Video: Visas for Moving to Spain as a Non EU Citizen

In today’s video, Javier and I talk about the most popular visas for moving to Spain as a non-EU Citizen.

These are the Spanish Golden Visa and the Non-Lucrative Visa.

Lisa: Hi, My name is Lisa Sadleir. I am a relocation consultant and personal property finder.

Javier: Hi, my name is Javier Ismael Fernández. I am a real estate and immigration lawyer in Costa del Sol.

Lisa: Today we are going to introduce you to two of the most popular visas for moving to Spain as a non-EU citizen. 

Javier: The Golden Visa and Non-Lucrative Visa

Lisa: The Golden Visa is almost like a passport to Europe for you and your family.

The Non-Lucrative Visa is possibly the easiest option for retirees or anyone wanting to test the water in Spain before making a larger financial commitment.

Although these visas are new to UK passport holders, as a result of Brexit, we have been assisting US, Canadian and other non-EU citizens with this process for many years.

Javier: Remember, after watching our video, send us your questions and we will publish the answers in FAQ follow up videos.

Lisa: Ok Javier, let’s start with the Golden Visa

What is the Golden visa and who is it for?

Javier: The Golden Visa is a residency permit for non-EU citizens who make a capital investment in Spain, being the most popular option, the purchase of real estate property to the value of 500.000€ or more.

Lisa: What is the application process?

Javier: The first step is to purchase the property or properties.

Next, we proceed with the registration of the ownership in the name of the buyer in the Land Registry.

Then we start the Golden Visa process.

If the purchaser is in Spain, we apply at the Spanish central immigration services.

If the purchaser is not in Spain, we start the application with the Spanish Consulate in their home country.

Lisa: What are the main requirements of the golden visa?

Javier: The main requirement is the acquisition of real estate to the amount of 500,000 euros or more. The investor could buy one or more properties as long as the minimum total value is 500,000 euros. It is important to point out that such an investment must be free of charges, therefore only mortgages on the excess will be allowed, i.e. provided that at least 500,000 Euros are the own funds of the investor.

Lisa: So for example You can purchase a property that costs 800.000€ with a mortgage of 300.000€ or less?

Javier: Yes

Lisa: And you could say, purchase a family home for around 350.000€ and an investment rental apartment for say €200.000?

Javier: Yes. Exactly! 

Lisa: Ok, so that is the financing clear. What would you say are the other main requirements for a successful Golden Visa residency application?

Javier: The main requirements are to provide health insurance, not to have a criminal record and to prove sufficient financial means to support the applicant and family members during the period of residency in Spain.

Lisa: In your opinion Javier, what are the main advantages of the Golden Visa? Why is it the most popular of the Visas for Moving to Spain?

Javier: For me, the main advantage is the possibility to obtain a residency permit that can be renewed by simply maintaining the investment and entering Spain once a year. 

And that, for the first time, does not require the investor to stay in Spain and become a tax resident for that purpose. 

This means an investor can obtain residency for themself and their family and decide whether they want to settle here permanently or not. 

Also, it has the advantage that it comes with a work permit for Spain and the possibility to move freely within the Schengen area.

Lisa: Now let’s look at the Non-lucrative visa

What is the Non-Lucrative visa and who is it for?

Javier: The non-lucrative visa allows non-EU citizens to stay in Spain for a period of more than 90 days without carrying out work or professional activities. 

Lisa: What is the application process?

Javier: This visa must be applied for before moving to Spain. Applications are submitted at the Spanish consulate in your area. It is important to get your timing right with this visa as it is only valid for 90 days. And once in Spain, you have 30 days to apply for your Spanish TIE / foreigners residency card.

Lisa: What are the main requirements of the NL visa?

Javier: You need to prove that you can financially support yourself and your dependents, whilst you are living in Spain on this visa. Each year, the exact quantities required are published. We will talk in more detail about this in another video.

Lisa: If you use the link below to visit you will find more information about this.

Javier: Like the golden Visa, you also need to prove private healthcare, criminal background checks and other personal documents.

Lisa: I think we need to stress the importance of timing with these visas for moving to Spain. Most of the documents need to be legalised and officially translated, and these only have a validity of 3 months.

Javier: Yes. Definitely. A lot of work and money is involved in the NL visa application. And, if your application is not successful, no money is refunded!

Lisa: So, would you say there are any advantages of the NL visa, Javier?

Javier: It all comes down to finances. The NL visa does not require capital investment.

A few questions for you Javier …

Lisa: If someone was in a position to apply for both visas, which one would you recommend and why?

Javier:  I would definitely recommend the golden visa.

  •  It only requires maintenance of the investment and entry into Spain once a year for the renewal. 
  • Tax residency is not a requirement for renewal (you are only a tax resident if you stay  6 months or more in our country). 
  • It allows you to work. 
  • The initial visa is for 2 years


Lisa: As you know Javier, I have always advised people, especially families with children, to rent before they buy here in Spain. Buying the wrong property is a very expensive mistake! What would you say if I recommended applying for the Non-Lucrative Visa for the first year in Spain, with a view to applying for the Golden Visa after 6 to 9 months? 

Javier: Can you explain your reasoning for this?

Lisa: I believe that this gives you more time to be certain you are in the correct location, you have picked the best school for your children and have not rushed into a property purchase.

Javier:  I agree with you, Lisa. The initial non-lucrative residency permit is valid for one year. Thus, if the applicant invests in a real estate asset for a minimum amount of 500,000 Euros during the first year, the non-lucrative residency could be converted into a Golden Visa with the advantages of this one


Lisa: As we mentioned, the NL Visa does not allow you to work in Spin. So, what are the options for somebody wanting to set up a business in Spain? As self-employed or as a company?

Javier: There is a self-employed/entrepreneur visa. However, this is the most difficult one as it is based on non-objective requirements. 

The two options are: 

  • Golden visa for “Proyecto empresarial” when talking about big projects with an impact on the Spanish economy (something that will be determined by the authorities).
  • Permiso de residencia y trabajo por cuenta propia: which requires a strong business plan.

I consider these options extremely risky as the chance of success is negligible. I wouldn’t recommend them.

To summarise …


– you have 500.000€ + to invest in Spanish property

– you don’t necessarily want to become a Spanish tax resident

– you want the option to work in Spain

– you want your family members included

-> The Golden Visa is your best option


– you don’t want to invest in Spanish property

– you have sufficient funds to support yourself and your family for at least 1 year

– you want a year to test the water before making more permanent plans

– you are happy to be a tax resident in Spain

-> The Non Lucrative Visa is your best option

Lisa: That’s all for today. We hope we have answered some of your questions.

It is a lot to take in so we will add links to articles for further reading in the description below.

Javier:  Please remember to SUBSCRIBE to this channel and to send us your questions. We will answer all your questions in a FAQ video series.

Lisa: Thanks for joining us and we look forward to welcoming you to southern Spain.