehensive. I still need to visit Spain. My wife loved it there; super quick trip while going through Europe 12 years ago.

    • Hey Ryan! How are you? So glad to have you check in on us now and again. Thanks for the comment! You should certainly come check it out sometime.

  2. Hi! We bought your Live in Spain book and had a great call with Alan where he was able to give us even more information and answer all our unique questions – highly recommend! Very excited to say we were just approved :), so the clocks ticking on getting our itinerary. We will buy your new book too, btw, but I have a time sensitive question I’d love your input on. Do we have to enter the country on the same date? I would like to be there in mid to late August with our 6 year old to secure housing and get him acclimated for school, but my wife can’t come until about September 20th. Is that a problem? Or if we’re able to go maybe 15 days apart, would that help? I just know there are things we need to do when we arrive with the Extranejeria in Granada, and not sure if we all need to be there or the separate entrance dates will mess us up somehow. Not surprisingly the website doesn’t help and th San Francisco consulate doesn’t have the best reputation responding to emails. Thanks in advance for any advise you can give here!!

    • Hey congrats to you guys David!

      So it sounds like you have a simple question, but there are loads of “it depends” and “it’s complicated” 🙂 of course. i’ll email you.

  3. Hi: This is extremely helpful. I have a question. My wife is on sabbatical and we are trying to spend the year in Valencia or Berlin. We are waiting on schools for our two kids. Here’s the thing. We are going forward with the non-lucrative visa, but there is an outside chance of the kids getting into Berlin schools. Can we use the Spanish non-lucrative visa to live in Germany if certain school plans happen?


    • Hi, No, not officially. It is meant for living in Spain. There is paperwork you need to do the first 30 days in Spain. If you are out of Spain more than 6 months, they would not consider you as a resident and you likely wouldn’t be up for renewal. That said, Germany is part of the Schengen Zone, so Spain may not know you were away. I wouldn’t think Germany would honor the Spanish resident card to enter their schools, so you would likely need to go through the process for Germany. Maybe obtain for both?

  4. Hi !!! Thank you for such an informative post and for sharing your experience!
    My family and I are planning to apply for NLV . Did you have to do background check and letter from a medical DR for your kids ? Mine are 5 and 10 I realize they need separate application but not sure if the other docs are required.
    I can not get an answer from the Spanish consulate .

    Many thanks

  5. Heidi,
    I came across your website and am very interested. I am currently in the US military stationed in Germany. We visited Spain a couple of months ago and loved it. We stayed in Malaga for a week, soaking up the sun. I retire from the military in about 1 1/2 years. So, a couple of questions: Question #1- I’ll be receiving about $1200/month military retirement and am hoping to work remotely with websites/writing/etc to supplement the rest of our income. We have enough money saved up to live off of for 2-3 years with no extra income coming in if necessary. Would we qualify for the non-lucrative visa? Question #2- I’ll have Tricare medical insurance from the military. Will we still have to get Spanish medical insurance?

    • Hi Alton, that is great news. For personal questions we usually offer consulting. In general you should have enough saved to qualify. You don’t need to show a monthly income if you have enough in savings. The few military people we have helped come over kept their military insurance just to keep it active, but did need to purchase Spanish medical insurance as well (for the visa and you need it for each renewal too).

      I hope that helps get you started. We are happy to assist you with the process via consulting or answer your personal questions via contact us.

  6. Thank you very much for your information. It seems that when you reach a certain age is not longer easy to get a visa because Health Insurance becomes a very expensive requirement.

  7. Hello,

    What type of Health Insurance they require. I have Medicare and Supplemental Insurance. Of course, Medicare doesn’t cover overseas and supplemental only covers for the first 3 months of a trip. For my wife and I, being 73 years old to purchase Health Insurance for overseas will be $25,000 to $50,000. Impossible to pay that sum of money if you are retired. So, what do retired people leaving in Spain do about this Health Insurance issue?

    • You need full coverage private Spanish health insurance. Here is more info on the medical insurance options we have either used or know people who have. Many charge a much higher premium for 70+, but I think Sanitas is good until 75. You will find the prices are far more affordable compared to the USA. Feel free to request quotes to get an idea.

  8. Hello,

    Awesome site! My wife and I are looking to move to Spain next year and are interested in the non lucrative visa. We are both US citizens and plan to have US based remote jobs at that time. Since we would not be taking a job from a Spaniard, do you know if we would be allowed to keep working those US based remote jobs?

    If so, do you know if that income could be used as part of the monthly income requirement?


    • Hey Gary! That is awesome congrats. This type of question falls under our “contact us” umbrella and we’d love to email you the answer privately.

  9. We have applied for our visas in San Francisco and were told it would be 2-3 months for approval and once notified we would then have 30 days to return to pick them up. I understand that we then have 90 days to enter Spain. Does this 90 days start the day we pick up our visas or from the date we are notified they are approved?

    • The 90-day clock starts from the issue date of the visa. For us, it was the day we picked up our visas. We didn’t leave our passports with them, so they affixed the visa sticker the day we came to pick up the visas a week or so after being notified.

      I imagine that if you leave your passport with them, they will notify you of the visa approval, and affix the sticker, and the clock starts. If you don’t leave the passport, I would think that they would print it off when you come to pick up the passport, and the clock starts then. Ultimately, I would ask the Consulate just to be sure, but I laid out what our experience was.

      Good luck!

  10. Hi There!! Your website is fantastic! I wish it was out there when I was first applying for my initial Tarjeta Residencia….. at any rate very helpful to anyone applying! I have been here in Spain now for 18 months and am about to start the renewal process. Do y’all know anything about the possibility of changing the non-lucrative visa to one with an ability to work? I am a retired photographer and getting a pension but would like to do a little photography from time to time and do not want to give it away. I do not want to get a full time job just maybe a little part-time work. Any ideas? Thanks very much in advance!!

    • Hey Jeff thanks. Yep too bad you didn’t find us sooner. We have been writing everything since August 2012. We do happen to know the answer to your question, as we asked it too!

      First of all, upon your 5 year renewal it will automatically change to working… We are so close to that milestone, we opted to wait for it. Next August is our 5 year mark. As far as changing, you can fill out an application to change to a working visa, but it isn’t automatic. You either need to apply for the entreprenuer, have a company sponsor you or prove you have a solid business plan to be self employed. It is tougher and there is documentation out there for the process. We didn’t write about it, as we opted not to take that route ourselves. They may or may not approve you to work, but it could be worth a shot. I would advise you make an appointment with your extranjero office and get all of the details from them. We actually made an appointment in Granada, to get the details. I hope that helps and good luck jumping through the extra hoops.

  11. One more question. During the one year are there any restrictions on leaving the country, or within that year can I come and go as I please?

    • You are free to come and go as you please. That said, if you are planning to renew after the first year, you will want to limit how much time you spend out of the Schengen Zone. When you renew, they request a copy of every single page in your passport. If you have been out of the country too much or more than 6 months in another country, then that is a huge red flag. You have no loyalty to being in Spain. When I say the Schengen zone, that is because within these countries, there are no passport stamps, so there is no way for them to know where you have been.

  12. when does the one year mark begin? When you get approved for the visa or when you get the residence card?

    • The one year mark begins when you enter the country or the Schengen zone. If you fly from USA to Spain with a lay over in Germany, you will be stamped into the Schengen zone in Germany. That is when the clock is ticking to get to the foreigners office. When you apply, they use the date you entered on the card.

      The visa is good for 90 days, so once that date starts you have 90 days to enter the country. Once you enter Spain or the Schengen Zone you then have 30 days to go to the foreigners office and apply for your resident card. That can sometimes take a couple of months to get your resident card, but no to worry providing you keep all of your receipts to show it is in process.

  13. Hi Heidi,

    Great Blog. I have been living in Spain for over a year now so as you we are considered residents of Spain, which I believe means we have to file taxes in Spain on “world-wide” income. I have a few questions and was wondering if we could talk offline?


    • Hey Jeff,

      Ah, welcome to the world of Spain! 🙂 So glad you are here. Where are you living?

      We don’t discuss or cover taxes, you would need to seek out a professional. We can share that if you reside in Spain more than 183 days in a calendar year, you are responsible to file Spanish taxes.

  14. Hi there! Thank you for sharing the information of what you might need in order to move to Spain. I’m planning for quite a while now to try to live abroad for a while because I just feel that I need the experience. I’m from the UK so for me it will be a bit easier to move to Spain if I want to but still there are much to consider before making the step. I am still thinking about it. I have a business in London together with a friend so I cannot just go whenever I want but in the near future I think that moving to Spain will be very possible! Thanks for the post! I will keep following your blog! 🙂

  15. What a comprehensive info-packed piece! I didn’t know there were so many visa options for staying in Spain. We ourselves may not be contemplating a move to Spain but it has given us a forewarning, so to speak, what can await us if ever we or family members think of it. Thanks for these very useful info.

  16. Hello
    Just came across your website- fantastic info! Curious to begin the process of long term visa and or nonlucrative visa – I am Canadian and wonder what advantage if any there is to having purchased an apartment (last year) in Barcelona

    • Glad you like the info Michele. I’m not sure there is any advantage other than being able to specify that you have an address all lined up. The approval process is such a “black box” that it’s not clear to me that it factors into the decision. My take would be that it couldn’t hurt!

      Good luck with your application. I have a book available if the visa process looks too daunting:

  17. Good afternoon (here) / eveing (there)…
    I am at the beginning of the exploration process into retirement destinations. My wife and I are Canadian and I will be retiring in just under 5 years.
    I expect the 5 yr Resident Card (1 yr initial and two 2 yr renewals) is tied to the lifespan of the holders passport (5 yrs). They must permit you to apply for Citizenship if we want to retire there permanently and give up our Canadian Citizenship ??

    • Good morning (here) / evening (there)!

      I’ll go off of what we experienced when we renewed. They’re basically looking to make sure you have a valid passport for the time you’re renewing. I do not think you become a citizen. You just become a resident. I imagine there is a way to become a citizen, but I have only heard of people becoming residents. That makes things much simpler. I’m assuming you would not want to give up your citizenship.

      Hope this helps!

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