If you are seeking to spend over 90 days in Spain at any one time, or to move there full-time, do not despair that Brexit has made it more complicated. The Non-Lucrative Visa (or NLV) is the obvious option for financially self-sufficient retirees, or for anyone not planning to work in Spain.
Yes, it’s fair to say that the process to apply for this visa involves a fair amount of paperwork and some procedures unfamiliar to most Britons but this is where we can help. Some applicants may feel confident to manage the application alone, yet many testify to the time-saving benefit but also the peace of mind of using specialist legal assistance. As one recent applicant puts it: “Very aware that the paperwork has to be completely in order or we will be rejected at our interview at the Spanish consulate we decided that paying for legal support during the application was money well spent.”
The support can start at the outset, to check your eligibility, with a free chat over Zoom. This will immediately determine if you will fulfil the income criteria (you will need to show proof of more or less £2,500 per month for a married couple/civil partnership) and also your status. Bear in mind that you cannot be in receipt of a salary when applying, and you cannot plan to be remote working in Spain.
If you are planning on spending over €500,000 (£422k) on buying a property, and do wish to work in Spain, then the golden visa might be a better option – we can advise you on this too.
Private healthcare cover is also needed with both types of visa. If you are over 65 and have an S1 certificate you will also require this cover – initially – unless you are registered as a legal resident in Spain. This is rather a Catch-22 situation as clearly you can’t become a legal resident until you’ve got a visa. Check your eligibility for private healthcare cover before you start spending money on the visa application process – especially if you have pre-existing conditions.
Once we’ve determined your eligibility, we can support you in preparing the documentation, which involves 12 separate pieces of paperwork. These will be submitted at a face-to-face appointment at one of the UK based Spanish consulates.
“We will also provide a covering letter, simplifying the financial element for the consulate, so they can more easily make a decision without deep-diving into bank statements,” says Mark McMillan, Relocation Manager for Sun Lawyers. “There is nothing more off-putting [for them] than scrabbling amongst pieces of paper.” It is also useful to highlight the relevant income information on bank statements.
Sun Lawyers can also assist with the police check, or ACRO, by ordering this for you, and provide guidance on the medical certificate required (not be confused with healthcare cover policy document). The medical certificate (stating you do not have any disease that could cause serious repercussions to public health) can be obtained from private healthcare providers (at a cost), or in some cases, GPs, both of which then require legalisation by apostille and sworn translation. It is therefore worth considering – if you are going to be visiting Spain – obtaining this certificate from a pharmacy-based clinic, at a cost of €55-60, saving the translation costs.
Sun Lawyers will ensure that all your paperwork is in order but do bear in mind that timing is crucial. Three of the certificates – the legalised ACRO, medical and marriage certificates – will expire after three months so you need to make sure you do not get them too far in advance of your appointment at the consulate. Another key thing to note: your marriage certificate must be a newly issued one – not older than three months.
On timing, when is it advisable to book your appointment at one of the UK consulates? Under current conditions we suggest you start the process at least 90 days before you plan to travel to Spain. “Currently the London consulate requires that you have your ACRO in place before you make an appointment. We expect the other consulates to follow suit in this,” advises Mark. Once you have your appointment, start preparing the other documents one month before you go to the consulate.
Mark also advises that you use a Spanish broker for the healthcare cover as a sworn translation will be required of a policy document in English – if this sounds all very onerous, don’t worry because we’ll provide guidance on this, and ensure that any slip-ups will not jeopardise your application. If the paperwork is not all in order, there is a chance of rejection that will mean booking another appointment, your documents expiring and more expenses.
So what is the cost of the whole visa process? The consulate fee for each visa is £516 and Sun Lawyers charge a fixed fee of €350 per person. Add in the cost of the five sworn translations, admin, translation, and courier fees (you will pay more if you request the express service), registration upon arrival to Spain and you should expect to pay around £1,500 each*. It’s the price that many are prepared to pay for the freedom to enjoy a new life in Spain.
You can read more about the visa application here or contact us for a chat.
*working: £516+€350+ other associated admin costs of less than £700 each.