Spanish Flag

How to Get Your Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa – February 2019 Update

In Moving to Spain by Jamie7 Comments


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.

Financial Documentation

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.

Share this Post

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



  1. The new proof of funds for San Francisco dictate that you must have %400 of the iprem (roughly 2150 euro/month)
    Proof of sufficient periodic income: Including, but not limited to: investments, annuities, sabbaticals and any other source of income, providing sufficient funds to live in Spain without working. The minimum income required is 400% of the IPREM (Public Income Index) annually plus the required percentage per each additional family member. For further information about the current IPREM, please follow this link. All documentation must be accompanied by a certified translated into Spanish.

    Does anyone know what the percentage is for each additional family member? I thought it was %50 of the 2150/month but I could be mistaken

  2. Jamie: We’re fellow Oregonians, and your blog has been so helpful! And over the last two months, we’ve been carefully putting together all our documentation, in preparation for a May 31st appointment down at the Consul in San Francisco….

    Until we hit a major roadblock, caused by my own stupidity. You see, when I’d gone on line to use the bookit system back in February, I THOUGHT we had a confirmed appointment, since we were sent an “activation code.” What I FAILED to grasp was that I needed to go BACK to the site, enter that code, to get final confirmation. (Ah, the difference between an “activation code” and a “confirmation code).

    Which has now put the whole enterprise in jeopardy. I wouldn’t mind having to start over (if we get a June or July appointment) with the marriage license and the background checks — those have the 90 day expirations — but the current calendar shows the first available appointments are on August 30, just a week before our scheduled departure (and when our lease starts). At least the translator hasn’t started that process yet!

    Do you– or any of your readers — have any advice? The Consul site of course says that cancellations do happen, and keep checking back — but the calendar app doesn’t even let you go earlier than August. (Perhaps there are times of the days when cancelled appointments become visible?) We’ve had utterly no luck with getting any one at the Consul to respond to our e mails or phone calls — though we haven’t really expected otherwise; I’m sure they’re quite busy. At least someone at the reddit site offered us “good luck” wishes!

    Appreciate any thoughts anyone might have about potential resources out there. Thanks!

    1. Author

      Hi Phil,

      We had a similar booking problem with our passport renewals. Couldn’t confirm an appointment with an expired passport number. Pushed our appointment out a couple months.

      What I suggest is book the next available date. Then, keep checking. If a cancellation occurs, it will show up on the bookit calendar. But I don’t know what happens if you have your passport number already confirmed for a later date.

      Many people we have met go back and forth, coming in on a tourist visa, then going back to collect the resident visa. We couldn’t do that with five pets, but it might work for you. Also note, air fares from Europe to the U.S seem much less expensive that vice versa.

      Sorry, that’s the best advice I can offer. Maybe someone else has a thought?

      Good luck (you need it),


  3. Here’s an update on the FBI criminal background check, which we just recently completed. The FBI was as good as its word, in terms of the processing time. Our checks were completed halfway through the fourth day, counting from the day they received our fingerprint cards by mail, which was actually a Saturday. We were notified by email, which included links we could use to download and print our reports.

    I was a little concerned about whether a printed copy of the PDF version of the report would pass muster with the State Department for purposes of the Apostille. (They looked so cheap!) So, I called the office at State that handles this stuff on the following Monday, and the woman I spoke to confirmed that printed copies of the PDF are, in fact, sufficient. And when we eventually received the hard copies we’d requested, these turned out to be identical to our printed copies of the PDFs.

    Please keep in mind that this turnaround time applies only to the email service: If you submit your request by mail, you’ll wait much, much longer. According to the FBI: “Current processing time for Identity History Summary requests submitted via the mail is 14-16 weeks. Allow additional time for mail delivery.”

    1. Author

      Hi Jim,
      Your comments fill out a background possibility we did not explore. Thanks for the update.

  4. Hi Jamie. This is a great resource; I’ll be sharing it with others. One thought: I opened my bank account with a passport only and then converted the account to a resident account once I’d secured my residency card. I know of many others who have also used passports for banks, leases, phone service, etc., here and elsewhere, so this might be a helpful bit for those waiting on appointments at their local extrañarnos office.

    1. Author

      Hi Donna,
      Thanks for your input. I will add your insight on my next editing day.
      ~ j

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.