How to Get a Spanish Non-Lucrative Residence Visa

How we were able to live abroad, and how you can too!

Note: This article was written in March, 2018. It represents the current requirements in our experience at the San Francisco consulate. Requirements may change, and consular staff are entitled to request any documentation they feel is appropriate for your personal situation. However, we hope that you will benefit from our experience.

The story of how we were approved for our Spanish Non-Lucrative Residence Visas begins almost 18 months ago, but the actual work began late last year. First and foremost, we might not even be moving to Spain if it weren’t for the incredible article on the Spanish Non-Lucrative Residence Visa over at Bucking the Trend. We found that enough of the requirements had changed since that article was written that it seemed worth writing an up-to-date post to help others.

In a Nutshell: The Spanish Non-Lucrative Residence Visa

The Spanish Non-Lucrative Residence Visa is a visa that allows you to live, first for one year and then in renewable periods of two years, as a legal resident in Spain.

The Spanish Non-Lucrative Residence Visa allows you to:

  • Stay in Spain for up to a year, then for renewal periods of two years
  • Theoretically, after living in Spain for five consecutive years, apply for permanent residence
  • Access medical care through private insurance
  • Rent property
  • Sign utility contracts
  • Enroll your children in school

It does not allow you to:

  • Work legally for a Spanish Company
  • Partake of the public healthcare system
  • Qualify for public benefits of any kind

So basically, you get to stay in an amazing country in Europe for a year or more assuming you don’t burden their social services and don’t steal a job that should go to a Spaniard. For us, it was the perfect option, since we simply want the opportunity to live in Spain, experience and learn about its culture, and not be limited to the default tourist visa duration of 90 days.

Applying for the Visa: The Short, Short Version

Applying for the Spanish Non-Lucrative Residence Visa boils down to the following six basic steps:

  1. Gather Required Documents
  2. Authenticate (Apostille) Required Documents
  3. Translate Required Documents
  4. Correctly Assemble Your Application Packet(s)
  5. Present Documents at a Visa Appointment and Pay Fees
  6. Receive Visa and Move to Spain

Sounds simple, right? Right! Well, not exactly. There are tons of gotchas, and since it isn’t in the best interest of the Spanish government to spoon-feed you the requirements, you’ll have to be prepared to do some serious homework. The process isn’t terribly difficult, it’s just extremely detail oriented. It requires discipline and organization.

If you’re ready to lock down that year of tapas, sangria, sun, and flamenco, let’s dive into the long version of how we got our visas.

Work Backwards From Your Departure Date

The Spanish consulate says that it may take them two to three months from the date your documents are accepted to process your visa application. On top of that, all of your visa application documents need to be dated no more than 90 days before your visa appointment. That means we had to start the application process six months before our planned date of departure— three months to get our documents together, and three months of (potential) wait for our visas.

We knew we wanted to move to Spain around the end of March, so in October, we set up an appointment for the first few days of January at our consulate in San Francisco. You can find the consulate that serves your state here. Each consulate appears to have a completely different appointment booking system. Start from your departure date and count back 90 days. This is the date you should try to make your visa appointment. Then, count back 90 days more to determine the earliest date you can start gathering documents…

…but don’t get started too quickly! Because of the way the Christmas holiday in Spain is celebrated (which peaks at Epiphany on January 6th), we were asked to reschedule our appointment for mid-January. You never know when a similar extended holiday or glitch might result in your visa appointment changing. Luckily, we hadn’t started gathering documents, or they would have expired by our new appointment date. A sensible time to start gathering those documents is probably closer to 80 days before your visa appointment. That’ll also give you a little breathing room if some document is found not to be in order at your visa appointment and you need to come back a few days later.

Speaking of gathering required documents, let’s take a look at some…

Incredibly Important Links

There is no centralized Spanish government site that provides you with links to all of the forms you will need to apply for the non-lucrative residence visa. However, It is possible to piece together the required forms from across all of the Spanish consulate sites. I have organized them into one place for you here.

  • Non-Lucrative Residence Visa Requirements and Instructions – This is as close to a list of required documents as it gets, but read this article completely, as many of these items have strict requirements that are not listed on the PDF.
  • A Listing of all Visa Application Fees – This list of fees for visa applications applies to the San Francisco office, but should be the same everywhere in the United States.
  • Application for National Visa – This is the main, English-language visa application form.
  • Form EX-01 is the application form for the non lucrative residence visa. The form is in Spanish, but there are limited English instructions on the second page.
  • Authorization Form M790 Codigo 052 – The M790 C052 is the payment form for a variety of unrelated governmental permits, including visa applications, bullfights, explosives, and demolitions.
  • Medical Certificate of Good Health – Technically, your certificate of good health from your doctor only needs to include the words “the patient has been examined and found free of any contagious diseases according to the International Health Regulation 2005.” However, the Spanish consulate provides this form letter that you can give to your doctor, which can only help score brownie points with your visa officer. Make sure they print it on hospital letterhead, sign it, and if applicable, stamp it.
  • List of Sworn Translators – You must use an official, government-sanctioned translator, so pick one from this list.
  • Visa Application Status – The Spanish government site for tracking your visa status.

Now that we have all of the required forms and links in one place, let’s work our way down the visa requirements PDF and discuss all of the required documents in detail.

Gather Your Documents

In this section, we’ll discuss the way we prepared each of the documents for each member of our family, and some of the more strict requirements that are not explicitly listed (or are at least difficult to find online).

Primary Applicant

National Visa Application Form: This form, in English, is the application for all forms of long-stay visa in Spain. For the non-lucrative visa, you will be able to skip many of the sections. Surname is Last Name. Surname at Birth is maiden name. Forenames is first and middle (if any) names. For Principal Purpose of Journey, check “Residence without work permit.” Under Number of entries requested, we chose “‘more than two.” If you don’t have housing arranged yet in Spain, you can write the city and province you intend to live in. Finally, format all dates in European format, day/month/year, so September 1, 2018 would be 1/9/18. Otherwise, everything should be self explanatory.

Translations Required: No

Apostille Required: No

Form EX-01: Form EX-01 is the application form specific to the non-lucrative residence visa for Spain. The instructional page contains instructions in English. As with the national visa application form, format all dates in European Format, day/month/year. Though the instructions tell you to put your US address in place of the “Domicilio en España,” we were instructed by the consular staff to rewrite section 1 with a Spanish address (or the planned city and province). Your mileage may vary. We brought two extra blank copies of each of the forms, and we were glad we did! You will fill out sections 1 and 3 (section 2 is only if someone is submitting the application on your behalf). In section 4, check “INICIAL” and nothing else. Check “CONSIENTO” to allow the Spanish government to verify your identity (good luck getting a visa without it!). Directly below “CONSIENTO,” enter the city, day, month (in Spanish) and year, e.g.: San Francisco, a 18 de Octubre, 2018. Finally, sign your name in the box marked “FIRMA DE SOLICITANTE.” If you have children, and they are of school age, check “Si” next to “Hijas/os a cargo en edad de escolarización en España.”

Translations Required: No

Apostille Required: No

Original Passport: Submit your original passport, which should be valid for the entire duration of your requested visa.

Two Passport Size Photos: Get a passport photo taken anywhere. You may want to get three or four copies since you may be able to use them when you arrive in Spain. Note that European governments are slightly more stringent when it comes to identity photos. You should probably not smile in your photo, and should adopt a neutral expression.

Notarized Document Explaining Why You Are Requesting the Visa: This is just a letter explaining why you should be granted a visa and will be a respectful, problem-free guest in Spain. This is your chance to make a great impression!  Here’s a (slightly redacted) version of the letter we included:

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing this letter in support of my family’s application for a one-year non-lucrative visa to reside in Spain. My wife and I recently welcomed our daughter into the world. We are avid travelers, and the birth of our daughter helped us to realize that exposing her to the diverse places, cultures, and languages of the world is one of the most beautiful and valuable gifts we can give her. When deciding where to spend our year abroad as a new family, Spain was our first and only choice.

I have attached statements from our bank covering the past several months, which show that we consistently maintain a cash balance in excess of $xxxxx USD, as well as statements reflecting the balances of our investment accounts. We hope these documents will help to establish our financial responsibility and solvency. We also hope that our letters of clearance from our doctors and from the Department of Justice will demonstrate our good character and health.



You will need to have this letter notarized, so wait to sign the letter until you meet with the notary. This document will also require a certified Spanish translation.

Translation of Documents

In the past, it was possible to use machine translation or to arrange for any Spanish translation service for your documents. The Spanish government now requires that your documents be translated by one of their certified translators (the latest list available at this link). I was able to find a certified translator nearby. If you try to bypass this requirement, it will be obvious to the consular staff. All of the certified translations are printed on special government-supplied paper, and are assigned a serial number by the translator. You can’t fake it, so don’t try.

Another word of advice: develop a relationship with your translator early on, and be prompt and organized. Give them plenty of time to complete your translations and keep them up to date on the status of your application. Pay promptly. You may find that your translator has valuable insight into issues with your application that they may share when they translate your documents. You may, as we did, hire your translator to assist with translation of things like medical records to make your move easier.

Translations Required: Yes

Apostille Required: No

Proof of Periodic Income: This is probably the single most confusing requirement of the entire visa application. The requirements state that you must have an annual income of 25,560 Euros for the primary applicant, plus 6,390 euros for each additional member of your family. For our family of three, that meant around $47,000 in early 2018.

The problem some people encounter is with the word “periodic.” While one consular officer might interpret this requirement to mean a bank account balance in excess of the required amount for the full year, another may insist on proof of a recurring payment from a pension, investment, or social security. Still another might require you to show that your employer will continue to pay you while you are in Spain (while the visa is non-lucrative, it appears that most of the consulates simply want you to prove that you will not take a job that might otherwise be occupied by a Spaniard, and will accept proof of remote work). What constitutes sufficient proof of income is entirely at the discretion of the consulate staff, and you will not win any argument on this matter. Smile, and figure out a way to get the proof you need.

Since we had no idea what would be asked of us, we prepared three months worth of bank statements showing a cash balance in excess of the annual requirement. We also showed the most recent quarterly statement for our 401(k) and taxable investment accounts. Alongside those documents, my stateside client provided me with a letter that indicated I was free to continue to work remotely (and what my approximate monthly income was) if I chose to do so. I did not include the letter from my client in the packet I submitted, but had it on-hand in case it was required. In the end, the bank and investment statements were enough.

Translations Required: Yes

Apostille Required: No

Police Criminal Record Clearance: You will need to request a clearance letter from your State Department of Justice stating that you do not have a criminal history and are not wanted for any crimes (hopefully!). While it is possible to submit a letter from the FBI instead, for most people it is likely to be much easier to get the letter from your state.

In most states, a criminal record clearance letter can be acquired by having fingerprints taken and electronically submitted to the DOJ. Your state, like mine, may require you to contact the DOJ once your results are sent to have a clearance letter sent.

Once you have the clearance letter in hand, it must be officially translated and you must acquire an Apostille of the Hague.

Apostille of The Hague

Many of the documents you will need have a requirement that they be “legalized with the Apostille of the Hague Convention.” Think of the apostille as an international notarization. Basically, the apostille allows countries to exchange official records, even though their forms and processes may be different, and know that what they are getting is a legitimate document. In general, each state’s Secretary of State can provide an apostille for documents issued in that state. That means that if your marriage certificate, birth certificates, and criminal record checks come from a variety of states, you will send each document to the state that issued it for an apostille.

In California, it is possible to have documents apostilled in person in Sacramento, or via mail. The cost is $20 per document as of 2018. We sent all of our documents via mail, and the turnaround time for each was approximately two weeks (from date of mailing to the date we received the documents back).

In California, we followed this process to request our criminal records clearance letter. Note the passage at the bottom of the page which reads:

An “Apostille” or a “Certification” is frequently required by foreign governments before the background check will be accepted. The document you receive from the DOJ is not the actual Apostille. As such, if you need this additional service, you will need to contact the DOJ at AFTER you receive the DOJ response in the mail.

We first received our fingerprint results, then we emailed the DOJ to get the clearance letter, and when that arrived, we sent it to Sacramento for an apostille. The entire process from fingerprints to completed, apostilled letter took about five weeks. Start early!

Translations Required: Yes

Apostille Required: Yes

Medical Certificate: The Spanish consulate provides a helpful template for the medical certificate. If you’re lucky, you can get your doctor to print this PDF on hospital/medical practice letterhead, fill it in, sign and date it, and stamp it with their seal. If not, the minimum requirement is that the letter from your doctor include the words “the patient has been examined and found free of any contagious diseases according to the International Health Regulation 2005,” and that it be signed, dated, and if applicable, stamped.

In our experience, two of our doctors were happy to use the language from the template, though they preferred to include only the English version. This meant that we had to have the letter translated, but that wasn’t a big deal. Mrs. Vagabond’s doctor adamantly refused to use the template, and it took two revisions of the letter to get the right language included.  In the end, our various medical certificates were all accepted.

Translations Required: Yes

Apostille Required: No

Proof of Having International Medical InsuranceAfter the income requirement, the medical insurance requirement is probably the most likely to cause issues. Many applicants apply hoping that travel insurance or catastrophic coverage will be sufficient, and indeed these policies used to satisfy the medical insurance requirement… but not any more.

As of 2018, you must present proof of legitimate medical insurance the covers you in Spain, with no deductible, with a minimum coverage of 30,000 Euros. In practice, the best way to achieve this coverage is to take out a policy with a private Spanish medical insurance company. We ended up going with a Mas Salud policy from Sanitas. We added options for zero copay, worldwide coverage (excluding the USA) so that we would be covered anywhere we travel, and the policy already included dental coverage. The total cost for our entire family for the year was a little under $3,000 USD. This is a few hundred less than my high deductible healthcare plan just for myself in the United States.

If you take out a policy with a Spanish insurer, they can furnish you with a letter in Spanish proving your coverage. This letter does not require a translation. Because of the required coverage minimums, I also printed and included the (Spanish) policy document, which was about 25 pages long, but proved that our level of coverage met the requirements. If your proof of coverage is not already in Spanish, you will need to get it translated.

There’s another big “gotcha” here: Your insurer may not be able to schedule a policy to start three months in the future (when you expect to land in Spain). This means you may end up paying for a couple of months of coverage that you can’t use, since you haven’t moved to Spain yet. All of the Spanish insurers we investigated could only start a policy in the current month, or the following month. The good news is, the policy is incredibly comprehensive and cost-effective relative to coverage in the United States, so paying for a couple extra months for three people only came out to a few hundred dollars.

Translations Required: Yes, If Not Already In Spanish

Apostille Required: No

Evidence of Legal Residence in the United States: This did not apply to us since we are citizens, but if you are a non-citizen of the US, you will have to show a residence card or visa.

Translations Required: Unknown

Apostille Required: No

Authorization form M790 C052: This form is the payment form for your visa application. It is very straightforward. Put the current year in top-right box marked “Ejercicio.” Fill in your name in format Last, First Middle in the box marked “Apellidos y nombre o razón social.” Under Nacionalidad, put your country of citizenship (in Spanish), or “EE.UU.” for United States (Estados Unidos). Fill in your street address (but not city, state, or ZIP code) in the box marked “Nombre de la via pública.” Write your City and State in the box marked “Municipio.” Fill in your country name of mailing address (in Spanish), or “EE.UU.” for United States (Estados Unidos) in the box marked “Provincia.” Put your ZIP code in the box marked “Codigo postal.” Check the box marked, “Principal” under “Autoliquidación.” Check box 1c, “Autorización inicial de residencia temporal.” Finally, fill in the place and date in the bottom-left box marked “Declarante,” using the Spanish format of “San Francisco, 18 de Octubre, 2018,” and sign your name!

Translations Required: No

Apostille Required: No


National Visa Application Form: Same requirements as above.

Form EX-01: Same requirements as above.

Original Passport: Same requirements as above.

Three Passport Size Photos: Note that the document calls for one extra passport photo for the spouse. It’s unclear why this is, as we were only asked for two. Still, it can’t hurt to bring extra.

Marriage Certificate: You must present a certified copy of your marriage certificate that has been generated within 90 days of your visa appointment.  The marriage certificate must be translated and apostilled.

Translations Required: Yes

Apostille Required: Yes

Police Criminal Record Clearance: Same requirements as above.

Medical Certificate: Same requirements as above.

Proof of Having International Medical Insurance: Same requirements as above.

Evidence of Legal Residence in the United States: Same requirements as above.

Authorization form M790 C052: Same requirements as above.


National Visa Application Form: Mostly the same requirements as above, but since you will likely be filling this form out for a minor child, note the following differences: Box 10, “Surname, forename, address of person who exercises parental responsibility or legal guardian” should include all legal guardians (in a majority of cases, both parents). In Box 28, Signature, both parents should sign and date the form.

I initially filled this form (and all of the others) out with only a single parent’s name and signature, which led to me rewriting them at the consulate while the consular officer waited.

Form EX-01: Mostly the same requirements as above, but since you will likely be filling this form out for a minor child, note the following differences: All legal guardians must sign the form in the box marked “FIRMA DEL SOLICITANTE.” Put one of the parent’s names in the field marked “representante legal, en su caso.” Under Titulo, write your relationship to the child (in our case, “padre del menor,” or “Father of the minor”).

Original Passport: Same requirements as above.

Three Passport Size Photos: Same requirements as “spouse” above.

Birth Certificate: You must present a certified copy of your child’s birth certificate that has been generated within 90 days of your visa appointment.  The birth certificate must be translated and apostilled.

Translations Required: Yes

Apostille Required: Yes

Medical Certificate: Same requirements as above.

Proof of Having International Medical Insurance: Same requirements as above.

Evidence of Legal Residence in the United States: Same requirements as above.

Authorization form M790 C052: Mostly the same requirements as above, but since you will likely be filling this form out for a minor child, note the following differences: All legal guardians must sign the form in the box marked “DECLARANTE.”

Did you make it this far? You did it! You have acquired all of the necessary documents to apply for your Spanish non-lucrative residence visa! One last thing to prepare: The visa fees. The consulates only take cash or money order, and since the application fees can fluctuate at any time, I strongly recommend bringing small bills in excess of what you expect the total amount to be. We paid for a non-lucrative visa application for each person ($140 x 3) and what we were told was a authorization fee, which is listed as $11 on the fee schedule, but ended up being $13 per person at the appointment. As I said, bring extra small bills.

Assemble your Application Packet(s)

For each member of your family, you should present a packet of original versions of all of the documents required by the PDF, in the order they are listed. If a translation is required for a document, it should come after the original. If an Apostille is required for a document, your department of state will probably staple it to the front of the original. If they don’t, place it before the original document. So, your documents should go in this order:

Apostille (if required) – Original Document – Translation (if required)

Now that you have an assembled packet of original documents, apostilles, and translations… photocopy the entire thing and create a second, identical packet. That’s right, each member of your family will have two packets- an original and a copy! I advise going one step further and scanning all documents for your records. Though some people have reported that they were given some or all of the documents back, we found that the consulate retained all of the documents. The only thing we got back was our passports.

The Visa Appointment

If you have prepared thoroughly, you should sail right through the visa appointment. We arrived about thirty minutes early, and we had cleared our schedule for the day. We were buzzed into the consulate and explained (in English) that we had an appointment for our visa application. The consulate was nearly empty, with just one other Spanish family waiting for some consular function.

Though all three of us had appointments, when the consular officer saw that our daughter was a newborn, she had me come back to the secure area alone so that my wife could continue to care for the baby, which was really kind of her.  We sat down at a table in the consulate and I presented her with our packets (prepared as described above). She took about ten minutes silently reviewing all of our documents. She pointed out that I had completed all of the government forms for our daughter with only my name, and had me write out new copies to include both parents, which Mrs. V and I dutifully signed. She also noted that though the form EX-01 instructions direct you to use your US address where it asks for the Spanish address, they wanted the city and province that we intend to live in (Granada, Andalucía). Had it not been for those errors, the appointment would have been very fast.

Because all of our documents were in order, they were accepted on the first try, and we paid $459 for three visa applications. We were told that generally speaking, the window for visa approval was two to three months, but that we could likely expect to be approved sooner. We received a receipt for our payment, and a printout indicating our visa application number. We were able to track the status of our visa applications on a governmental website.

Visa Approval

We went home expecting to wait nervously for a few months to find out whether we had been approved for a Spanish non-lucrative residence visa. Much to our surprise, we received emails just 14 days later indicating that we had been approved for our visas and giving us 30 days to report in person to pick them up (everyone in the family needs to return to the consulate). We were asked to bring an itinerary showing our entry date into Spain to the visa pickup, as well as our passports.

The consular officer told us that visitors who travel from another state to pick up their visas generally are given same-day pickup service, and that locals usually drop off passports and pick them up a few days later. Though we are locals, the staff was kind enough to print our visas and affix them to our passports while we waited.

Just like that, after 90 days of preparation and 14 days of waiting, we could legally enter Spain!

It’s Not Quite Over Yet

A few important things to note: once you have picked up your visa, you’ll notice that it doesn’t cover the dates you plan to live in Spain: only a window around the dates you’re planning to enter the country. This is because technically, you aren’t in possession of your residence permit yet. For that, you’ll have to enter the country and visit an Oficina de Extrajería, or Foreigner’s Office, where you will apply for an identification card that serves as your authorization to remain in the country for the rest of the year.

The good news is, you have basically completed the critical portion of the process and have been approved to live in Spain for a year! You’ve also been issued the all-important NIE number (Número de Identidad de Extranjero, it’s printed on your visa and probably begins with the letter “Y”), which is sort of like a social security number. You’ll use your NIE for things like filing taxes, applying for utilities, and of course, applying to renew your visa!

Hopefully this guide gives you some insight into the process of applying for a Spanish non-lucrative residence visa. Honestly, it’s a ton of work that requires you to be organized and on the ball. In essence, the act of preparing your visa application is a sign to the Spanish government that you take the privilege of living there seriously, and are willing to work to achieve your goal of a year abroad in Spain!

If I can do anything to help you prepare for your own visa application, please let me know in the comments!

Update: And of course, once you get to Spain, you’ll probably want to know how to navigate the newly-updated Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE) application process, which is when you really lock down your visa.

Update Update: …and once you’ve lived here for a year, you may want to learn about renewing this visa.

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1,484 thoughts on “How to Get a Spanish Non-Lucrative Residence Visa

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Woo hoo! Thank you! And thank you for being one of the early secret-keepers about this journey! I hope the post will help someone down the road (though I guess it’s a little wonky for the average reader).

      1. Billie

        Do you need to have your visit within 3 months of leaving? If I want to go mid July do I have to wait mid April for an appointment or can I go in sooner?

    1. Amy

      Hiya thanks so much for writing such a detailed summary of your visa journey ..did you end up renewing your non lucrative visa? If so..did they approve it with your remote work situation?

      1. The Vagabond Post author

        Hi Amy (I assume this comment is to me and not to Dorothy)-

        Yes, we did renew our NL visas once, in 2019 (as described here). At the time, remote work was still seemingly allowed, and I did show pay stubs as my proof of financial means. It has since become basically forbidden both when applying for the initial visa and for renewals, so you’d need to show passive income or savings at this point.

        For us, our circumstances changed since 2019 and we are no longer here as NL visa holders, but rather as EU citizens… which has made life a lot easier in many ways, as you might imagine!

        Best of luck to you!

        1. Kari

          Congratulations on your EU citizenship! Hope you have a future post about that. I wanted to take the time to join the chorus of thank yous. Our family of 5 applied for (and received) our NL visas recently, thanks in no small part to this post which I referenced extensively.
          I’ll leave the basics below, so others in turn can hopefully benefit from the details as circumstances keep changing due to covid.
          March of 2021 we contacted the San Francisco consulate with the intent of making an appointment as their site suggests. They immediately responded saying that due to covid, we could apply remotely.
          We proceeded to gather documents (as stated in your blog) and submitted all documents digitally the last week of May. (This cannot be a link to dropbox, etc. each document has to be individually attached. It took 2 emails per applicant to fit required documents in emails) Again, we received a swift response (3 days, at most) saying all appeared to be in order and to mail in our entire applications including passports.
          First week of June, we mailed in our applications, and included money orders and a prepaid certified USPS return mailer.
          Then silence.
          I sent a couple of emails asking if our application had been received and heard nothing back. I was able to track the package to see it had been delivered, and I was able to see that the money orders had been cashed. Other than that, we simply had to wait.
          July 6 of 2021, our visas arrived. At this point 5 weeks had passed since we’d submitted our applications. They were approved and mailed the first week of July, and state that the NL visa start date is August 1.
          Hope this info is helpful.

          1. The Vagabond Post author

            Thanks Kari, congrats on your visa approval! I’ll definitely get around to the citizenship thing one of these days (it might have *some* applicability but the number of people who could use it is probably relatively small).

  1. Kimillionaire

    Thank you so much for sharing your lessons learned in such an organized format! You’ll save countless people hours of work and heartache. Muchisimas gracias!

    1. Robert

      Agreed, I’m going through the process and while I’ve seen other blog posts on the subject, yours is the most easy to follow. You’ve made the process much less daunting to be sure.

  2. Moose

    Wow, this is incredibly in-depth and useful! I made a similar post but with generalities about second citizenship vs step by step instructions like this. I assumed that the private healthcare insurance would be really pricey but that’s a great price. Are you going to stay in one area of Spain or wander around?

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hey, Moose! We’ll probably base ourselves in one place for the year, but we’re planning on extensive road trips (and flights) throughout both Spain and Europe. The primary limiting factor will be pet friendly accommodations (when on road trips) and not wanting to kennel the dogs or put them with pet sitters for too long when we fly.

      1. Veronica

        How was the process of flying your dog to Spain? My husband and I and 2 kids are planning to make this dream a reality. I’m nervous and excited all at the same time. We have 2 dogs that i just can’t leave them behind. I’ve researched animal air travel but is there any advice or companies you can suggest? Thanks!

        1. The Vagabond Post author

          Hey Veronica,

          It was stressful. We used IAG Cargo (IAG owns British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus) as they are one of the few airlines with dedicated animal handlers who also had a workable route to get us from SFO to Madrid in minimal time. There is a LOT to do to get the paperwork squared away on the US side, and IAG doesn’t allow you to book the animals until two weeks before the flights.

          At the time we moved, there were no direct flights from SFO to Madrid (there’s one now, but it’s hugely expensive), so we flew through London. IAG requires four hours for any stopovers to unload, walk, water, and re-load animals, and our connection was too tight. So, the dogs stayed in Heathrow overnight at what is called the “Animal Reception Center.” It’s basically a very good kennel on the Heathrow property. You can find some videos of the ARC on Youtube if this might apply to you. The dogs were put on the first flight to Spain the next morning. I think this ended up being a blessing in disguise, as they got a little break in what had probably been a stressful day for them. We picked up the dogs at the cargo terminal in Madrid. Unfortunately, we hadn’t known how completely Catholic holidays shut the country down. It was holy week, so it took us almost four hours after the dogs arrived to find a customs official (had to take all the paperwork to the passenger terminal and enter through the secure exit!) to process our paperwork and clear them for pickup. It was a very long, stressful day.

          Moving both dogs, including all the paperwork, the overnight stay at Heathrow, etc. cost us $2,766. I expect it to cost us just as much going home. It’s possible to spend less on some airlines, but I think we were willing to pay more for actual experience in animal handling.

          1. Nelson S

            As I plan for my move and navigating your super helpful post and comments, on the topic of the experience with your dogs…..

            Did you submit anything pertaining to the dogs when you did your consulate appointment? Just looking to get a sense of when that comes into play in the process. What forms do you fill out? What records need to be shown, etc?

            As for transporting, ours is an 8 lb cockapoo so I’m assuming I can carry her on in a dog bag of some sort with us, unless I’m mistaken.

            Thank you in advance!

          2. The Vagabond Post author

            Nothing for your pets will need to be submitted for the visa process. Pets are, at least as far as Spanish and American law is concerned, property. As such, moving them is an issue of meeting the customs requirements.

            On the US side, you will need to complete the USDA pet export process, which involves completing the export paperwork with your veterinarian (who must themselves be certified to complete the paperwork, and not all vets are), getting it certified by the USDA at one of their field officer, and moving the pets to Spain all within a ten day window. That process is outside the scope of this article, though, so you may want to do a little Googling. It was a hassle, but worth it in the end. Once you get to Europe, it’s worth taking your dog to a vet and getting an EU pet passport issued for them. That drastically simplifies the process of getting them back into the US (as well as moving with them in Europe if you so choose).

          3. Ernest

            Do Not use Iberia or United. We flew Tap Air Portugal from SFO to Barcelona, and it cost $240- to transport our small dog. We paid for this at time of ticket booking, also making sure berth in cargo hold was available. We took dog to airport same as with other luggage and checked dog in a little early. Within 10 days before you go, you must complete paperwork required by EU though, which includes a trip in person to USDA office in Sacramento. A qualified vet completes form, and USDA stamps it for a fee.

          4. Kat

            Hello! Just got to Spain yesterday!

            Figured I’d contribute since I brought my pup. I have a 6lbs Chihuahua and used Iberia because they were the only airline I found that allowed pets in cabin for that long of a flight. When I arrived in Madrid, Customs was so relaxed, I could have walked in and bypassed customs. When I got to Barcelona, the same! I didn’t of course because I don’t like breaking rules. So I checked him in in both places. The paperwork was simple enough though. I googled and found a blog post about it, similar to this one.

          1. The Vagabond Post author

            This is a viable option, and probably less stress, but we didn’t go for it for two reasons. 1) It’s vastly more expensive, and 2) You don’t control the itinerary the same way, and can’t minimize stress on more skittish animals. We have one dog that has some serious anxiety, so we handled it ourselves to minimize the amount of time spent in the air and in transit with strangers.

          2. Ernest

            I don’t recommend door to door service because this extends time animal is away from you and the stress involved in first time flight is a lot. Plus, the price of that service is way in excess of value unless maybe if your dog is big and you just can’t handle the extra baggage effort with a large crate.

  3. Cliff Perusse

    Wow! This sure looks comprehensive.

    Any ideas where I could find something similar for living in France?

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Perhaps something like this (though it’s five years old at this point, you’d need to figure out what visa requirements had changed in the intervening years):

      In France you’d be limited to a long stay tourism visa, assuming you don’t have a job offer, opportunity to study abroad, french spouse, or other means to petition for citizenship. For yearlong stays, this would probably be functionally pretty much the same sort of experience as our visas to Spain, but it wouldn’t offer a path to permanent residency.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Thank you for your input! As I tried to emphasize at the outset, this post is based on our experiences, and we hope that it will help others. Our translations were all printed on papel timbrado, and as the page you linked notes, there is controversy on whether it should be used (though it is not prohibited) and it was/is recommended by the Spanish Professional Association of Translators and Interpreters. It appears that our translator was on the other side of the controversy. I am glad to know that there is some latitude when it comes to the format of the delivered translations.

      Our translations were accepted without question or comment, so at the very least, the papel timbrado did no harm. The most important point I hoped to make was that uncertified or machine translations are insufficient, and that a certified translator is required.

      1. Brian

        Hi there. We are in the US. The certified translator list you provided are all in Spain. Do we mail the documents to one of these places and wait for them to. All it back ?

        1. The Vagabond Post author

          Hi Brian, are you sure you looked at the right list? The one I linked has translators in almost all countries, ordered alphabetically by country name in Spanish. United States in Spanish is “Estados Unidos.” You should be able to find multiple in the Bay Area, which I just confirmed are still on the list. I don’t want to mention my particular translator without checking with her first.

          The original documents don’t need to go to the translator. I scanned and uploaded all of my documents to provide them to my translator. You do need the originals of the translations themselves for your visa appointment, so your translator *will* need to physically mail you a package, and that is generally cheaper if you pick a closer translator.

          1. Brian

            I looked at all 1500 pages and can not find United States. Can you please tell me which page is it on? Thank you so much

          2. Doris

            I must say I almost overlooked the comments section and that would have been a huge mistake because I got a lot out of the comments. Your blog is very clear and is as the application requires of you but tips like page numbers of the translators in the USA was 100% helpful, I went through that PDF 4x and didn’t see it (Estudios Unidos). Thanks for the page numbers. May I suggest placing the page number in your above notes and mentioning Estudios Unidos (Important Links).

            Everyone’s comments are so helpful. I have an Appointment on April 24, 2019 and am glad I read the checking/401k account information (that is information not stated in the application), and it totally makes sense. Medical Insurance and leasing tips from everyone was helpful (again information not stated in the application).

            Oh and I got lucky with the 90 day “expiration” time w.r.t. the marriage and the children’s birth certs. I made it within one week of the 90 days! I found your article after I had started, otherwise I would have planned accordingly. Phew, that would have been costly. You’re right working backwards is very important! I got lucky. But it’s not over yet.

            We head out to Valencia 1st week of April 2019 to visit, then we come back for our first interview at the SF Consulate. We have never been to Spain but plan to sign a lease and dive right in. How bad can it be, right?!

            Thank you author and thank you to all those who shared their experiences. That has solidified my application. I will post a follow up on our appointment.

      2. Donna Masters de Pacheco

        Hello, thanks for the article. We are going to apply for our visas in Los Angeles where certain documents require an Apostille of The Hague. Is one from the state adequate?


        1. The Vagabond Post author

          Hi Donna,

          “Apostille of The Hague” just means an apostille document issued in accordance with the Hague Convention of 1961– not actually issued by The Hague! In fact, since the document is a certification that the document in question is official, only your state is capable of issuing it for official documents from your state.

          1. The Vagabond Post author

            Sorry, you’ve lost me as I don’t think this reply was meant to be to the comment you replied to. Additional items for what? If your TIE/Permiso de Residencia, see the TIE article for detailed directions.

    2. Brian

      I am confused. The link she provided is for translators not in the US.
      Where do I go to translate these documents in English for the consulate in San Francisco??

        1. Brian

          So I googled some of the translators on the list and they are all coming up as a residential address. Not any business.
          Some don’t have contact numbers and I called couple that have phone numbers and they hung up on me. If you know someone in Bay Area, I would really like to get things rolling. Thank you

          1. The Vagabond Post author

            Most or all of these translators are going to work out of their homes, not formal businesses. Send emails. Honestly, this entire process requires being able to adapt and improvise. Consider this practice, because I promise that everything that comes after only becomes more emotionally taxing. The consulate, and on this end, the extranjeria, will just shrug and expect you to figure stuff out on your own, so it’s a really valuable skill. It is also absolutely essential to be extremely detail oriented (eg, being able to find the translators when provided with a list). It’s absolutely worth it in the end, though.

            My advice is to send an email to several translators introducing yourself and explaining your situation. Every translator on this list will be familiar with this visa. Develop a rapport with someone— another skill that will really serve you in navigating bureaucracy in both sides of the ocean. This isn’t going to be a “go into their business and order the visa application package” sort of thing. It’s a (valuable) relationship that you will need to develop over time.

  4. Kate

    Thank you for such a wonderful, comprehensive post! I just want to make sure I am understanding something correctly. On the EX-01, does the question “hijos a cargo en edad de escolarizacion” mean: “Do you have school age dependent children” OR “are you a school age dependent child?” In other words, do I mark YES on the parents’ forms or YES on the kids’ forms? So confusing!!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hey, Kate, thank you so much for the kind words!

      Since our daughter isn’t of school age yet, I didn’t face this. That said, I take this to mean “do you have school age children” based on the plural hijos/hijas. To me the plural simply wouldn’t make any sense for a singular child’s EX-01. That said, I suspect the consular officer would be fine with you leaving it blank until you arrive, asking, and checking the box on the spot. If you can confirm this, would you mind commenting back?

  5. Keith

    Thanks for putting this together. Very helpful.
    One thing on the list from the Consulate’s website is ‘9. House property or leasing contract in Spain.’ We are going to do a 35 day AirBNB when we first arrive and during that month figure out a long term solution (still not positive on neighborhood).

    I’ve read elsewhere that they require a 6 month+ lease to already be in place, which sounds very cart before the horse. Misinformation? What was your experience with this line item?

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hey there Keith,

      In the San Francisco consulate’s case, there’s no requirement for a property/lease/contract, so we didn’t run into this. I know that others have had to deal with this in the past, and at other consulates. I agree that it’s putting the cart before the horse. Like you, we’ve booked a 30 day AirBnB and are using it as a home base to find our long term accommodation when we arrive. I have heard that proof of an AirBnB reservation has been sufficient for others who had the lease requirement, though of course it always comes down to the discretion of the consular officer. I would definitely be wary of signing a contract sight unseen, so I hope you manage to make it work!

      1. Keith

        Thanks for the reply. Hopefully that is the case in Houston!

        Separate question – do you mind sharing approximate amount you spent on translation services? First inquiry for us was $$$ !

        1. Keith

          We paid $890, part of which was a rush fee. But I think $559 is more realistic. I had my business checking statements translated, not knowing the consulate only accepts personal accounts. As well as some investment accounts, none of which seemed to be acceptable. We too are a family of three.

  6. Keith

    We have appointments at the Houston Consulate. There isn’t a way to schedule one family appointment so we have three appointments back to back. It sounds like this was similar for you in San Francisco. Is one marriage certificate adequate? Perhaps a silly question, but we don’t have extra time and want to make sure we take everything they need. Called the consulate several times but no answer and no reply to my voice mail.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hey Keith,

      Sorry for the delay- we were just traveling and arriving in Spain! It’s been a few days of serious trials and tribulations for us, but we are finally, comfortably, and happily settled in Granada… but more on that later. Yes, it was very similar for us. We ended up booking three consecutive appointments. We only had one marriage certificate, which was part of my wife’s packet (the “spouse” section on the requirements list from the SF consulate). For SF, only the spouse shows a marriage certificate requirement, so that’s what we went with.

      I hope things go extremely smoothly at your appointment!

    2. Christina Grundy

      Keith – were you able to find out if an AirBNB tempirary arrangement was suffice for housing or did the Houston consulate require a firm lease. We have been trying to reach them as well, calls and emails , no response. Thank you!

      1. The Vagabond Post author

        I believe Keith commented elsewhere on this post (comment number 10) that he was required to come up with a signed 9+ month lease at the Houston Consulate. At the San Francisco consulate, we weren’t required to provide any kind of lease (not even our AirBnB reservation).

      2. Keith

        A 30 day AirBN receipt worked. When they reviewed everything at the appointment they said that it was up to the discretion of the consulate himself (consul?). Nothing is approved on the spot, they’re just accepting your application. We were never contacted for any additional information and our visas were approved about 4 weeks later.

        Once in Spain, it took us about 4 weeks to find the right apartment and get an official long term lease in hand. We needed it to finalize our residency paperwork (-empadronamiento).

        1. The Vagabond Post author

          Nice! I am really glad to hear that they ended up taking the AirBnB reservation. I can’t imagine they would get a lot of takers if they forced everyone to sign a long term lease sight unseen…

        2. Christina Grundy

          That’s great Keith! I am glad I verified from your previous comment! #10 or so.

          I was taking your 9+ lease requirement staement to mean the Houston Consulate (and powers to be) stated you needed a 9+ month lease and that your 30 day Airbnb was not acceptable.
          So you were approved using the 30 day AirBnB (I have a confirmed 3 month AirBNB I was hoping to use myself) ?

          You meant you were just required to have a full lease for “the next step process” once in Spain?

          Just wanting to clarify because this is HUGE. I was stressing over this chicken-before-egg lease deal.

          *Question – Did you just print and use the Airbnb confirmation from the internet? No translation required as stated on the NLV instructions.

          Any other Houston consulate insight you can provide would be much appreciated. (You can read my husband and my future endeavor “hopes” to Spain below – 8/25 – with comments/questions to TFV. We are beginning our 90 day process mid October and have a consulate appt 1/7/19!

          Thanks again Keith.

          1. Keith

            Sorry, there are various comment threads. So to be as clear as possible – Appointment #1 didn’t go so well. They wouldn’t accept any of my financial documents associated with my business, or any of my retirement accounts (still 20 years out from being able to tap into those). That was the main reason they made me schedule a second appointment, but they also mentioned they wanted to see a 6+ month lease (not just the 1 month AirBNB receipt I had in hand). For my second appointment I had moved money around and everything was to their liking, except for the lease. I explained I was still looking at different schools for my 14 year old and the school would decide which neighborhood we lived in. I’d need to do that in person. While they ‘accepted’ my application they made no promises about the 1 month AirBNB receipt being acceptable once my application was reviewed internally. After the second appointment the next communication was letting me know everything was approved and I’d be able to pick up the passports in a week. So no guarantees, but it worked for me.

          2. shelby

            Hello, I will be applying at the Houston consult in a few weeks. I was wondering what the results were of your jan apt were? I have been following this super helpful website along with the embassy’s website. I am applying for a nonlucrative for myself, and was wondering if you turned in a birth certificate? I was planning on just making a copy of my driver’s license.

  7. Keith

    Problems we ran into at our appointment at the Houston Consulate:

    I misunderstood the requirement to literally have €25k+€6k for each family member in checking/savings. I thought investment account would be okay. Not.

    9+ month lease agreement! A 30 day AirBNB receipt wasn’t accepted.

    Two copies of Drivers License and Passport.

    For medical insurance, we too got Mas Salud (through your link, thank you) – we did not have the ‘Condiciones Particulares’ printed out that we were emailed once the policy was in place.

    Other than that it went pretty smoothly. Headed back in a week!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hey Keith, sorry it didn’t go completely smoothly the first go-round, but awesome attitude. It’s crazy how much the requirements can differ across consulates. For example: Yikes, a 9 month lease sight unseen? My God, that’s proving hard enough even now that we’re here! We’ve been running around setting up banking (which, in a feat of circular logic, also requires you to prove your residence… we used our medical insurance policy page because it’s all we had with a local address) and transferring in enough cash to satisfy our (hopefully future) landlord. I hope if you get a chance, you let me/us know how you ended up getting on with the lease.

    2. Christina Grundy

      Sorry for the above comment. Should of kept reading. So did they require you to have a one year firm lease agreement? Thank you.

      1. Keith

        I could not commit to a place for 9+ months sight unseen. Despite them asking for a 9 month lease (or longer) I only provided the 30 day AirBNB lease at the second appointment. But that was the only iffy part of the application, everything else clearly met the requirements. So no guarantee but it worked for me.

        1. Christina Grundy

          Thank you Keith.
          Your 8/26 post is understood. Thanks for clearing everything up!
          I appreciate your help!

  8. Keith

    As I understand it you have to make an appointment at a police station to finalize your visa once you arrive. I started looking into this online and in Barcelona – there simply aren’t appointments available at this time. I will keep checking back.

    Do you happen to know if it is during this appointment at a police station that they will issue the NIE? I know we need one to do pretty much anything official (bank account, get internet installed, etc.)

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      The NIE is on the visa page they’ll paste into your passport, so you’ll have it before you leave. The process for getting the tarjeta de identidad de extranjero has changed a lot in the last two years, as far as I can tell. I will have a blog post about this since we’re in the midst of it, but in short, our original documents were retained at the consulate. These used to be required to get the TIE, but it appears that’s not longer the case. Here are the new requirements (in Spanish) for picking it up:


      Pasaporte completo o título de viaje o, en su caso, cédula de inscripción en vigor.
      3 Fotografías recientes.
      Justificante para la administración del abono de la tasa Modelo 790 Código 012
      Copia de la resolución administrativa de concesión.
      Certificado de empadronamiento en caso de que haya cambiado de domicilio.
      En caso de renovación la tarjeta anterior.
      En caso de menores irá acompañado de su representante.
      En caso de reagrupación familiar copia de la tarjeta del reagrupante.

      For us, that basically means passport (with visa page), 3 EU-sized passport photos, a copy of the “resolucion” page for each NIE in your family from here, and the M790 C012 fee paid for each member of the family. Are you looking here for the appointment to get your TIE? I understand that the it’s important to leave the “current card expiration date” empty when making an appointment, which gives you access to close-in dates. All of the above may be moot to you, since you can’t start to take action on it until you have an NIE. We’re waiting until we have our lease figured out to start that process here in Granada. I’ll have more to say on this once we’ve navigated it, but needless to say, it’s pretty different from what I’ve read it was like just a year or two ago.

    2. Greg_in_SD

      We are hoping our Visa is approved and will be in Barcelona starting March 1. We have rented an apartment in central Ramblas area. If I could ask, what police station did you go to and what documents did they require for the TIE. Thanks so much

      1. Greg_in_SD

        Hello from Barcelona. We are now in Barcelona and I’m trying to navigate the website link above to start the TIE process which I think means first just getting an appointment. Before getting through all the steps to actually pick an appointment date it is requiring not only my email address but a local phone number. It won’t accept my US phone number. Is this what others are finding? Does this mean we will need to get a local cell phone just to request a TIE meeting?

        I also noted that the address they gave, and only option in the drop down box for picking a location for the appointment is out in the suburbs of Barcelona. Have any others had a similar experience.


        1. The Vagabond Post author

          If you need a local cell phone, Vodafone has extremely cheap prepaid cell phone plans and SIM cards. We still use one to this day and pay about 25 Euros a month. There are even cheaper options, but we choose to pay for a plan (“Megayuser”) with a lot of data. Swing by a Vodafone store and you should have a working Spanish phone number within a few minutes at minimal cost (assuming you brought a GSM-compatible phone to Spain).

  9. Steve

    I appreciate having found your article. I too am trying to put together the papers necessary for a resident visa Non-lucrative. I am not sure about how to define a “certified translator”
    I live here in Seattle and hope you might have some suggestions on how I determine if the service has translators that would be approved for my paperwork upon arrival for my interview at the embassy. Also, I am a bit worried about the checking and savings requirements (I had hoped my investments would be considered, however I am applying as a retiree and have proof of social security and ex-employee pension and additional income)..

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Steve,

      See the list of essential links above. I link the PDF of official, Spanish government certified translators. Your translator must come from this list for your documents to be accepted. Hope this helps!

    2. Keith

      I’m still working on getting my visa. First visit to consulate I showed several investment accounts that totaled more than double the required amount of “checking” + “savings” but they would not accept it. I have since cashed out enough in an investment account and transferred to my checking. Going back Wednesday for my next appointment, hopefully I have everything I need this time.

  10. Nelson S

    Hi there! In doing some research for the same endgoal, came across this blog and this very helpful post. Congrats on the approval. I’m probably a year behind you guys. Doing a ton of research right now. Definitely will stay tuned on your progress.

    You mentioned in a previous post that you had a dog. Do you still plan on taking him or her? I’m in the same situation. Wife, 2 kids, and one fuzzy cockapoo. If yes, would very much love to know the process for pets as well.

    Félicitationes una vez más. ¡Buena suerte con todo!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hey Nelson,

      Thanks for writing, and best of luck to you guys in the application process! We’ve actually arrived here in Granada and are starting to get settled– have an amazing house we’re moving into at the end of the week, working on our residency cards, etc. I’m planning to write articles on each item to give an update, as much has changed relative to what I found on the internet.

      To answer your question, yes, we moved with both of our large dogs. They’re here and starting to adjust, though it has definitely been a lot of change for them! I’m planning to write an article on who we moved them with, the process, how it went, etc. It was not completely without stress and challenges, being perfectly honest, but in the end it was worth it. We’re all here safe and together. We arrived on Good Friday and Madrid airport was all but shut down, so I spent the better part of a day running back and forth from the cargo area to run the wrong direction into the arrivals area (never got stopped!) to find a customs officer, who I waited for hours to process the paperwork because of computer issues. It’s a long story, but I’ll share it ASAP once we get settled in the new house. 🙂

      Please do keep checking back, and please, please comment and let me know as you go through the process so that I can hear about how it goes!

  11. Mel

    Congratulations! I’m very happy for you and your family. I started this process last year and will submit my documents in October 2018. I live in Chicago and I’ve heard that the people at the Chicago Consulate are very nice and helpful. They have in their website the following financial requirements:

    “Proof of adequate financial resources: Bank statements of the previous year, investments, sabbaticals, annuities and any other source of income totaling a minimum of € 2,130/month (or its equivalent in USD). Add € 532/month (or its equivalent in USD) per spouse and per each child.”

    Based on this, I believe they accept your 401K statements as a proof of income plus bank statements showing cash balance totaling a minimum of €26,000 per year for 1 person. Is this enough to proof adequate financial resources?

    Thank you again for sharing and keep us posted!


    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hey Mel,

      Not to equivocate too much, but I think the right answer is that “it depends.” The consular officials have very wide latitude when it comes to processing these applications, and in the end, it comes down to what the person processing your visa will accept. In our case, we showed enough cash to cover the entire year, and threw in the 401(k) assets to further strengthen the case. The US-based spanish officials definitely know what a 401(k) is, though, so if you’re pre-withdrawal age, I could see it becoming an issue if it’s your only asset. If you’re of age to withdraw it, it might be enough.

      Please let me know what you end up showing, and if it ends up being enough for the official! The more experiences we gather here, the more useful this article is, so I thank you very much for sharing.

      1. Mel

        I agree. I will stop by the consulate and ask them directly. Thank you so much for your advise. I will keep you posted. 🙂

        Take care,

        1. Abigail

          Were you able to use the 401K in Chicago? My family plans to move to Spain next summer and it would really help to be able to use it! We plan to sell our house, but probably won’t close before our appointment.

          1. The Vagabond Post author

            The consensus I have always heard is that you are likely to run into trouble using a 401k as a source of funds if you are not at withdrawal age, as they know you cannot access the funds without penalty.

  12. Mark Gonzalez

    Thank you for all the great info. I guess I have a bit of a leg up on the process as I have a spanish bank account, medical insurance, doctor and have a place to live. So my question which i am a bit confused on is what does need to be translated? I assume all my spanish accounts will be in spanish so other than letter does anything else need to be translated?


    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Generally speaking, if a document is already in Spanish, it does not need a translation. That said, bank, insurance, and place to live are not the only items the the documentation indicates as requiring translation. Birth certificates, marriage certificates, letter in support of your visa, criminal background check, etc. all require certified translation. If you check out the above requirements list, I mention each item as requiring a translation, apostille, or both. If the original is in Spanish, you can probably safely do without the translation, but any time you deviate from what they expect, you run the risk of a consular official being uncomfortable with your application and I don’t think anyone can guarantee the outcome.

      1. Andy

        Hello, In regards to birth certificates, maybe I’m missing something in the required documents, but I don’t see birth certificates as being required? My wife and I have our USA passports. Should we also order birth certs within the 90 day appointment window?

          1. Darcy

            However if you’re applying together you will have to get a copy of marriage certificate within the 30 day window. If you were married in a different state from where you live now, you’ll want to allow enough time to get it from the other state, with the Apostille.

      2. Iris

        You are a saint for compiling this list!

        I have a little bit of a different situation. I have Spanish Ancestors as well as the original Birth/wedding Documents etc. I’ve been trying to figure out which route is the least complicated: The non-lucrative or a simple application for long term residency. I don’t expect you to know the answer to this but since we both originate from The Bay Area (Walnut Creek), I was wondering if you might know of someone LOCALLY that could advise regarding which approach my husband and I should take before our appt with The Consulate in January. I’ve been reading until my eyes bleed and I can’t get a clear idea of the differences.

        I have a question about the income as well: do You know if we need to prove “savings” In the amount that Spain requires will ”income” satisfy? im sorry if you’ve answered this and I missed it.

        Again, YOU ROCK for sharing your journey. Que disfrutes y pronto no tengas tanto jaleo. ?

        1. The Vagabond Post author

          Hi Iris,

          I don’t know anyone off the top of my head who can consult on which visa is best for you, but if you’re going for a long term residency based on filiation (descent), it’s pretty likely that the nonlucrative would be a simpler process.

          Regarding income/savings, it’s not cut and dry– some people have no trouble using recurring remote income as their proof of financial means, others find that the consular staff insist that they perform no work, remote or otherwise, and therefore have either savings or investments that will cover the minimum requirement. It appears that lately remote work is trending towards being explicitly forbidden. If you end up pursuing some visa option besides the NL visa, it’s possible the situation would be different for you. The most fool-proof option by far is to show cash savings in the amount requested by the government.

        2. Ernest

          Iris, we are in the same situation. We had problems getting the long term residency and citizenship application completed though because of Venezuela was source for some documentation. Though my wife’s parents were both Spanish, they are not alive, and paperwork trail is some effort. Family recommended just fly to Spain and deal with this in Madrid. Well, the turned out to be bad advice because while my wife might be able to use legal means to keep herself in the country, that wouldn’t allow me, the spouse to stay. So, we return to get the non-lucrative visa as a matter of expediency until we figure out the rest. Keep in mind also that taxation gets more anchored in with citizenship, or longer term residency, so there are good reasons to go slow in the beginning at least.

  13. Yona

    Hey, thank you so much for sharing this. The proof of funds is my biggest hurdle. I have $30k in the bank, a contract that would permit me to make $3.5k per month. But I have only worked part time by choice and so only show $1.5-2k monthly income. From what you have experienced in your research and meeting the consulate, do you think this would be sufficient? Thanks for your input!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Yona,

      I’m going to answer assuming you are the only member of your family, with no spouse or children. My guess is that with $30K in the bank and a 3.5K a month contract, it would be a coin toss on whether the consular staff will process your application. At the moment, you need 25,560 Euros per year in recurring income for the head of household, which is a few hundred dollars over $30K, so you’re right on the bubble. The exchange rate might fluctuate suddenly and you’d be short of the required amount. On the other hand, the consulate might consider the 3.5K contract (42K a year) to be adequate proof of recurring income. If it were me, I’d probably try to get a little more liquid cash into the bank, and maybe work a month or two maxing out your contract hours to give yourself the best possible chance at your appointment… though once again, you might be fine as you are.

      If you do have a spouse or kids, I’d say you’d be more likely to be on the wrong side of the discretion of the consulate than sailing through.

      1. Nelson S

        I will be curious to know if there is a distinction between recurring income and just having a gross amount of liquid funds you plan to live off of. That is what I plan to do with my family. We will have saved up a sizable amount by the time we apply for everything and can’t imagine that being a problem. We are essentially retiring so I would think that will be fine. Not sure though.

        1. The Vagabond Post author

          One of the things I was trying to make clear in the article is that is is completely at the discretion of the consular officer, and will vary from consulate to consulate as well. You might sail through with just the cash saved, or the consulate might demand that the money be truly recurring. They have wide latitude to interpret the requirement however they like. I hope it works out in the end for you!

  14. Mel

    Hi All,

    I wanted to share with all of you an excellent article about the Spanish Non-Lucrative Residence Visa. The author which is a Spanish lawyer states that either you have an recurring income or the amount of money of 26,000 € in your bank account. You do not need to have both so either option works according to him, See the link below.


    El artículo 47 del Reglamento de Extranjería nos da 2 opciones, las cuales son:

    a) Contar con medios económicos suficientes para el período de residencia que solicitan (por ejemplo, tener 26.000 euros en una cuenta bancaria)


    b) Acreditar una fuente de percepción periódica de ingresos (podría ser la renta que se devenga por el alquiler de una vivienda, la percepción de una pensión de jubilación, etc.).

    A pesar que estas 2 opciones son alternativas y no acumulativas, es decir, que se debe cumplir con cualquier de ellas y no con las 2 de forma simultánea, en ocasiones las autoridades de extranjería han denegado solicitudes de autorizaciones de residencia temporal no lucrativa indicando que el extranjero no cumple con este requisito al no demostrar los recursos económicos por ambas vías.

    Artículo 47. Medios económicos a acreditar para la obtención de una autorización de residencia temporal. 1. Los extranjeros que deseen residir en España sin realizar una actividad laboral o lucrativa deberán contar con medios económicos suficientes para el periodo de residencia que solicitan, o acreditar una fuente de percepción periódica de ingresos, para sí mismo y, en su caso, su familia, en las siguientes cuantías, que se establecen con carácter de mínimas y referidas al momento de solicitud del visado o de renovación de la autorización: a) Para su sostenimiento, durante su residencia en España, una cantidad que represente mensualmente en euros el 400% del IPREM, o su equivalente legal en moneda extranjera. b) Para el sostenimiento de cada uno de los familiares a su cargo, durante su residencia en España, una cantidad que represente mensualmente en euros el 100% del IPREM, o su equivalente legal en moneda extranjera, cantidad a acreditar de forma adicional a la referida en el apartado a) anterior. 2. En ambos casos, la cuantía global de medios económicos habrá de suponer la disposición de la cuantía mensual calculada con base a lo establecido en el apartado anterior, en relación con el tiempo de vigencia de la autorización solicitada. 3. La disponibilidad de medios económicos suficientes se acreditará mediante la presentación de la documentación que permita verificar la percepción de ingresos periódicos y suficientes o la tenencia de un patrimonio que garantice dicha percepción de ingresos. La disponibilidad se podrá acreditar por cualquier medio de prueba admitido en Derecho, incluyendo la aportación de títulos de propiedad, cheques certificados o tarjetas de crédito, que deberán ir acompañados de una certificación bancaria que acredite la cantidad disponible como crédito de la citada tarjeta. Si los medios económicos proceden de acciones o participaciones en empresas españolas, mixtas o extranjeras radicadas en España, el interesado acreditará, mediante certificación de las mismas, que no ejerce actividad laboral alguna en dichas empresas, y presentará declaración jurada en tal sentido.

  15. Keith

    Is he available to join you at your appointment? 🙂

    For the consulate in Houston, they insisted that I have the minimum amount in my checking account. Despite having proof of recurring income that was beyond this amount they sent me away. When I returned with a new bank statement proving this they finally accepted my documents.

    Like the writer of this blog has said before, it really doesn’t matter what the rules are, it’s simply up to the consulate what they’ll accept.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Exactly. All you have to do is read through the comments on various blog posts about this topic to find people whose initial applications were denied because they showed recurring… or *non*-recurring… income when the consular official wanted the opposite. Might you be able to appeal or argue the matter? Maybe, but as a visa applicant, one doesn’t have much leverage and I don’t envy anyone who takes that path. That said, as always, I wish everyone success.

    1. Keith

      I used Aurora Salvador Sanchis. It lists her as living in Austin but she recently moved to the Bay Area. She got everything I needed and my visa was approved. a few weeks ago.

      1. The Vagabond Post author

        Thanks Keith. So glad to hear that you guys finally got across the finish line! I haven’t mentioned my translator because I am hesitant to deluge them with the kind of traffic this post sees without checking in first.

      2. Christina Grundy

        Keith –
        Checking in to see if you were approved?
        Our Houston consulate visit is 1/7/19 so any tips is greatly appreciated!

        Couple of questions:

        1) Financial documents – did you have all pages translated or just the first couple from the checking account? Did you have them certified??

        2)Did they require repatriation with medical insurance?

        Thanks in advance!

        1. Keith

          Hi Christina-
          This blog post was a perfect guide. We were approved. For finances, we brought more than they wanted. We brought our business bank statements but they couldn’t accept them (LLC which is 100% me and my wife, but still no go). Personal checking, first page translated by official translator but not apostile or anything else. We got the same insurance as suggested above, the Sanitas Mas Salud policy. They didn’t ask any additional questions about it. Not sure if it covers repatriation or not. The Houston Consulate was very helpful via email, after our first appointment. We did have to come back a second time. The main issue was moving money out of our business accounts and into our personal accounts. Hope that helps. Best of luck, Keith

  16. Shannon Morris

    I am trying to apply for this visa currently. My problem is that I work for an online company teaching ESL and I do not have a set salary each month. It depends on how much I choose to work and how many people book me. I don’t have a history of pay with the company because I was working for a brick and mortar school this year, and was only teaching online on the weekends. I read somewhere that a notarized letter stating that your parents will financially support you for the year could suffice. Have you seen any information on that? I’m just worried that I won’t have the proof necessary from the online job. I asked them for a letter and they stated they could not provide me with what I need due to the nature of the contract.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Shannon,

      As with so many of these questions, I think the answer is going to be “depends on where you are applying, and on who looks at your documentation, and on how they feel that day.” If you can show a history of income over the space of 90 days or so that exceeds the requirements of the visa, that might do it even without the letter from your employer. If your parents are supporting you, I think that opens a whole can of worms wherein your parents would need to prove not just their willingness to support you, but also their ability to do so (through financial records). If you have this option, it would probably be much simpler if they were to simply gift you the minimum amount required for the full year, and then simply allow it to sit in your account (and thus, a few statements) for a few months to prove you possess the cash resources to support yourself.

      1. Brian

        Sorry, another question. When it asks for documents to be certified, does that mean it needs to be notarized?
        For example, the proof of income, do I first notarize it, then have it translated?

        1. The Vagabond Post author

          The requirement says “All documentation must be certified translated into Spanish.” It means the translations must be done by a certified translator.

      1. Brian

        If you don’t mind. I had another question. If we show the €37,000 Euros in the bank account and have a letter from family member in Malag stating we will be staying whith him as his guests for the year, and the fact that we still own a home in the states and plan to come back after a year, would that be enough.
        We will not show any income at the time of our appointment.

        1. The Vagabond Post author

          You will need to show the income required for your family size, that part is strict. Some consular officials will accept it as a lump sum in the account, some will require actual recurring income, emphasis on the recurring. That’s said, the good news is that in San Francisco, we showed a lump sum and it was fine, but it greatly exceeded their requirements, which may have been a contributing factor. There
          Could be trouble if you are just scraping by and those are the only assets you have to show. Ultimately it’s up to the official, and the people in Madrid who make the final decision.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      As mentioned in the article, if your apostille already contains English and Spanish, as California’s does, the apostille does not require translation. All documents explicitly calling for translation do need translation.

  17. Brian

    After obtaining the DOJ clearance paper, do we also need to get another clearance paper from the local police department??

      1. Brian

        On the visa instruction from the consulate website it said you have to obtain a police report from countries you lived in for the last 5 years.

        1. The Vagabond Post author

          The DOJ or FBI is the Police Criminal Record Clearance (note the title of #7 on the list of requirements). If you lived in another country in the last five years, you need an equivalent document from those countries.

          1. Veronica

            Visa states you must get a state background check and a FBI check. Is that correct? Have you heard of Identgo fingerprint company? So it’s under my impression and from the lady I talk to is that they can do the digital fingerprints and have the FBI and State history background check for you. Is that correct? Has anybody gone through them? Trying to figure out the fastest way to get these documents in.

          2. The Vagabond Post author

            Hi Veronica,

            It’s State or FBI, not both. Unless your state doesn’t offer Live Scan/background checks that are compatible with this visa, there’s no reason to go with a private entity which may or may not understand what is needed for a visa clearance letter.

  18. Brian

    I contacted Sanitas and their Mas Salud coverage for my wife and I is 141 Euros per month.
    I wanted to ask you about how you took the dogs to Europe. air cargo is not an option for our dog. Any advice will be greatly helpful.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      If traveling by air, your only real options are going to be the dog being small enough to travel in the compartment (probably not if you have a beagle), or them traveling in the hold. I was worried about our dogs in the hold, too, so we chose a carrier and a flight routing that allowed them to be specially cared for by animal handlers, rather than just being treated as baggage– British Airways SFO-LHR-MAD. It was still stressful, and there’s a lot to say about it that I’ll get around to eventually, but they made it through just fine.

      If traveling in the hold won’t work for you and the dog is too big for the passenger compartment, the only other option I know of is to try to get a one-way berth on a cruise ship when they reposition themselves to change routes (repositioning cruises). It’s much tougher to find and the move would take days or weeks, but I’ve heard it’s possible.

      1. brian

        So British Airways is the best route to take if they are to be in cargo hold?
        I was looking at air france and Lufthansa.
        My wife does have a emotional Security Dog certificate for him so he can come with us inside the cabin from US to Europe but then say from Frankfurt to Malaga he would have to get in the cargo. Problem is we can’t bring his crate inside the plane so not sure how to get him a crate in frankfurt. I did find one metal crate that folds but dimensions is more than they allow as a carry on lugagge. Maybe they make an exception. I need to call them. What a mess

      2. Brian

        May I ask what was it about british airways that made you decide to go with them?
        I hear that most baggage handlers don’t care about the animals they are transporting. They might stay on the Tarmac for a long time in hot and cold and may die as the result. We are traveling mid Oct.

  19. Brian

    And sorry, one last thing. Is it possible to request a visa for only 6 months?
    Can we still apply for residency once we get to spain?

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      The non-lucrative residence visa is issued for a year initially, then for up to two two-year renewals. No other durations are offered.

      I am not sure what your second question means. The process this post describes is for being approved for the first year of residency, but you only receive a visa in your passport for the first 90 days of that period. The process must take place outside of Spain. Once you arrive in Spain, you must complete the TIE portion of the process to secure your visa for the rest of the year.

  20. Laurel McCaull

    Thank you so much for this post, it has been so helpful! I’m going to be working remotely and part-time as well, for a U.S.-based tutoring company, but I am also going to be living off of a traveling fellowship I received from my college.
    I have a letter from my college stating that they will provide me funds, but it’s just under the required annual income, so I’m wondering if I should also ask for a letter from the tutoring company as well. I’m worried that work might be seen as “lucrative,” and somehow hurt my application (even though it’s a U.S. company). Also, did you have to pay taxes to Spain while you were there?
    p.s. I’m also applying at the SF consulate, so hopefully our experiences will be similar!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Laurel,

      In your shoes, I would document the income from your university, and if at all possible, have the remainder (plus some for safety) in cash in your bank account. That is to say, if (theoretically) you need ~$40K and the fellowship provides $30K, do your best to have several months worth of recent bank statements showing $10K+ in cash. If that’s not possible, then your only option is to get the letter from your tutoring company. Personally, I would have the letter on hand anyway, even if you have the cash to make up the shortfall, and keep it in a separate folder at your visa appointment. That way, if you’re asked for further financial assets, you can always whip it out and show it.

      Any time you are resident in Spain over 180 days of a year, you are a tax resident, so you must file taxes in both the US and Spain if that’s the case. Spain and US have a taxation treaty in force, meaning you are credited for taxes paid to the US in your tax filing in Spain. Based on the amount of income it sounds like you have, it’s very likely that you wouldn’t pay much, if anything, to the Spanish government, but you would need to file and I would encourage you to make use of a tax professional who is versed in expat filings in Spain. We will be filing Spanish taxes in 2019 for tax year 2018.

  21. Brian

    Hi again. So we did the live scan fingerprint and the DOJ website shows completed on June 6. What happens now? Do we receive a letter from them in the mail? And after we do, then do we email them asking for a clearance letter?

    I suppose once we get the clearance letter, we send it to Sacramento along with the marriage certificate for the Apostille?

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Yes. As the post above mentions:

      We first received our fingerprint results, then we emailed the DOJ to get the clearance letter, and when that arrived, we sent it to Sacramento for an apostille. The entire process from fingerprints to completed, apostilled letter took about five weeks. Start early!

  22. Brian

    Did you get your livescan results in the mail? Ours show complete on June 6. Not sure if we receive something in the mail from DOJ

  23. Brian

    This is what the DOJ website says:

    Once the submission is received and processed, the DOJ will mail the response via U.S. mail to the applicant only. It is the applicant’s responsibility to forward the information to their legal counsel or assistance agency.

    NOTE: An “Apostille” or a “Certification” is frequently required by foreign governments before the background check will be accepted. The document you receive from the DOJ is not the actual Apostille. As such, if you need this additional service, you will need to contact the DOJ at AFTER you receive the DOJ response in the mail.

    Looks to me that the response they mail you IS the clearance letter. Because there is no mention of having to request a clearance letter after you receive whatever docs they mail you.
    My wifes status is still in progress after 7 days. HMMMM? :/

    1. The Vagabond Post author


      I have been through this process, in California, in the past 12 months. I assure you that what you are initially mailed is not the clearance letter. It is not a letter at all, but rather a somewhat opaque page with a variety of data indicating that your prints didn’t match any known criminal record. When you receive that page in the mail, you will email the DOJ and request the formal clearance letter, referencing your Livescan ATI number. It is that email that will get you the letter you need to have apostilled. This is the process that I have described above.

      I know that this process can seem very complicated. Please know that I wrote this article in the most complete and comprehensive possible fashion, exactly describing our experience in applying for and successfully receiving permission to live in Spain, as residents of California, as of 2018. If, once you have completed the process, you feel that anything I have shared here is inaccurate, I welcome that input. Until that time, I can only ask that you read what I have written carefully, and understand that it is based on our personal success in becoming Spanish residents. Thanks.

      1. Ernest

        We also took the weird rap sheet letter CA DOJ mails in an envelope, when you apply for a “visa clearance” letter and get fingerprinted, to get Apostille at CA DOS, and then learned about the official signed letter was needed. Why CA DOJ, which doesn’t answer any phone calls or have a public office, bothers to make this process so frustrating is hard to say, but we immediately e-mailed scanned copies of our rap sheets to an e-mail address given by DOS clerk. On same day we got response that signed version was mailed out. For us, coming from Stockton to Sacramento was something of a waste of time and fuel, but for those coming from other parts of the state this can be more aggravating and expensive to be sure.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      I don’t want to open the door to providing free one on one coaching on this topic. My family moved to Spain to spend all of our time together, and while I want others to benefit from what we learned, this article and the comments I reply to are the extent of the personal attention I can provide right now.

  24. Brian

    Well, my DOJ report came back and it shows 3 speeding tickets from 8 to 12 years ago.
    Can’t get a record clearance letter. Not sure if I should stop now, bummer

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Something doesn’t quite track here. California LiveScan criminal records checks don’t include infractions (like speeding tickets). This is because the legislature has limited the reports to only include a small subset of crimes like child abuse, elder abuse, sex offenses, theft, robbery, and all felonies. Not only should a traffic ticket not be a disqualifier for a clearance letter, it shouldn’t even show up on the results.

      I want to make sure anyone reading this doesn’t avoid trying for this visa because of traffic infractions. If speeding tickets are being cited as a reason for refusing a criminal record clearance, then either there is more to the story (I won’t speculate), or you have a basis for complaining and fighting that refusal. That said, I can’t offer you any advice on doing so, you’d need to consult with a legal professional or read the law carefully (PC 11105) and figure out a path forward.

      1. Ernest

        That’s not quite correct. Misdemeanor offices are included, but as long as they are farther in the past than 5 years, you should have nothing to worry about. I had an unfortunate such event more that 30 years ago that was in my CA DOJ live scan sheet.

  25. Brian

    I remember for one of the tickets I had to go to local police and get booked. They fingerprinted me. But the other 2 tickets were regular speeding tickets where I went to traffic school and paid the other one.
    I will get a copy of my report and dispute these. Fight is not over yet.
    If I can’t get them off, not sure if the consulate does their own research since the only apostille copy is the cover letter that states my fingerprint matched a criminal record. Speeding


  26. matt

    To RENEW your visa after one year (for the two year period), do you know whether the Spaniards require you to have paid taxes in the past? I am wondering if you could concievably continue to get your visa renewed and avoid paying Spanish taxes by not spending 183+ days each calendar year.


    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Matt,

      From what I’ve read in various places around the internet (I haven’t done a renewal yet), Spain requires you to be in the country for at least 183+ days at a bare minimum in order to process a renewal. To me, this means they expect you to have stayed long enough to be a tax resident and file taxes. The process to gain a residency permit and renew it has been streamlined quite a lot in the past year or two, and it would surprise me very much if they didn’t verify that you had filed your taxes before processing any renewal. We plan to file our taxes, as we feel like we’re being given a lot with little expected of us in return besides to be good guests, and the tax treaties between the two countries (and their treatment of foreign-earned income) make it unlikely that we will owe much (if anything) in taxes to Spain.

      These were good links that helped me a lot. I’ll write a post once we file taxes here to try to help. I think we’ll probably go the safe route and pay someone to help us with the Spanish filing.

  27. Niloofar Hubrich

    Hello. Just as you mentioned, the health insurance is the most confusing part of this. Does the insurance company and the plan you purchased (with the added extras) cover all the requirements:

    Sanitary Assistance, Accidents, Emergencies, Evacuation, Medical Repatriation, Return of Remains with complete international coverage, with ZERO (0) deductible, no co-payment.

    I may have misunderstood which spoke to them, but it sounded like Medical Repatriation was not included.

    Any information you could give me would be so appreciated.


    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Niloofar,

      For us, the Sanitas Mas Salud plan with the added options for zero deductible and zero copay was acceptable to the consulate. To the best of my knowledge, our coverage does not include repatriation coverage. That said, here is what I believe is at play here: In the not-too-distant past, people were using things like travel insurance to satisfy the health insurance requirements, and I believe that is when the repatriation requirement was implemented. Much more recently, Spain began to require actual medical insurance. If you have full coverage, no-deductible, no-copay coverage, then the need for repatriation is moot. I *do* know that repatriation coverage is still required for certain visitor visas, as I heard it explained to someone while I was at my visa appointment.

      Hope this helps a little, and sorry it’s not more definitive.

  28. Niloofar Hubrich

    Please help!!! I am being told by the Spanish Consulate in LA that the repatriation and return of remains is back to the USA. If the Spanish insurance does not include that, then he suggested buying a separate travel insurance to cover that. The insurance that you mentioned, covers the repatriation and return of remains back to Spain. I just don’t know what to do. I didn’t see you mention anything about this. What do you think I should do?


    1. VS

      Hello. I was at the LA office today and they also wanted me to have the repatriation and evacuation listed in my Insurance policy. I have Sanitas from Spain And when I called them and they said they do not cover that. Where can I get this extra policy? I understand it cannot be with travelers insurance. Help. I only have 10 days to get them what they need.

      1. TCH

        I worked with Momir at Sanitas and was able to get the coverage, no problem. He is great as responding with tight deadlines, as LA wanted me to pay for 1 year, not six months, and he took care of processing my payment and sending me the documentation so I could mail to the consulate very quickly. His email is Phone is 34 952 964 728. He speaks English, but I think it would be better to email first. Hope this helps!

  29. Niloofar Hubrich

    Please help!!! I am being told by the Spanish Consulate in LA that the repatriation and return of remains is back to the USA. If the Spanish insurance does not include that, then he suggested buying a separate travel insurance to cover that. The insurance that you mentioned, covers the repatriation and return of remains back to Spain. I just don’t know what to do. I didn’t see you mention anything about this. What do you think I should do? Someone/anyone HELP!!!!


  30. Niloofar Hubrich

    Sorry, there was a delay in getting your initial message so I sent another one after the consulate answered. You do not need to respond to my last comment.

    Thank you so much

    1. Shari Correll

      Hello Niloofar, please let me know what the LA Consulate’s advice was on this matter. We have an appointment September 5th. Thank you very much! – Shari Correll

      1. Niloofar M Hubrich

        Hi Shari:

        I was wondering if you could let me know about the insurance matter and your experience. Our interview is not until October 16th.

        Thank you

      2. Niloofar M Hubrich

        TFV Edit: Please don’t leave duplicate comments, if another commenter wants to share, they can choose to do it after one prompt.

  31. Brian

    It is interesting that they are asking for police record of any state you lived in the last 5 years only. So if you had a record from 10 years ago at a different state or location, it would not show.

  32. Barbara

    There does not seem to be an official translator for the Czech Republic on the list. Did I miss it? Thank you.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Translators of Czech language start on page 225. They don’t need to be in your country, it’s just a nice to have.

      I’m assuming you’re not a Czech citizen, and just translating Czech documents. If you’re a Czech citizen, I don’t know of why you’d need to get a non lucrative visa, you could just live in Spain as a EU citizen without a special visa.

  33. Brian

    Well I received our insurance paperwork from Salidas
    One version is in english and one in Spanish
    Not sure if I can use the spanish version with the english ot have the english translated.

  34. Sandra

    Question on the medical certificate
    They provide a pdf that is English and Spanish
    If the doctor prints that page on his letterhead, sign and stamp it, is that acceptable?
    Their insteuctions states they need a Certified translation in Spanish.
    Looks like they create the confusion themselves but not referencing anything regarding the dual language pdf they provide

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Sandra,

      I am fairly certain that it’s acceptable without further translation if the PDF is printed on letterhead, with signature, date, and stamp. Our doctors were willing to use the English text, but not to print the original PDF, so we ended up getting translations done as a matter of safety.

  35. Brian

    Sorry but I have another question. The SF Consulate website says

    “note that you can only apply for your visa 90 days before your departure to Spain”

    So if my appointment is today, I can not buy tickets for sooner than Oct 10?

  36. Brian

    Got it. So when they email me to say come and pick up your visa, I am going to book a ticket for 3 – 4 weeks from that time. We should be ok. I send all necessary docs for Apostille today. Just got back from Marbella where my cousin offered me a notarized official letter of invitation that states we will be staying at his villa for the first 90 days of our trip. Very nice of him. Marbella was awesome!!

  37. Brian

    Interesting note is that the Los Angeles consulate states they will give you back the originals of the medical certificate and background check and only keep the photocopies. They mention they do this in case you need the originals in Spain.
    No such statement from SF Consulate.

  38. Keith

    The only thing I had to show in Spain, from all the paperwork provide to the Consulate, was a copy of my sons birth certificate and the translation. First office I went to wanted the original birth cert.(which I didn’t have at the time). So I went to a different office – they accepted the photo copy, no questions asked. This was for Empadronamiento.

  39. Brian

    Another question is, do you have 90 days to enter Spain from the day you get your passport stamped? Or from the day they notify you about the visa approval?

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      When approved for your visa, you will receive an email indicating that you need to pick it up within 30 days or it will be canceled. In that email, they will ask you to reply with a copy of your flight itinerary. The date of those flights will be the start date they put on your visa. Theoretically, the travel date should be within 90 days of visa approval (the day you receive the email), but they appear to be somewhat flexible about it… though I wouldn’t push it too far.

      1. Ondina Mendoza

        I understand this 90 day window after receiving your visa approval. My question is—has anyone ever attempted to modify the date they requested on their original visa application? We just received our approval via email today. And Consulate (Houston) explained to us that it would be at least another week before we receive the formal approval. That date we used for app was end of August 2019. Do you think it would be permissible to push back that date to January 2020? Or would this trigger a whole new visa application?

        1. The Vagabond Post author

          I haven’t heard of anyone changing their date quite that drastically. That’s not to say that it’s not possible, just that it may or may not present a problem. My gut assumption given the rigid nature of requirements is that a five month change will require a new visa app, but please let us know what happens.

          1. Ondina Canales Mendoza

            So, I don’t know if my brain is fried from multi-tasking a bit too much today but am a bit confused. As expected, the consulate is saying that we have a 30 day window during which to pick up our passports and visas. And they are requesting a travel date. So, if they do not begin the timeclock until that date we provide, then could I build some more time into our plans by buying a ticket later in the fall (later than the application date I requested)? Has anyone faced this question / scenario? TIA!

          2. The Vagabond Post author

            Hi Ondina,

            Yes, technically they are trying to do you a solid and give you the full 90-day window on the Spain side to complete your TIE process– trying to build in extra time by showing up with a travel date that doesn’t match the date solicited on your visa would be asking for trouble, though. Until the visa is printed and affixed in your passport, nothing is really final. If you need a little extra time, communicate it and I am sure it will be fine. If you need months of extra time, you’ll need to communicate that, too, or risk having your visa canceled and having the consular staff remember it when your next visa appointment comes up.

      2. Ondina

        Thank you! I’m trying to get a feel for how much or how little flexibility they might have on both of those time clocks (1. picking up the visa and 2. activating it in Spain). We’ve been told the whole family needs to return to Houston consulate to pick up visas and we’re trying to find a good date amongst all our child’s summer school activities.

        1. Darcy

          If you read the instructions linked to the SF Consulate’s site (I don’t know if Houston has the same guidelines posted; SF Consulate’s were updated in February 2019), there are several statements about timing, beginning with the requirement that all documents (criminal records search etc) have to be dated no more than 3 months before the date of your appointment. And you have to pick up your visa within 30 days of notification. And you can only APPLY for your visa 90 days before your departure to Spain. And in another place it says that the visa process takes 2-3 months from the date of your appointment. So obviously if you were to put all of these statements into one timeline, they don’t mesh into a comfortable timeline.

          My overall advice (as I have stated in past responses to other posts) is don’t try to game the system. If you have a valid and unexpected reason for pushing your travel plans later into the fall, write a convincing and humble request for an extension, get it notarized and get a certified translation, and bring it when you pick up your visas…. but don’t count on approval. I think the consulates are actually pretty accommodating when people are clearly trying to follow all the rules and respect the process. But I haven’t read or heard of anyone trying to extend the timelines, so there is no evidence of whether this would be successful or not…. so it would be a gamble and you need to decide if you are willing to take the gamble.

        2. Ondina Mendoza

          After a good deal of back and forth with Consulate, it is evident that we must stay within the timeline we originally requested in our application, which was August 2019. So, they will affix a date to the visa of August and that is the start of our 90 day clock. We will all go to Spain within the next month or so but, I will need to return to US because we do not have any things in order yet with our house. I will have to sell everything and take care of those affairs while my husband stays with my son in Spain so he can begin the school year. I may not be able to return to Spain until the beginning of the next year and hopefully, the extenuating circumstances are understood when comes time for a visa renewal.

          1. The Vagabond Post author

            Hi Ondina,

            I think there are some red flags here. Ultimately the decision is yours but I think this plan risks major disappointment for you. As you may have read, if you spend less than 183 days in Spain in your first year, your visa will not be renewed. I’m not saying it’s not extremely remotely possible that someone might bend the rules, but I should tell you that I have heard all sorts of stories of people here whose visas were not renewed because of not spending enough time in Spain. I have never heard of someone spending less than the required 183 days and getting their renewal done– at least not since this rule was instituted.

            Another thing to consider is that you will need to be physically present for the first TIE appointment, any subsequent appointments if you have troubles, at the card pickup 30 days later, and at any empadronamiento appointments. Depending on the province, this may stretch over all 90 days of the initial visa, or even more.

            Think of it this way– you are moving the whole family and, it appears, hope to stay more than a year. Think of all the work it will take to move back because of an unexpected (or at least unwanted) non-renewal. My unsolicited opinion is that it would be far better to go later as a group than to risk the whole family having to move back because one member’s visa was not renewed. Just my two cents, but of course you should do what’s best for your family.

          2. Ondina Mendoza

            All excellent points! Thank you. We’re concerned that the Consulate will not allow us to extend out that date more than what they already have planned to do which is August 2 for pickup. Does the 183 days spent in Spain start after that 90 day clock during which you obtain during NIE or is the timeline concurrent? Thank you again. We are just trying to juggle a great deal prior to leaving.

          3. The Vagabond Post author

            The one-year clock starts on the effective date of the visa pasted in your passport. One year from that date, you need to have spent 183 days at a minimum in Spain to qualify for renewal. So if the visa pasted into your passport has a start date of, say, August 1, you need to accumulate 183+ days in Spain by August 1 of the following year.

        3. Ernest

          I’m confused on the single entry, dual entry, and mutiple entry part of the application. Can the one year resident visa permit short returns to the USA as long as the 183 days plus are maintained?

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Indeed, Spain has a wealth tax- it is worth noting, however, that each resident has a 700,000 Euro exemption (1.4M EUR per couple) as well as 300,000 EUR in exemption– per owner (so a married couple gets a 600K EUR Exemption if they own their home together)– on the value of the main residence. For a lot of the readers here, those exemptions are enough that they will never owe anything, but some surely will. The rates are also relatively low, too, so a married couple with 2M EUR in worldwide assets would only owe about 2500 EUR– less if some of those assets were a primary residence. If they had 3M EUR in assets, they’d owe around $10K. It’s not nothing, for sure, but it’s also not a total deal breaker.

  40. Laura

    Excellent article! Thank you for all of the details especially with filling out the various application forms. This was very helpful.

  41. Brian

    Couple of questions…
    Is it ok to type in all the form instead of hand write
    Also, do I just paper clip my photos to my passport and submit that way?
    Is it ok to staple together the 5 pages of the national visa application.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      The instructions on the forms state that they should be filled out in capital letters with a black pen or by machine.
      The photos aren’t used in the context of your passport, so no, don’t clip them into that.
      Don’t staple any of the forms together. Use a binder clip to clip the entire packet together.

      1. Brian

        So just to make sure I understand this correctly. Do I use a binder for the 14 pages of medical insurance disclosure and different binders for different documents?
        How do I include the 2 pictures?
        I want to make sure I bundle these forms in the best manner. Thank you.

  42. Juile

    Thank you so much for the information! Does anyone have recent experience with the DC consulate? I was hoping to head to DC next week but now realizing I may need to have an official translator translate some of the documents (vs. a local translator who is not official). The DC website does not even mention translation requirement in the financial proof section. The police report and medical certificate sections both only say:

    “This document needs to be translated into Spanish.”

    If i need to get these 2 documents plus bank statement officially translated i assume that will put us back a few weeks (which would be better than a wasted 5 hour drive I guess)! But I’d rather have the local translator do it if there is a good chance they’ll approve it.

    Thanks for any input.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Julie,

      I think you’re going to need to get these items translated by a certified translator. The problem you’re going to run into is that the docs all go back to Madrid for actual approval (the consulate just gives them a quick look, they don’t actually do the visa approval), and Madrid requires the use of a certified translator. Since it’s only Wednesday, check out Wawi Gorriz Ramallo from the list of certified translators. She will accept docs over the internet and can overnight you translations, and she’ll work on an emergency basis (for an extra fee). She was great. She might be able to get you certified, completed translations in time for your appointment, depending on when it is next week.

  43. Julie

    I just came across this information on website about the apostille now required on medical certificate at DC consulate (I hope it is only for student visas but it probably isn’t).

    Apostille Now Required at Spanish Consulate of D.C.
    The NAFSA Consular Affairs Liaison Subcommittee of the EA Regulatory Practice Committee has learned that there have been changes in the long-term student visa process for the Spanish Consulate in Washington, D.C. The Consulate is requiring the Apostille of the Hague in both documents, the Police Record and the Medical Certificate, when applying for a long term visa (more than six months). At this time, the Consulate’s web page has not yet been updated with this information.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      I can’t imagine how the medical certificate could be apostilled- the apostille is a certification of a public official’s signature, and doctors are not public officials. A Secretary of State couldn’t possibly certify the document. I would call the consulate about this one.

      1. Gabriel

        I know this response comes in several years later, but this is a timeless resource so, hopefully my comment will be useful to someone else.

        At least in Chile, medical certificates can and must be apostilled by the Ministry of Health (Ministerio de Salud) – equivalent to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

        That being said, Chile is not federated. Thus, I’d suggest checking with your state’s department of health first.

        For example:

        FV – this guide is awesome. Thank you so much for all the time you invested in creating it and answering the comments!

  44. Julie

    Great! Thanks I will reach out to her now!

    Can I get documents (Police record) translated after the apostille stamp? (I sent it to the secretary of state with our own translation last week before realizing this official translator information).

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Yes, you can do translations after the apostille. The apostille is for the original, not the translation. You didn’t need to send a translation with your apostille, so they might just discard it or send it back. Good luck!

  45. Julie

    For the visa application, does the health insurance need to be in effect immediately or can it begin the following month (in this case September 1) when she is set to arrive in Spain?

    Also, for the non-lucrative proof of income requirement,(I’ve asked the consulate but have not received an answer) I plan to provide one bank statement (because it is a new account) that shows about 1/2 the required ($14k) for the year and also a notarized letter from US employer that she will continue to receive income while there for remote work and finally a letter from parents accepting full responsibility while there. Any thoughts on whether this will suffice?

    Thank you so much for your help!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Julie,

      The consulate should accept health insurance that takes effect as of your arrival date (or sooner). The Spanish Health Insurers should be able to start a policy for September 1 now, though for future reference of anyone reading this, that’s because it’s already August. We found that the insurers would only start a policy for the first of the following month.

      The answer with financial proof is always “it depends,” since the interpretation of the financial resources is left largely up to the consular officer. It’s particularly hard to say in this case. If the salary that the employer is paying is equal to or greater than the required amount, it may be enough on its own… unless you get a consular officer who interprets the financial requirement as having to come completely from savings, pensions, and other passive income. If so, a bank account that’s only been open for a single month, containing only half the required funds, would probably not be enough. I don’t think the consulate would consider a letter of support from parents at all, though it’s possible.

  46. Sandra

    As for the bank statements, my husband I share the same account.
    Should we request to certified statements from the bank? To have one original for each of us?

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      The requirement to show financials is technically only for the primary applicant, not all adults, so you don’t need a second copy of bank statements for each of you. We printed copies of our statements from their online PDF version. We didn’t need to request anything more official, at least in San Francisco, though I have heard of other consulates wanting certified statements. Your mileage may vary.

  47. Brian

    So I walked inside my bank today and they printed a letter called Depost Account Balance Summary.
    It states the savings account was open in 2000, has been in good standing with the average 12 month balance of $45,382 and a currrent balance of $68,192

    Is that good enough or do I need a 3 month bank statement.
    This shows last 12 month balance and present

    Not to mention I have a notarized official invitation letter from my cousin in Marbella inviting us to stay I his villa for our whole visit..

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      What you got is likely fine, assuming these balances meet the minimum requirement in Euros for whatever your family size is. Just note that an official invitation letter/offer of lodging doesn’t decrease the required amount of financial reserves– there’s no real latitude on that. Even if you plan to live for free the entire year, you will still need to have the minimums in a form acceptable to both the consular officer and the officials in Madrid, where your documents are sent after your visa appointment.

  48. Brian

    We are also showing a letter from our mortgage company showing we have over 1.5 million available equity in our home. Showing we will return to US and not be wondering the streets after our visa expires.

    1. Nelson S

      I actually hadn’t thought about going the home equity route. I’m about a year or so out from starting the process and my plan for finance submission is cash in savings = $125k in addition to retirement accounts showing a total of $200k. I don’t plan on touching retirement money, only living off cash savings. In theory I could also provide as Brian did, statement of home equity as well. I don’t plan on working, I will be telling them that I am retiring with my family (which I technically am). Hopefully this will all be sufficient.

      1. The Vagabond Post author

        You could bring proof of home equity, but based on my experience and that of others I know, there’s no way the consulate will accept home equity as any part of your proof of income. All they care about is liquid (or extremely liquidateable) assets. So, bringing it might be a “nice to have,” but it won’t address any of the visa requirements and so might be disregarded or pulled from the packet entirely.

        1. Nelson S

          Based on your experience, where would 401k/IRA accounts fall on the “liquidateable” scale? I mean after all, the visa itself is prefaced around the idea that you won’t be earning any income while you’re there. I would think submitting retirement savings would be adequate. Thanks in advance for answering these and ALLLLLL the other questions you get 🙂

          1. The Vagabond Post author

            If you’re of withdrawal age, it should count as any other investment account, which is probably somewhere below pure cash but above any retirement account if you’re below withdrawal age. They definitely have a basic understanding of how American pension plans work. Of course, if you’re moving for good, you could always cash out enough for the first year to make sure there was no doubt at all in the visa process.

  49. Julie

    Regarding the Application for a National Visa form – question #19 – “Current Occupation”: If you are planning to work remotely for your US job should you leave this blank or fill in the occupation – “website design”?
    Thank you!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      I think you can safely put your occupation whether or not you intend to work. It’s your current occupation, not your proposed occupation while you’re living in Spain. That said, if you need to use income from your current job to meet the financial requirement, I’d make sure it matches 🙂

  50. Nelson S

    Well, I’ll be 44 when I apply so a tad below retirement withdrawal age. I’ll have adequate cash savings and right now, planning on staying out there for minimum 1-2 years, maybe more depending on how we like it.

    Still time to strategize but hoping the finance papers along with Spanish being my native language is enough to charm the people who handle our application at the LA consulate 🙂

    Thanks again.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      If you have adequate cash savings for even one year, that should be fine. Then just always make sure you’ve topped up cash when the renewals come around– whether it’s from an early withdrawal with a penalty, a Roth IRA ladder, or whatever, and you should be fine.

  51. Brian

    The reason I am showing the mortgage paperwork is to show we are not planning to stay and have a home to come back to.
    We still have 3 weeks until our visa appointment and I should be able to show $70k in the savings by then. If that’s not good enough for them, we have a 15 day vacation in bora bora as a back up plan. I think Spain visa is more difficult to obtain than even the US visa which is pretty absurd.

    1. Keith

      In my experience, at the Houston consulate, they wanted to see exactly what’s on the list. Nothing more, nothing less. Records of retirement funds, stocks, etc. were immediately handed back to me. Even my bank records for a sole proprietorship LLC, which is my primary source of income, handed straight back to me. (only personal checking account records were accepted). Anything not on the list has no bearing, in my experience. Another thing to note, this is not an interview, You don’t sit down with anyone. You’re not making your case. You’re just turning in your paperwork to someone at a window who isn’t making any other decision than ‘do you have exactly what is on the list’.

      1. The Vagabond Post author

        This was exactly our experience as well. Going for extra credit is more likely to annoy the consular staff than impress them. You will impress them best by following the requirements to the letter. You put better than I had managed to, thanks.

      2. Christina

        Keith and Mr. V,

        We are going to the Houston Consulate on 1/7/19.

        BANK STATEMENTS: May seem a silly question but since our appointment is 1/7 we would have 3 months of bank statements for Sept, Oct and Nov since statements dates are the 1st -30/31st of each month. We would not be able to get a Dec statement (translated in time) since it ends on Dec 31st and our appt is 1/7. Would this be ok since the Sept statement would technically be outside the 90 days from your consulate appt timeframe?
        Also, was it suffice to have the just the first 1-2 pages translated?

        MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Houston Consulate says it needs be certified translation into Spanish. Is this true for Mas Saluds? Meaning do they provide the policy in Spanish OR is the needed CONDICIONES PARTICULARES suffice? Trying to skip extra translating costs IF I can and its not necessary.

        Thanks in advance for your help!

        1. The Vagabond Post author

          Hi Christina,

          For your bank statements, the first couple of pages (with the balances) are sufficient for documentation. Remember that there’s no actual requirement to provide multiple months worth of bank statements– it just helps strengthen the case that you’re consistently financially stable. So, if you can only provide two months for date reasons, it should be fine.

          If you purchase a Spanish medical insurance policy (such as from Sanitas), and the documents you receive are all already in Spanish, they should be acceptable without further certification. We provided the all documents given to us by Sanitas directly (there were three) and there were no questions asked. The advice to provide the Sanitas documents directly was given to us by our translator, who had seen hundreds of nonlucrative visa applications.

  52. Jessica


    I am planning on moving to Spain August 2019.

    Your article has been extremely helpful. Thank you!

    My biggest concern here is: the proof of sufficient funds.

    Is a bank statement with my current balance stating I have €2100/Month for the “x” amount of months I choose to stay not enough? I will not have any other income besides my savings for this trip. Would this be a problem?

    I hope to hear from you soon!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Jessica,

      For the financial requirement, you will need to show the minimum required for a year by 2019, even if you intend to spend less than the full year. This is because the visa isn’t issued for any duration other than 1 year (initially) or two years (on renewal). As of right now, that’s the equivalent of 25,560 Euros in your local currency, but it’s reasonable to expect that it may be higher in 2019. So you’ll need that amount as a bare minimum, even for ten months. You may be able to to get by with proof of remote employment (by an employer with no presence in Spain or the EU) that will guarantee you 2130 Euros per month in income, most likely in the form of a notarized statement from your employer that they are aware of your plan to move and intend to keep you employed, or a contract.

      I hope this answers your question, but let me know if it doesn’t.

      1. Jessica

        Thank you for your response.

        I will not be receiving any kind of income while my stay in Spain.

        So, when I complete my visa application, the only proof of funds I will have in my bank statement will be €26,000.

        Would this not satisfy this requirement?

        If not, how can I approach this requirement without having any reoccurring income while in a Spain?

        1. The Vagabond Post author

          As long as you have the minimum amount in liquid assets for the full year (as opposed to the ten months, which is what you seemed to be asking with your question), you should be in good shape. I have heard occasional stories of consular officials requiring that the income be provably recurring, but that’s not most people’s experience. You should be just fine. Just make sure to check whether the minimum income requirements have changed as you approach your visa appointment date, as it’s possible the current amounts will go up slightly.

    1. Tiffany

      Yes! My family and I are from Florida and we went though the visa process in Miami at the beginning of April! We are now in Spain and we have our appointment tomorrow to get our resident cards! Let me know if you have any specific questions and I will try to help as much as possible. But as TFV has said, many things depend on who you speak with and it is best to be as prepared as possible!

      1. Phillip

        Hi Tiffany this isn’t Jessica but we are applying through Miami consulate too! Might I ask some questions? Is it true you don’t need to make an appointment? Their site says to fill out the Visa App Form twice; do they mean to fill in one original and then provide a copy of it as well? How long did the criminal background check take, and do you get it translated first? We don’t plan to have a formal lease in place when we apply, the site says you can provide a letter explaining why you want to go. Did you do that, and did it work? I’m told our 401K balance will suffice as proof of financial means. Do you know if that’s true, and if so did you have to have it translated? Once we get there, do we need a formal lease to show in order to get the final residency permit? Any help on this would be so appreciated! Very grateful…

        1. The Vagabond Post author

          Hi Phillip,

          Though we didn’t go through Miami, much of this is the same nationwide, so I’ll address the items I can speak to for sure. Regarding the visa app, you need one original and one copy of all documents, including the application form. Any additional mention in the list of documents is just a typo. I’m not certain I follow your question about the criminal background check (how could you translate it before it’s done?), but all documents requiring both apostille and translation should be acquired in their final form, then apostilled, then translations of both the original document and the apostille (IF the apostille isn’t a multi-language version that already has Spanish) should be done.

          All applications require a letter of intent/explaining why you are soliciting the visa. This is separate from any lease requirement, and does not replace it.

          Your 401k balance MIGHT be sufficient, but the consular officers are savvy to how 401ks work, so if you are not at withdrawal age, it is entirely possible that it will not be allowed as a source of income. All financial statements must be translated.

          1. JeffO

            Just FYI, Miami is not as strict as some of the other consulates so some of what applied for you in SF, doesn’t apply. For example, apositilles do NOT need translation. Also, letter of intent is NOT required; but a letter stating where/why you plan to live will suffice for the Proof of Accommodations requirement.

        2. Tammy

          Did you receive an answer on the appointment? I agree, looks like one is not needed. However, we have to come from Georgia, so I am worried!

          1. Jeff O

            For Miami, no appointment needed. See

            note that’s a shorter window than their general public office hours. Get there early, preferably before they open, particularly if you’ve got three or more people on your application. Be sure to check their holiday calendar at before you go.

            Miami consulate is good about answering questions by email (within a few days usually).

  53. Mukhtar Kiyani

    Your article is of much help.Regarding list of translators around the world.I don’t see one for Pakistan.Please indicate.I don’t think I can find one in my home city.So it has to be done remotely,over email? Then attested by a government Appostille locally?
    Did I say correctly?
    Mukhtar Kiyani

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Mukhtar,

      Yes, you’d need to correspond with any translator who can officially translate the documents in your language. I assume it’s Urdu, so you only have one option– the translator on page 1564 of the PDF linked above. Regarding the apostille, you would have the apostille done by your local government first, then send the apostille plus original document to the translator. I suspect the official translator listed will be able to help you in your native language. Best of luck to you.

  54. Mukhtar Kiyani

    Hello,Thanks for reply.As regards translations of my documents in Urdu,there could be only one,which is” Marriage contract” rest all documents are in English.But I only have marriage certificate issued by local counsil,this is in English too(marriage contract may not be traceable now being 40 years old event).Any advice in this scenario? Will the marriage certificate issued by local counsil suffice?For translations from English to Spanish,who should I contact?!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Mukhtar. Though I can’t be sure since I don’t have any knowledge of Pakistani documents, I believe that any official document that can be certified with an apostille will suffice– whether that’s the one issued by the local council or the original contract. It will really come down to what requirements the Pakistani (or provincial) government has in order to apostille the document. I am sorry not to be of more help in this regard.

      For english documents needing translation into Spanish, you can select from any of the translators in the list of certified translators for “ingles.” This starts on page 599 and goes for hundreds of pages. It’s up to you which of these translators you use, but you may choose to find one who is most affordable to you, closest geographically, or with whom you feel you can have the best working relationship. Any of them will produce documents acceptable to the Spanish government.

      1. The Vagabond Post author

        One other note– it appears that Pakistan is not a signatory to the Hague Apostille Convention, and thus probably can’t Apostille documents. I think your best course of action is to contact the closest Spanish embassy or consulate, as the requirements for you are probably different from the ones described in this article.

  55. Shari Correll

    Thank you for this comprehensive list! Our family is working toward a Non-Lucrative Visa and are hoping to move to Barcelona early October for 9 months. Our first Visa appointment in June ended in disaster because our immigration lawyer failed to mention she was only a “Certified Translator” not a “Sworn Spanish Translator.” We didn’t make it past the first 30 seconds of the interview. Although I was following the consulate’s instructions, we had hired her to help facilitate everything and she was excellent. I trusted she knew the process. She said it was the first time the LA Consulate had ever rejected her translations. It put us behind two months but I won’t give up!! I have a quick question regarding the main applicant vs. the spouse. We will be showing bank and investment statements from my accounts so does that make my husband the spouse and me the main applicant? Make sense? Thank you for any advice on this matter.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Shari,

      Ouch, what a nightmare! I hope you have found a sworn translator who can get your documents done in time. I can’t even imagine how demoralizing it must have been, and I hope that none of your documents “times out” and requires you to do it over again to meet the “90 days or less ago” requirement for all the documents. If you happen to need to find a translator who will work fast, reach out to me privately and I can put you in touch with mine, who I know will work on an emergency basis.

      The finances should be fine in either spouse’s name. Ours were a mix of both of ours (we still maintain most of our finances under our individual names), though I did organize all the documents in the “primary” applicant’s packet. It never even came up as a concern.

  56. Shari Correll

    Thank you for the advice, it was very helpful! Demoralizing is a perfect way to describe it. All of our documents timed out so needless to say, it’s been quite a ride. I found a translator on the Consulate’s website so hopefully that should suffice. If I have an issue I will definitely reach out for your contact.

    Thank you again!

  57. Brian

    Can you please explain a little about assembling the packet for the appointment?
    LA Consualte says glue your photo to national visa application.
    If I don’t do that, can I paperclip them to the inside page of the passport?
    Do I just place the passports between the pages in order of pdf listed?
    When I make copies of notarized papers, I can staple the copies as they are stapled on original, but should ai not staple the 14 pages of the health insurance coverage paperwork?

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Try not to overthink it. Just stack everything in the order the PDF says and use a binder clip to hold it all together. If they want anything pasted to anything else, they’ll do it on the spot. You don’t need to staple any of the copies.

  58. Christina Grundy

    Thank you for all yoir great info!

    Sorry if this has been asked before but could you give the name and direct phone number of the Spain healthcare provider you used? Were they specific (located) in Spain?
    It is my understanding that local companies based in Spain are much more affordable than international companies?
    I have been having trouble contracting a local affordable company.
    Thanks in advance for all your help!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Christina!

      We used Sanitas, a Spanish insurer. We took out a Mas Salud policy with the no copay and no deductible options (required for the visa) and also added worldwide coverage (not required, but really useful to a family with a baby who are traveling very frequently outside of Spain). We paid about $3K US for two adults and a baby for the year. We used these guys as our broker. The plan also includes basic dental coverage, which was nice.

      1. Christina Grundy

        Thank you very much!

        I did see your previous posts about Sanitas of course AFTER posting my comment. My apologies. 🙂

        Having seen yours and other internet information I have previously contacted Sanitas via all avenues possible and have yet to hear back from them. Thus the reason I was asking for specific contact info. I will however keep trying unless you have another recommendation. 🙂

        Thank you for your blog. It has been beyond resourceful.

        My hubby and I are planning to move to southern Spain, Almunecar, March of 2019.

        Therefore, we are researching EVERYTHING and getting our ducks in a row now so that we can can pull the 90 day trigger when ready(Mid October).

        The insurance requirement right now is the last thing I am getting my hands on/around.

        We have a Houston Consulate appointment January 7, 2019. After reading one of your comments about them bumping you out to mid January we are going to give ourselves a few weeks cushion. *Question – when did they notify you they needed to bump your early January appt out to mid January?

        I hope to “pay it forward” and provide insight on our Houston consulate experience for those who will be visting that office since as you have mentioned several times, every consulate is different.

        Again, thank you for being diligent and forthcoming with your efforts to help us all.

        1. Niloofar Mazhari Hubrich

          Christina can you please share what you figured out about the repatriation? The insurance being talked about had repatriation back to Spain. I’m reading you need repatriation back to the US, which I have not yet found anyone that sells just that insurance by itself. Any info would be appreciated

          1. Christina

            Sorry for the delay. Per Keith, the Sanitas policy mentioned covers everything required – for the Houston consulate. He and I share the same consulate. I haven’t purchased the policy exactly yet to verify if the repatriation is or is not included. I plan to share once I do and when I have my apt on 1/7/19.

          2. The Vagabond Post author

            Hi Christina,

            The Sanitas policy does not include repatriation, but to the best of my experience (and that of everyone else that I know of), it is not a requirement that I have heard enforced. It’s not mentioned at all in any of the documents that we were provided, and the Sanitas policy was accepted without question at our appointment.

        2. Randy Laayton

          Christina, Hope you are in Spain now as your appointment in Houston was 1/7/19. For the lease requirement how did you handle it? Go with a 30 day AirBnB? I will be applying to Houston and stuck on this lease requirement. Thanks. Randy

          1. Cherefawn Chang


            Following up to see what you both did regarding the lease requirements? Thanks!


  59. Mel

    Hello All,

    Let me tell you my experience. I recently got back from Malaga where I spent almost one month. I was looking to rent a flat for a long term beginning October. However, it was impossible. According to the inmobiliarias (real estate agents), I have to wait close to October to be able to find something. Due to tourist season, it’s very hard to rent a flat in July for the winter period. As a consequence, I do not have any other choice than Airbnb. I will rent a flat for 45 days to cover the lease requirement. I have my appointment next week in Chicago. Can you please share with me your experience with the Consulate of Spain in Chicago? Did they accept Airbnb’s rentals for a short period? Did you hear anything about that option?

    Thank you in advance!

  60. Keith

    I used the Sanitas link that was provided by the author (above). Once on the Sanitas site there was a chat option, I was walked through the whole process, in English, via chat. They even manually changed my start date during this process, to more that two months out. Usually you can only push it back one month +/-.

    1. Christina Grundy

      Thanks Keith!
      Was Repatriation included in this policy?
      Is it an actual requirement?
      Have read mixed info as to if it is required.

      More specifically, are the req’s:
      -30k coverage (is that pp)
      – No copay or deductibles
      – Repatriation
      Anything else?
      It does not say specifically on the Houston consulate site and I have never rec’vd an email response from them.

      I appreciate your help.

  61. Keith

    I simply got the Sanitas ‘Mas Salud’ policy w/ no extras. The consulate will ask for a print out of the CONDICIONES PARTICULARES, which Sanitas will email you as a PDF. This explains in detail what your policy covers. All in Spanish. I didn’t have this at my first appointment but it was accepted without any questions on my second appointment.

  62. Shari Correll

    I have one more quick question. I had mentioned I will be the main applicant as my husband is taking a one year sabbatical from his teaching for us to travel to Spain. The bank statements and financial paperwork are in my name. Do you know if this need to be notarized for my husband?

    Thank you!!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      If you have something needing notarization, it only needs to be notarized in the name of the person in the document. That said, at least for us, no notarization was required for financial documents at the SF consulate.

      1. Shari Correll

        Thank you! We went ahead and had statements printed for him as well just to be extra thorough. This process is literally driving me insane. At this point I’m going to just go with what we have and hope for the best. 😉 Thank you again for your advice, it’s very helpful!

  63. SOHEL

    Thank you so much for the information! I have an appointment with the Embassy in October, if my visa is accepted, given that we have to go to Spain in 30 days, do schools accept the children here?

  64. Nelson S

    My elementary school age kids started school this week. This has me thinking, does anyone here have any firsthand knowledge of how to arrange enrolling them in school out there? Mostly from a timing standpoint. I would hate to miss the enrollment period, I’m looking at next year so this would be about 8-9 months from now I’m assuming. Anyone with helpful info they can provide would be super appreciated. Thanks.

        1. Darcy

          We lived in Bilbao with our two kids (ages 12 and 14) from August 2018 to March 2019. During the same time period, some friends from the USA with kids roughly the same ages were living in Barcelona. The following is an amalgamation of our experiences, which were similar despite being in different regions and cities. Also this is regarding public or semi-public (concertado) schools. International or other types of private schools would be different and I don’t have info on that.

          If you are enrolling them in a public or concertado, you cannot enroll them until you have your local residency aka padrón, or ‘certificado de empadronamiento’. (this is different than the TIE). You need to have a signed lease to apply for the padrón and in our case, the town hall would not issue our certificate until the lease had actually started.

          In general, you can’t pre-register or get on wait lists or anything until you have your padrón. Although the “enrollment period” for most school systems (for concertados) is usually in February-March for the following school year, I don’t think you can enter the system until you are a resident and have your padrón. Once you are actually there and have your padrón, you go to the school district office and fill out a form, on which you indicate your top three school choices. They will then assign you a school based on location and availability… hopefully one of your top choices.

          We discovered from our own experience and our friends’ that it is very helpful to establish a personal relationship with the school of your choice by visiting in person and explaining your situation etc. If that happens and they have space after the school year has started, the school can contact the school district and request that your children be enrolled at that school. You might have to wait a bit to see if spaces open up during the first week of school (due to people moving or whatever).

          In our case, my husband went to Bilbao in March 2018 and visited several schools. He kept in touch with the ones we liked, and in July we were happy to receive an email from one telling us that they had an opening. They told us that as soon as we returned in September with our padrón certificate, they could enroll our kids.

          Also, you should assume that all schools and district offices will be closed for the entire month of August, and possibly part of July.

          1. Nelson S

            Thank you, Darcy. This is all great information and will be helpful as I will be in a similar scenario.

            Appreciate it!

  65. Brian

    We went to our appointment in SF this morning, All our paperwork was in order.
    Thank you Mr. Vagabond. They said we will know in 2-4 weeks. They asked if we wanted our passport back, and we told them to keep it. Might make the pick up faster.
    So they kept the two picture from me and kept only one from my wife. They also gave me back all the copies that I had made. She said this might not make sense to me but it does to them. She was very nice and she complimented us on the packet we provided. She did not ask a single question.
    Let’s see what happens.

  66. Kay


    Your website and this comment thread have been so helpful, thanks!

    I am preparing our documents for our upcoming appointment at the consulate in LA.

    Now I’m making sure the finances are how they need to be.
    If I understand correctly, we need to show E 38,000 (about $45,000) for three of us for a year.
    And, it needs to be in either a personal checking or savings account if we’re not drawing on a 401k yet, is this correct?

    Referring to Keith’s comment:
    “I misunderstood the requirement to literally have €25k+€6k for each family member in checking/savings. I thought investment account would be okay. Not.”

    So, is it best to try to show a lump sum in reserve?
    Or if you bank statement shows, for example, an income of $10,000 per month, but you spend $9,000 per month, essentially you’d only have a gain of $12,000/year, so would they accept that?

    It could be that I’m overthinking this, but I’d love advice!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      You are overthinking it 🙂

      You will need to either show a lump sum in reserve, or be able to show that your income will continue through the year in a satisfactory fashion to the consulate— either a certified statement from a pension or a letter from an employer, notarized, showing they intend to keep employing you (and that they have no European presence). The former is much easier an less open to interpretation 🙂

      1. Ellen

        Are you sure the letter of employment has to be notarized? Since it’s not a required document, there aren’t any specifications anywhere stating that on any of the consulate websites. I got a letter from my employer stating they’ll continue to employ me while working abroad, with my salary details etc, printed on company letterhead and signed but it’s not notarized…how would I get that notarized…don’t notarized documents need to be signed in person, meaning I’d need to bring an HR person with me to a notary??

        1. The Vagabond Post author

          You can bring a notary to you, too. There are a bunch of reasonably affordable services that will send a notary anywhere, day or night. You’re right, there are no official requirements about the employer letter, I’m just sharing what I did/got. Ultimately, it’s up to the discretion of the consular officer (and later the final decision makers in Madrid) what constitutes acceptable proof of income. Get it notarized, don’t get it notarized– either may work, or both may not, depending on whether your consular officer got cut off in traffic that morning 🙂

  67. Kay

    …and one more question…
    Regarding the “Letter of Purpose”: does each family member need a separate one, or can we write a collective letter?


  68. Ellen Lawrence

    This might seem like a daft question but what exactly are you translating on bank statements? Also I read somewhere that printed statements aren’t accepted? So what do you need? To get something from your bank in person? Thank you in advance! This is so helpful.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      We simply printed off our online statements and had them translated. These were accepted without issue at the SF Consulate. However, if you have any concerns, most banks can provide “certified” copies of statements, and you could use those instead.

      1. Kay

        One more question, Frugal Vagabond:

        Did you cover up/conceal your bank account number before submitting to translators and the Consulate? It feels strange, giving over so much personal info.


  69. Gene Giordano

    Awesome help. Thank you very much! My head has been spinning dealing with all this and now it’s almost stopped lol

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Absolutely not necessary, and in at least one case here, actively harmful as the lawyer was ignorant to the translation requirements. This is a process requiring attention to detail, not legal knowledge. It only requires that you be absolutely fastidious about getting every detail right.

      1. Jessie

        Thanks for posting about this Ellen! I actually have this same question. We’ve been talking with an immigration lawyer based in Barcelona and haven’t yet committed to hiring him. It seems like he could he helpful, as their firm works specifically with an official translator and also helps acquire the correct health insurance, and he would review all of our forms for correct info etc. But it also isn’t cheap and seems like we could do this ourselves based on everything we’re reading, esp here on your blog… hmm

        1. Andy D

          Hi Jessie,

          Aligned with The Vagabond’s recommendation above, we recently met with a Spanish lawyer in Madrid — his advice was for us to handle the US part on our own as they thought they would not add a lot of value compared to other services, e.g. tax advice / Golden Visa, even if they are perfectly capable of supporting the process. We are planning on doing the US part ourselves.

          Just another data point, hopefully it helps.

  70. Hannah

    Hello and thank you for your help! I traveled to the DC consulate 2 weeks ago and had an easy visit – all of my paperwork was in order according to the consulate employee. I was told I’d hear back in 2-3 weeks (I’d be contacted at that time by email to get my travel plans and then the passport would be mailed back to me in the express mail envelope I provided). I am contemplating buying airline tickets now for 3 weeks out – but wondering the likelihood of Madrid denying the paperwork for some reason. I am traveling to Spain for a gap year and returning in 10 months so it’s not a complicated scenario. Have you heard of denials after paperwork accepted at the consulate? Thank you!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      I have heard of denials after successful submission of paperwork. What happens at the consulate is a cursory check, the actually decision making occurs in Madrid. You are very likely to be approved, but i wouldn’t personally buy tickets with such little leeway. All it takes is for the visa office in Madrid to be a little backlogged and you could miss your flight. I would just wait for the approval, then buy the tickets that day. It shouldn’t affect your arrival date by more than a week or two.

  71. Kay

    I loved reading about your finally getting settled in Spain. It reminds me that all this pre-visa appointment anxiety might actually be worth it!

    I have a question about the birth certificates and marriage license: you write that “You must present a certified copy of your marriage certificate that has been generated within 90 days of your visa appointment.”

    I used our original copies, and got them apostilled. Then I read that tidbit. Do I need to get it done again? And, where did you find the requirement that they need to be regenerated within the past 90 days? Maybe my consulate has different requirements?


    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Kay,

      On the list of requirements from the consulate above (also linked here), this is what the SF Consulate says:

      “Marriage certificate (not older than 3 months) authenticated with the Apostille of the Hague, with a certified translation into Spanish”

      In reality, though, all documents need to be under 90 days old to be accepted. Here’s an excerpt from an appointment confirmation email from the SF consulate:

      “Please, keep in mind that documents expire after 90 days, plan you visit accordingly.”

      I’ve heard from people at various consulates having their documents disqualified because they fell outside the 90 day window, but of course the standards do seem to vary from consulate to consulate (though I haven’t heard of variances on this particular thing). If you’re able, I’d try to get a newer copy of the marriage certificate, but if you’re too close to your appointment, you can probably at least try to get them to accept it and see how it goes. Good luck!

  72. Kay

    Thanks. I will take your advice and err on the side of caution. I couldn’t find anything on the LA Consulate site about the 90-day requirement, but, since all the documents are going to the same place, I’ll get them re-issued.

  73. Laura

    This post has been a tremendous help to us in our own process – thank you! I just have one quick question. I have just schedule our appointments at the SF consulate for my husband and me, but I was not able to make the appointment for our kid (who is under 5 and clearly does not have an e-mail address or phone number that is not ours). How did you do it?

    Thank you for taking the time to answer this – I’m sorry for pulling you away from your family and beautiful Granada.

    1. Laura

      Oops… never mind. We just used a different e-mail address (who doesn’t have at least a handful nowadays and a work phone number). The system accepted it – yeah!!! Now, onto gathering all the paperwork…

  74. Ellen Lawrence

    I used a third party FBI channeler to get my background check (Minnesota is one of those states that won’t run state background checks against fingerprints. Yikes). Anyways – it was SUPER fast, got it back in 2 days. I got the results sent securely as a PDF to me, and I got a paper copy that was printed on watermarked paper.

    Wondering if anyone else has had a PDF version, and printed it off themselves. I know you can do that to get an Apostille, but I’m wondering if the consulates require your background check to be printed on watermarked paper? The company I am looking to have do my Apostille for me (much quicker) says it doesn’t matter and they can also take the PDF version, print it, and get it Apostilled.

    1. TCH

      Ellen, would you mind sharing what FBI channeller and apostille company you used and about what the two cost you? Arizona, like Minnesota, does not do background checks. Also, was it OK for the company to print the pdf for the apostille?

  75. Brain

    It’s been 3 weeks since our appointment. The nice lady at the consulate told us expect an answer in 2-4 weeks. Hopefully we will have an answer soon…..

  76. Brian

    Mr. Vagabond,
    I was checking our visa status on the website they provided, and there is a tab on the upper right hand side that says: “Consultar Datos Solicitud”
    When I click on it I see a 3 page pdf application titled: SOLICITUD DE VISADO SCHENGEN (application for schengen visa).
    It states date of expected entry to schengen area around Nov 15 2018 and expected departure date, 3 months later on Feb 28 2019. Should I contact the consular? Maybe I am mistaken but are they issuing a 90 day schengen visa?? Which obviously with a US passport I don’t need.
    Did you by any chance check that tab when you applied to see this application?
    Thank you!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      See section “It’s not quite over yet” above. You won’t receive a visa covering a year at the consulate. You’ll receive a short stay visa and you’ll need to apply for and be approved for your Tarjeta de Identidad de Extrajero, which is your actual residence permit covering the full year, once arriving in Spain (also covered on this blog). Until you arrive in Spain and apply for your TIE within the first 30 days, you are only provisionally approved for your non lucrative visa.

  77. Mel

    Hi Brian and Mr. Vagabond,
    I submitted my application two weeks ago at the Consulate General of Spain in Chicago. However, they did not give me any info to track my application. I checked the link that Mr. Vagabond provided on this website but I do not have any identificator number. The only thing they gave me was a receipt for the application fees. Do you know what to enter as an “identificador”? Please see below: Thank you in advance!

    Tipo de trámite *

    Identificador *

    Año de nacimiento *

    Escriba los números *

    1. Ellen

      Hey Mel! Can I ask what health insurance policy you presented them with. Also, did they keep your passport? I have an appointment in Chicago next month but need my passport for work travel as I travel internationally for work! Thanks in advance.

      1. Mel

        Hi Ellen,
        I presented the Sanitas Mas Salud policy and they took the general conditions as well. I left my passport with them but they asked me if I was going to need it. If you need your passport for work travel, you should tell them. I do not think is mandatory and you can take your passport with you. However, I have the impression that the process is faster is you leave your passport.

        Good luck Ellen!


        1. Ellen

          Hi Mel! I had another quick question – for the Chicago consulate it says “• We only accept money orders. No personal checks, no credit cards. ” Does this mean they don’t take cash? Did you pay your fees by money order? What did you write to the Pay To in the money order? Thank you!

    2. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Mel,

      In San Francisco, you receive two piece of paper for each applicant. A small receipt from a receipt printer indicating the amount paid, and a half-sheet bearing a little further information and a stamp from the consulate. The half sheet is the paper that has the tracking number, if memory serves. I took a quick pass through my paperwork to see if I could find it, but didn’t immediately turn it up. If you are still within the time the consulate told you to expect, I would personally hang in there rather than contact the consulate, though it’s hard to not know where you stand. For my part, given the arbitrary nature of this kind of stuff, I wouldn’t want to call unnecessary attention to myself when you are/we all are the ones soliciting a privilege that the Spanish government is under no obligation to provide us, you know?

      If I manage to find the tracking info for us in the morning, I’ll reply again.

      1. Mel

        Hi Mr. Vagabond,

        Thank you for the info. The only thing I got were two receipts printer indicating the amount paid. I did not get a half-sheet bearing a little further information and a stamp from the consulate.:(

        I’m still within the time and the best thing that I can do is hang in there as you said. I also wanted to thank you for the fantastic guide and your kindness of taking your time and answering all our questions. They were impressed with my packet and everything was perfect. However, they put a lot of attention on my intention letter where I explained my reasons of moving to Spain

        Thank you again for your support!


        1. The Vagabond Post author

          Hi Mel, sounds great! Good luck and let us know how it turns out! Thanks for your kind words, it’s my pleasure and for what it’s worth, it’s all worth it in the end. This is the best year of our lives (so far!).

      1. Mel

        Yes, I did see that. However, I did not have any info to enter. I tried my passport number and my NIE number but didn’t work. Thank you again. I will keep you posted.

  78. Brian

    Mel I am not sure if the Chicago Consulate operates the same way as each consulate habe their own requirement and ways they operate. I would say email a picture of your receipt along with your full name and passport number and tell them the date you applied and see if you can get an answer.

      1. Mel

        Hi Ellen,
        I’m sorry that I didn’t get back to you before. Unfortunately, my visa was denied due to my age. According to them, this visa is primarily for people who is close to be retired. They are afraid that I’m going there to stay and work. However, I am in Spain right now and look for another alternative. Good luck! and thank you to Mr. Vagabond for all your help! 🙂

        1. El

          Thanks for responding! That’s crap – how old are you if you don’t mind me asking? A lady at the Chicago consulate was quite rude to me and said something similar “you probably won’t get it” but I told then to process my application anyways. I’m 30, and meet all the requirements so I think it’s silly to deny on age if you are financially set. I’m travel in and out of the country while waiting since my boyfriend lives here. I have seen another forum where a woman in her 30s was approved for the visa so I guess it just depends on who you get reviewing your documents. Idk if it’s a good or bad sign that my approval or rejection hasn’t come through yet. You got an email from the consulate right?

          1. Kay

            Hi Ellen,

            Did they give you a time frame? The LA Consulate told us “between four and six weeks”, and we heard right at the 5 week mark that we’d been approved. You will hear one way or another; did you say you kept your passport? Maybe that just added some more time.
            Good luck!

          2. Ellen

            Kay – they told me the standard ‘it can take up to 90 days’ since it technically can. But the average seems to be 4-8 weeks from what I can see. I did keep my passport because I travel internationally for work.

        2. Pea

          Hi Mel,
          I’m also Chicago-based – and I’ll be (pretty) late 20s when I apply. You have piqued both curiosity and nervousness within me.
          What exactly did they tell you about your age? Maybe I’m naïve, but why would age be a problem?
          Do you think they found your letter of intent to be problematic?
          Did they recommend appying for residency/stay via a different application path?
          I know I want to live in Spain and this application path seems to be the best fit, but it definitely makes me uneasy that I could potentially be disqualified due to something so arbitrary. In the US, I definitely feel old!
          Thanks in advance for any insight.

  79. Kay

    I just looked at the Sworn Spanish Translator link; and it is different than it was a month or so ago. The translator I was working with is no longer listed. Has anyone else experienced this recently?

      1. The Vagabond Post author

        Indeed, I don’t see any changes to the list, and what Ellen links is the PDF on the page I link here. The document shows that the last update was in 2017. Regardless, your translator would be the best point of contact for confirming their current, sworn status.

  80. Brian

    Do they accept a one way ticket since the return is a year away or do we have to purchase a round trip and change the date later?

  81. Kay

    Thanks, Ellen.
    I clicked on the link from the LA Consulate and it took me to a PDF from 2016; that must be the difference. Yes, the link you provide is the more recent one, and my translator is on there.

    1. Abigail

      My husband was just denied the Sanitas insurance because he had cancer a few years ago (though he has never had any since). What did you end up doing for insurance??

    2. Robert

      I have diabetes and, at first, Sanitas said they would not cover it, but once I proved that my current US insurance covers it and has covered it for years, they relented and I had to do a phone screening with an English speaking doctor about my current lab results and if I had any current complications. Afterwards they were satisfied and covered it with an bit more of a premium as others have said.

      Also, for visa purposes, I believe you can sign up for the insurance that doesn’t cover your pre-existing conditions and that will satisfy, but then you will have to pay out-of-pocket for anything related to said condition (which shouldn’t affect the visa requirement).

    3. Jack

      I’m curious, what sort of documentation of your health status must you provide to the Spanish insurance provider during the application process?

      1. The Vagabond Post author

        We didn’t provide any. Applying for Spanish insurance is analogous to applying for Private insurance anywhere. You fill out an extensive health history questionnaire, and if you are later found to have lied or omitted anything on it, your application would be considered fraudulent and you’d be on the hook for all expenses incurred, plus any applicable criminal insurance fraud consequences.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Sorry, I didn’t keep track of how long it was in each state. We got our email from the consulate in 14 days, though they technically say to allow up to 90 days for a response.

  82. Kay

    I believe that Mel touched on this, but what documents will we need to show from our Mas Salud Policy?
    They sent me the Justificante de Contrato” ( 1 page); a Sanitas Membership Certificate/”Certificados de Permanencia” (one for each family member); and also the “Condiciones Particulares” (this is 15 pages and seems to be personalized) but also the “Condiciones Generales” (63 pages! Doesn’t seem personalized).

    And, should I make copies of all this too, I assume?

    I assume I’ll need copies of all this as well?

  83. Brian

    Mr. Vagabond,

    Since you have now been living there for some time, I wanted to ask your opinion.

    For a couple in their 40’s with no children, do you think it’s possible to live there with a million Euros?
    I was thinking if we make 4% a year in the market and withdraw no more than 4% or maybe even 5% we should be able to make the funds last for some time.

    What is your take?

    1. Niloofar Mazhari Hubrich

      My husband and I are in our 40s, no kids and just retired a few months ago. My husband would be happy to share his world of knowledge with you if you like. Let me know.

    2. The Vagabond Post author

      Well, you would want to make a bit more than 4% while withdrawing 4% to account for inflation, but my take is that 40K EUR would definitely pay for a wonderful lifestyle here for a couple. We are on track to spend around 50K USD with a huge amount of (conscientious, budget airline and AirBnB) travel. That’s pretty dang close to 40K EUR, and we have a third person. Obviously be careful about your spending to stay on track, by it definitely sounds plausible to me!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      The air quality varies by day. We are surrounded by agriculture, so there is lots of agricultural burning at times. We’ve definitely never noticed any breathing issues, but the sky can be hazy at times.

  84. Brian

    Exactly 6 weeks after we applied, our visas were approved!!!
    Just got an email from the consulate.
    We have 30 days to let them know when we are entering Spain.
    Thank you so much for this awesome blog.

    If I understand correctly, we need to enter Spain less than 90 days from today, correct?

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Congratulations! You have 30 days to pick up your visa, and you’ll need to show proof of travel plans/an itinerary at that time, which is the date they will print on the start of the visa page they paste into your passport (and will therefore be the first day of the one year of your visa).

      1. Kay

        It’s interesting to compare experiences at the different consulates. We had our meeting at the LA Consulate, and they said you must plan on arriving in Spain no later than 90 days from the date the application was submitted. So, since our appointment was on October 15, we put an arrival date of January 15. He made us correct the application to say our arrival would be January 13 (exactly 90 days!).

        I had understood here and elsewhere that the 90-day clock starts ticking from the day your visa is issued.

        1. Ellen

          Yeah, I had the same dates, Kay. In Chicago the man asked when I wanted to go and I said well ASAP but I put Jan 15 because your website says you won’t process applications with a departure date less than 90 days out haha. He was like nah, you can put whatever you want. So I put next month hoping they process it sooner!

        2. Kat

          Hi Kay,
          I’m going to apply at the LA consulate later this year. I was told by an immigration lawyer in Barcelona that having the minimum in the bank ($30k for a single person) was not enough. He said the LA consulate is strict, and require huge amounts (1mil Euros ?). I find this hard to be true. I know you took your family, but did you only show a 3 month bank balance, and if so, was it significantly higher that the requirements for your family size? The lawyer wants me to try for the student visa, but that doesn’t interest me. Thanks!

          1. The Vagabond Post author

            There is ABSOLUTELY NO requirement that you have ridiculous amounts like a million euros at LA or anywhere else! All things considered, the nonlucrative visa is relatively easy to get so long as you have three months of statements proving you have the minimum liquid assets required. I would have a teensy bit over the amount to account for currency fluctuations, but certainly not many times the amount.
            Each consulate does have their idiosyncrasies (LA has recently been requiring copies of tax returns), but they are mostly surmountable. Do a search of the comments for LA and you will see a lot of valuable recent information.

          2. Kat

            Thank you for your response Frugal Vagabond. I read through all the comments last night, and I started to think that maybe, since the schools recommended by him were 5-8k euros, maybe there was an incentive for him to steer me in that direction. He said that 20 hours/ week was required by the consulate for a student visa, but the schools’ curriculum was only 3-4 hours in the classroom. After doing research, I did not find this to be true. It is truly 20 hours of classroom time a week. That’s 4 hours a day! I will be working from home full time, so this would defeat the purpose of moving. I will continue my original pursuit of the non-lucrative visa. Thanks so much for your post. Most other posts were neither this helpful nor produced nearly this amount of helpful comment information. ☺️

          3. Darcy

            From my experience having been through this process, I have concluded that “workarounds” (such as hoping that a Student Visa would be easier to get even if it’s not really your primary intent) do not work. While each one varies, the consulates have seen enough applications to have set up appropriate guardrails and identify the actual intents of applicants.

            On these comment strings now and then I see someone questioning the requirements or looking for a workaround. And in every case, someone who has successfully applied for their visa says if you do it right and follow the guidelines, you will be successful. Quite frankly, if you don’t have enough money to support yourself while living in Spain, you will not be granted a visa. This is the reason for their requirement — they want to make sure you are able to live there without seeking a local job (thus taking a possible job away from a Spanish national) or needing federal assistance. So make sure to provide current documentation of all your financial resources, and if your resources are adequate you shouldn’t have a problem. On the other hand, if you don’t have enough, maybe you should reconsider your move. Just speaking the truth here.

          4. Darcy

            PS I know that my comment, above, sounds harsh and I apologize. I’m just saying that I have concluded from reading everyone else’s posts that following your consulate’s instructions and requirements perfectly nearly always results in success, and trying to take shortcuts or not following the requirements exactly often results in challenges.

          5. Kat

            Thanks for your input Darcy. This is actually why I posted my question. I wasn’t looking for a “workaround”. I make plenty of money with my remote job (over the monthly minimum after conversion to Euros), and have a little over the minimum in liquid savings (again after conversion to Euros). So when the immigration lawyer told me I wouldn’t qualify because they look for 1mil Euros, and that I should do the student visa, I came searching for blog posts and found this one. His quick dismissal of my assets and push for the student visa didn’t sit right with me. My suspicions seem to be correct from these responses and I’m going to follow my first instinct by pursuing the non-lucrative visa and following the requirements to the T.

          6. Nelson S

            To Darcy or The Vagabond….

            Would investment account (401k/IRA) statements be considered liquid in your opinions and should those be therefore submitted along with cash savings statements. I will likely have enough in just cash savings but wondering if either of you also submitted investment/retirement account statements since those can be considered liquid assets as well.

            Thanks in advance!


          7. The Vagabond Post author

            I submitted 401(k) statements, but also three months of bank account statements with sufficient cash. If you are pre-retirement age, then they are definitely not considered liquid. The people at the consulate and in Madrid definitely know that investment account amounts can fluctuate and at least have a sense that American retirement accounts can be difficult to access for non-retired people. They may not know all the ins and outs, but they know enough to know that it’s not the same as an equivalent cash amount.

            I think the answer to the deeper question of whether it helps, however, is yes. It definitely shows a pattern of savings and solvency, and that’s what you’re going for here. I would submit them along with the bank statements (and did with our renewal paperwork as well, which was also approved).

          8. Jessie

            Hi Kat, thanks for sharing. We’ll be going through the LA consulate as well and have also been in contact with an immigration lawyer in Barcelona who seemed to discourage us from the non-lucrative visa based on my student loans (which he also didn’t seem to know much about actually) and then all-too quickly recommended the student visa option. This threw me at first. But yes totally agree with your assessment. Just a curiously similar incident and wanted to share our experience.

      2. Nelson S

        Thanks for the quick reply. And yes, the deeper answer to the question was what I was looking for. Appreciate it!

        Congrats on your renewal. And that is for 2 additional years, yes?


        1. Darcy

          We are age 55. We submitted 3 months of bank account statements (showing $$ balances higher than the threshold) AND a 6-month IRA/retirement account for each of us. My husband stated in his letter of purpose that while in Spain, we would be renting our house in USA, and relying on the rental income stream as well as liquidation of our savings to pay for our living expenses.

          No one at the consulate told us one way or another if any of these items was unnecessary. All we know is that we received approval with no hiccups.

          Our approach was that it would be better to provide more information rather than less, even if that meant more legwork/copies/translations.

        2. Darcy

          Kat, yeah that sounds like it was strange advice. Glad you’re moving forward on the direct path. Good luck!

  85. Brian

    Off the wall question:
    Have you seen anything like the small 1 pound camping gas canisters that we use in States for outdoor heaters?
    I wantwd to know if I should bring my heaters. 🙂

  86. Steve

    I went through the application process and after trying to follow the instructions and using some of your advice and going through a number of setbacks (regarding translations and having to have two appointments in San Francisco (travelling from Seattle) and dealing with the US government on a background check), I received an email with an approval for a visa.
    I’ll be heading back to San Francisco to pick up the visa later this month.

    Any recommendations on when to reserve a flight to (for me Barcelona) to get the maximum amount of time to apply for the Foreign identity card? I would like to take care of more personal business here as well as some family activities during the holidays into the first week of January 2019.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      There’s no real way to change the amount of time you have to get your TIE, as you must apply for it within 30 days of your arrival in Spain, regardless of when that is. So if you arrive January 15, you have 30 days from then to go and apply, etc.). If you’re planning to be in the US into the first week of January, I’d only suggest that you arrive after January 6th/Dia de los Reyes, as that’s the end of the Christmas season and arriving any time in January before that will mean many offices and shops will be closed (and make it tougher to get set up in the first few days).

  87. Ellen

    Just wanted to say thanks for all the info here again. I submitted my paperwork today in Chicago. Mel mentioned they paid careful attention to the letter and why she wanted to live in Spain, and I was also asked “why do you want to live there for only one year?” – I’m like uh because that’s the length of this visa… (I didn’t say it like that but thought it was a silly question). Also, the men who helped me were very nice but there was a woman who commented on my age (I am 30 years old – I don’t think she saw my DOB but was judging by my appearance and I do look younger) and she said “usually this visa is for older people and not young women. I don’t think you’ll get approved, are you sure you want to apply?” I thought that was silly – nowhere does it state a requirement about age and I’m not a child looking to escape to Spain for a year just for fun. Anyways, I still went ahead and had them process my application since I had all of my documentation in perfect order. Fingers crossed.

    1. Y

      Hi Ellen,

      How was your experience at the Chicago Embassy?
      Who did you use to translate your documents?
      How did you list your proof of accommodation?
      Did they require you to show all sufficient funds or recurring payments okay?

      Our appt is in 3 weeks and I am so nervous!

      1. El

        Hi – I can’t rave about my experience due to the wait time to be seen and the dismissive unprofessional comments by staff as I mentioned in the original comment you posted your reply to. In any case…
        I used someone in Granada, Spain to translate my documents because my boyfriend lives in Spain and I currently am traveling throughout Europe so I had the final copies delivered to his home and picked them up before my appointment.
        For accommodation, I was added to the lease of my boyfriend.
        For finances, I showed them proof of recurring payments through translated pay statements and bank statements, and an Employment Letter from my head of HR in the US stating they will continue to employ and pay me while living abroad. They also took my 401(k) balance.
        They accepted my paperwork and it has been just over 6 weeks now that I have been waiting. Chicago gives you no way to track the status of your visa – some consulates do.

    2. Pea

      Hi Ellen,

      I’m also Chicago-based and I’ll be a little under 30 when I apply.
      I saw Mel’s note about the extra scrutiny around her document explaining the purpose for her visit.
      Did you add anything to offset said scrutiny in your own letter of intent?
      How did you respond to the question about ‘wanting to live in Spain for only 1 year’?
      I’m also (happily) single, but I don’t know if that would be a mark against my application?
      I have at least 1 cousin in Spain.. so maybe focus on the familial connection, even though it’d be more for appearances?
      This ageism makes me nervous..
      Looking over the form listed for the Chicago Consulate branch, it requested just 1 passport photo. Did you submit 1 or 2?

      I read through all the comments and saw that your application was ultimately accepted.
      Would you happen to have any additional tips or insight?

      Thank you in advance.

      1. Ellen

        Hi Pea!
        I’m so sorry I didn’t see this sooner! I was traveling that day to the states to pick up the visa!
        I hope my response isn’t too late. I would add the part about you having a family member here. I think it might help. Also, my boyfriend said that Spanish people like to hear those kinds of sentiments. Try to be expressive about your enthusiasm for this country, and make a strong case for, why Spain? Are you keen on trying to learn the language, what about the culture do you like, etc? Be convincing as possible that you’re looking to live here long-term. If they think your’e really only coming for one year and have no interest in actually residing here long-term, they may reject you. They only took 1 of my passport photos. For your appointment just be prepared to wait – they typically run late in Chicago.

        1. Zaz

          Hi Ellen!

          Not sure if you’re following these threads anymore, but I’m going to be soon applying for the NL visa at Chicago Consulate. It was interesting to hear that age might be an issue in your situation and with others at the Chicago location. I’m not young at all, but I’m also not retirement age either. I’m pretty old at 37, but somehow I look incredibly young, I’m constantly mistaken for being in my early 20s… So I have a feeling I may face the same age-ism experience you, Pea, and Mel faced unfortunately. I have a couple white hairs but it’s pretty unnoticeable, so I might have to add some fake gray or white hairs to look older, lol!

          For the letter of intent, you mentioned that if we say we have family or friends in Spain, it helps? You also mentioned your boyfriend lives in Spain…is he a Spanish citizen? And, did you happen to mention him in your letter of intent? In particular did you mention that he is your boyfriend?

          I have a Spanish boyfriend, we’ve been long-distance for a year, and he is the main reason I’m applying for the NL visa. Anyway I don’t know if it would help or if it would be detrimental to mention my Spanish boyfriend? I’ve asked on other discussion groups, and have received both “yes” you should mention him, and “no” you shouldn’t. But none of the answers were backed up with actual experience…so not sure what to think.

          Just curious if you mentioned your boyfriend in the letter of intent at all, and if you did, what did you say exactly, and do you think that might have helped with your favorable approval?

          The Vagabond, or anybody else on here, let me know if you have any opinion, experience, or advice on this issue??

          Btw, I really appreciate all the information and how friendly and helpful everyone is on here. It really feels like everyone on here is really here to help each other out and celebrate successes! I read all the comments from start to finish, and not once did I find even one passive aggressive or snarky comment on here at all. What a great group! I definitely will update this group on my experience and progress with the Chicago consulate once I go through it all.

          Thanks for taking the time to read/answer my question!

          1. The Vagabond Post author

            Hi Zaz,

            Thanks, I am really glad that you’ve gotten a lot out of this page. I really feel that it’s grown to be a great resource and remains “alive” because of the constant updates provided by people going through the process.

            Personally, I would avoid mentioning a significant other in your letter of intent, and here’s why: Spain has a family reunification/marriage visa, and it might be seen as an attempt to sidestep that process. A bureaucrat might reasonably see it as a red flag and that’s not what we want to do! The letter of intent is not that important in your application relative to other things (like proof of financial means) and needs only show that you have interest in actual life and culture in Spain. Trust me when I say that it is really only looked at in a cursory manner, and the best thing to do is be positive and speak generally about your passion for the benefits of living in Spain.

            To reassure you somewhat, I know for a fact that Madrid doesn’t care about your age when it comes to the NL visa– this seems to be a quirk of staff in the Chicago consulate. A vast majority of the holders of the NL visa that we know here are young couples and families.

            Best of luck!

          2. Zaz

            Thank you, I appreciate your advice very much Vagabond!! This is very helpful information, and what you’re saying makes total sense. So, instead, I will only mention that he is a friend. I have a couple sentences in the letter of intention explaining I would be staying with a friend because I’m using his home address for the proof of accommodation requirements.

            If you don’t mind, I have a couple other questions that I hope you might be able to help advise on?

            First question, is that, I plan to schedule my appointment soon for end of February, let’s say around 2/28/2020, and so based on that example date, this means the “no more than 90 days” departure date would be around 5/28/2020. And 5/28 would also be the date I add in the “date of intended entry” section of the Visa application.

            Let’s say I hear back favorably from the consulate by first week of April or earlier, and I am asked to book a flight. Is it allowed to book flights to depart earlier than the 90 day departure date?

            For example, could I book a flight for 4/30 or 5/1? Or would I have to stick to the date written in my application, which goes by the 90 days restriction rule, meaning I can only book a flight on or after 5/28?

            My second question, once I arrive in Spain, within the first month, my boyfriend wants us to move from his current home to an apartment closer to the city center… but because I have to apply for the empadronamiento and TIE process within the first month, would this be a problem?

            For example, if we moved to a new apartment within the 1st or 2nd week after I arrive in Spain, would the new apartment address be sufficient to use for the empadronamiento and TIE? Or are they expecting it to match the National Visa Application and Form EX-01 forms(I assume this is probably the case)?

            Would it be better to wait after I get empadronamiento and TIE completed, then move to the new apartment shortly afterwards?

            Also, if I move to a new apartment, would I have to go back and get the empadronamiento and TIE updated with the new address?

            I personally am not in a rush to move closer to the city center, but he lives about 30-40 minutes away from the city center and I guess he’s excited to move closer to the city so that we can go out to do activities in the city without having to drive 30-40 minutes back and forth.

            Again, I appreciate you taking the time to read and respond to my concerns, it’s really generous!

  88. Brian

    Mr. V,
    If we enter Spain and stay for 60 days, get our TIE and then return to states for 90 days then go back to Spain, we be ok right? We have to stay in Spain 6 months out of the year for the visa to remain effective?

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      As far as I know, you could theoretically do this… but out of curiosity, why would you? All that work to get a visa to live in Spain, only to quickly leave for three months? You would definitely be asking for a non-renewal of the visa at the end of the year (and non-issuance of another non-lucrative visa if you wanted one in the future), at the very least.

  89. Brian

    Oh I didnt know it might affect our renewal process. Reason is we might not be able to sell our home in time.
    So we wanted to go in, get our TIE, come back and sell the house and go back. So we might have to leave things to the agent then. Keeps getting more complicated…

  90. Brian

    If they require us to be in Spain at least 6 months in the year and we are there
    9-10 months, i dont see why that would be a problem.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Do as you wish, of course. In case it wasn’t clear up to this point, this is a fundamentally arbitrary visa process. While there are minimum standards to achieve— such as being in Spain at least 183 days *as a minimum* to qualify for renewal, you still run the risk of some bureaucrat looking at the passport pages you will have to submit with your renewal application and deciding, “well, they had a 90 day absence. They didn’t really need residency when ~210 days of their year could have been accomplished with a basic Schengen visa.” Your choices are ultimately your own, but if your goal is to eventually qualify to apply for permanent residency, then you should bring doing everything in your power to give the appearance of someone who is ready to settle here. Just my opinion based on our experiences and speaking to many others. Who have done the same.

  91. Kay

    I don’t see how it would be a problem either…what if you decide to travel elsewhere? You’ve still paid for health insurance, signed a year lease, etc… Unless for some reason you selected “single entry” on your application, perhaps then it would matter.

    Regarding the sale of your house, I read this on another blog (maybe it wouldn’t apply to your family yet if you just have the NLV and are not officially residents?):

    “On the other hand, dealing with two country’s tax codes can be tough. For example, we know a person who did not realize that Spain would tax the capital gains on the sale of her house in the States, which she sold after she became a Spanish resident.”

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      The problem is not the number of entries. It’s the number of days spent in Spain and its possible effect on the renewal process. It’s a common misconception among Americans seeking this visa that this is in any way a concrete process, probably because the US government is much more black and white in this regard. In the end, the non-lucrative visa process is an individual asking Spain to give them a privilege: to allow them to live in Spain for a year. That means embracing the arbitrary nature of the decision making process and doing your best to operate within it. We have encountered numerous people here who have have renewals denied for no discernible reason, despite appearing to have followed all the guidelines. We’ve spoken to people who hit the five year mark with the non-lucrative visa and were denied a permanent residency visa.

      To be completely open, it can get a little frustrating at times to repeat the same refrain over and over: there are no guarantees in this process, and making the right impression can, on every level of getting to (and then functioning in) Spain, make the difference between success and failure. Everyone wants assurances that their choices, however exotic, will not adversely affect their chances. It just doesn’t work that way here. Once three different low level functionaries have sent you for three different sets of paperwork for your TIE, empadronamiento, visa renewal, or other task, it will become clear. By the same token, sometimes being friendly and earnest will result in a bureaucrat skirting some rule to help you out. All I can do is share our experience and hope that people will learn something from it.

  92. Niloofar

    We had our interview yesterday at the Spanish Consulate in LA and wanted to share our experience:
    I really appreciate this site for all the information it provided. I read and re-read the instructions a thousand times and we checked and re-checked our packet equally and have to say that it was a very pleasant experience. We used Irene Igualada, Sworn translator who lives in Colorado. We did everything through email and then finally at the end she sent the packet to us via USPS with tracking. We used Turboscan on our phones to scan all the documents, converts it to PDF and emailed them to her. She was organized and fast AND helped us along the way with some questions. We used the same insurance mentioned on the site, Mas Salude and it was accepted. We printed a .pdf copy of our bank statements for three months and had it translated and also got a Deposit account balance summary from the bank, which they stamped to make official. I put everything in the order they had asked for and placed tabs on them to make them easy to find (that came in handy because they took the entire thing to the back for the supervisor to review and so she did not have to guess where everything was). I had made a copy of EVERY document they asked for, however they only took copies of three documents. I had made a color copy of our Passport and D.L. and they seemed to like that because it was so clear. Our appointment itself did not take that long since everything was so organized. They kept all the original documents EXCEPT our medical certificate, FBI background check and marriage license. They stamped those on the backs and gave it back to us to take to the police station when we arrive in Spain. He told us it would take a minimum of 4 weeks before we hear back. Hopefully I can come back on here and share the good news with everyone. We did notice that they kept different copies of things for the different people that were there, so my suggestion is to have all of your documents with you, a copy of EVERYTHING and just see what they ask for. Needless to say, we had a celebratory drink right after, just for being done with the preparation, which I lost a few night’s sleep over.

    1. Greg_in_SD

      Interesting. We just had our interview in LA yesterday. They returned our marriage certificate but did not stamp it and didn’t indicate we would need it for our police station meeting in Barcelona. They did stamp our medical certificates and background checks and indicate we would need those. Anyone know for sure what documents you need when you get to Spain?

      1. The Vagabond Post author

        See the TIE article linked at the bottom of the one you’re commenting on for a similar step-by-step process on what is required once you arrive in Spain. You don’t need medical certificates or background checks, though there are some slight variations regionally on whether the empadronamiento is required. All that is required on the national level is an application form for the TIE, your passport, your visa, and a paid tasa (tax) and its accompanying forms.

    2. Kat

      Hello Niloofar,

      I’m applying at the LA consulate. An immigration lawyer said LA is strict and the $30k minimum for a single person, although stated on their website, is not enough. He said they look for 1mil or so euros(!?!?!?) For the financial requirements, did you only show 3 months of banks statements (no recurring income)? And if so, was it significantly higher than the requirement? Or reasonably close to the requirements? Thanks!

  93. Brian

    Hi Nillofar, they didn’t give us any of the originals back. Hope we don’t run into any issues when we get to Spain and apply for TIE. What a cluster of a system……

    1. Niloofar Mazhari Hubrich

      Hi Brian. Have you been approved for your visa? Maybe in your case when you go to pick up the passports and your visa, they will return those to you. The guy told us “DON’T loose these because you will need them at the police station when you arrive”. I would also email and ask them.

      1. The Vagabond Post author

        No, the originals are not returned in San Francisco. None of the documents were required on this end for the TIE. See my TIE article for the process and required documents there.

  94. Bruce

    As noted, this is an incredible resource. Thank you for taking the time to be so detailed. My questions are about financial documents. I am preparing to apply for a retirement visa in San Francisco in December.
    – Financial statements for 401K accounts seem to be very long. In your experience are the cover pages showing overall balances, with translations, accepted. Or, do all pages need translation.
    – In a world of electronic banking, are prints of downloaded PDF statements acceptable?

    Sorry if I missed that info in prior posts. Thanks again for all your work.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Bruce,

      Though we sought different visas, I am reasonably certain the following should still be true:

      * We only printed cover pages for financial statements (or where applicable, the first two pages).
      * We printed all the files ourselves from PDF.

      I know that some people at other consulates have been required to arrange for “official” statement copies in the past, but the above was our experience in San Francisco.

  95. Brian

    Is staying there for the whole year mandatory? What if we want to stay for 6 months and come back?
    Does that mean next time we like to go for another 6 months, they will not give us another visa??

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      There is no way for anyone to answer this question with any degree of certainty. However, it is reasonable to assume that if you treat the residence visa as a “long vacation visa,” (especially if you don’t stay long enough to file Spanish taxes), that you may not be granted another. Most people who spend less than 183 days in Spain on their visa aren’t granted a renewal, so it’s entirely likely that at some point that will apply to granting you further first-year non-lucrative visas.

  96. Darch

    Thank you so much for this detailed instructions. I was struggling B…I…G..T..I.M.E!!!!!!
    trying to complete the application..Yours was major help..Thanks. Now????’s
    …Not clear on the translation part..
    1)Do I need send forms to translators in Spain?
    2)before appointment with Embassy? I live in New York, Not clear on this part.
    My appointments for 2/1/18.
    3)How do I go about this part.

    Thanks for your Help,

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Darch,

      You need to click the list of official translators from the post above, then find one who is certified to translate from the language of your documents into Spanish. You would then contact them, agree on a translation price, and ask them to translate the documents to Spanish before your embassy appointment. You’ll bring those translations, the original documents, and copies of everything to the appointment. Remember that all of your documents and translations need to be less than 90 days old as of your appointment, so don’t start gathering them for at least a few more days.

    2. Ellen

      To add on to the response provided, on that list of translators in the link, you can find translators in the US (Estados Unidos). And, I personally only had to email my translators copies of my documents (I didn’t have to mail them physical copies). They will mail you the physical official translations though.

      1. Darch

        Hi Ellen:
        I scoured the list and did to see any sworn translator in the USA on it. Do you know of any in New York? Thanks.

        1. The Vagabond Post author

          Hi Darch,

          The list has hundreds of pages of translators in the US. All cities and countries are in their Spanish names, so search for “Estados Unidos.” New York is “Nueva York.”

  97. Niloofar Mazhari Hubrich

    If you use Irene Igualada from Colorado she does everything via email and we had NO problems with her translations.

  98. Darch

    Can anyone tell which is best…single entry? multiple entry? If my app is approved, I would like to know the I can l can go back home and return to Spain if need be. Would multiple entry on app be questionable?


    1. The Vagabond Post author

      It doesn’t make any difference, and only pertains to the temporary visa you get until you arrive in Spain and apply for your residency permit. You can check multiple entry with no consequences.

  99. Darch

    Guys….thanks for your help. I’m getting through the application prep process with so much clarity now. One other ? i’m divorced and traveling alone, do I still need the marriage certificate? or is that only for married couples? Thanks this truly a “village”.

  100. Cindy

    It appears that the Apostille is only required on the background check and that the background check also needs to be translated. Does the Apostille need to be on the English and the Spanish document?

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Apostilles are a certification that an official (government issued) document is authentic. A translation cannot be apostilled because a translation is not an official document. Thus, you have the official document apostilled, then have the original document and the apostille translated.

  101. Jessica


    I am confused.

    I spoke to the consulate of Miami because I live in Florida.

    I was told that the visa is valid for 90 days. That once I arrive to Spain, I have to apply for the residency card that is valid for a year.

    I thought I had to gather all
    Documentation to live in Spain for a year at the corresponding consulate.

    Anyone followed this process in the Consulate of Miami Florida?

    Can someone clarify this for me?

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      This is the same everywhere, and Miami is no exception. You ARE applying for the one year nonlucrative visa. When you are approved, the consulate will paste a 90 day visa in your passport, timed to start on your date of arrival. When you arrive in Spain, you complete the in-country part of the process, which is applying for your permiso de residencia/Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE). The article that describes that process is linked at the bottom of this one.

      Once you are approved in the US, you are essentially guaranteed your year— you just need to finish the process in-country once you arrive. Normal and nothing to worry about.

      1. Jessica

        Thank you for your response.

        Therefore, I will still need to follow the application process. Gathering all documents and showing sufficient funds for one year?

        I cannot apply as if I’m staying for less than a year, correct?

    2. Tammy

      Please let me know if you had to make an appointment in Miami. According to website you do not need an appointment and just show up early. Since I am coming from Georgia, I am a little nervous! Any other Miami tips would be appreciated 🙂

  102. Niloofar Mazhari Hubrich

    We just picked up our visa 5 minutes ago, YAY!!!! You get approved with your documents for one year visa however it’s a two step process. You get a sticker in your passport for three months and when you enter Spain, you go in and they give you the residency number and card for the full year.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Mostly correct, except 1) if by “residency number” you mean your NIE number, that’s already on the visa in your passport. And 2) It’s not quite as simple as going in and picking up a card- see the article on the TIE application process linked at the bottom of this one. There’s still some more paperwork to do, an appointment to appear at, and a subsequent wait. Mostly it’s pretty straightforward, though.

    1. Ellen

      Thanks! Was just wondering what I should be on the lookout for. The Chicago consulate doesn’t offer any tracking so I’m flying blind just waiting for an email. I applied the same day you did in October so hopefully I hear something soon!

  103. Kay

    We picked up our visas!
    Again, I’m so grateful for all the advice on your site, Mr. Vagabond. And for this comment thread; often, it was the only real-time advice we could get. (Sometimes the Consulate would respond, sometimes not…the Consul General in our state didn’t seem to have answers but was very nice).
    We heard right at the 5-week mark that our visas were ready and picked them up a week later.
    Very excited!

    1. Finn

      Kay- I’ve been pouring through this blog post and comments and have found your questions/situation very similar to my own. Right down to the extreme anxiety over the appointment not going well. I will be applying via the LA consulate and taking my family of 5. I don’t live in California, so the application trip invovles fun things like airfare for 5 plus hotel. I don’t want to be sent away on a technicality 🙂 I wondered if I might be willing to chat about your experience with me some time. Happy to Skype, call an international number, whatever. Thanks.

  104. Edwin

    Thank you for the information! How much money do you need to have for the renewal? Is it possible to renew for just one year?

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Edwin,

      Though we haven’t done our first renewal yet (we start work on that in January), the renewals are only for periods of two years. As far as I know, if you are showing cash in the bank (versus recurring income), you need to show the full amount extrapolated over two years.

  105. Phillip Milano

    Hello, Once you told can you pick up your visa at the consulate, do you have to have a flight itinerary to show them? Does it need to have a return flight on it? Thank you so much.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      We have not heard anything here in Spain suggesting that we are now covered by their public healthcare system. It may be that this is untested, or that the visa and renewal process is lagging behind new law– but I suspect you will not find that the consulate will budge on the insurance requirement since it is still in all the published documents.

      If the Spanish DO start including non-lucrative visa applicants in the public healthcare system, look for them to start being a lot more aggressive about pursuing your worldwide income for taxation. They aren’t likely to give free healthcare without seeking a method to pay for it directly from temporary residents.

      1. Tammy

        We looked into this situation. Our understanding is that this is “temporary” residency. Until you receive “permanent” residency you would not be eligible. Guessing the 5 year point?

  106. Y


    My husband and I are in the process of applying for a non-lucrative visa at the Chicago Consulate.

    I emailed ahead of time to ask about if an Airbnb would be accepted as proof of accommodation, and the reply was “We don’t accept Airbnb sorry, you must follow the instructions posted in our website.”

    I am unsure of what to do as we cannot make the trip to Spain before then. Has anyone had any experience at the Chicago Consulate?? Our appt is in 3 weeks!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Y,

      Yes, some of the consulates are quite strict about housing requirements, while others have no requirement for a lease at all! It can be frustrating. Depending on where you’re planning to settle, there might be a local rental company that caters to expats who may be able to help you with this. You might be able to sign a contract that has a cancelation clause up to the start date, or you might be able to simply sign a “normal” short rental contract of a few months for a place to start.

    2. Abigail

      What was your experience in Chicago? What did you end up doing for housing? Was there anything surprising during your appointment? We have our appointment in Chicago coming up in a couple of months and I’m doing my best to prepare 🙂 thank you!!

      1. Y

        Hi Abigail,

        We booked an Airbnb for our first month stay in Madrid and had our host write a letter in Spanish stating that we are in fact staying with them and to please accept this form of accommodation for our visa application.

        When we arrived, she asked me for a copy of the reservation (which I had forgotten to print out), and that was all she said about it.

        She asked me a series of questions:

        Question: You are pretty young, and this visa is for older people. It will be harder for you to be accepted. Why do you want to apply?

        My answer: I have always wanted to live in Spain. We both work remotely, so it would be the perfect opportunity for us to take a Spanish language immersion course, learn more about the history and culture of Spain through music, art and literature, and make long lasting Spanish friendships.

        Question: Your letter of intent states that you only want to stay for 1 year – why do you only want to stay in Spain for 1 year?

        My Answer: The visa is only for 1 year, but I would like to stay in Spain for at least 5-7 years. I will reapply at the end of this visa.

        Question: Where is the letter from your employer?

        My Answer: My husband submitted a letter from his employer as proof of his remote work capacity and proof of his large salary. This wasn’t a requirement listed on the visa application and submitted this as an *extra.* —-They had me get a letter from my employer stating:

        1. I have a job with no Spanish customers
        2. I work remotely and will continue to be employed while overseas.
        3. My salary, gross, and monthly amounts
        4. Signature certifying all of this

        She also had some questions about our finances. My husband and I both work remotely, and we don’t have an exorbitant amount of savings, but we do have large recurring monthly deposits. ^^ see employer letters above.

        Fortunately for me, I am an Executive Assistant at my company, so I drafted the Employer Statements myself on company letterhead and just routed the draft for signatures to my executives (one of which happens to be the SVP of the HR department).

        We walked to the Staples around the corner to print out the Airbnb reservation and my Letter of Employment.

        The only other surprise we had was with the money orders. We showed up with two money orders for $153, but they make you submit the money orders separately:

        For Each of us:
        1 money order for $140 – Non Lucrative Visa Application
        1 money order for $13- Form 790 Code 052 Application

        So we had to leave *again* to go get that sorted and resubmitted and finally our app was complete.

        The only other incident we had that was weird was that we left our appointment and was almost halfway back to Michigan when they called us and said that our desired departure date was more than 3 months away and that we needed to come back to change it. We couldn’t do that as we had already missed work that day to drive to Chicago and by the time we returned, they would be closed. They agreed to let me send them updated documents with new date of departure.

        They then asked me for copies of my flight information and I thought that was weird bc the website says not to buy tickets until the visa was approved. I told him this and he was like, “oh, okay,” He asked me to give the phone to my husband. My husband sounded very confused and then hung up. Apparently, the guy started speaking to him in Spanish and wouldn’t say anything in English. After which he said, “do either of you speak Spanish?” and my husband said, “No, we understand and can read a small amount, but we are going to Spain to learn,” and then my husband said that the guy responded “okay, thanks, bye.”

        Not sure what was meant by that but phew that got us freaked out a little.

        Also, another thing I would point out is that the Chicago consulate was filled with students. That were being accepted left and right. I would say if you can’t get this non-lucrative visa, to sign up for a Spanish Immersion class or class at a university and then apply via student visa.

        My husband and I decided that if we weren’t accepted for the non-lucrative visa, that we would go to Spain for 3 months, leave the EU by visiting other countries, and then just come back.

        1. Abigail

          Wow, this was really helpful, thank you!! It surprises me that the 1 month Airbnb worked, on the requirements it now states that you need a signed 1 year lease as well as need to fill out a proof form.
          Taking classes is a great idea! And it may help show that we really want to learn from them.
          Again, thank you!

        2. XTINA

          And I thought our experience and types of questions asked at the Houston consulate were “odd” and stressful! See below under XTINA.

          The phone call situation is crazy! I would be nervous and confused as well!

          Have you been approved? Hoping so!

    3. Y

      Update: My husband and I received our visas in the mail on 1/25/19. Our application appt was on 12/17/18 at the Chicago Consulate.

  107. Veer

    The Vagabond, many thanks for such an insightful article! I’ve thoroughly gone through the comments as well. However, I’m not clear about the duration of the insurance.

    My appointment is 25th Feb and it says that the consulate will revert within 3 months (25th May). Additionally, they ask you to collect the Visa within a month (25th June). According to you, how many months insurance should it be? Worst case scenario I should be in Spain by July. So do they expect Feb-July 2019 then upto July 2020 (17 months)?

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      You are welcome! In theory, you must have a policy that covers your entire stay. However, you may find (as we did) that Spanish Insurers will only sell you a policy that meets the visa requirements if it is dated to start immediately, or at the start of the coming month. That’s what we found with Sanitas. So, we paid for the year of our policy, to begin the month of our visa appointment (running January 2018-January 2019) while our actual visas run March 2018-March 2019. There was no complaint at the consulate or in Madrid. We’ll have to renew our policy soon, and if anything interesting happens there, I’ll update this post or write a new one.

  108. Delrose Archer

    I want to know if the insurance is refundable if you don’t get the visa. Its a lot of money to lay out not knowing for sure that your application will be approved…Thanks Darch

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      In Spain, you have a 14 day cooling off period after signing your contract via phone or internet. After that, you are likely to only get the unused portion of your premium back, similar to canceling insurance in the US. If the policy has begun by the time you get a visa decision you’re unhappy with, you won’t get everything back.

  109. Phillip

    I am doing through Miami consulate. 25-year journalist and ask many detailed questions. I’ve asked a number of questions of the consulate (and Sanitas) and have received these responses:

    1. Although their site says the entire resolution of the visa will take 3-6 months, upon direct questioning, they said it will take about a month to receive the visa after your appointment.

    2. It is definitely correct that all you need for proof of accommodation for the Miami consulate is a letter explaining why you wish to live in the particular city in Spain you have chosen. No lease required.

    3. If you do decide to show a lease agreement instead of a letter, the lease must be for one year, the length of the visa.

    4. For proof of adequate finances, you have to show for the past 12 months the bank statements for checking, saving or retirement accounts. You DO NOT have to pull money from your 401K or 403b, etc. and put it into your bank account. Showing the retirement account statements will suffice.

    5. You DO NOT make a visa appointment at the Miami consulate. You simply show up, early. (Hours are 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., check holiday schedule as well).

    6. Your financial and bank statements DO NOT need to be translated into Spanish.

    7. Spain has passed a national law that gives free public healthcare to all their citizens — including ex-pat residents, even those with a non-lucrative visa who then became residents. See links below. However, this law hasn’t really trickled down to the regions of Spain, or to the consulates. Therefore, at least in Miami, they as of now still require you to show proof of private health insurance for a non-lucrative visa.

    7. Two private health insurance companies in Spain, of course, told me they don’t know anything about this new law (yeah, right). 🙂

    8. According to Sanitas, once you sign up for a year’s worth of health insurance with them, it is NOT refundable, even if you show proof that you have other insurance (say through the new Spain healthcare law).

    Here are some general responses from Sanitas to my questions:

    “Thank you for your email. If you are paying by credit or debit card the payment must be yearly. Please also provide a Spanish address as this must go on your application form (this can be a temporary address if required).”

    “Unfortunately we cannot give you a final price for October 2019, we can only ask you to visit our site and request an online quote to get an idea of price – If you do not need the insurance until October 2019 then i would suggest you apply in September 2019.. Also, your start date must coincide with your VISA appointment date as we cannot issue documents in advance – we can only issue docs on the actual start date.”

    “The documents are issued by email in Spanish and then in English afterwards.”

    “As long as you have a (temporary, even Airbnb) Spanish address to register the policy to, that is fine. We can update it when you move to more permanent accommodation.”

    (In answer to my question about the new Spanish free healthcare law:) “As we know it is still necessary to take insurance for a visa and for residency, then after the first year, state care is available. The consulates are certainly still asking for health insurance with visa applications. although how this might affect different types of visa we don´t know.”

    I hope this helps someone.

    1. Jeffrey Osteen

      Thanks for this recap re Miami process. It is consistent with what I’ve been told as well. It seems as if Miami is one of the easier consulates to deal with. One thing I haven’t asked is if you still need reparation (to US) insurance coverage? Did you get this and/or was it an issue at your appointment? How did it go – did you run into any traps? Thanks.

    2. John

      I would like to know if IMGlobal Health Insurance is acceptable when applying for a Non-Lucrative Retirement Visa? I have purchased insurance through IMG before while staying in Spain for one year. IMG is a travel insurance, but they are assuring me that they have a plan that will work for me. Anyone with this experience? I am applying at the Consulate in Chicago. Thanks for your help!

      1. The Vagabond Post author

        Travel insurances are definitely explicitly prohibited by the terms of the visa. It must be an actual medical insurance, which IMG Travel Insurances are not. The problem isn’t that IMG wouldn’t cover you, but that it wouldn’t be acceptable for obtaining the visa.

  110. Christina

    Would it be worth or accepted to include CD’s (certificate of deposit) accounts along with a cash account?
    We have an excess of what is needed in the cash account but just wanting to show more “worthiness “.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      It certainly wouldn’t hurt to show them, within reason. At worst, they disregard them, and best case they consider it further evidence of your financial soundness!

  111. Africa Estrada

    Hello and thank you for the helpful article and responses to all comments. My question is in regards to the medical certificate. I live in Sacramento ca and my health insurance is with Kaiser permanente. My doctor refused to issue a certificate because supposedly thd insurance dors not cover it and she cannot accept a charge me for it so I can pay out of pocket. She referred me to a clinic outside Kaiser but they also refused but did not give s reason why. Are you able to share your San Francisco doctor info? I will check if Greg accept new patients as I m willing to drive the 2 hours to San Francisco if that is my only option. Thanks in advance

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Africa!

      I’m really sorry that you went through this– your doctor is definitely being ridiculous. We also were in the Kaiser system and our doctor provided the letter without any issue. In fact, she was extremely patient and retyped it so that it would print cleanly on letterhead! Have you considered making a complaint/escalating, or perhaps asking to speak to the Chief of Medicine and offering to simply see another doctor who has a moment to help you with this letter? Doctors help with medical clearances all the time for studying abroad, visas, etc., so this is just silly! If you decide to escalate, remember that all that really matters is having the phrase about “the patient has been examined and found free of any contagious diseases according to the International Health Regulation 2005″ if they don’t feel comfortable declaring you free of addiction/mental illness, etc.

  112. Jill J

    This is great, and a big relief to read about all the steps. I am just getting started on the Non-Luc visa process. I’m currently in Spain on a year-long Student Visa, so I only have an NIE number, no TIE as far as I can tell. I just want to know, is there anything beyond the detailed list you’ve posted that I have to do? Does the fact that I already have an NIE change any requirements as far as you know? Thanks, and I’ll be sure to sign up for the site you mentioned.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Jill,

      As far as I know, you will need to leave Spain to apply for the non-lucrative visa (apologies if you already knew this). They may give you a new NIE or perhaps re-use the old one, but otherwise the process should be exactly as written. Good luck to you!

  113. Deb

    You are a godsend. I am just starting this process and live in Monterey, CA. I am feeling much more confident I can do this now. Again, this is amazing!

  114. El

    Thanks again for your article. Thought I’d give a quick update. Just over 6 weeks after my appointment I received an email from the Chicago consulate that said “we would like to inform you that you must surrender to your passport (in person) within one month of this email.” Haha. It didn’t actually day I’ve been approved but I don’t know why else they’d tell me I need to bring my passport back in person withing one month (the typical process if you’re approved and kept your passport). I emailed them back asking for confirmation but regardless, I’ll be going there to (hopefully) pick up the visa soon!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      I used Wawi Gorriz-Ramallo. She is on the list of certified translators linked above. She did a fantastic job at a reasonable price. She is quite busy, so it’s helpful to get in contact sooner than later.

  115. Bruce

    With abundant thanks to the details found on this site, our appointment yesterday in San Francisco went easily, even though we were nervous. The only surprises were:
    – They wanted a specific address, not just the region that we were primarily visiting. Luckily we had the address of a family friend on hand, and that was accepted without additional supporting documentation.
    – The NIE must be applied for in the city listed in the application according to the clerk accepting our packets. Originally we’d planned to spend a few weeks in Madrid and apply for the NIE there where there was possibly more English language help. This only changes our travel plans a little, and gives us more problem-solving practice.
    – Passports – we were given an option to leave the passports at the consulate and, by providing a pre-paid Priority Mail envelope (available at the shop across the street), have the visas affixed and mailed to the honorary consulate in Washington State. That had the advantage of no airline travel, but we will need the passports for travel in January and did not want to risk them being unavailable. With that decision, we will return to SF for the visas when they are ready. This may not be available in other states, and the policy may be changing, but it was our experience.

    Overall we felt prepared for the situation, and again with thanks to the Frugal Vagabond community, feel that our first application will be successful. Now for a bit of waiting.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Congrats on the successful appointment! Just a quick item of correction: The thing you apply for in Spain is the TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero), not the NIE. The NIE is a number, sort of like a Social Security number, that you’ll use for everything in Spain. It’ll be printed on your visa in your passport when you get it back from the consulate.

        1. The Vagabond Post author

          Think of an NIE like a social security number. It persists regardless of region, and even when visa situations change. If you have an NIE, it will continue to be your NIE as long as the Spanish government knows how to connect it to you.

          Just be sure you actually have an NIE and not an NIF.

    2. Bruce Tarbet

      This doesn’t seem to be the norm, but one week after our appointment our visas were approved!!!!! We are now making plans to travel at the end of February and wrap things up here in the states.

      Again, this site has been an incredible resource for this project. Good luck to everyone! Feliz Navidad!

    3. Jessie

      I’m noticing people traveling to consulates not in the city or even state of residence (it seems) – is this an option? We are in LA but wondering if the SF consulate might be easier…

  116. Greg_in_SD

    My wife and I wanted to thank you for this very useful blog. When we first started this process several months ago we were confused and concerned but your documentation helped greatly in completing forms and giving us confidence for the interview. We live in San Diego and had our meeting at the LA Consulate yesterday (Dec. 12th). It seemed to go well and we will let you know the final result. A few observations about the LA Consulate process:

    We were a little surprised that there was no security and you are basically take the elevator to a suite and enter a large room with a number of representatives behind what appears to be bullet proof glass. Two of the five rep windows are identified as for visas and you basically sit in front of the window and conduct your business by speaking through a metal grate and passing documents under the glass much like many bank tellers these days. There really isn’t much privacy so you can hear other people’s issues and they yours. A woman before us was applying for a student visa and didn’t have all the documents needed and she was very unhappy.

    LA doesn’t require a notarized letter explaining why you want the visa but they did verbally ask.

    LA just instituted a new policy about a month ago that requires your income documentation to be stamped/sealed and have a hand signature. We were surprised by this because we had started the process several months before and hadn’t noticed the change. Our translator pointed it out to us. This new process is a real pain. My wife and I are retired and our income comes mostly from investments and social security. There is no way I could find to get a stamped/sealed and signed certificate from Social Security. Our investment accounts are large enough that they could support our application on their own and we did get a letter from our account holder (Schwab) that confirmed our balances and was hand signed and stamped. However, even that was a pain to get. We had three months of supporting statements on these two accounts as well but they were not signed or stamped. The representative had to ask a supervisor what to do and she said it would probably be ok with just the letter being signed and stamped but that she did not make the final decision. Another applicant before us did not know about this new requirement and their income documents were not accepted. Very glad we had the heads up from our translator and had at least the signed and stamped letters from Schwab.

    Our medical insurance documents only arrived by email the day before and didn’t look anything like what you would expect in the US. It was basically a letter from the insurer stating what the policy type was and who the insured were. We got a Sanitas Mas Salud policy which with no deductible and the repatriation addition was an annual premium of $3800 for the two of us. We had to pay the year in advance by credit card because we don’t have a Spanish bank account. Also, as others have mentioned, we had to start the policy on Feb. 1 instead of our expected March 1st landing date. I guess they can only go out 2 months from your application but Sanitas seemed to be the cheapest and easiest to work with so we had to accept that we were paying for a month when we wouldn’t even use the policy. The policy letter was accepted without questions.

    We took copies of everything and that turned out to be a good thing as, for example, they wanted copies of the medical insurance letters as well as the original.
    We used the stacking order shown here and they seemed pleased.

    My wife and I each had to do our interviews separately but I had told the representative we were together and after my interview he asked my wife if her documents were in the same order and the same documents as mine (with the addition of marriage certificate and apostille) and since they were he just took them as a group without individual review.

    We had lease documentation of an apartment we have already rented in Barcelona and our airline tickets for the trip over but those were not asked for.

    We were able to park a few block from the Wilshire Consulate on a side residential street with no meters for free.

    We were told it would be about 4 weeks when we would hear back by email. They kept our passports and there didn’t appear to be any other option. Not sure what you would do if you needed your passport before a decision was made. The student mentioned earlier didn’t want to leave her passport but since her other documents were so messed up it appears it was a moot point in the end. We will need to go back to pick up our passports. For us that is a 3 hour round trip by car. For others this could be more problematic. The student said she had come in from Utah so I can see her concern.

    They stamped the back of our doctor’s medical certificate and background check and gave it back to us saying we would need this when we go to the police station in Barcelona. I asked and they indicated we would just need those two documents and our passport. Not sure about that and think we will take copies of everything.

    That’s all I can think of right now. Again THANKS!

    1. Robert


      Your post probably just saved me a huge headache. I’m in the process right now of moving to Barcelona as well and I didn’t even think to check for new requirements so the stamping and signing of my income proof was a surprise but I should have time to get this taken care of, so thanks again.

      I had a question that I just posted as a general comment but I’ll ask you directly as well, after you received your DOJ clearance letter (stamped and signed), was it necessary to send it back to the Secretary of State to get the apostille or were you able to use a more local option? I see a number of local services that are able to provide an apostille for documents in person and I’m keen to not have any sort of unnecessary delay.

      Thanks again.

    2. Greg_in_SD

      APPROVED. We got notice today that our Visa has been approved. Four weeks and one day after our appointment, which considering that period included the holidays I’m very happy with. We have 30 days to pick them up at the LA Consulate, no appointment required.

  117. Robert

    I have a question about the Police Criminal Record Clearance apostille process. I also am doing this in California (LA) and I see that local to me are a number of services that can provide an apostille for my documents in person.

    Was there some special requirement after receiving the additional stamped clearance letter that required you to mail the documents back to Sacramento?

    My visa appointment is within 6 weeks so I’m trying to cut out any delays that I can.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      The criminal reecord check goes like this:

      Get Livescan done -> Get Livescan result -> Email DOJ for stamped clearance letter -> Send stamped clearance letter to Sacramento for Apostille.

      If you already have your stamped clearance letter, then all you need to do is send it in for the apostille. With six weeks to spare, you have TONS of time to get your apostille done. Including mailing time, you should have any document you send off back in 10 or so days. If you’re still waiting on the clearance letter, you still have more than enough time to get it done. Heck, six weeks is probably enough to do the entire process, from livescan to apostilled letter. The only thing apostille services do is physically walk the document into the Secretary of State office. They don’t have any special pathway to getting it done, just the manpower to send someone and have them sit there.

      1. Robert

        OK, thanks! Yeah I have the clearance letter in hand. I’m just anxious by nature when things are out of my hands so I appreciate you letting me know that there is enough time. Thanks again for this blog. You’re a godsend

        1. Greg_in_SanDiego

          Agree with Vagabond. We got our fingerprints in San Diego and had them sent to the California DOJ. What we got back were results as a one page non_letterhead form, looks very much like a dot matrix letter, with no signatures . I emailed the DOJ asking if we could get something more formal and they replied that they would send us a formal letter. When I got that we immediately sent it in for the Apostille. I think the entire process from fingerprinting to receiving formal letter with Apostille took less than 4 weeks.

          1. Lane Beck

            Thanks for the great resources! We are struggling with the exact question today. Results from LiveScan were a computer printout, not a “Signed Official Letter”. I just emailed the CA DOJ’s visa/immigration office to ask how to get the ‘signed official letter’ but heard someone simply submitted the computer printout to the LA consulate (our local consulate) and worked fine. We are moving from San Diego to Valencia… Where is everyone else moving to/from?

          2. The Vagabond Post author

            Hi Lane,

            You re doing the correct thing. Getting the proper letter is purely a matter of sending that email (with the relevant livescan identifier info). Absolutely don’t try to submit the raw data printout. This is a virtual certain denial at your visa appointment, as the requirements are that it be a) a letter, and b) apostilled and translated. Since the raw printout isn’t signed by a public official, it cannot be apostilled.

            If you showed up with just the printout at your appointment (at which you’d be almost certain to be told to come back with the correct letter), then you run the risk of your other documents aging over 90 days while you handle it and having to redo those… it’s a recipe for frustration! Getting the letter and apostille only takes 2-3 weeks to get both parts done, I really recommend that you follow the requirements to the letter.

            Best of luck!

  118. Delrose Archer

    “Police Criminal Record certificate: Must contain fingerprint search verification. Dated no older than three months before the application date”.

    Could you clarify if the date mentioned above is the date I put on the National application form. My appt is 1/25/19 the FBI report is dated 8/20/18. i did not fill in any date on any of the application forms yet as I am waiting for the medical certificate. I just want to be sure before I get to my appt.
    Thanks for your patience.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      I am not quite sure I follow, but just to be clear– your criminal record documentation, including the clearance letter, must be dated within three months of your visa appointment. So, if your visa appointment is on 1/25/19, your FBI or state clearance letter would need to be from 10/15/18 or later. If I’m reading you correctly, the one from 8/20/18 is likely to be too old for the consulate/embassy and you may need to have it done again.

  119. Darch

    Thanks for clarifying. I imagine you get a lot of clarification questions, and some might seem redundant. We (I) in particular truly appreciate your patience and tie.

  120. Pea

    Hello Mr. Frugal Vagabond,
    Thank you so much for using your precious time to write such a detailed article and answer so many questions – and with the patience of a Saint!! You are a gift to the world.
    I’ve read your article and I’ve poured through the comments. I feel so empowered and hopeful after feeling very overwhelmed.
    I’m still in the early stages of research, as in I KNOW I want to move to Spain and I’m just trying to figure out the logistics to do so and I don’t have many questions yet, or at least more detailed ones, but I wanted to be sure to express my appreciation for all of this.
    Thank you again.

    1. Greg_in_SD

      We have an Airbnb apartment rented in Barcelona and had the contract with us for our Consulate meeting. We listed that address on some of the forms where it was requested and were prepared to provide the contract. However, at least in LA it isn’t required and wasn’t asked for.

  121. Cindy

    When you signed and dated documents such as the Application, did you date it the day that you signed it or the date of your Consulate appointment? Does it matter?

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      I signed them for the day of the consulate appointment, but I don’t think it matters too much (assuming you don’t sign them for some date months and months before your appointment!).

  122. XTINA

    I wanted to share our experience today at the HOUSTON CONSULATE. This blog had been extremely helpful to us so I wanted to pay it forward.

    Make sure you always google “Non Lucrative Visa Spain HOUSTON” when searching for any information regarding Houston Consulate.
    Searching only “Non Lucrative Visa Spain” generally takes you to the Los Angeles Spanish Consulate page and as mentioned in this forum, is very different. Forms very, etc.

    We checked, double check and rechecked our packets several times to make sure they were….well perfect. We paper clipped all forms individually together and then binder clipped each packet.

    We drove in the night before 5 hours Dallas to Houston. Our appointments were 9am (Me) & 915am (Hubby). We arrived 15 minutes early. The very nice lady at the window took both of our packets (original and copy) at the same time as she saw we were married.

    The total cost was $152 for each of us. ($140 for the application fee and $12 for a processing fee). We were given receipts at the end of the appointment.

    Lease – we had a 12 month lease with signatures from all 3 parties. The very nice lady came back with another lady (assuming a supervisor) and said we needed to have it notarized. What? That wasn’t stated anywhere. She stated she has no proof that the gentleman we were renting from was “real”. She then said she just needed a copy of his Spanish id/drivers license. Aye!
    She said we had to submit that in 10 business days. I immediately contacted my broker in Spain who thought that was the strangest thing he had ever heard. Nonetheless, he forwarded the id pic and we printed off copies at a nearby Staples, went back and submitted it with pics of the apartment for good measure.

    Our why letter – I thought our letter was pretty darn good. In my letter I had stated we had been to Spain several times for long periods and loved it, thus one of our reasons for wanting to live there.
    She asked – how many times have you been to Spain? We said – three. Apparently since our passports were renewed within the past year (mine January 2018, hubby October 2018) it appeared we had never been. So she wanted to hear us say the stamps/visits were in our old passports. Fair enough.

    Money / Bank Statements
    She asked/said – you’re not going to work? We said – no and I made reference to the amount we submitted of $130k+ in bank statements and threw in “we had more” (in a confused panic).

    She asked – What did we plan to do after the 1 year. I basically said – reapply. In hindsight, I would of transferred way more money into the account submitted. Since the amount is large but not LARGE she may have thought we’d try to stay longer without reapplying. A larger amount would of said we REALLY could do so. I would of mentioned in the letter we were also 100% debt free. Just a thought.

    Medical insurance – Sanitas
    Our policy begins in February 2019 because we purchased it in December 2018 and Sanitas wouldn’t start the policy in March 2019. They only write policies no more than 2 months out. Our attended arrival day is 3/11/2019 in Spain. She asked the policy began in Feb if we were going in March. We explained. She seem to already know but again wanted to hear us say it.

    She asked – did we plan on taking any Spanish courses/ classes? I said – Yes we plan to fully immerse ourselves in the culture. Again my guess here was to gauge our one year purpose. We should of focused on our objective in just the one year more so in the letter however, our intent is to stay longer and reapply and didn’t concentrate on presenting ourselves as “one year-ers”.

    She asked – what I planned to do with my hair salon ; who would run it. On my application I indicated I was a “Hair Salon Owner”. I said – I was a one man / suite owner and were closing it down and didn’t have a full fledge large salon with employees. She seemed to like that answer. In hindsight I would of said I was just a solo “hair stylist”. Why would I be selling my entire business for a years stay?

    We were so confused, overwhelmed and slightly discouraged by all these questions when we left. However, on our 5 hour drive home we dissected the interview and we feel in the grand scheme all things asked were valid.


    Completed the following (3) forms:
    National Visa Application, Form EX-01 & Authorization From M790 C052 as suggested in the consulate links provided (also indicated by Mr. FV above)
    I actually downloaded a free PDF editor (PDF Filler) and typed all forms. Looked nicer.

    “Why” document. Make sure to wait on signing until notarizing.

    Sanitas Mas Salud – Medical Insurance
    Diana Bivol – Director
    She is slow and not especially helpful. I started corresponding with her on 12/7 and after going back and forth just to get the policy written it was finally completed and emailed to me on 1/2. So don’t procrastinate. I have in writing that policy will be refunded if our visa is NOT approved.

    +34661310033 – Speak to Ann Windsor to make payment. Make sure to contact your credit card /bank to authorize payment.
    For my husband and I the annual premium was €1592 and included repatriation.
    €1520 without.

    They sent all three documents needed for the visa via email to include the Condiciones Particulares.

    Sworn Translator
    Clara Bosch March
    Super efficient and communicative.
    We paid €350 for 10 translated pages.
    Give her at least 30 days to translate all documents and send them all at once for best price.

    Fingers crossed we will be approved. We are hopeful.

    1. Greg_in_SD

      We got the Sanitas Mas Salud policy as well. Seemed to be the only one with an easy process over the internet. Also the cheapest although our premium for a year was substantially higher than yours at $3,800. Probably due to our age, we are both retired and in our 60s. Still much cheaper than equivalent coverage in the US; by the way we are keeping our medicare coverage active in US. Had a similar experience as you describe with Diana but Ann was very helpful.

      As some others have mentioned, Sanitas will only write the policy at most two months in advance. Our Consulate appointment was on Dec. 12 and we expect to arrive in Spain on March 1. Therefore, we ended up having to start our policy as of Feb. 1.

      1. Xtina

        Sounds great Greg!
        Yes we are in our early 40’s so I would agree/assume that is why our Sanitas was less. But yes, still much less than the US.

        Did you apply at the Houston consulate as well? Have you since been approved?

        1. Greg_In_SD

          No we are in California and applied at the LA consulate on Dec. 12. We were approved in a little over 4 weeks and actually drove up to LA today and picked up our visas.

          Interesting how each consulate has different rules for applying. For example, LA doesn’t have a “why” letter requirement and there were no questions or rules about having a place to live in Spain. We had a signed 6 month lease and brought it with us, although not notarized it was through Airbnb. They never asked for it. However, just in the last couple of months they started requiring that income documents be stamped/sealed and signed with an authorized company signature. We are retired. Most of our income comes from investments and some SSI. Good luck getting stamp, seals and signatures on those. In the end our main investment broker, Schwab, provided a signed and stamped letter on their letterhead attesting to our automatic monthly withdrawals and asset balances. The interviewer questioned us on that and was concerned that other than the letter our monthly statements were not signed or stamped but apparently we passed and we got our visa. You can hear everyone’s interview at the LA consulate as it in a large open room. Based upon unavoidably listening to those other interviews, income/asset documentation is the main area of problems in LA.

          1. Finn

            Greg_in_sd – I wondered if you might help me to understand some of the specifics of your proof of funds documentation. I found this blog as part of trying to decipher the requirements listed by the LA consulate 🙂

            I have been working with my bank to find acceptable documentation showing checking/savings balances in excess of the amount needed to satisfy this requirement for myself and my family. The bank does not provide monthly statements with seal or stamp. They can produce a document called a letter of good standing. I obtained one of these letters to determine what it contained. This letter states the names of my wife and I as dual account owners; it also shows the current balance, and notes the account type and the opening date of the account. The letter is on bank letter head, and is signed; it contains an ink stamp of the bank seal. It does not contain a raised seal imprinted into the document like some official state docs, simply an ink stamp of the seal.

            I am unsure if this document will meet the “stamp and seal” requirement. Based on your description of your letter from Schwab, I THINK you used something very similar. Any guidance you have would be much appreciated!

            A couple of other questions for you, since I have you here:

            Proof of Funds (for dependents): Should proof of funds documentation be included as part of the application packet for each member of the family or only on the primary application? i.e. did you get two copies of the stamped letter from Schwab, or only put that material in the primary applicant’s materials

            Medical insurance (for dependents): Basically the same question. We are working with Spanish providers to obtain coverage for our family. I will include in my application materials a declaration page showing information on the insured persons, dates, coverage, and policy type. It will reference each member of the family. Do I need to include this same documentation as part of the application packet for each member of the family or only on my application?

            Fee payment: Do you know if visa fees be paid with cash? The FAQ section mentions checks, credit/debit cards as not being accepted, but cash is not specifically cited as accepted or not accepted.

          2. The Vagabond Post author

            Proof of funds goes in the section the requirements doc lists it in– for SF (and probably for everyone else), this is the “primary” applicant.

            For the proof of insurance requirement, since it appears in all sections as a requirement, we copied the family coverage documents (three large documents) for each person’s packet. This was accepted without comment.

            Fees can be paid with cash, but you should not anticipate them having much in the way of change. Bring more than you think, and bring some smaller bills.

          3. Greg_in_SD

            Your bank letter sounds exactly like what I got from Schwab which worked for us. If you can get the bank to also stamp and sign 3 months worth of statements, I would think you will be very OK. We had the letter and 3 months of non-stamped non-signed statements and there seemed to be concern about that at the time of the interview but it end up being ok as we got our visas approved.

            I think you will need a complete application for you, your spouse and all dependents. That would include income documentation for each of them and insurance documentation, i.e. a copy of your income docs in their packages unless they have their own income/assets. Lots of copying for you do do, 🙁 For us, it was just my wife and I. We each had separate income/asset documentation and separate packages. We had one insurance policy show both of us covered and included a copy in each file. We are retired and I didn’t even both with SSI documentation. I just submitted letters/statements from our investment accounts.

            By the way, for us, they interviewed us separately. I went first but after I was done the interviewer asked my wife if she had all the same documentation and in the same order. She did so her “interview” was less than 5 minutes. I did see families applying for visas (with minor children) and they all went up as a unit for the interview but I think each had their own package of documentation.

            We paid by cashiers check. Don’t know about cash payment. Didn’t see anyone doing cash payments while we were in the Consulate.

          4. Finn

            Thank you TFV and greg_in_sd. The process, even when documented, is not always clear, and the consulate itself was not very helpful with clarifications. I truly appreciate you sharing your knowledge, as it has greatly helped to decrease my stress levels!

            I do have one follow up question. I’ve been advised here (as well as by my translator) to include 3 months of bank statements in addition to the stamped letter of good standing. It seems that the advice is always to translate the first page only. My question is if you include all pages of the statement in the packet, or only the one page that was translated.

          5. Finn

            Greg – Congrats on making it to Barcelona. Since I know you applied in LA I thought I would ask you about some confusion I am coming across in regards to form 790-052. The link posted by TFV above comes from the San Francisco consulate, is a single page for the form and second page for instructions, and comes with simple instructions in English.

            On the LA consulate website they link to a different – and far more complex – PDF.


            This PDF from the LA consulate and contains 3 pages of forms -with page 1 and 2 being clones of one another, these clones match the one page from the SF consulate.

            There are also super confusing instructions with advice like “don’t photocopy this form as it needs to contain a unique barcode per form” (there is no barcode on the form??), and directing to a webpage to get unique forms (the url leads to a blank page??)

            Do you recall filling out this form? Did you simply use the version linked in the post above, or did you get the form from the link on the LA consulate. Any advice would be appreciated.

          6. The Vagabond Post author

            Just use the one I link above. On the Spain side, Tax/Tasa payment forms are generated dynamically in triplicate, then paid at a bank, with one copy being yours, one copy going to the agency, and one copy acting as the receipt. You’ll get familiar with this once it’s time for your TIE appointment in Spain. The instructions and multiple copies refer to a process that doesn’t exist in the US. Just bring a single copy and the appropriate fee and you’ll be fine.

          7. TCH

            Greg, Mr. FV, or Finn, how old can your three months of statements be? My appointment with the LA Consulate is April 26. Will savings account statements from January, February, and March be acceptable?

            Mr. FV, I can’t even begin to tell you how helpful your blog and everyone’s comments have been. Thank you so much for taking the time and all of the detail. Looking forward to a couple of years in Alicante, soaking up the culture. If anyone is travel through, let me know. I hope to be settled by July 2019.

          8. The Vagabond Post author

            Generally all documents should be dated 90 days or less before your appointment. That said, I would bring the three latest bank statements even if the oldest is a few days outside that window. At worst, you provide two months, and more likely, they’ll simply take the bank statements since they understand that the dates don’t always line up. For other things where the date is based on the date you go and get the document (versus bank statements which are obviously fixed-date) they are much less flexible.

          9. Greg_in_SD

            Your most recent three months should be fine. That is what we did; i.e. appointment was Dec. 12 and we provided Sept – Oct statements, first summary page only.
            DON’T FORGET – in LA you now need sealed/stamped and signed statements. See my prior comments


          10. Greg_in_SD

            We just completed the first page of the 790-052 per Frugal’s instructions and it worked out fine. One page for each applicant package.

    2. Randy Layton

      I will be applying for our visas to the Houston consulate in May so all this information is quite valuable. The one thing I am not certain about is do you have to have airline reservations to go to Spain when go to the initial appointment when turn in your packets?

      1. The Vagabond Post author

        No. You show proof of travel date when you go to pick up your visa. They do this to make sure the visa start date coincides with the arrival date. It’s for your benefit to make sure you get the full time.

  123. Cindy

    I have the list of fees but it looks like some of them would not apply. Can you tell me how much your fees were when you went to the consulate? I want to make sure that I have enough cash on me.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      You pay the visa fee and the authorization fee. On the list of fees these are:

      Visado No-Lucrativo* – 140,00 $
      *Tasa de autorización de residencia para todas las nacionalidades – 11,00 $

      Bring extra cash, as these fees can change (we paid $13 each for the authorization).

  124. Shawna

    Just wanted to give a quick shoutout for this awesome resource, so thanks! I will be applying via San Francisco in a few months and this page has answered all of my questions (so far).

  125. Amy Joela Watkinson

    We can’t thank you enough for all your hard work and insight for this process. We are about to send our documents to our certified translator.

    Should we get several certified Spanish translations of our financial documents (social security statement and Charles Schwab Investments)? Will there be a need to have these certified financial documents to present in Spain once we arrive, i.e., opening a bank account, etc.?

    On a personal note, we are moving to Granada hopefully in mid March and would love to buy you a drink. Thanks again; we are so excited!!!

  126. Amy

    Hello! I live in Spain already under a different type of visa but I would like to help a friend who is applying for their Non-Lucrative visa in getting a rental contract in their name. Do you have any advice on how to do that? Are there companies that help with this? Would you even advise me to help in this manner or are there other avenues that you know of to help someone who isn’t physically present in Spain to get a rental contract?

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Amy,

      I’m not aware of any way in which you can substantially help with the contracting process, though going and seeing properties for your friend might be a place where “boots on the ground” would be a huge help if they’re trying to get a lease sight unseen. Outside of them not being physically present, I don’t see it being any different than any other rental in Spain– you’ll have to convince the landlord that this person, who will be coming without a job, is less of a risk than a Spaniard, but that shouldn’t be a huge deal. In the end, signing a contract remotely shouldn’t have any real impact– in our case, we were already here, so we used our NIEs for the document, but it’s perfectly acceptable to use a passport number, too.

      There are sites like YourYearInSpain who broker a small number of properties and which focus specifically on expats moving here temporarily, but that site’s options are quite limited (they weren’t able to help us) and in the case of YYIS, only really cover Andalucia/Granada.

  127. Sandra L Irick

    We have appointments in San Francisco on March 7th 2019 for non lucrative visa applications.

    Have been advised to sign and date all application forms at the appointment. But, I have never

    read where anyone else has done this. Thoughts, opinions, advice?

    Thank you

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Sandra,

      Our appointment was in SF. We were never advised to hold off on signing, and we presented all our documents already signed (with the date of the appointment). It never caused us an issue. Who gave you this advice? I mean, you COULD hold off signing, but it will just interrupt the consular officer who will be going through the documents page by page and be forced to stop and have you sign everything.

      1. Sandra L Irick

        Hi V

        We have been working with consultants, who gave us this advice. It didn’t make sense to me, as you said, would just slow down the appointment. We will sign and date with our appointment day.

  128. Deb

    I just applied in SF for my non lucrative visa yesterday. I used a local visa attorney for advice and official translations…. I was told to sign and date prior. It was correct

    The overall process at the consulate was quite pleasant and easy. Have your docs organized and ready… and unbound (I had it all organized in a binder).

    Perhaps I was different, but no crazy questions. They just reviewed I had everything as needed, smiled, took the cash for the fees, issued a receipt and said I should get a response in 4 weeks.

    1. Sandra L Irick

      That’s great information Deb. Did you do anything special with bank statements? For instance get a letter from your bank? Did you date your documents the day of your appointment?

      Thank you

  129. chris

    Hello I been trying to contact the person in the bay area for translation you recommended, I tried email 2 times and a phone call with voice mail last week.. still not response… did you had to go there in person first? I am around San Jose but do not drive.. could get in a uber if needed. thanks. PS: another recommendation from anyone else for those reading this?

    1. Finn

      Chris- All of my translation is being handled via scanned docs and the translations will be mailed out once complete. As such, unless you are under extreme time pressure I don’t think physical proximity is a must. I will say that finding a translator in the consulate jurisdiction likely makes sense as that translator is more likely to know about issues with the specific consulate you will be applying at. For example, my translator was able to confirm to me that the criminal background check I obtained was the one she had seen successfully used by persons from my state when applying at the LA consulate. Given the above you could look for a translator located in: Northern CA, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, or Nevada.

  130. Chris

    Thanks Finn, this is what I though as well, but as you said I was trying first the one here in San Leandro that is in the Bay Area, I will reach out to more in the official list that are in one of the states you mention.

  131. Lindsay Kleeman

    Thanks so much for writing this blog, its so helpful! Im in the process of applying for my residence visa and am having a hard time getting a sworn translator. I have emailed a few with no response. You mention you found one in ‘your area’… you mean the area you were moving to in Spain? Because the list only has people in Spain… Any suggestions are greatly appreciated… my visa appt is march 11th in LA. Thanks, Lindsay

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Lindsay,

      Take a closer look at the list of translators– if you don’t know a lot of Spanish maybe see if you can grab someone to help you decipher it, but the document breaks it down by language spoken and country. There are translators from all over the world in the document! It’s okay to get someone from further away, you just then have to deal with postage costs when you need the originals when the translator is done.

    2. Greg_in_SD

      Hi Lindsay,
      We had our appointment at the LA consulate in December. We initially contacted listed translators in the LA area last fall but didn’t hear back. We then contacted Irene Igualada at She is on the approved list but lives and works in the Denver area but appears to do translation for a lot of LA area people. She was great. I recommend her. Everything was done by email. You just scan your documents and email them to her. She will mail them back to you in a batch. We had some late trailing documents that she sent back to us by Fedex the day before our meeting and everything went very well at the consulate.

  132. Robert Radu

    Hi all, I have my appointment in a couple of weeks at the LA consulate and I’m looking for a sworn translator in the LA area for a bank statement that I will have in hand only a few days prior to my appointment (Bank of America has been dragging its feet for 2 months). Does anybody know of a translator local to Los Angeles? I would like to pick up the translations by hand (I’m in LA). The list from the consulate that was linked on this blog doesn’t have any in the LA area it seems (but it is also from 2017). Thanks in advance

  133. Lindsay Kleeman

    I am down to the last thing on my checklist which is squaring away Spanish medical insurance. Any recommendations for a company that allows you to have the start day be the projected move date, so I do not have to pay for three months of insurance prior to living there? Would love a good referral as this feels like a shot in the dark for me. I’ve spoken to a couple companies and really don’t know how to narrow it down? Thank you!

    1. Amy J Watkinson

      There is really no way to get the medical insurance with a start date starting when you’re moving; it’s just the nature of getting your visa. We are going to the Miami Consulate on 2/20 and the insurance has to be effective before you have your appointment. We went with Sanitas and dealt with Momir all by email. He is amazing!!! Here is his contact information. He is very familiar with Americans making the move to Spain. Momir Gemovic Nikolic, Oficina Colaboradora
      C / Sagitario nº 5, 29630, Arroyo de la Miel – Benalmádena
      T 952964728 M 657344267 E W
      Sanitas, parte de BUPA