Permanent Residence in Spain: Terms and Procedures for Financially Independent

There are several popular ways to obtain a permanent residence status in the member states of the European Union. One of them is to prove that you are financially independent. In Spain, this immigration option is known as a non-lucrative visa.

In the following sections, we will describe the basic conditions for obtaining this type of visa in Spain and the documents required for the purpose. We will also explain the application procedures and briefly mention several alternative routes to permanent residency in this country. 

Spanish Permanent Residence Permit for Financially Independent

The main condition for a Spanish non-lucrative visa is that you earn a sufficient amount of money outside the country to be able to live comfortably, as well as support your family if you have one, without becoming a financial burden for the federal budget. The Spanish government does not specify the type of income allowed for the purpose.

In other words, the stated income can be:

  • Your salary for remote work,

  • Dividends from investments in government bonds or any other national or private assets,

  • Your pension fund,

  • Rental income,

  • Private entrepreneurship.

On top of that, you will have to meet other immigration requirements, which we will explain in detail in the corresponding section of this article. But first, let us take a brief look at the main pros and cons of having this type of visa in Spain. 

Benefits of a Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa

1. The most immediate advantage is that you do not have to make any investments in the national economy in order to be able to reside permanently in the country. That is, a non-lucrative visa is one of the most cost-effective routes to permanent residency, provided you have sufficient funds to support yourself.

2. Moreover, your immediate family will receive permanent residence permits as well, and they will be able to live in the EU even in your absence or if you lose your legal status for some reason. More specifically, this privilege will be granted to your:

  • Husband or wife,

  • Underage children,

  • Children older than 18, as long as they are unmarried and have no personal income,

  • Parents and parents-in-law, as long as they depend on you financially.

3. You and your family will be permitted to live and travel freely within the European Union. Besides, all of you will have full access to educational, financial, medical and banking facilities in the country and some other EU member states.

4. A non-lucrative visa for Spain will be your opportunity to enjoy the high standard of living in a European country and travel without visas or with visas on arrival to 190 countries across the continents.

5. One year later, you and your family members will be eligible for a work permit so that you can look for a job legally. Plus, all of you will be able to apply for Spanish citizenship when you have lived in the country for ten years. 

Drawbacks of a Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa

1. The main disadvantage of this immigration option is that neither you nor anybody in your family will be allowed to look for formal employment inside the European Union, Spain included, until you receive a permanent residence card.

Note: you can start your own business in the country, though, provided that your company does not employ you formally.

2. Another considerable inconvenience is caused by the requirement that you spend at least 183 days per year in Spain. If you are absent from the country for longer than that, you might fail to have your visa extended. 

Income Requirements

To be eligible for a non-lucrative visa, your income must be equal to or exceed four IPREM indices, or minimal monthly salaries in Spain, plus one IPREM for each child or dependant. Currently, the IPREM amounts to about 600 euros. In other words, you will have to confirm at least 2.4K euros per month for yourself and another 600 euros for each family member.

Note: the higher your actual income, the better your chances of receiving this type of visa.

Application Conditions

In addition to the basic income requirements, you will need to confirm that you have:

  • A place to stay in Spain, which may be your private property or rented accommodation,

  • No debts in your home country and in the European Union,

  • At least 28K euros for yourself and at least 7K euros for each additional family member in a Spanish bank account.

  • A clean police record in your home country and in the European Union,

  • Medical insurance for at least 30,000 euros,

  • No dangerous diseases (the list of which is to be double-checked closer to the time of application). 

Foreign Identity Number

As soon as you arrive in Spain, you will have to receive the NIE, which will be your main identification document in the country. But it is also possible to apply for it even before you get there, and we strongly recommend you to do that if you can.

Technically, this is a number that will be attached to your residence permit, which you will use until you receive a national ID. In addition, you will have to apply for a tax ID number, called the NIF. Many foreigners confuse the two, although these numbers are actually completely unrelated to each other.

The NIE identifies your legal status in the country, saying nothing about your tax residence status. On the other hand, the NIF is required for taxation purposes, in case you are eligible to pay any, and it is not correlated with your residence permit at all.

Note: all members of your family who intend to live with you in Spain will have to apply for the NIE as well.

Your NIE certificate will show your basic personal data, like your full name, date of birth, country of origin and residential address in Spain. It is a good idea to have this document with you at all times, since you will need it on all sorts of occasions, such as opening a bank account, paying taxes, buying real estate, receiving a local driver's licence and even buying a SIM-card. 

NIE Application Procedure

You can apply for the certificate in the Home Affairs offices if you are already in Spain; otherwise, you can do it at any Spanish Consulate or even ask your legal agent to apply on your behalf. You will need the following for this purpose (all in Spanish and notarised):

  • Your identity document,

  • Contact details, such as your residential address, telephone number and e-mail address,

  • EX-15 and 790-012 application forms filled out in Spanish,

  • Two photos (passport size). 

Note: if you decide to apply via a legal agency, it will have to confirm its power of attorney too.

You will also need to pay application fees of 22 euros in total and include the receipts in your package of documents. The NIE will be valid for 90 days, after which you can renew it at any Spanish Consulate overseas or at any police station in the country. 

Alternative Routes to Permanent Residency

In case you are unable to confirm a sufficient income, or if a non-lucrative visa does not suit you for any reason, you can choose a different type of permit to apply for, depending on your particular legal and financial circumstances. In this section, we will only mention the most popular ones to date. 

Golden Visa

The term refers to a long-term residence permit which you will receive if you invest in the Spanish economy. Just as the visa for financially independent, this one will apply to your family members as well. This a very convenient option, provided you have the specified minimum amounts to invest, which break down as follows:

  1. The most straightforward way is to buy a private or commercial property in Spain for at least half a million euros.

  2. Otherwise, you can invest two million euros in government bonds or one million euros in national shares and stocks.

  3. Alternatively, you may opt for a capital transfer of one million euros.

The nice thing about a Spanish golden visa is that you will not have to spend more than one day in the country for the purpose. Furthermore, if you are absent for longer than six months each year, you will not have to pay taxes on your overseas income either. But remember that if you are absent for more than 183 days per year, you will never become eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit or citizenship. 

Digital Nomad Visa

If you happen to be a remote worker, self-employed or freelancer, you can apply for the so-called digital nomad visa instead. Conceptually, it is very similar to the visa for financially independent in that you only need to confirm that:

  1. You have enough money to support yourself and your family.

  2. Your income is not earned in Spain or anywhere else in the European Union.

The application procedure and required documentation are basically the same too. However, the most attractive difference is that your income tax on the first €600K will be reduced to 15%, instead of the standard 25%. In other words, this will allow you to save about €240K on taxes in the first four years from the visa's date of issue.

In addition, you will be eligible for tax extensions in the first two years. It means that you will be exempt from paying an additional interest in the case of a delay in your tax submission. After this period, you will still have one year to pay your corporate gains tax, as well as half a year to pay your income tax.

Note: the standard income tax in Spain varies between 19% and 47% for residents, while the non-resident income tax is fixed at 25%.


Keep in mind, though, that the digital nomad visa is a very recent addition to Spanish immigration laws, and its terms and conditions are still in the process of being finalised. Therefore, you should double-check what they are closer to the time of application, if you decide to follow this path to permanent residency in Spain. 

Retirement Visa

This is another option that is very similar to the non-lucrative visa. Basically, you will be able to stay in the country, provided you can confirm a sufficient income, even if you receive it from your pension fund. Nevertheless, the Spanish government provides certain privileges for the applicants older than 65.

For example, if you have worked in any country outside the European Union continuously for 15 years, plus one more year in Spain, you will be eligible to apply for a Spanish pension too. Currently, the amount is 630 euros per month, but you should double-check it closer to the time, since these terms are subject to frequent change.

Note: you will only be able to receive the pension in euros and through a Spanish bank account.

In all other cases, the general terms and conditions for the non-lucrative visa will apply. 

Legalisation Process

1. Prepare for a visit to Spain or find a legal representative in order to:

  • Buy or rent a place to stay in Spain,

  • Apply for a Foreign Identity Number (see the corresponding section above),

  • Open an account in a Spanish bank.

2. Collect the required documents, namely:

  • Your passport and Foreign Identity Number,

  • Any confirmation of the type, source and level of income,

  • Medical insurance,

  • Police clearance,

  • Health certificate,

  • Any utility bill or a bank statement to confirm a local place of residence,

  • Marriage and birth certificates to prove your family ties (if applicable),

  • Marriage certificate,

  • Birth certificates,

  • Two passport-size photos.

3. Fill in the corresponding application forms (in Spanish) and have all the documents in a foreign language translated into Spanish and notarised.

4. Submit your application for a Type D visa at the nearest Spanish Consulate or a local branch of the Department of Home Affairs, depending on whether you are in the country or overseas.

5. If your application is approved, you will receive a D7 visa, which will be valid for one year. After that, you can renew it and apply for a work permit as well, in case you intend to seek employment in the European Union.

6. Renew the visa two more times - in two and four years, and you can apply for a permanent residence permit. 

Final Comment

The permanent residence permit will have to be extended every five years. However, you will actually be able to apply for citizenship even at the time of the first renewal, provided you have stayed in Spain more than six months per year and had no trouble with the Police or Tax Departments.

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