Spanish Non-Lucrative Visas From The UK – Ultimate Help Guide

Relocating to Spain can feel like a confusing process when you have so many documents to gather. Even if you've been living there for a while, changes in status due to Brexit is leaving lots of people in an urgent situation trying to apply for their residence visas in order to stay in the country. Here we look at the popular Non-Lucrative Visa and what's required to obtain it.

In this article

What is a Non-Lucrative Visa and who is eligible?

If you are a UK citizen, or from any other non-EU country, and want to reside in Spain for more than 6 months, you’ll need to apply for this type of visa. It will allow you to live in Spain, as long as you don’t undertake any business or paid work whilst you’re there. This is a popular choice for those looking to retire there.

If you are a UK citizen who was already living in Spain before 31st of December 2020, you may not need to apply for a Spanish Non-Lucrative visa. You should have been issued a TIE Card by the government, which will allow you to remain legally.

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What is a TIE Card?

A TIE Card, or Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero, are biometric ID cards which were designed specifically for British Expats living in Spain as part of the EU withdrawal agreement between the UK and Spain. They were first introduced on 6th of July 2020 and replace the original Green Cards.

If you don’t yet have one, contact the Immigration Department in your local region to apply. You will need to know the date of the start of your residency in Spain, show proof of medical cover, evidence of your ability to support yourself financially and present a valid UK passport.

What criteria do you need to meet for a Non-Lucrative Visa?

In order to qualify for the visa, you must meet certain guidelines set out by the government. Along with the documents listed below, you must complete an application form to accompany your other documentation, which can be found here.

  • Have a UK residence permit (for non-UK Nationals)
  • Passport with at least one year validity before the date of expiry
  • Have proof of your ability to support yourself financially 
  • Hold no criminal record in either the UK or Spain 
  • Be in no legal or other negative situations within Spain
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To find the full list of documentation you require, contact the Spanish Consulate in your country. They will be able to advise on the up-to-date requirements and you will need to organise an interview in-person once your submission has been made.

How long is the visa valid for?

Your first visa will be valid for 12 months, at which point it will need to be renewed. The next two renewals will be valid for a period of 2 years, followed by a long-term visa being granted on your third application (after a total period of 5 years in the country).

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How do you get a medical certificate for your visa?

One of the documents you will always need to provide is a medical certificate. Although the name suggests an official document, this is simply a letter from a medical professional.

It must be issued within 3 months of your application and be signed and dated by a registered medical practitioner. The letter must contain a declaration referring to the International Health Regulations in order to be accepted. An example of phrasing which should be included in the letter is as follows:

“This health certificate states that Mr./Mrs. (…) does not suffer from any of the diseases that may have serious public health repercussions in accordance with what is stipulated by the International Health Regulations of 2005”.

Other information which should appear includes your full name and date of birth, as well as the practitioners name, profession, any registrations they hold and their original signature and date.

How do you Apostille the letter?

In order to have your medical certificate recognised by the Spanish Consulate, it must be legalised by the UK government. This is done through the process of having an “Apostille” applied to the reverse of the document, which is issued by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

This will authenticate the document as genuine and the practitioners signature will be verified by the FCDO. It’s important that you don’t have your letter certified by anyone else after it has been issued, as this will cause issues with the legalisation process.

Does it need to be translated?

As your letter will be in English, it must also be supported by a Sworn Translation into Spanish in order to be accepted for your application.

Only Sworn Translations from government-recognised translators will be recognised by the Consulate. To find a Sworn Translator, you can view the official government list here. Those located within the UK are listed towards the end of the document from page 938 under “Reino Unido”.

You can have your Apostille applied either before or after you send your letter for translation. Apostilles issued within the UK include Spanish as well as French as standard, so it’s not important that your translator includes this.

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What else requires an Apostille and translation?

Another document which must be Apostilled as part of your application is a Criminal Background Check which covers at least the previous 5 years. If you are requesting this from the UK, this must be an ACRO certificate, which can be ordered online through the official website. This must have also been issued within 3 months of your application and be translated into Spanish, alongside your medical certificate.

What’s next after the paperwork is ready?

Once you’ve confirmed the list of documents and have everything ready for submission, you will need to request an appointment to apply at the Embassy in London, if you’re in the UK. These are only available on Tuesdays and Fridays and must be requested via email. Each individual requesting a visa must have their own appointment, including family members who are also making an application.

A Non-Lucrative residence visa can be applied for up to 90 days before your planned date of arrival in Spain.

Getting help with your Apostilles

If you have your medical letter and ACRO certificate, you’ll need to have them legalised. We have handled many of these letters for customers needing our help. As there are many issues which can arise when having letters legalised, they are very often rejected if something is overlooked, causing a delay in your application further down the line.

The issues can arise either at the FCDO stage, or even when you supply the documents at the Embassy. To ensure it’s done correctly, first time, get in touch with our specialists. We can ensure everything is prepared to the Embassy’s guidelines, so you won’t lose money or precious time having to re-process them.

Still got questions? Just get in touch with our friendly team of specialists. You can give us a call directly on +44 (0) 330 088 1142, send us a message via WhatsApp on mobile, use our live chat system, or e-mail us at

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Ashraf Vachhiat
Ashraf Vachhiat

Ashraf is the Marketing Technologist at Vital Consular, which means he handles all the technicalities involved in bringing this blog to life! He also enjoys creating in-depth articles around current affairs which impact the travel and relocation industry. In his free time, Ashraf relishes travelling as much as possible, and is always looking for quirky spots to take some great photos.

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    • Hi Amanda. we will get in touch with you shortly via email to find out how we can help, then we can give you a cost and timescale. Thanks!

    • Hey Syed,

      Me too! I went to Prague recently and it was incredible. Have you ever heard of Schengen Visas? They let you travel through loads of different countries on ONE visa. Unfortunately we don’t offer them as a service anymore, but if you visit our blog post by clicking here, you can find out loads of information about what they are and how to apply. Hope this helps!

    • Hey Roger,

      Unfortunately, we no longer offer visa services. If, as part of your visa application, you need documents legalising we’d certainly be happy to help with that, but we’re unable to advise you on the visa application itself. We’d recommend you getting in touch with the Spanish embassy – sorry we can’t be of more help!

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