Tapas Forever

Helping make the dream of moving to Spain a reality

Month: August 2018

The Completed Non-Lucrative Visa Process

Yesterday I received my passport back from the Spanish consulate in Toronto – inside was my non-lucrative visa, which contains my NIE number that I’ll need in Spain. It’s possible to obtain a NIE without getting a visa (for example to buy a house), but they are issued automatically with your visa as well.

My completed non-lucrative visa

I started assembling my documents In May, and mailed my application at the end of June. It took roughly six weeks for them to process the application, and approximately one more week to send them my passport and for them to mail it back.

When I received the email saying my visa was approved and that they needed my passport, they also asked me to forward along my flight confirmation. I had a flight already in October, but decided to move it backwards and send the new flight information in. I’m glad I did since they used the date of my flight to set the start date of the visa. Had I not done that, my visa would have started in October, which meant I wouldn’t be able to fly to Spain early. So if you are doing this process, pay attention to when your flights are since your visa will likely be dated to that.

In just one week, I’ll be heading to Valencia. It would be nice to say this process is over, but there are still things I need to do in Spain upon arriving, and not all of them are easy. As you can see from the photo, the visa is only valid for a few months. What is supposed to happen is that I have to make an appointment within one month and apply for the TIE (Spanish Foreigner Card) which is what will ultimately let me stay in Spain for a year or longer. One of the requirements for the TIE though is that you have a permanent place to stay – that doesn’t really work for me since I plan to bounce around for a few months at first. I’ve been told you have to show at least a six month rental contract, which I won’t have. So this is still a problem I’m working to solve. I do know a few people in Spain, so I may see if one of them would be willing to state I’m living (i.e. couchsurfing) at their house for a while, just so I can complete the registration at the town hall.

Also, since I’m flying into London and will receive my entry stamp there, I’ve read I have to make sure I keep my boarding pass stubs for my flight to Spain to prove when I arrived there (since I won’t receive an entry stamp there). Without that they have no idea of when I actually showed up in Spain, and apparently that can cause a problem.

But I’m definitely excited to have the non-lucrative process behind me – it ended up being fairly straightforward, and despite some complaints I read online about the Toronto consulate, my experience with them was really quite good .

Being Notified of Approval

Just the other day I received notification from the Spanish consulate in Toronto that my visa had been approved. Since Toronto is three hours ahead, I received the notification while checking my email messages from my bed in the morning – what a great email to wake up to!

In total, it took about 42 days from the time they received my application in Toronto until I received the approval notification. While I was purposefully trying not to bug the consulate with emails, I did send one at the two week mark just to make sure my application was around and they knew about it, and a final email politely requesting a status update at close to the six week mark. Since it was summer, I was trying to poke them from time to time just to hope my application stayed near the top of the vacation pile. But I was pleasantly surprised that it was approved in only six weeks as I figured it would take closer to twelve (like the website says).

A few of the items I was potentially worried about in my application ended up not coming into play at all. For example, the Spanish health insurance I had purchased with Sanitas was primarily meant for entrepreneurs – even though I’m not working in Spain, it was accepted just fine. Also, none of my documentation was certified or translated into Spanish, which would have been a huge hassle to organize. I’m sure your mileage may vary depending on the consulate, but in general this process was fairly straightforward and my application was accepted without any issues at all.

I mailed my passport to the consulate a few days ago, and it appears that it just arrived there this morning. As part of my original application I had to include a return express post envelope to mail my passport back to me. I scanned the tracking number into my phone prior to sending it off originally, which means as soon as the consulate mails my passport back to me, my phone should chirp and show me its en route.

I had originally planned to fly to Spain at the start of October, but not that I have early approval, I’ve decided to head there at the end of August. As of yesterday, my house in Canada is officially rented for a year. I also sold my Mazda SUV a few weeks ago, which means I don’t really have any reason to come back, at least not for a year or longer. So in short, I’m ready to hop on a plan and start my new Spanish adventure!

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