Navigating the Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV) Process for Relocating to Spain

10 June 2024 | Tags: , , , ,

Relocating to Spain has become increasingly popular, especially among non-European nationals, including UK Nationals, Americans and Australians. This surge in interest is primarily driven by the appeal of Spain’s beautiful landscapes, favourable climate and rich cultural heritage. However, post-Brexit, the process of relocating to Spain has become more intricate, especially concerning visa requirements. The Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV) stands out as the most sought-after visa for those looking to retire or reside in Spain without working.

Alex Radford and Colin Robson from WELCOME Estates talk through the process which forms a comprehensive guide to the intricacies of obtaining an NLV, ensuring a smooth transition to your new life in Spain.


Who Should Consider the Non-Lucrative Visa?

The NLV is most appropriate for individuals who wish to live in Spain without engaging in any professional activities or employment. This visa is ideal for retirees, individuals with sufficient passive income from investments, pensions, or rental properties, and those who can financially support themselves without working in Spain. As a post-Brexit solution, it has become the go-to visa for many Brits, as well as non-European nationals like Canadians, Americans, Australians and New Zealanders.

Key Highlights and Requirements for the Non-Lucrative Visa

  • Spanish Address: Applicants must provide a Spanish address, typically the address of the property they intend to buy or rent in Spain.
  • Health Insurance: Applicants of retirement age can apply for form S1 to access the Spanish healthcare system. Those under retirement age must have private medical insurance. After one year of residency and being registered on the local census (Padron), non-retirees can switch to the Spanish healthcare system using the Convenio Especial and paying a monthly fee.
  • Medical Certificate: A clean bill of health is required, confirmed by a medical certificate stating that the applicant does not suffer from any serious illnesses as per World Health Organization guidelines.
  • Criminal Record: Applicants need a clean criminal record certificate, generally covering the past five years. Minor past infractions, especially those over five years old, typically do not pose an issue.
  • Financial Resources: Proof of sufficient financial resources is crucial. For an individual, this means having at least €28,800 in savings or income from passive sources. For married couples, the requirement is €36,000, and for a family of four, it is €50,400. These figures are reviewed annually and adjusted for inflation. *these figures are correct at the time of publishing (June 2024)
  • Documentation: Applicants must present various documents, including duplicate marriage or birth certificates if applicable, all dated within the last three months before application submission.

Application Process

Applicants must apply for the NLV at the Spanish Consulate in their home country. In the UK, there are three consulates: London, Manchester and Edinburgh. The consulate covering your residential area will handle your application. Upon approval, applicants receive their visa, which allows them to enter Spain.

Once in Spain, new residents must:

  • Register at the local town hall (Padron)
  • Apply for a Foreigner’s Identity Card (T.I.E. – Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero) at the Foreigner’s office, which involves presenting their passport, visa, and other required documents

Renewal and Long-term Considerations

The NLV is initially granted for one year. Upon renewal, the visa extends for two years. During the renewal process, applicants must again prove they have sufficient financial resources. It’s essential to plan finances carefully, ensuring continuous eligibility for the visa.

Financial and Tax Implications – Timing

Timing the sale of a UK property is crucial due to Spanish tax regulations. Spain taxes gains from the sale of the primary residence unless all proceeds are reinvested in a new property in Spain. Avoiding Spanish tax residency in the year of selling UK property can help mitigate potential capital gains tax. Therefore, strategic planning and professional advice are highly recommended.

Healthcare System in Spain

The Spanish healthcare system is robust and efficient. Those registered on the Padron can access the national health services, which offer comprehensive care. Private medical insurance can also be maintained for quicker access to services like tests and appointments.


Relocating to Spain with an NLV requires meticulous planning and adherence to specific requirements. Ensuring all documents are in order and financial criteria are met will pave the way for a successful application. By taking expert legal and financial advice early in the process, prospective residents can ensure a smooth transition and enjoy their new life in Spain without unexpected complications.

For tailored advice and support throughout your relocation process, consult with the professionals in our VISA team who are familiar with Spanish laws and requirements.

Additionally Download our free legal advice guides for updates to the VISA process.

My Lawyer in Spain

Written by:
My Lawyer in Spain

< Back to blog posts

You may also be interested in...

Ask us for a Quote

We know you will want to know how much your legal advice will cost, so we are committed to confirming costs of our services to you in writing.

Join Our Newsletter

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: . You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

On the day at the notary Alex was the first to arrive yet the furthest away… [he] is an absolute gentleman and true professional. A definite 10/10.

S. Knowlts