Spain Non-Lucrative Visa - Residency Visa Requirements and More

Written By: Richard Nathan
Fact Checked By: Lamia Darwish

Jun 13, 2022

18 min read

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Spain Non-Lucrative Visa - The Simplest Way To Become A Digital Nomad In Spain

As the term "Non-Lucrative" suggests, holders of the Non-Lucrative Visa aren't allowed to work in Spain for a Spanish company or employer. However, it does not address the topic of remote work with a Non-Lucrative Visa. For years the Non-Lucrative has been used by Digital Nomads and remote workers to travel to Spain to enjoy a digital nomad lifestyle. Nevertheless, in recent years, there have been many testimonies of denied Non-Lucrative visa applications of Digital Nomads. The reason for this being that they plan to work in Spain remotely.

In this post, we'll address the confusion of remote work in Spain and how it is possible that many people still enjoy a nomad lifestyle with the Spain Non-Lucrative Visa.

In this post, you’ll find:

  • What Is The Spain Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV)?
  • The Spain Non-Lucrative Visa For Remote Workers And Digital Nomads
  • What Are The Benefits Of The Spain Non-Lucrative Visa?
  • What Are The Key Requirements For A Spain Non-Lucrative Visa?
  • What Are Spain 's Non-Lucrative Visa Document Requirements?
  • How To Apply For My Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa?
  • How Do I Renew My Non-Lucrative Visa?
  • Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Spain Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV)?

The Spain Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV) is created for non-EU citizens who have the financial means to live in Spain without working. A great benefit of this type of visa is that it allows you to bring along your entire family, provided that you can meet the minimum financial requirements.

The Non-Lucrative Visa will grant you a residency permit, which allows you to live in Spain for a year. If you wish to extend your stay, you can renew your NLV for an additional 2 years. After 5 years, you'll be able to apply for permanent residency. Note that you'll need to meet the minimum stay requirements to be eligible for a permanent residence permit. To obtain a permanent residence permit, you must live in Spain for at least 6 months per year for 5 consecutive years.

The NLV is simple to apply for and has very few requirements, unlike other types of Spanish visas. You are not required to include a business plan, make substantial investments in Spain, or present a work offer like other Spain visas.

The NLV is extremely popular among retirees who have the financial means to support themselves in Spain. However, it's also popular amongst Digital Nomads who plan to live and work for a foreign company in Spain.

It is no secret that you're not allowed to work in Spain with an NLV. If so, then how do Digital Nomads do it?

Next, you'll find how Digital Nomads and remote workers use the NLV to live and work in Spain.

The Spain Non-Lucrative Visa For Remote Workers And Digital Nomads

Before 2019, Digital Nomads from all over the world have used the Spain NLV to travel to Spain and live a nomad lifestyle. However, in recent years it is becoming more difficult to obtain an NLV as a Digital Nomad. More and more applications are being denied. This is creating a lot of confusion for Digital Nomads and remote workers who plan to travel to Spain with an NLV.

What Is The Confusion Between The Spain Non-Lucrative Visa And Remote Work?

It is important to understand that currently, Spain does not have an official Digital Nomad Visa. Digital Nomads have to use an NLV to travel to Spain and work remotely. The NLV visa states that you aren't allowed to work for a Spanish company or a company in Spain. As mentioned, it doesn't address the topic of remote work. Thus, Digital Nomads and remote workers have used the NLV to work in Spain.

But, the NLV technically does not allow them to work in Spain remotely. Even though it does not clearly state you aren't allowed to work remotely, many NLV's are being denied due to the purpose of remote work.

The rumor is that sometime during 2019, after the government change in Spain, a memo was sent to all Spanish Consulates and Embassies. The memo stated that consulates should no longer accept any type of work income when considering Non-Lucrative Visa applications. Nevertheless, not all consulates interpret the memo the same way. This leads to some Digital Nomads successfully getting their NLV, and others not.

In the end, the lack of an official Digital Nomad Visa is creating a lot of confusion and frustration in the past few years.

How Do People Work In Spain Remotely If It's Not Allowed?

Even though Spanish Consulates and Embassies are interpreting the NLV requirements more strictly, plenty of Digital Nomads still get their NLV and work remotely in Spain.

Today, there are still thousands of Digital Nomads in Spain who work remotely with an NLV. It appears that the memo sent to consulates is not impacting the way the law is being enforced in Spain.

It seems that it is possible to live and work as a Digital Nomad in Spain. There is no current law being enforced in Spain that forbids you from working remotely with an NLV. However, if during your application process authorities suspect you'll be working remotely, your NLV application will be denied.

When applying for your NLV, you mustn't indicate you'll be working remotely in Spain. In most cases, this means you shouldn't include your remote income as a source of income on the application. Many embassies approve your NLV based on your savings and passive income.

How Can I Work In Spain Legally With A Non-Lucrative Visa?

There is a way to obtain a working permit with your NLV. This would be the best alternative for individuals who wish to work in Spain legally.

Note that this will require you to spend 1 year in Spain without working. If you have the financial means to do so, you can easily get a working permit in Spain.

All you need to do is the following:

In the last few months of your NLV, you need to start searching for a job. Once you have found an employer willing to employ you, the process from there is easy.

Because you already have a residence permit that allows you to live in Spain, your employer only needs to apply for authorization to allow you to work in Spain.

The authorization will allow you to work and live in Spain for an additional 2 years.

Note that it is also possible to get a work residency as a self-employed individual. With this status, you're not required to work for anyone. However, the main requirement is that you provide a business plan that shows you'll earn the Spanish minimum wage. This is most suited for entrepreneurs who wish to work in Spain.

Is There Another Type Of Visa That Will Allow Me To Work Legally In Spain As A Digital Nomad?

Spain is currently in the process of publishing a new Startup Act that will allow Digital Nomads to legally live in Spain while working remotely.

The new visa will eliminate confusion and frustration Digital Nomads have. They'll be able to travel to Spain confidently with their new Digital Nomad Visa.

Check our post to learn more about the New Type of Visa Spain is planning to publish.

Now that you know how Digital Nomads and remote workers utilize the NLV for their respective purposes, let’s look at all the details you need to know about the NLV.

What Are The Benefits Of The Spain Non-Lucrative Visa?

If you wish to apply for an NLV, you'll be happy to know that you'll be able to enjoy the following benefits:

No Investments Are Required

Unlike the Spain Golden Visa program, you are not required to make any investments if you want to apply for your NLV. The only requirement you need to meet is that you have the financial means to support yourself for the duration of your stay.

Travel Through Europe

One of the biggest benefits of an NLV is that you'll be able to travel through the Schengen Area with total freedom. You can visit any one of the following European countries without any hassle:

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Bring Along Your Family

With an NLV, you'll be able to bring along your entire family to Spain with you. The process of doing this is easy, and they'll be able to get their own visa the same time you get yours. The only requirement is that you'll need to present proof that you have sufficient funds to support yourself and those coming along with you.

Get Long Term Residency And Citizenship

If your long-term plan includes permanent residency or citizenship in Spain, you'll be happy to know that it can be easily achieved with an NLV.

Your NLV will allow you to enter and live in Spain for a year. Afterward, you can renew it for an additional 2 years. You'll be able to renew your NLV two times. After 5 years, you can apply for a long-term residency permit, provided that you meet the minimum stay requirements.

To obtain your long-term residence permit, you'll need to live in Spain for at least 6 months per year for 5 consecutive years.

Once you have your residence permit, you can start the path towards citizenship. All you need to do is live in Spain for 6 months per year for another 5 consecutive years.

Invest In Spain

Although you don't need to make any investments to obtain the NLV, you can invest in Spain with your NLV. If you choose to do so, you can make any type of investment in Spain, allowing you to create an additional source of income.

Study And Paid Internships

It is possible to study in Spain if you have an NLV. With your NLV, you'll be able to enroll in any recognized educational institution of your choice. This is the same for your children and your spouse.

Because internships are created for educational purposes, it's possible to be an intern at a company and be paid.

Who Can Apply For A Spain Non-Lucrative Visa?

The NLV is suited for the following people:

  • Individuals who wish to retire in Spain.
  • Individuals who want to live in Spain and experience everything Spain has to offer, provided that they have the financial means to support themselves for the duration of their stay.
  • Individuals who work for a company outside Spain and have enough economic means to qualify for the NLV.

What Are The Key Requirements For A Spain Non-Lucrative Visa?

Before we talk about the required documents for your NLV application, we'll look at the key requirements you need to consider before applying.

To be eligible for an NLV, you must meet the following requirements:

Proof That You Have Sufficient Funds To Support Yourself

One of the main requirements for a Non-Lucrative Visa is that you need to prove that you have the financial means to support yourself for the duration of your intended stay. If you plan to bring your family along with you, you'll need to be able to support them and yourself fully. To prove you have sufficient funds, you can present adequate savings or prove that you have a guaranteed income.

To be eligible for the Spain NLV, you'll need to show that you have a total amount of €27,115.20 per year. Alternatively, you can show that you have a guaranteed monthly income of €2,259.53.

Alongside this, you'll need to show an additional amount of €6,778 for each family member you plan to bring along with you to Spain.

Note that these amounts are subject to change. A rule of thumb would be that you should have a minimum of 400% of the Public Indicator of Multiple Effects Income (IPREM). The current IPREM of Spain (2021) is €564.90 per month or €6,778.80 per year. You can take these amounts and multiply them by 400% to calculate the minimum requirement.

Proof That You Have Private Health Insurance

Unfortunately, you're not able to access the public health care system of Spain with your NLV. Due to this, you're required to obtain valid private health insurance that will cover any medical expenses for the duration of your stay. Your health insurance should provide coverage for yourself and any dependents you may have.

Also, your health insurance must meet the following requirements:

  • Your health insurance must be provided by a Spanish company that operates in Spanish territory.
  • Your health insurance policy must be valid for at least a year.
  • The health insurance your purchase must offer the same coverage as that of the Spain public health system, and not have any copayments.

You Must Meet The Minimum Stay Requirements

If you wish to renew your NLV, you'll need to spend at least 6 months in Spain during your stay.

What Are Spain 's Non-Lucrative Visa Document Requirements?

Now that you know the key requirements, we'll discuss the required documents for an NLV.

What Are The NLV Document Requirements For The Non-Lucrative Visa?

The main applicant of the NLV will need to provide the following documents:

  • A Non-Lucrative Visa Application Form The application form should be filled out and signed. Ensure that the information you provide is correct. Incorrect information can lead to your visa application being denied.
  • A Filled Out EX-01 Form You can find the form on the official government website. Note that the form is only in Spanish. You'll need to fill it out and provide your signature.
  • Your Valid Passport Your passport needs to be valid for at least 1 year and must have 2 blank visa pages available for your visa.
  • 2 Passport Photos Your passport photos must be recent, in color, and meet the following requirements.
  • A Notarized Document Explaining Your Reason For The Application The document must include why you are requesting the visa, your purposes, the place, and the length of your stay in Spain. Note that the document should be translated into Spanish by a certified translator.
  • Proof Of Sufficient Funds As mentioned above, you'll need to present proof that you can support yourself and your dependents for the duration of your stay. Once again, all documents must be certified translated into Spanish
  • Clean Criminal Record Your Criminal record document must be translated into Spanish and have an Apostille stamp. The Apostille stamp is a certificate attached to your document that proves it is legitimate and authentic. Once you have an Apostille stamp, your document will be accepted by countries that are members of the Hague Convention.
  • A Medical Certificate You must be examined by an officially registered doctor. He/She must confirm that you have been examined and free of any contagious diseases under the International Health Regulation. It must be signed by the doctor.
  • Proof Of Valid Health Insurance/Travel Insurance As mentioned above, you'll need to provide all relevant documents that prove you have purchased valid private health insurance from a Spanish company.
  • Filled Out Authorization Form M790 C052 You'll need to fill out this form and add your signature.
  • Payment Receipt You'll need to pay your visa application fee and provide proof thereof. You can expect to pay around €121.26 for your visa application.
  • The Spanish Health Declaration Form Due to the global pandemic, Spain has implemented a new health declaration form to ensure the safety of all visitors and locals of Spain. The health declaration form is a mandatory requirement for all visitors. Read our post on how you can travel to Spain right now to learn more about the health declaration form.

Next, we'll talk about the documents your spouse needs to present.

What Are The NLV Document Requirements For My Spouse?

Your spouse will need to provide the following documents:

In addition to these documents, your spouse must also present the following:

  • A Marriage Certificate The marriage certificate presented must not be older than 3 months. It must be translated into Spanish by a certified translator and must have an Apostille Stamp.

Now that you know the required documents for your spouse, let's discuss the required documents for your children.

What Are The NLV Document Requirements For Minor Children?

In addition to the above-mentioned documents, you'll also need to present:

  • A Birth Certificate The birth certificate must have an Apostille Stamp and must be translated into Spanish by a certified translator.

How To Apply For My Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa?

Finally, we can start your NLV application process. Here's what you need to do to get your NLV.

Note that there are plenty of Spanish Embassies around the world. Each of these Embassies has a slightly different process when it comes to Spain visa applications. We recommend that you contact your nearest Embassy before applying to ensure that you follow their specific process. This guide will give you a general idea of how you can apply for your NLV.

1. Schedule An Appointment At The Embassy

When applying for your NLV, you'll need to do so in your home country. If you want to lodge an application, you'll need to contact your nearest Spanish Embassy or Consulate via email or telephone call and schedule an appointment. Once you have scheduled an appointment, you'll need to start gathering your documents.

2. Gather The Required Documents For Your NLV

Now that you've scheduled an appointment, you must gather your required documents. You'll notice that there are quite a few documents you must gather. We recommend that you create a checklist of the required documents. This makes the collection process easier and quicker. Also, you'll need to ensure that all your documents are translated into English and that you have an Apostille Stamp on the documents that require one.

Note that during the examination process of your visa application, embassy officials may require you to add additional documents to your visa application. This is asked to ensure that you meet all the visa requirements.

3. Submit Your Application

After you have gathered all the required documents, you need to go to your appointment. You'll need to travel to the Spanish Embassy and submit your documents in person. You can expect to receive feedback within about 2 - 3 months from the day you submitted your documents.

4. Collect Your NLV

If your NLV application is successful, you'll be contacted via mail or email. After you've been contacted, you'll need to collect your visa in person at the Spanish Embassy where you applied at. Ensure that you bring along your passport and your flight itinerary. You must travel to the Spanish Embassy within a month of receiving feedback.

5. Travel To Spain

Congratulations, you now have your NLV. However, you still need to travel to Spain and replace your NLV with a residency card (TIE).

Your NLV will be granted for 90 days. Within this time, you must travel to Spain and present your NLV at the Oficina de Extranjería (Immigration Office) or “Comisaría de Policía, Departamento de Extranjería". Here you'll need to apply for the residency card that will replace your NLV.

To apply for your residency card (TIE), you'll need to make an appointment at the police station in person. Once you made an appointment, you'll need to gather and submit the following documents:

  • 3 recent passport photos
  • Your passport and a copy of your main page
  • Your resolution letter from the Spanish government. The resolution letter is an approval letter from the Immigration office.
  • Fee Form that has been paid
  • Clean criminal record
  • Medical Certificate

At the appointment, you'll provide your fingerprints and receive a temporary residency document. Also, you'll be informed when you can get your TIE. Depending on where you lodge the TIE application, it can take about a month to receive it.

How Do I Renew My Non-Lucrative Visa?

Your initial visa will be valid for 1 year. You can renew your visa for an additional 2 years. To renew your visa, you'll need to head over to your nearest Immigration Office and submit the following documents:

  • Your current Residency Card (TIE)
  • Two copies of the EX-01 form
  • Your valid passport
  • Copies of your visa pages in your passport
  • Proof of sufficient funds. Note that you'll be renewing your visa for 2 more years. Meaning, you'll need to prove that you have the financial means to support yourself for the following 2 years.
  • Proof of private medical insurance
  • A copy of your address in Spain. It must not be older than 3 months.

As mentioned, you'll need to submit these documents to the Immigration Office. Once your application has been approved, you'll have 30 days to apply for a new TIE. You can follow the same above-mentioned process to get your new TIE.

You’re finally finished with the entire process and you’re officially able to live in Spain legally.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take For My Non-Lucrative Visa To Be Processed?

When applying for your NLV, the process can take up to 2 to 3 months from the day you submit your documents. Once your visa application is successful, the Spanish Embassy or Spanish Consulate will contact you via email or mail. You'll need to travel to the embassy or consulate in person within 1 month of receiving feedback. Ensure that you bring along your passport and a flight itinerary to Spain.

What Is Spain's Non-Lucrative Visa Fee?

When you're at the Consulate General of Spain to submit your documents, you'll need to pay the application fee. You can expect to pay around €121.26 for your visa application. Note that the fee is non-refundable, and paying it doesn't guarantee a successful visa application.

Do I Need To Apply For An NIE?

No. You'll automatically receive your NIE once you receive your NLV. Your NIE can be found on your visa.

What Is An TIE?

A TIE or Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjeros, is a residency card that'll allow you to live in Spain legally. The TIE is issued to foreigners who plan to reside in Spain for a duration that exceeds 6 months.

When Should I Start The NLV Application?

We recommend that you start your NLV application at least 3 months before your intended date of travel to Spain.

What Are The Tax Requirements For A Non-Lucrative Visa?

The NLV requires you to stay in Spain for a minimum of 6 months. This means you'll be considered as a tax resident of Spain. Unfortunately, you'll need to pay tax on your worldwide income.

To avoid double taxation, Spain has formed a specific agreement with certain nations.

Also, you'll need to pay capital gains tax on investments made in Spanish company shares.

If you decide to buy property, you'll need to consider taxes associated with the transaction.

There are many incredible destinations you can visit when traveling to Spain as a Digital Nomad. Here are our top 10 destinations to consider when planning your trip to Spain:

  • Madrid
  • Seville
  • Las Palmas
  • Gran Canaria
  • Canary Islands
  • Valencia
  • Malaga
  • Barcelona
  • Javea
  • Tarifa
What Accommodation Is Used By Digital Nomads?

Expats and Digital nomads typically use the following as accommodation when traveling around the world:

  • Hotels
  • AirBnb
  • Co living spaces
  • Hostels
What Is A Digital Nomad?

A Digital Nomad is an individual who enjoys a location-independent lifestyle. They usually travel to different locations and work remotely from these destinations. All a Digital Nomad really needs is a good wifi/internet connection and a reliable device to work from, such as a laptop or tablet. You'll usually find Digital Nomads in coffee shops, cafes, libraries or co-working spaces.

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