Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa Renewal

Spain can get under your skin. In the course of living here for the full first year of our non-lucrative visa, we’ve come to love our home, our city, Spanish food and culture, and most of all, the close friends we have made in our adopted city of Granada. So, when the time came to either start arranging for our journey home or to dive into the Spanish non-lucrative visa renewal requirements, there was really only one option– put on our big-boy-and-girl pants, phone up the sworn translator, print out a bunch of Modelo 790 Codigo 52 forms, and get to work extending our stay in España.

The Patio de los Leones at Granada’s enchanting La Alhambra.

Spoiler alert: we still live here, so we were successful… but it wasn’t exactly straightforward, either. Since it’s been about– oh, five months since we went through our Spanish non-lucrative visa renewal, I figured it was high time I documented the process to give others a hand in navigating a procedure that isn’t necessarily as difficult as the initial visa application, but is in some ways far more opaque.

You can submit your application for visa renewal any time between 60 days before the expiration of your current visa, and 90 days after.

Gathering Our Documents (and Important Links)

As with obtaining the visa in the first place and applying for a Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE), let’s find the authoritative source of requirements for this process and discuss each document.

The one and only official list of Spanish non-lucrative visa renewal requirements is located on the web site of the Spanish Secretary of State of Migration. There is no official English version of these requirements, but hopefully you’ve been steadily improving your Spanish during the first year of your visa and can decipher them. If not, not to worry, because we’re going to demystify them now. I’ll briefly list the required documents, then discuss them in detail.

  1. One application form EX-01 for each member of your family, plus a copy.
  2. Original passport for all applicants, valid for a minimum of one year.
  3. A copy of all passport pages for all applicants from cover to cover.
  4. Accredited documentation of financial means covering the requested visa term. This means you’ll need to show savings, investments, or income totaling 400% of the Spanish minimum wage covering the entire two years of the renewal, plus an amount for each additional family member.
  5. Accredited documentation showing health insurance coverage. You don’t need to have a policy that’s pre-paid for the entire renewal term, but you will need to be current and show that you have maintained health insurance during your current visa term.
  6. If renewing for children of school age, a report from either their school or the local municipality showing that they have been satisfactorily enrolled in and attending school.
  7. A Modelo 790 Codigo 052 Tasa form, paid, for each member of the family. If you’ve been living in Spain, you’re familiar with this form. It’s the one-size-fits-all tax form for paying for government procedures, applications, and permits.
  8. This is an unusual one: if required, a positive report from the local autonomous community showing efforts at integration. This wasn’t something we were required to provide. I think it’s safe to say that you shouldn’t have become embroiled in any legal or civil troubles during your current visa term, as we have been told that the local extranjeria does have some sway when it comes to the renewal of non-lucrative visas. Be nice, and don’t get into trouble. Otherwise, unless specifically asked by your extranjeria for something, don’t worry about this requirement.

… and an unwritten requirement (in most cases): have a second (or third) copy of every single document. However many you think you need, have another one.

Required Documents in Detail

Application Form EX-01

Every member of your family must have their own application form EX-01, available from the immigration portal for download. This application form is analogous to the national visa application form when you applied for your visa.

You can fill this form out electronically, or you can fill it out in all-capital letters with a black pen. Only the first two pages are strictly necessary.

In Section 1, fill out all your name, address, and demographic information. If you don’t already know, Estado Civil has the following options: S, C, V, D, and Sp. They are: Soltero (Single), Casado (Married), Viudo (Widowed), Divorciado (Divorced), and Separado (Separated). As with prior, similar forms, you fill out representante legal, en su caso with your information on the application forms of any minor children. If you are the parent of a child attending school in Spain, then check si for Hijas/os a cargo en edad de escolarización en España. Otherwise, check no.

Do not fill out Section 2 unless you are utilizing a third party, such as a service or law firm, to submit your application for you (in which case you probably don’t need this article in the first place). Otherwise, leave the whole section blank.

In Section 3, again fill in the name of the primary applicant, their NIE, address, telephone number, and email. We used my information on all three application forms, as this section is for whom should be notified about the result of the non-lucrative visa renewal application. In our case, it’s easiest for me to receive all contact as my Spanish is strongest.

In Section 4, simply check “1a Renovación” and, just below it, “Titular de autorización de residencia no lucrativa previa Inicial/Renovada.”

Finally, sign, date, and put the location of signing on the bottom. You can use any date and location, it doesn’t have to be the specific date of submission of the packet. Just sign, date, and put the location for the moment you sign it.

We submitted the third page of the form, but we left them all blank.

Original Passport/Passport Copies

Officially, you need both your original passport, valid for at least one year from your visa application, and a full copy of every single page of your passport from cover to cover. Your passport will be used as one means of verifying that you have spent at least 183 days in Spain during the first year of your residency (and thus, that you are legally obliged to be filing taxes). When you go to your renewal appointment, have both the original passports and the full copies on hand. They will keep the copies and return your originals.

This is where your experience may diverge a bit from ours. In our province, they no longer give out appointments for non-lucrative visa renewal, so we ended up submitting our packets via mail. I’ll cover this more later. This meant that we sent only the full copies of every page. We did not send our original passports via mail! Please don’t send yours either. We also ended up needing two copies of our passports, because our visa renewal took long enough that we had to apply for a special dispensation to return to Spain after our visas expired.

Accredited Proof of Financial Means

Hello, old friend. By far the most confusing and unclear requirement of all visa applications and renewals in Spain is the requirement to prove that you either have in savings, or are earning on an ongoing basis, 400% of the Spanish minimum wage (IPREM) annually. Each family member also adds 100% of the IPREM amount to your financial requirements. In 2019, IPREM is 6,454.03 EUR. So, to calculate the required amount:

Head of Household: 6,454.03 x 4 (400% of IPREM) x 2 (two year renewal) = 51,632.24 EUR

Spouse/Child: 6,454.03 x 2 (two year renewal) = 12,908.06 EUR per member

For our family of three, this meant showing 77,448.36 EUR. or about $85,850.

Your savings do not need to be domiciled in a Spanish Bank. This means you can show recent bank and investment statements from your home country. We provided the following:

  • The most recent three months of pay stubs from my consulting business. These stubs were printed from PDF.
  • The most recent three months of our bank account statements. These were also printed from PDF. We were not required to submit any document produced by or certified by the bank.
  • The most recent quarterly statement from our retirement accounts. These were also printed from PDF. We were not required to submit any document produced by or certified by the bank.

All of our documents were submitted as color printouts, with the original translated copy and wet-ink signature from our translator. We held on to a copy of all translations as well.

I can’t tell you which of these items were of greatest value to us. I can tell you in general terms that we had about 90% of the required amount in cash, several times the required amount in investments, and pay stubs that amounted to substantially over the required amount over the course of a year.

Proof of Medical Insurance

In compliance with the terms of our visa, we kept our health insurance current throughout our first year. When the term ended, a couple of months before our renewal process, we paid for the next year, which meant we had about 9 months left on our paid term when we started the non-lucrative visa renewal. I contacted our insurance broker and was instructed to obtain the following:

  1. Refreshed policy documents showing the new term. These are effectively the same exact documents you used in applying for the original visa with new dates.
  2. A certificado de permanencia. This is a letter showing that you have been continuously covered by the policy since before/at your arrival date. If you have changed plans you may need to provide several of these. The goal is the show continuous and current health insurance coverage.
  3. A receipt for our last payment.

In our case, with a Sanitas Mas Salud plan, we emailed (in English is fine) and requested that these documents be sent to us via email. We had them within 24 hours, printed them, and submitted them. Because the documents are already in Spanish, they do not require translation.

Proof of School Enrollment

Our daughter is not yet in school, so we were not required to provide this document. If your children are enrolled in school, stop by the office and explain the situation. I am reasonably confident that any document officially showing enrollment of all minor children of school age will be fine.

M790 C052 Fees, Paid

As with most government procedures, you will need to fill out a Modelo 790 Codigo 052 form, take all three copies to any bank, and pay it. If you’ve gotten this far, you’ve already done this numerous times, so just head on over to the Ministry of Public Administration and fill out the form for each member of your family.

On the form, you should check the checkbox marked Renovación de autorización de residencia temporal. This means each form has a fee of 16.08 EUR as of August 2019. Everything else should be pretty self-explanatory.

Other Unrequested Documents

In addition to the above, we also submitted an original copy of our empadronamiento (we dropped by the ayuntamiento and asked for a new one, which was provided free of charge) and photocopies of both sides of our TIE cards. Though these weren’t explicitly required, we wanted to be overly cautious since we didn’t have the benefit of human interaction when submitting our non-lucrative visa renewal application.

Document Guidelines

  • Any document not in Spanish must be translated by a sworn translator.
  • All documents submitted must be originals (an exception is the passport, which is not kept, but for which they require a cover-to-cover copy).
  • If you obtain a renewal appointment, bring at least one copy of every document. Make at least two copies so that you have a copy at home.
  • None of our documents required an apostille.

The Cita That Wasn’t

Once I had all the documents together, I began to vigilantly check the government sede electrónica site, attempting daily to get an appointment for a visa renewal (RENOVACIÓN DE AUT.DE RESIDENCIA TEMPORAL NO LUCRATIVAS). Not only was I not able to get three appointments together or separately, I never even saw a single available renewal appointment!

After three weeks of attempting daily to get even a single appointment at the extranjeria and with our visa expiration date fast approaching, we dressed up nicely and went down to the foreigner’s office as a family hoping to sneak in, or at least get some direction.

We took a number for información, and when we were called, the woman who spoke with us told us that Granada province was no longer processing non-lucrative visa renewal applications in person. The one and only means of submitting them was via mail!

Since our renewal, we have engaged in some back-and-forth with other expats here in Granada who insist that it is possible to simply show up at the extranjeria in the morning with packet in hand and throw oneself on the mercy of the staff. That just wasn’t our experience. They insisted that we apply via mail.

I hope that everyone is able to find a means to have their packet processed by a human being in order to have some feedback, and to make any necessary corrections. Because we didn’t have that luxury, I want to document the alternative method of submitting your non-lucrative visa renewal packet.

The lady from the extranjeria gave us a sheet with the mailing address of the office and instructed us to go to any Correos (post office) to send the packet. She further instructed us to have each application form (EX-01) sellado, or stamped. Neither I nor my Spanish neighbors knew what they meant, so I headed down to the Correos to find out.

When I arrived, I took a number for información again, as I didn’t know which function of the post office provided the stamp I needed to prove it had been “officially” received. It was then that I met my nemesis, Spain’s Meanest Postal Employee (SMPE). She sneered at me and curtly told me that since I was sending, I should take a number for enviar. Well thanks, but I knew that! I was asking about getting the stamp done!

I dutifully took another number, this time for enviar. In short order I was called up to another mesa, where I started laying out the three application forms for stamping. The very kind postal employee explained that it would be best if I had a copy of each form, as he could then stamp both the original and the copy so that I could prove they had been sent. This seemed like a great idea to me, but I didn’t have another full copy of the forms with me (See what I mean? Make more copies.).

Another quick dash out to the copy shop, back to the Correos, another ticket for enviar, and… I was back before Spain’s Meanest Postal Employee (SMPE). I laid out the three applications, the three copies, and confidently asked for them all to be stamped, to purchase an envelope, and to send the full application packet across town to the extranjeria.

Dear readers, you would have thought that I had said that her grandmother had romantic intentions towards los toros. She immediately lit into me and said that she could and would only stamp a single document per envelope (and implying not-so-subtly that I was some sort of idiot for not knowing that). I explained that as we are a family, that some of the documents had my name on them, but pertained to the application for the whole family, and therefore they must arrive together. Over the course of the next twenty minutes, I was informed that I was one of “those” foreigners, that I wanted everyone in Spain to bow to my will, and that under no circumstances would she be able to stamp all three applications to prove they had been received.

I’m slightly ashamed to say that after 20 minutes of abuse, my Spanish took a curious nose dive. Suddenly, I couldn’t speak Spanish very well at all. By any chance was there someone who might be able to help me in English? Yeah, I played dumb. But it did get me in front of a very nice postal employee who helped me out with no trouble at all. He stamped all three original documents, all three copies, and sent them all off in a single envelope. For the record, the sello is just a date stamp with the Correos logo and the office location. There’s nothing special at all about it, and nothing that would have prevented SMPE from helping me. Some people are just like that.

Once more, and incredibly importantly: If you submit your renewal application via postal mail, do not send your original passport! Send one full copy of all of the pages from cover to cover. Do not make a mistake that might result in your passport becoming lost!

Needless to say, if you are able to get an appointment with your extranjeria, you should do so. The process will be the same, just show up with the same packet, clipped together grouped by individual. Just as with your first visa application, you don’t need a copy of all the financial documents for every family member, just one as a part of the larger packet. In our case it was the same with the health insurance documents.

Tracking Your Renewal

You can track the progress of your non-lucrative visa renewal on the sede electrónica page for that purpose. You enter your NIE number, the date of your appointment, and the year of your birth. If you submitted your packet via mail, it may take a few days for it to arrive in the extranjeria and be entered into the system. In our case, the applications were trackable first using the date they had arrived in the office, and then several days later we had to use the date stamped on them at the Correos.

A few things: If you come from a country, like the United States, that receives 90 days of visa-free entry into the Schengen Area, then you technically have 90 days following the date of your visa expiration to have successfully renewed. However, and this is a big however, you need to be careful about your travel out of the Schengen Zone in this case. If you leave the Schengen Zone, then re-enter and encounter an immigration official who does not understand that your 90 days as a tourist in the zone only begin following the expiration of your visa, you could run into trouble. Rest assured, though, that your days as a tourist run subsequent to residence permit days– not concurrent!

We had planned for travel right around the time of our renewal, and were re-entering the Schengen Zone in France. Because France had no idea that we had been residing for many months in Spain via a residence permit, it just looked to them like we were tourists who had overstayed, and were trying to re-enter Europe. We had our TIE cards on hard, and had the Schengen Borders Code pulled up on my phone for this quote:

Periods of stay authorised under a residence permit or a long-stay visa shall not be taken into account in the calculation of the duration of stay on the territory of the Member States.

This was enough to get us back in, and about six weeks after sending in our renewal paperwork, our status changed on the web site from En Tramite to Resuelto – Favorable. From the day of renewal, you have 30 days to return to the extranjeria and apply for a new TIE card. That process is exactly like the original TIE application in every way, except on the forms you will need to check the boxes for a renewal of TIE rather than an initial application.

I will expand this article with frequently asked questions and to further elaborate on some of the processes, but as there has been a huge recent uptick in renewal questions, I wanted to publish it and provide a forum for those needing assistance in the renewal process. Just like the initial application, the non-lucrative visa renewal isn’t a difficult process, it’s just a detail-oriented (and occasionally confusing) one.

How did your renewal go? Did you experience any curveballs? If you have a story to tell or questions to ask, let me know in the comments below.

7 thoughts on “Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa Renewal

  1. Pingback: Obtaining Your Spanish Residency Card (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero) - The Frugal Vagabond

  2. (Dr.) Mark Doctoroff

    I am not really surprised at the complexity & “bureaucratic nature” of the Spanish/Grenada “Visa Renewal Process”. When we looked at many such processes, we found that Malaysia’s “Malaysia my Second Home” 10 year (renewable) visa was the very easiest, least bureaucratic and very best available!!! I have now used about 75% of the visa… and its “update”, in about 30 will also be very easy!!

    Many other such programmes in Asia have huge “problems”… as do those in the Caribbean…

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Perhaps so, but for a variety of reasons, Malaysia wouldn’t be appropriate for us at this time. This article is to help those that already possess non-lucrative visas for Spain and wish to renew them, not to compare the relative merits of visas or countries. I am glad you have found the place and visa that work for you, though!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      I don’t have an answer to this, though bear in mind that even if you pay someone to present your packet for you (and look over it), you will ultimately be the one having to gather the documents, which is 99% of the work here. Given how manageable the process is outside of that (and how several people in the past few year have mentioned the hired reps have actually hurt them through ignorance of the process and how it has changed), I personally would t ever hire anyone.

  3. Dan Flexy


    Great write-ups! Keep ’em up 😉

    Once you’re on non-lucrative residence, do you pay taxes in Spain? Or is it because you’re US citizen you have double-taxation which allows you to somehow pay zero in Spain on up to ~$100k?

    I wonder if by taking such residence, tax affairs should be moved to Spain. Assumingly yes, if it’s more than 183 days of residence. But I have a friend on this visa who thinks he can continue paying taxes in his country at a lower rate instead of in Spain. And I couldn’t see that in any documents which you supply for renewal there are any tax confirmations requested.

    If it’s possible to live in Spain on this visa and continue paying taxes at a lower jurisdiction – I think I am going to apply for it on Monday 😉

    Appreciate your thoughts.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      As a tax resident of Spain (anyone here more than 183 days per year, also a requirement for renewing your visa) you are obliged to file taxes in Spain. The US and Spain have a double-taxation treaty, but that just means that you won’t pay the same taxes twice– you still pay the difference to whichever is the higher tax jurisdiction.

      With that said, you should speak to someone familiar with both countries as there are ways to minimize or even eliminate the tax burden. The Foreign Earned Income Exclusion and Spain’s exemption on the first 60K EUR on money earned for services performed abroad (where the definition of “performed abroad” is the relevant but open-to-interpretation phrase) may help. I religiously avoid giving tax advice here, other than to say that we have managed to seriously minimize taxation and if we could maintain this lifestyle for a few more years, we’d probably do better than returning to the US.

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