Retire in Spain: Spain's Retirement Visa Requirements and Application

Last Updated : Sep 4, 2023

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In this post, we'll discuss what options you have when looking to retire in Spain. We'll look at the key requirements, document requirements, and how you easily get your Retirement Visa for Spain.

Spain is an attractive option for individuals who plan to retire soon. The country has plenty of benefits for ex-pats who choose to retire there, such as a low cost of living, an excellent climate, and affordable healthcare.

If you are planning your retirement in Spain, the first thing you need to consider is the type of visa you need to apply for.

What Is A Retirement Visa?

In short, a Retirement Visa is a permit that allows an individual to travel to their country of choice to legally live and retire there. Many countries have implemented specific types of visas that allow retirees to easily retire in their country.

In most cases, your initial Spain Retirement Visa will be reverted into a Temporary Residence Permit once you enter the country. It's typically valid for 1 year and can be renewed for additional years if you wish to do so, provided that you still meet the minimum requirements.

One of the main requirements for each of these types of Retirement Visas for Spain is that you must be able to prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself for the duration of your stay.

If you're planning a shorter trip to Spain, have a look at the Spain Tourist Visa that can be easily obtained through Atlys!

Expert Tips To Get Your Visa Fast

    Use Atlys

    Apply Early

Use Atlys

The first tip is to use Atlys. With Atlys, it's as easy as downloading the app, entering your travel and personal information, and paying the visa application fee.

Once you've completed the relevant information, Atlys will do the rest for you. No strings attached.

Apply Early

We see that travelers leave their visa applications till the last minute. So please ensure you apply at least 2 months before your planned trip.

What Are The Types Of Retirement Visas Available For Spain?

You have two options to choose from when it comes to Retirement Visas in Spain, which are the Spain Golden Visa program and the Spain Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV).

Let's take a look at these two options so you can figure out which one is best for you.

The Golden Visa As A Spanish Retirement Visa

The Spain Golden Visa is a popular option amongst wealthier travelers. Spain Golden Visa holders will enjoy the benefit of making investments in Spain, as well as working and living in Spain.

To qualify for the Spain Golden Visa, you must invest substantially in Spain. The investment options include real estate, bonds, company creation, etc.

If this sounds like the type of visa for you, check out our in-depth guide about the Spain Golden Visa and how to apply for one so you can effortlessly retire in Spain.

The Non-Lucrative Visa As A Spanish Retirement Visa

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

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.

After 5 years of living in Spain, 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.

Throughout this post, we'll be referring to the Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV) as the Retirement Visa for Spain. Later we will discuss how you can retire to Spain from the US.

Who Can Apply For A Spain Retirement Visa?

The Spain Retirement Visa 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.

The Spain Retirement Visa is specifically created for non-EU citizens who wish to retire in Spain. Retirees from the EU don't need to apply for a visa to live, work and study in Spain.

What Are The Benefits Of A Spain Retirement Visa?

There are quite a few benefits that come with spending your retirement days in Spain. Let's take a look at these in detail:

No Investments Are Required

Unlike the Spain Golden Visa program, you are not required to make any investments if you want to apply for a Retirement Visa for Spain. 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

Another benefit of the Spain Retirement Visa 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 this Spain Retirement Visa, 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 visa at 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 your Retirement Visa.

Your Spain Retirement Visa will allow you to enter and enjoy Spanish residency for a year. Afterward, you can renew it for an additional 2 years. After that, you'll be able to renew your NLV two times. Finally, after 5 years, you can apply for a long-term residency permit, and 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 toward Spanish nationality. To qualify, you need to 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 your Retirement Visa, you can still invest in Spain. If you choose to do so, you can make any type of investment in Spain, allowing you to create an additional source of income.

How Long Does My Retirement Visa Take 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 The Retirement 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 EUR for your visa application, payable with money order to the order of Consulate General of Spain. Note that the fee is non-refundable, and paying it doesn't guarantee a successful visa application.

What Are The Key Requirements For A Spain Retirement Visa?

To be eligible for your Retirement Visa, you must meet the following key requirements:

Proof That You Have Sufficient Funds To Support Yourself

One of the main requirements for a Non-Lucrative Visa (your Retirement Visa) is that you must prove 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 be eligible for the Spain Retirement Visa, 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.

Proof That You Have Private Health Insurance

Unfortunately, you're not able to access the public health care system of Spain with your Retirement Visa. 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.

Your health insurance must meet the following requirements:

    Your health insurance must be provided by a Spanish insurance 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.

Private health insurance in Spain can be obtained at a fairly low cost. You can expect to pay between €50 to €200 per month, depending on which coverage plan you choose.

You Must Meet The Minimum Stay Requirements

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

What Are The Required Documents For A Spain Retirement Visa?

Every applicant for the Retirement Visa must present the following documents if they wish to retire in Spain:

For Yourself

    A Non-Lucrative Visa Application Form: The National Visa 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 must be valid for at least 1 year and have 2 blank visa pages available for your visa.

    2 Passport Photos: Your passport photos must be recent and in color.

    A Verified 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. Documents you must present your proof of income (current bank statement, annuities, social security checks, pension statements, etc.)

    Clean Criminal Record/Police 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. They must confirm that you have been examined and are free of contagious diseases under the International Health Regulation. It must be signed by the doctor and include a letterhead that is not older than 3 months.

    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.

    Payment Receipt: You must 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.

    Recent tax return

You can now use Atlys' free passport photo tool to get yours. It's as easy as taking/uploading a photo, and the tool crops and resizes everything for you.

For Your Spouse

In addition to the above-mentioned 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.

For Your Children

You'll need to present the above-mentioned documents along with the following:

    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 The Spain Retirement Visa?

Finally, we can start your Retirement Visa application process. Here's where you learn how to retire in Spain.

There are plenty of Spanish Embassies around the world. Each of these Embassies has a slightly different process when it comes to their 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 Spain Retirement Visa and retire in Spain.

It's an easy 4 step process:

    Step 1: Schedule An Appointment At The Embassy

    Step 2: Gather The Required Documents For Your Spain Retirement Visa

    Step 3: Attend Your Visa Appointment

    Step 4: Collect Your Retirement Visa

Step 1: Schedule An Appointment At The Embassy

When applying for your Spain Retirement Visa, 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.

Step 2: Gather The Required Documents For Your Spain Retirement Visa

Now that you've scheduled an appointment, you must gather the required documents. You'll notice that there are quite a few documents you must get. We recommend that you create a checklist of the required documents.

This makes the collection process easier and quicker. Also, you must ensure that all your documents are translated into English and get an Apostille Stamp (Only if applicable).

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.

Step 3: Attend Your Visa Appointment

After you have gathered all the required documents, you need to travel to your appointment at the Embassy. At the Embassy, you'll have an in-person interview with Embassy officials. During the interview, you'll be asked to answer some simple questions about your trip to Spain. Be sure that you answer truthfully and to the best of your knowledge. Furthermore, you'll need to submit all the documents you have gathered and pay the visa application fee.

Once you have completed the interview and submitted your documents, embassy officials will collect your biometric information. Your biometric information will include your fingerprints, a digital photo, and your signature.

You can expect to receive feedback within about 2 - 3 months from the day you submit your documents.

Step 4: Collect Your Retirement Visa

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

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

What Must I Do Once I Arrive In Spain?

Once you arrive in Spain, you will need to replace your Spain Retirement Visa with a residency card. Getting a residency card is a crucial part of the process of retiring in Spain.

Your Retirement Visa will be granted for 90 days, so within this time, you must travel to Spain and present it at the Immigration Office. Here, you'll need to apply for the residency card that will replace your Retirement Visa.

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

    Your passport and a copy of your main page

    Your resolution letter from the Spanish government. The resolution letter is an approval letter that you'll receive 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. You'll be informed of 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 Spanish Retirement Visa?

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.

To renew your Retirement Visa, you will need the following documents:

    Your current Residency Card (TIE)

    Two copies of the EX-01 form

    Paid/stamped authorization form M790 C052

    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.

Tips: Free Atlys Tools You Can Use To Travel With Certainty

I know you will be very excited about this next section because I am.

These tools were created by travelers for travelers to make traveling easier. Here's a list of Atlys' free tools that will make your next visa application a breeze:

Atlys is a visa app that holds the record for the fastest visa application in the worldYou can use this app to obtain a visa for any of the Schengen countries on your next trip

Enjoy Your Retirement!

You're finally finished with the entire process, and you can now start your Retirement Visa application and successfully retire in Spain. After reading through this guide, all your questions about how to retire to Spain should be answered.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

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 Retirement Visa, 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.

It's 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.

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