This is going to be a long post, but hopefully it will be helpful!
To stay in Spain or anywhere in the EU for more than 90 days in any 180 day period you need to apply for a visa.
The visa we applied for is known as the non-lucrative visa or NLV. It is the usual one that retiring expats apply for and means you are not going to be working in Spain. The main requirements are to prove you:
- Have sufficient economic means to support yourself and your family
- Have approved medical insurance
- Have passed an enhanced criminal records check
The process is fairly straight forward, with some small hoops to jump through, but nothing too complicated. The biggest issue we found was the conflicting information from the web about what was required. I am going to describe our experience and what we did to apply for our NLV at the Manchester consulate.
There are plenty of companies who will help you through the process if you prefer. We did consider using one, but in the end did not bother. The process is definitely do-able you just need to follow the checklist from the Spanish government and not skip anything and you will be fine!
The definitive checklist is this site from the Spanish government, everything else is just my experience.
Contact the consulate and get an appointment for each person who will be applying for visas. For Manchester this has to be done by email. You will probably need about a month to gather together all the bits and bobs below so allow time for this:
- Your passport needs to be valid and have a year or more until expiry.
- A set of recent passport-sized photos.
- A completed National Visa Application Form
- A completed non-working visa application form (known as an EX01)
- Proof of financial means. We do not have an income so need to prove our savings were sufficient to cover our needs for 12 months. If you are receiving an income, you will need to provide statements to show this.
The income requirement is calculated with something called the IPREM. This is the Spanish government calculation for the cost of living. For 2022 it is set at 6948€.
For the first visa applicant, you need to be able to prove 400% x 6948€ (27792€), plus an extra 6948€ for each dependent application. So for a couple you need to prove savings or income of 34740€.
The money can be in Sterling equivalent in a British bank, but I think it would be a big help to your case if you have at least some of the funds in Euros in a Spanish bank. We already had a Spanish bank account so it was possible to get a PDF certificate of our account balance emailed which satisfied the consulate.
- Health insurance certificate for a recognised Spanish insurance provider. We found the charity Age In Spain to be helpful and friendly. They were able to set us up with recommended health insurance (which is miles cheaper than similar insurance in the UK). In addition they have translation services and lots of other information – highly recommended!
- Criminal record check. This is not the same as a CRB that people who work with young people have. You need to contact ACRO to get a criminal records check.
- Medical certificate. Age in Spain can put you in touch with a doctor who will ask you to fill in a health questionnaire followed by an interview on a video call. When complete he will email you a digitally signed PDF which you can print out to use for the application.
- Payment form 790-052.
- For couples or dependants, proof of relationship such as birth or marriage certificates.
In addition, anything issued by a non-Spanish organisation will need to be translated and legalised (stamped and made official). For translations, Age in Spain helped us out, and for the legalising we used Hague Apostille service.
Phew! Hope that is enough to get started. In the next post I will attempt to describe our experience on the day of our interview at the consulate.