Susan and I got our non-lucrative Spanish visas back in June of 2017. Our blog post about How We Got Our Non-Lucrative Visa Application Right has proven to be our most popular post. If you are just getting started, you should READ IT HERE before going further on this post.
Since that time we've been able to help answer many questions about our experience with the visa application process in the comments section of our post. And even better, enough of our readers have been kind enough to reach out with such great new information that we have been able to put together this update. We hope that you will find this update to be useful.
This is the best information we have. However, YOU should double-check EVERYTHING!!!
REMEMBER each Spanish consulate in the United States operates a little differently and you must follow the step by step process for your consulate. Our experience is only with the San Francisco Consulate and it is now dated (June 2017).
About Dates and Timing
Applying for a Spanish residence visa can be a bit stressful. But one of the best things you can do to minimize that stress is to get the timeline and deadlines straight in your mind. Or if your mind is as leaky as mine, at least get it straight on your calendar.
What to do after arriving in Spain
For the visa application, the greatest logistic difficulty seems to be getting all the documents together AND translated within the three-month window required by the consulates.
We spent a lot of time trying to locate a certified translator for our visa application. We were reluctant to pick someone at random, especially with some of the confidential information we needed to have translated. I thought it was just us, but it seems almost everyone faces the same problem.
Since then we learned that the Spanish Government, has a Sworn Translators-Interpreters web page where you can find a link to a Spanish language list of approved translators and interpreters. If you go to page 613 of the LISTA ACTUALIZADADE TRADUCTORES/AS - INTÉRPRETES document, you’ll find the approved Spanish/English translators who are located in the U.S.
I'm not in any position to provide advice or insight when it comes to why some non-lucrative visa applications are rejected or how to fine tune your financial documentation. Susan and I were able to show savings that more than covered the minimum monthly requirement for the duration of our visas. That worked for us.
In 2018 the minimum financial requirement was €2,130.04 per month for the head of household, plus an additional €532.51 per month for each additional family member.
Medical Insurance and the Certificate of Good Health
Like many of our readers, Susan and I were reluctant to purchase a Spanish health insurance plan several months before we were even sure the consulate would approve our visa applications. So we spent a couple months trying to chase down an affordable health insurance plan and looking for repatriation insurance. We didn't have confidence in any of the policies we found on our own through the internet. Fortunately, our relocation specialist, Linda, from Moving to Valencia, connected us with an agent in Spain who arranged for our policy to begin on the day we arrived in Spain.
Make sure your doctor adds M.D. as part of her signature.
We've received more than one report of a consulate rejecting a Medical Certificate because the physician neglected to include his/her credentials in the signature.
Background Checks and Apostilles
REMEMBER: There are two different ways to get both the criminal background check and an Apostille for official documents - go through your state or go the Federal route.
If you have lived in the same state for five years or more years AND your marriage and birth certificates (for children) are from the same state, it is probably easiest (and cheapest) to work through your state's agencies.
On the other hand, if you have been out and about, it might be easier to go the Federal route.
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Jamie Wyant is a retired American living in Spain. After a multifaceted career ranging from ecosystem science to digital marketing, he moved to Valencia in 2017 with his wife, Susan, and their senior pets. He writes about the joys and tribulations of living overseas. Jamie also manages the technical aspects of GentleCycle.net