Over the past few years, there have been many Americans moving to Spain. We will share with you information for Spain visa requirements and residency options available to you depending on your scenario.
For US citizens, the tourist visa (maximum 90 days out of each 180) is automatic upon entry to a country within the Schengen area. So you don’t need to apply for a special visa to visit Spain from the USA for 90 days or less. Spain is part of the Schengen agreement. Some people refer to it as a Spain Schengen visa, but that isn’t really accurate.
The Schengen visa is…..
90 days in / 90 days out and then do it again. Basically, you will move every few months. You can think of it as seasonal living. Why not try the option to come each Spring and Fall to catch the seasons avoiding the coldest of winter and the hottest of the summer. You will not be allowed to work with this scenario.
Schengen visa requirements for US citizens
You must have a valid passport for at least three months following the projected exit from the territory of the Members States (Schengen Area). The passport must have been issued within the last ten years.
If you are looking to actually move to Spain for a year or more, then we are looking at various Spanish residency options. It will all depend on your circumstances and what you want to accomplish.
Spain Visa / Spanish Residency
Spain has various types of visas and residency. It all depends on how long you are planning to stay in Spain and what you plan to do there. Do you plan to work, study, retire and will you be in Spain for a few months, a year, or long-term? We will cover some of the most common Spain visas for you. For the full list, visit the ministry website.
Spain Retirement Visa / Non-Lucrative Visa Spain
This is a long stay temporary visa and it is what we used to move to Spain. It allows you to apply for [temporary] residency, which then is renewed every 1 or 2 years. When you reach the 5-year mark, you would apply for the long duration or [permanent] residency, but you need to state you have not been out of Spain for more than 10 months in total over your first 5 years.
The difference between a retiree vs a non-retiree would be how you show your proof of income. For the standard non-lucrative visa, you would show a lump sum of money that meets the requirements. For the retirement non-lucrative visa, you would instead show a monthly pension or income meeting the requirements, as opposed to a lump sum of money.
The entire Spain visa process for retirement or non-lucrative is detailed out in our guide book. Everything you need to know with timing, background checks, finances, health insurance, and more are included. You will not be allowed to work in Spain with this scenario.
Golden visa for Spain
Spain launched the Golden Visa program in 2013. By investing in one of a number of different options (of varying euro amounts) for a minimum of 5 years, Spanish residency will be granted. As with the Non-Lucrative and Retirement Visas, the Golden Visa allows the holder to travel freely throughout all of the Schengen member countries. You will be able to work right away and you don’t have set time limits to be in or out of the country. Read more about the Golden visa for Spain residency.
Spain student visa
Foreigners wishing to study in Spain to study must request the appropriate visa. This is also true to carry out research, training, unpaid internship activities, participate in student exchanges, or perform volunteer services. We have a couple of posts about studying in Spain as well as options for universities in Europe.
For further information, you may visit the ministry website to see the various student visa options.
Spain visa application forms
There are about 24 different Spain visa forms or request forms, depending on what you choose to solicit. They may all be found on the Spanish ministry website, but you may not know what to do with them. That is why our guides or consulting can help you out.
Travel in the Schengen Area with a resident visa
Foreigners holding a valid residence permit or a long-term visa issued by another Schengen State may travel through the other Schengen areas for a maximum of 90 days within any 180-day period. You would need to be in possession of a valid passport or travel document and your residence permit.
FIRE movement – Financial Independence Retire Early
We’ve noticed we keep receiving blog viewers from a website called Mr. Money Mustache. I thought it was odd, but people just kept coming. So, I checked out the site and it seems we’ve been mentioned a couple of times in the chat forum, as a reference for moving to Spain. How cool is that?
Anyway, people kept mentioning FIRE in the conversation and said that the Wagoners weren’t FIRE, but they are good sources of info. Of course, I then had to research what the heck FIRE meant! I found out it was an acronym! It stands for Financial Independence Retire Early and in a few places, it was listed as Financially Independent Retire Early.
So for the young at heart FIRE crowd, this all can apply to you too! We totally agree with your approach and core values of a debt-free lifestyle, good savings rates, smart investing, cut unnecessary spending, and quality of life over money and things. No, we aren’t FIRE, but we think that way.
To us, retirement or retiring early doesn’t necessarily mean never working a day in your life again. We make the interpretation that you are set free from the hamster wheel of the typical 9-5 work schedule. You allow yourself to think out of the box and work as you wish, with your passions, when you need to, or even for something social to do. Kudos to you all.
Spain Residency in relation to taxes
There is so much confusion about residency in Spain. People often don’t understand if they are a Resident, Tax Resident, or Non-Tax Resident. This is especially true for those citizens within the EU. They may travel and reside in the EU countries freely and sometimes for the Non-EU citizens too. Read our post on Spain residency.
Okay, that should get you started with researching your Spain visa requirements and options for residency. Of course, we have several hundred blog posts all about Spain. Feel free to dig into the blog a bit more and see how we can help you with your dream.
Retire in Spain
We have been amazed over the years at how many of our readers are looking to retire in Spain. I think it is great that our family of four has not only been an inspiration to other families, but also to people wanting to retire. This includes families, singles and couples, so it is nice to know we have helped so many people.
Live in Spain for a Year
Dreaming of something different? Do you want to live in Spain for a year? Perhaps a gap year in Spain is what you need? Does this sound like you?
Options to live in Spain for 6 months
So you are thinking you want to retire and live in Spain for 6 months or spend the winter in Spain. If you are an American citizen, there isn’t a visa to do exactly this, but you do have some options available.
Moving to Spain services
If you are dreaming of moving to Spain, we can help. We allow you to build your own custom package or choose the services you want! You may bundle our eBooks with consulting, and add bespoke services for moves to the Costa Tropical.