I just heard great news from my abogada that my non-lucrative visa renewal application was approved. We submitted the application in late July and I found out on 8/16/2021.
A non-lucrative visa is a residency visa that allows you to live in Spain for longer than the traditional 3 months allowed on a tourist visa. This is great because you also get to travel all over the EU with the same visa.
I have my entire visa journey outlined on my site. But others have written far better, in-depth articles regarding the process.
The non-lucrative visa application for Spain goes like this:
- Apply for an initial 1-year non-lucrative visa from the US
- Apply for a 2-year renewal (renewal #1)
- Apply for another 2-year renewal (renewal #2) (this is me!)
- Apply for 5-year long-term residency (renewal #3)
Hiring a Lawyer
In total, I spent 300 euros for my lawyer to handle the renewal process. I can make this money as a digital nomad physician fairly easily. But the time and headache wouldn’t have been worthwhile.
The only thing I needed to do is submit documents to her:
- proof of health insurance
- bank account statement
- copies of passport
She filled out the application on my behalf which saved me a lot of time. She also submitted the application online which I didn’t have to bother with.
Her firm also handled the translation of my bank account. I keep my funds mostly in the US. I have some money in my Spanish bank account but have been reluctant to move too much here.
Having an attorney saved me a lot of time. I tried to submit the application myself and it was tedious. I had to contact customer service because my cl@ve wasn’t working and I had to find a translator.
Instead, I spent my time doing what I do best – healthcare consulting. I prefer to spend my time doing what I enjoy and pay others to work on things they enjoy.
I will now pay the second half of the installment to my attorney (150 euros). I do this with my Spanish bank account but I can also pay through Paypal or credit card.
I need to show up to a fingerprinting appointment. The appointment was made by my attorney’s office so I just have to show up with my fingers.
Once the fingerprints are submitted I will get a notice that my TIE card (which has my NIE number on it) is ready to be picked up. The police station is very close to my house here in Santiago so that should be pretty straightforward.
In hindsight, living in a small but functional city like Santiago de Compostela was a brilliant move. If I wanted to get all of this done in Barcelona or Madrid or Seville, it would have been tougher with appointments and wait times and even fees.
Planning for the Next Renewal
I don’t expect to spend all of my time here in Spain over the next 2 years. But high on my priority of things is to get my Spanish up to a C1 level over the next 2 years.
I need a total of 1,000 hours to get there. That’s either 2 hours per day for the next 1.5 years or 4 hours per day for next 6 months.
When I talk to people some are lamenting that they cannot improve their Spanish. Others are in a big hurry to get to the next level. I don’t find myself in either category.
I want to steadily improve and at some point, when I’m ready, I will pull the trigger and create a set schedule for myself. That time hasn’t yet come.
The goal is to slowly move my funds over to Spain. Right now the majority of my investments are in the US.
I have a little under 7,000 euros in my Spanish bank account. Since I don’t like just parking my money here I need to figure out a way to invest it. The plan would be to move another 25,000 euros over here.
The next time I will apply for the 5-year renewal I want to have all of the money in my Spanish account.
Another issue is that I have a bank account that is guaranteed with my passport and not my NIE. The process to change that is tedious and I’ll consider hiring a gestor to handle that for me.
The cost of living in the US is too high for me and the amount of clinical work I would have to do to afford that isn’t in line with my career aspirations.
With state medical boards, malpractice suits, board certifications, MOC’s, and licensure regulations it’s becoming exceedingly less enjoyable to live in the US.
But I love living in the US. The quality of life, the people, and the infrastructure – hard to beat.
I don’t intend to have a 3rd citizenship in Spain. The ones from the US and Iran are sufficient. But getting a permanent residency in Spain might be worth all of this effort. We’ll see.
I have a flat here in Santiago de Compostela. There are a lot of great investment opportunities in my town and overall in Spain. I would consider upgrading to a single-family home with a huerta.
As I’m typing this update I’m looking out of the window of my flat. My view is of a beautiful rustic stone home in need of major renovation. It has a large backyard which I’ve wandered through. It’s selling for 190,000 euros and I would expect that it’ll go for far less.
I don’t have a work permit so I cannot be employed here. Now, if I requested a work permit I would likely get it but don’t want to bother with that right now.
When I renew this visa for the 3rd time and get a 5-year residency permit I will also obtain a work visa.
It would be great to have some kind of part-time work lined up by then. Or perhaps have some ideas as to what kind of businesses I want to invest in.