Demand for Spain’s ‘Golden and Retirement Visas’ skyrockets as U.S. and Latin American Businesspeople want to live and invest in a ‘fun, safe’ country with a low cost of living.

Soaring numbers of wealthy Americans and Latin Americans are buying ‘golden passports’ that grant them citizenship to Spain and other ‘safe’ countries over fears of impending civil unrest, newly elected leftist leaders, and economic uncertainties in their home country. At a time of increasing globalization, and in particular for residents of politically or economically fewer stable regions, it is becoming increasingly important to be flexible. This also means being able to travel freely and independently with your family. Spain, as one of the safest and fastest growing countries in Europe offer fast track programs to obtain a second residency, or travel authorization for non-EU citizens. Holders of Golden Visas can reside and travel freely within the Schengen area. Through purchasing property or investing in companies, fixed-term deposits or government bonds, the investor can enjoy unrestricted travel and residency, or even permanent residency and citizenship.


At Global Legal and JLCA & AS.- Lawyers we help investors and wealthy businesspeople form the U.S. and Latin America obtain residency, visa and citizenship in Spain. The demand in recent years has skyrocketed. The Spanish government began the “golden visa program” which offers visa and residency via a real estate investment route to gaining residency in Spain. The program in Spain has been in operation since September 2013. The golden visa program in Spain is flexible in terms of the family options it offers however it is restrictive when it comes to the route to citizenship. Government fees are low, and the process is quick. It is ideal for residency but less so for those requiring a second passport. In the last 10 years we have supported hundreds of entrepreneurs, investors, and high-net-worth individuals in obtaining second residency or citizenship in Spain. 


At Global Legal and JLCA & AS.- Lawyers said they have seen more inquiries from AU.S. and Latin American clients over the past two years than in the previous 10 combined. 

Spain launched its golden visa program in 2013. An investment of €500,000 in real estate will gain family residency. The Spanish investor visa can be renewed every two years. After five years it is possible to gain permanent residency and after ten years citizenship. It is not necessary to live in Spain in order to retain and renew the residency visa permit.



An investment of €500,000 is required in real estate in Spain. The property, either residential or commercial, can be rented for income. Any number of properties can combine to make up the €500,000 minimum investment. Joint buyers can combine investments into one property. The property can be mortgaged for any investment exceeding the minimum.


The applicant needs to have committed to the investment prior to applying for the visa. An application can be made once a contract for sale has been signed and prior to completion of the sale at the notary. However, the funds must be ready for investment in a bank account in Spain. The application for the residency visa then takes just 10 – 15 days. It is issued for two years, if applied for in Spain, and can then be renewed for a further five years provided the investment is maintained.

Once a property has been selected through, Global Legal and JLCA & Abogados can take care of the application process, conveyancing and legal work for the property. A typical application involves initial discussion with us followed by a 3 or 4 day visit to Spain to view properties, meet with lawyers and open a bank account. The golden visa application after this point can be made within Spain or at a consulate outside of Spain. Read more on the process for the Spanish golden visa.


In addition to the real estate investment applicants will need a clear criminal record, medical insurance and sufficient economic means to cover any stay in Spain. Also, applicants must not have previously been refused visas or entry into the Schengen zone. Applicants satisfying such criteria are granted the golden visa in Spain.


Global Legal and JLCA & Abogados fees will apply for the processing of the golden visa for the applicant and family. Such fees will vary depending on family make up and situation. We recommend providing around €8,000 for a single application or €10,500 for a family application. In addition, a government processing fee applies of 70 Euros per applicant.

Buying real estate in Spain attracts certain taxes, stamp duty and fees. We recommend investors budget for around 12-13% in total, the main element being VAT (IVA). In addition, there are conveyancing fees, typically around 1.0% of the property purchase price.


Qualifying family members include spouse and all children under 18. Children 18 and over and parents can qualify if dependent.


Investors will only be taxed on their worldwide income if they are resident in Spain for over 183 days in any year. For those non-resident individuals’ tax is charged at 24.75% on income derived in the country, such as rental income. This can be reduced with expenses. Capital gains tax (CGT) applies to any profit on the sale of a property.  CGT starts at 24% rising to 27% for gains over €50,000. There are allowances and deductions that can be made.  Annual property taxes are payable to the local authority, typically €200 – €400 per year for an apartment.


Applicants deciding to live full time in Spain will require medical insurance. However, families will have access to all public services including state medical care and schooling. State schooling follows the Spanish curriculum but there are many English international schools also.


The Spanish residence permit gained through the golden visa allows freedom of travel throughout the EU Schengen zone.


Permanent Residency can be gained after five years in Spain provided the applicant has lived in the country for more than six months each year. Citizenship in Spain can be applied for after 10 years. However, applicants will need to have been resident throughout that period in order to gain citizenship and a Spanish passport. Once applicants have either permanent residency or citizenship then they are free to dispose of their investment as further golden visa renewals are not necessary.


Applicants gain the right to live in Spain with the golden visa although there is no requirement to do this. There is no minimum stay requirement. With the residency card all family members will have freedom to travel to and throughout the EU Schengen visa zone with ease and without further visa applications. Gaining a passport in Spain is a long process and requires the applicant to live in the country. However, eventual passport holders gain European residency, meaning the ability to live, work, study and travel freely anywhere within the European Union.

The application process is fast and the government fees are low. The process is very straightforward. 

Retirement Visa (Non-Lucrative Visa) Requirements and Application

What are The Type Of Retirement Visas Available For Spain?

In this post, Global Legal and JLCA & AS.- Lawyers will discuss 2 types of visas you can use to retire in Spain. The 2 options are the Spain Golden Visa program and the Spain Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV).

Let’s take a look at the 2 options available.

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 working, living and studying in Spain. Nevertheless, to qualify for the Spain Golden Visa, you must make a substantial investment in Spain. The investment options include real estate, bonds, company creation, and so on.

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.

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 amongst the most popular type of visas 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 like other Spain visas.

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 to the Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV) as the Spain Retirement Visa. Here, you’ll find everything you need to know about the Non-Lucrative Visa as a Retirement Visa, and how you can apply for Non-Lucrative residency.

Who Can Apply For A Spain Retirement Visa?

The 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 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?

When applying for your Retirement Visa, 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 a Retirement Visa. 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 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. 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 Spanish nationality. To qualify, you need 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.

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 prove you have sufficient funds, you can present adequate savings or prove that you have a guaranteed income.

To be eligible for the Spain Retirement Visa, you’ll need to show that you have a total amount of €27,792´96 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 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 obtain at a fairly low cost. You can expect to pay between €50 – €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.


Frequently Asked Questions

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

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.


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 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.


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.


Do I Need A Spanish Bank Account And How Do I Open One?

Yes. This is not a mandatory requirement, but if you’re planning to stay in Spain for a while, a Spanish bank account will make fiscal activities considerably easier.

The easiest way to open your Spanish bank account is when you are in Spain. You simply need to go to your preferred bank and bring along the necessary documents. Bear in mind that you might have to bring a translator as there are few English-speaking staff. At Global Legal and JLCA & Abogados we will help you through this process via a Power of Attorney.  

You’ll need to bring the following documents with you:

Your passport or a government issued travel document- Spanish foreigner identification number (NIE) and certificate (número de identificación de extranjeros)

Proof of address

Proof of employment status.

This can be an employment contract, student card, and so on.

Note that all of the documents you provide must be in Spanish. If it’s not, you can get it certified and translated by a certified translator.

Once you arrive in Spain, you can head over to your nearest bank and open your own Spanish bank account. Note that you’ll need to bring along all the required documents. Ensure to make copies of them and keep them safe during your travel.

What Are The Tax Requirements For A Non-Lucrative Visa/Retirement 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.

You are eligible to pay Spanish income tax on your worldwide income:

If you have an annual income of more than more than €22,000 from employment

If you’re self-employed in Spain or own a business, there.

If you receive rental income that is more than €1,000 a year

If you have capital gains and savings income that is more than €1,600 a year

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.

Do I Need To Apply For My NIE?

If you plan to apply for a Non-Lucrative Visa as your Retirement Visa, you don’t need to apply for an NIE. Your NIE will be assigned to you on your Retirement Visa.

Do I Need To Present Proof Of Accommodation When Applying For My Retirement Visa?

When applying for a Spain Non-Lucrative Visa as a Retirement Visa, you don’t need to present proof of accommodation. However, this might not be the case for all Spanish Embassies or Consulates.

It is highly recommended that you contact your nearest Spanish Embassy to ensure that you collect the correct documents and follow their specific visa application process.

Can I Work In Spain With My Non-Lucrative Visa/Retirement Visa?

No. You are not allowed to work for a Spanish employer in Spain with your Non-Lucrative Visa.

When Should I Start The Retirement Visa Application?

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

What Documents Of Mine Require An Apostille Stamp?

When applying for your Retirement Visa, you’ll need to get an Apostille Stamp on the following documents:


Criminal Record Background Check

Medical Report

Marriage Certificate

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 EUROS (2021) 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.

Can Citizens from the European Union Apply For a Non-Lucrative Visa?

No. The NLV is designed and created for non-EU/EEA and Switzerland citizens. EU/EEA and Switzerland citizens enjoy the benefit of living, studying, and working in Spain without the need to apply for a specific visa. Note that EU citizens who wish to stay in Spain for a long period will need to register themselves with government authorities.

At Global Legal and JLCA & Abogados our team of highly experienced and team of qualified lawyers will assist you with every step of obtaining one of Europe’s most attractive and privileged investor and retirement visas. 

We have offices located in Miami, Madrid, Alicante, London, and Brussels!   


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