Spanish Residency – Which Visa is Best For Me?

Alexandra FitzRoy-Stone

Since Brexit, and the fact that non-EU citizens are unable to stay in the Schengen area for more than 90 days in any 180-day period, we have seen a massive increase in the number of Brits applying for residency in Spain. The main routes being through the Non-Lucrative Visa, Golden Visa, or the new Digital Nomad Visa that was released this year.

Depending on where the applicant is located at the time of application, there are two ways to apply for these forms of residency:

  1. Outside of Spain, through a Spanish Consulate or Embassy in the home country region.
  2. From Spain, (if you are in the country legally), using a legal representative, who will apply on the applicant’s behalf through the Spanish Large Companies and Strategic Collectives Unit (UGE-CE) online portal.

If the visa is obtained through a Spanish consulate it is valid for a period of 1 year, after which it can then be renewed in blocks of 2 years; however, if applied for through the UGE-CE portal in Spain, the visa will be valid for a period of 3 years, before being renewed for a further 2 years.

Family members such as spouses or partners, and dependent relatives and children can either apply jointly at the same time as the main applicant, or at a later stage.

The Digital Nomad Visa

In March 2023 the Spanish government unveiled the opportunity for non-EU digital nomads, or teleworkers, to apply for residency to work and live anywhere in Spain, whilst working remotely for a foreign company not located in the country. A ‘digital nomad’ or a ‘teleworker’ is a person who carries out a professional/working activity exclusively via telematic means.

Where the applicant is undertaking working activity as an employee, they may only work for companies located outside of Spain. Where they are undertaking professional activity as a self-employed person, they may work for a company located in Spain, provided that the amount of work does not exceed 20% of the total professional activity.

The Golden Visa

The Golden Visa is applicable to all non-EU citizens who make a significant capital investment in Spain the following areas:

  1. Financial assets, making an initial investment of a value equal to or greater than: Two million euros in Spanish public debt securities; or one million euros in shares or equity investments in Spanish capital companies with a real and continuous business activity.
  2. One million euros in investment funds, closed-end investment funds or venture capital funds that are incorporated in Spain, and included within the scope of Law 35/2003 or 22/2014.
  3. One million euros in bank deposits in Spanish financial institutions.
  4. The acquisition of real estate with an investment value of 500,000 euros or more per applicant (not including mortgages loans or taxes).

The Non-Lucrative Visa

The non-lucrative visa is a great option for those non-EU citizens who do not work, i.e., pensioners, as it is prohibited to engage in any work or professional activity whilst on this visa.

Although some might see this visa as a loophole to get past staying in the Schengen area longer than 90-days, it is not designed that way and there are commitments that must be met. For instance, it is a requirement that Spain becomes your country of main residency; meaning, you must reside in Spain for more than 6 months of the year (ideally the full year), therefore becoming a tax resident of the country. Furthermore, you will need to convert your driving license to a Spanish one 6 months after receiving residency to be able to drive legally.

Each visa has its own detailed list of compulsory documentation needed for successful application, however mutual prerequisites include the need to prove sufficient financial means based on certain percentages in line with Spain’s minimum wage indicator (IPREM), as well as holding private medical insurance contracted with an insurance entity authorised to operate in Spain.

If you would like to discuss anything mentioned in this article, please contact Nockolds Lawyers Spain, (an affiliated business of Nockolds Solicitors) by filling in the online enquiry form and a member of the Team will be happy to assist.

Nockolds Lawyers Spain S.L. is a Spanish incorporated entity with Spanish Identification Number (NIF) B88495577; with place of business at C/ Goya 11 – 29680 Estepona (Málaga). Nockolds Lawyers Spain S.L. is an affiliated business of Nockolds Solicitors Limited. As a Spanish entity it is not authorised or regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.