It’s 2021 and I am coming up on my second non-lucrative visa renewal for Spain. I applied for my first visa in 2018 in the US. Then came to live in Seville and later here in Santiago de Compostela.
A non-lucrative visa is meant for those of means. Meaning, if you have a lot of passive income or assets then you can take advantage of it. It is not meant for someone who wants to work remotely while employed by a foreign company.
This last piece is what some lawyers and many authors get wrong. You can work remotely and earn money online as long as it’s your own business and you have enough assets and you aren’t employed.
Non-lucrative Visa Applications
This is considered a residency visa. You’re not a permanent resident but a resident. The goal for Spain is to convert you to a lifelong tax-paying citizen or permanent resident.
The first non-lucrative gives you a 12-month stay. The second non-lucrative visa gives you a 24-month stay. I am now applying for my third visa which is my second renewal and if approved I’ll get another 24 months.
I’ll have to spend 50% of these 24 months in Spain which I am happy to do.
Non-lucrative Visa & Taxes
This is a tough enough subject for an international tax attorney but it’s fair to say that there is no clearcut answer.
If you are considered or consider yourself a resident of Spain then you must pay taxes here. Which is fine because you won’t have to pay those taxes to the US.
I have been paying taxes to the US because I have spent the majority of my time there. But that might change in the future and I’ll get the right attorney for that when the time comes.
Second Visa Renewal
For the second non-lucrative visa renewal I need the following documents:
- copy of all pages of my passport
- document proving income and wealth
- medical insurance in Spain
- copy of NIE card
- Empadronamiento (city registration)
- Form 790-052
I can do this online or mail it in or submit it in person. I decided to hire a lawyer this time around. I have done it myself once and am familiar enough to feel comfortable delegating this to someone else.
Online Non-lucrative Visa Renewal
When I did my first visa renewal I did it online. I got the digital certificate and was able to upload all of my documents. It was incredibly easy.
My digital certificate seems to have expired so I would have to apply for a new one. It’s not that I don’t know how but I don’t care to do it again so that’s why I am hiring an attorney for this renewal.
Hiring an Immigration Attorney
Thank god for blogs! I stumbled on this blog which is called Where Can I Live and saw that they had an attorney referral service. I paid 50 euros and was referred to a good attorney.
I had already scoured the websites for attorneys in Barcelona and Madrid and had even come across one of their recommendations but each case is different and you can’t always trust the online reviews.
I was referred to BeGlobal whom I had already saved in my bookmarks. Again, I wasn’t sure how good they were. But Where Can I Live was able to connect me with them based on the info I provided.
I spoke to Monica Calvete @ BeGlobal and she was solid. Spoke great English and was knowledgeable. Together we came up with a game plan for the renewal.
The cost is somewhere in the 300 euro range but it’ll depend on your individual case. I got quotes from 250 to 800 from other attorneys before selecting Monica.
Non-lucrative Visa Advantages
My goal was to get a visa in Spain so that I can learn the language and work here someday. I would need to go through the homologation process in order to have my medical education verified here which can take a few years.
It’s also nice to be able to travel all over Europe for as long as I want with this Spanish non-lucrative visa. I can be in Portugal for 3 months or in Turkey for 6 and I can still spend enough time in Spain to qualify for the non-lucrative visa renewal.
Having a residency visa overseas is like having a green card when you are living outside of the US. You get to live in your country of choice and you also get a lot of other perks.
I love living in the US. Portland is etched into my heart. But I also grew up in Iran and Germany and want to spend time in Europe. Without a residency visa you can only spend 3 months in Spain and then have to leave for 3 months before returning.
Non-lucrative Visa Disadvantages
It’s a good amount of work and it isn’t cheap to have a residency visa. Unlike Mexico which doesn’t need a significant presence in the country, Spain requires that you spend half of the time in Spain in order to qualify.
With a residency visa, you feel kind of obligated to constantly travel to that particular country. It’s great if you are planning on settling down in Spain but if not you might have some mixed feelings.
The bureaucracy is a lot of work. You’ll have to get the right documents, keep your passport up to date, and of course, you’ll have to pay for each thing you do.
It also will create a bit of a tax headache for you. It’s not like others haven’t solved that dilemma already but you’ll have to jump through that hoop as well.
I’ve submitted all of my documents to my attorney. Next, she will digitally submit them on my behalf.
It can take 2-3 months to hear back. I have 90 days from the date my TIE expires to apply. I am well within that window.
I am not holding my breath. If I get the renewal, great. If not, I am happy traveling to other European countries and I’ll continue to work remotely.