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Category: Non-Lucrative

How To Renew The Non-Lucrative Visa Online

About six months ago I stumbled across an article here in Spain that basically indicated that it is possible to renew most non-resident visas online, including the non-lucrative visa. I found that interesting since most of my friends here on the non-lucrative went into the office in person or hired lawyers to help them with their process. Despite scouring the internet on the subject, I couldn’t find any other accounts of people attempting to renew the non-lucrative visa online, so I’m going to assume I’m one of the first (at least one of the first with a website). If you’re interested in renewing the old-fashioned way, in person, check out how to renew your non-lucrative visa in person.

To renew your non-lucrative visa online, you are going to need your digital certificate in Spain. If you don’t have one yet, I recommend getting one as it makes life simpler, especially for obtaining a new empadronamiento certificate. Once you have that, you can visit the website that handles online renewals, which is Renovacion Telematica Extranjeria.

The requirements for renewing online are similar to renewing in person, with a few small variations. First, instead of photocopies of your documents, you are going to need scanned documents, such as a PDF or JPEG file. Sanitas sent me an update for my Spanish medical coverage as a PDF, so I already had that. But I needed to scan my passport documents, as well as my proof of funds and receipt for the non-lucrative renewal fee.

You can renew your non-lucrative visa up to 60 days before your residency card expires. I tried visiting the renewal website a few times before that, and it basically said I had to renew in person. But once I hit the 60 day mark, the website immediately changed and gave me the option to renew. Make sure you are using the web browser that contains your digital certificate because your identify will be verified using it. Once verified, the website automatically showed me my personal information, even indicating that this would be for my first renewal (which was true).

Non-Lucrative Visa Information During Renewal

Non-Lucrative Visa Information During Renewal

Make sure in the dropdown box you select the region where your re-registration needs to occur. In my case the box was pre-populated with “Madrid”, so I changed it to “Valencia”.

On the next few pages you have to verify your personal and contact information, which is effectively reproducing electronically the same data on the EX01 form you would normally fill out and deliver in person. So for renewing online you won’t need the EX01 explicitly.

Once you are done updating your contact information, you will be asked to to attach documentation to support the following:

Renew Non-Lucrative Online

Online Renewal Documentation Required

Here is the list, in English, of those requirements and what I submitted for each one.

  1. Entire copy of my passport – This was a bit tricky, as I only had photocopies of this. But I took photos of each of the pages and combined them into a PDF. The website only allows a maximum 6MB file, which is insanely small, so I had to do a bit of massaging for my 19 page PDF representing my passport, but managed to make it work
  2. Proof of funds to live in Spain – I had a translated copy of a bank statement from TransferWise, and attached it as a two page PDF
  3. Proof of medical coverage – I attached the one page document Sanitas sent me verifying my coverage for another year
  4. Proof of payment – I attached a photo of the receipt from BBVA showing that I paid the appropriate fee
  5. Empadronamiento certificate – This actually wasn’t in the list of documents that was requested via the online portal, but it is normally required for a renewal in person. So I figured I would attach a PDF copy of it anyways, figuring if anything it was just going to help. In terms of the category for the attachment, I just chose “other”

I won’t lie, I was a bit hesitant to finally submit it. I’m happy to be a trendsetter, but really didn’t want this whole renewal process to blow up in my face for some reason if I did something wrong. But I decided it was worth trying, so eventually clicked submit.

When everything is complete, you are given the option to download two documents representing your submission, and I suggest everyone download them and store them somewhere safe. In Spain if they don’t give you a response within three months you are automatically approved, so this documentation will be your proof should that happen.

Open to download two PDF documents

Option to download two PDF documents

Once submitted, you can check the status of your non-lucrative renewal application online. You will need your NIE number, the date of application (which was the date you submitted it, also shown inside one of the two PDF documents you downloaded), and your birth year. When I checked after I submitted mine, the website said to try again as my data was incorrect. It took about 36 hours to eventually show some data, and currently says “EN TRAMITE”, or “IN PROGRESS”.

Non-lucrative Status Update

I imagine it will be a few weeks before the status of my application changes, but I’ll update this post once it does. But so far it seems like everything is going according to plan, and it does indeed look like it is possible to perform a renewal of the non-lucrative visa online. So stay tuned.

Renewing The Non-Lucrative Visa In Spain

Well it’s hard to believe, but I’ve been in Spain nearly ten months now. My original non-lucrative residency is valid until August 30th, 2019, but the rules stipulate that a person can start the renewal process up to 60 days in advance, which means I can start the renewal process on July 1, 2019.

The renewal process is significantly less involved than the first application – you don’t need any criminal record checks for example, and the fees are basically administrative in nature. So I’m mostly looking at this as a formality. Compared to the original visa though (which was only valid for one year) this new renewal is valid for two full years.

The downside of that is that because the visa is non-lucrative in nature (in that a person can’t be working in Spain), Spain requires you to show that you can afford to live without making any money. For the first application, that amounted to one full year of expenses in the bank. But since this renewal is good for two years, basically you need to show two full years of expenses in the bank. Like most things in Spain, your mileage may vary. It’s quite possible a person can simply submit proof of funds for one year and have it approved, but in general most people need to submit proof of two years worth of savings at the current rates.

In terms of what’s required, here’s a rough list to assemble before renewing your non-lucrative visa:

  • EX-01 Form – this is the non-lucrative application form. The first time you applied you would have selected “INICIAL” for the type of application; this time around we need to select ” 1ª Renovación”, the 1st renewal.
  • Proof of funds (certified translation required) amounting to €2,130/mo, or €51,120. Sometimes they will ask for this to be in a Spanish bank account, but you should be able to get away without it. For the second case though, you will likely need a certified Spanish translation of the proof. I’m planning on taking one of my monthly reports for my retirement account and having it translated by a certified/sworn translator.
  • Padron Certificate – you need your empadronamiento certificate. If you have your digital certificate, you can easily generate a new one online. But hopefully you are still registered at a place, as this was one of my hang-ups with getting my TIE card originally.
  • Photocopies of every page of your passport – you need to actually prove you’ve been living in Spain for six months. In the old days people would obtain the non-lucrative visa and just come and go as they pleased, often only staying here a few months a year. Spain now only wants people who actually want to live in Spain (and ultimately pax taxes here – can’t say I blame them), so you will likely be denied the renewal if you didn’t spend six months here. So the point of asking for all the pages of you passport is to look at the stamps to get an indication of how long you spend in Spain.
  • Photocopies of the front and back of your TIE card – I’m not entirely sure why they need this, but apparently they do.
  • Medical Insurance – My Sanitas plan from last year (which I think was a great investment, they have been amazing to me) automatically renewed for another year on May 31, 2019. I did have to contact them via their online chat though and ask for proof of the extended period, since all the documentation I had only showed my plan was valid until May 31, 2019. But they send me a PDF via email in about 24 hours with proof of my renewal.
  • Tax Form: Code 790, Tasa 52 – You have to fill this out and pay the fee associated with the non-lucrative renewal. The option you want to select is “Renovación de autorización de residencia temporal”, and the fee at the time of this writing as €16.08, payable at most banks.
  • Proof of payment – keep your receipt for paying the Code 790, Tasa 52 form above.

One of my main sources of confusion is where to actually go to process the renewal. When I arrived in Valencia, I already was approved for my visa, and simply had to get my fingerprints taken while submitting the paperwork for the TIE card. This time around you need to get approval first, and then redo the procedure of getting an updated card.

I’m only about two weeks away from having to do this procedure, so I’ll update everyone with the results once I get started. I recently submitted a document to be translated by a sworn translator, and I’ll likely be able to pick it up in the next few days.

Update – I chose to attempt to renew my non-lucrative visa online. If you’re interested in that process, read how to renew your non-lucrative visa online.

How To Get The Non-Lucrative Visa To Live In Spain

I’m currently in the process of applying for a non-lucrative visa to come live in Spain for a year. While there are many different visa options you can apply for to enter Spain – such as a work visa or a student visa – the non-lucrative visa is great for people who want to enjoy Spain without being a student or working locally.

The name, “non-lucrative”, basically refers to the fact that you can’t earn any money with it. Unfortunately what that means is a bit confusing (as are many other things about Spanish visas in general, but we’ll get to that shortly). Basically Spain wants you to have an income stream for a year, but not necessarily get it by doing any work (and certainly no work in Spain itself).

Some people interpret the visa to mean that you can obtain this visa while working remotely and earning money in another country. So if that’s how you interpret this (and more importantly, how your consulate interprets it), then you are fine with applying for this visa and showing an income stream in another country to satisfy the requirements.

Another way to interpret this though is that you can’t be actively working in any country while holding this visa. I tend not to share this viewpoint, since technically even if you have passive income from investments in another country (like Canada, for example), it’s still income, and would likely be included on your tax return wherever you are. But this is a point of contention because people applying for the visa, as well as the consulates themselves.

For example, here is what the Spanish consulate in Los Angeles says:

Documentation proving economic funds sufficient for the duration of residence or proof of a minimum reoccurring monthly income. The minimum amount will increase for every additional member of the family. There must be proof of significant savings and proof of re-occuring, non-working income.

So they indicate that your income, if it’s recurring, must not be from active work – in other words, this income should likely be produced from investments.

The Ottawa consulate has this to say on the matter:

Sufficient economic means at the time of the visa application, or proof of a source of regular income without having to engage in any business or professional activity in Spain, for you and your family, where applicable, for the requested period of residence

Which seems to indicate that it’s fine to work, as long as that activity isn’t in Spain.

And to add even more confusion, let’s take a look at what Toronto says:

You must prove that you have enough means to live in Spain without working for the whole period that you want to stay in Spain.

Which seems to indicate that you can’t work at all.

Confused? Hold on tight, because we’re just getting started!

I think the safest option is to simply have enough savings to support yourself without working for the entire year, at least in terms of the application process. The current guidelines say you need to have at least 2,151.00 Euros available per month, or 25,812 Euros per year. So if you have that in some form of savings such as a retirement fund, bank account, or long-term savings account, you should be fine.

Official Requirements

I hesitate to use the word ‘official’, because it seems there is no real standard as to what each consulate wants to receive in terms of this visa. But there’s sufficient overlap for most of the items, and I’ll list the primary ones here (this particular list below comes from the Ottawa consulate):

  1. A valid passport or travel document recognized by Spain with a minimum validity of one year (some consulates only need six months).
  2. If the applicant is not a Canadian citizen, he/she must provide documentation proving his/her residence status in Canada (permanent residence permit, working permit, study permit, etc.)
  3. A medical certificate issued by your family doctor worded as follows:
    “This medical certificate states that Mr./Mrs.….. does not suffer from any diseases that may have serious consequences on public health in accordance with the provisions contained in the 2005 International Health Regulations” – [Read This]
  4. A Police Check issued by the authorities of all the countries where an applicant has resided for the last 5 years, including Canada.
    NOTE: The Police Check should be issued by the RCMP and contain the fingerprints of the visa applicant. You can find information on how to obtain one here.
    We will not accept Police Checks issued by local Police Stations.
  5. Sufficient economic means at the time of the visa application, or proof of a source of regular income without having to engage in any business or professional activity in Spain, for you and your family, where applicable, for the requested period of residence…
  6. A public or private medical insurance with an insurance company authorized to operate in Spain.
  7. A completed and signed visa application form with one (1) recent full-face photograph attached to its right top corner. The photograph should be a Canadian passport size picture, in color, on a light, plain and uniform background, without dark glasses or any garment that may prevent identification of the applicant
  8. A completed and signed non-lucrative residency permit application EX-01
  9. A completed and signed permit application form Modelo 790 Codigo 052
  10. Visa fee: CAN $ 91.20 (year 2018), except when a reciprocity fee applies to other countries, such as Canada and USA. Visa processing fee for Canadians is $ CAN 762.00. Please refer to the consular fee chart for other nationalities. Only cash, money order or certified cheque payable to the “Embassy of Spain” will be accepted.
  11. Non-lucrative residence permit fee: CAN $ 16.10 (year 2018). Only cash, money order or certified cheque payable to the “Embassy of Spain” will be accepted.

I’m guessing Canada did something really bad to Spain at some point, which is why we get hit with an extra $762 reciprocity fee. We’re sorry, Spain, please don’t hate us.

I’ll update each of the above items as I work my way through the process, as there is confusion at many of the steps. In addition, at least in Canada, it’s next to impossible to get ahold of anyone either by email or telephone at any of the Spanish consulates. Which basically means you have to rely on whatever information you can find.

Some consulates seem to want everything that’s in English to be translated (officially) into Spanish, while some seem to be fine with everything being in English. In addition certain documents (such as the criminal record check) also potentially require an Apostille (legalization of a document for use in another country).

Canada never signed Hague Convention, so legalization of authentication of official documents is very cumbersome involving:

  • Obtain the official document, such as a criminal record check, from Ottawa
  • Send that document to the department of foreign affairs where they will verify that the signature on the document is legitimate and stamp the document saying it’s official.
  • Send the now stamped document to the Spanish embassy in Ottawa and have their consulate investigate the stamp on the document, and add their own stamp to verify that the stamp from the department of foreign affairs was legitimate

Only after all steps have been done will the document be considered legal and official for use in Spain. There’s confusion as to whether this is necessary at all embassies (and in fact, given that the criminal record check comes from the government, seems completely redundant to have yet another government department verify the document, at least for use in Canada), but that’s what some people seem to have to do. In the United States you’ll need to find someone to act as an Apostille for your criminal record check.

Once you gather all the required documents (and pay your fees of course) and send them to the consulate, you’ll be able to live in Spain for a full year. I’ve heard in the US it often takes less than a month to be approved, but in Canada you should expect more like three months.

I’ve also been told it’s a good idea (and a silent requirement for some consulates) to include proof of travel to Spain for after you obtain your visa. That seems a bit risky to me, since you aren’t entirely sure when your visa will be complete, but I know some consulates (namely the one in Toronto) have asked other people for it prior to approving their application. At some level it may help guarantee you get your visa back before a certain date, but the consulates also say they aren’t liable if they don’t get it back to you in time, so it’s definitely a financial risk. I’ve chosen to be an optimist, and have booked a flight back to Spain, timed to be approximately three months after the date I plan to submit my application.

Once the process is done you’ll hopefully receive your passport back with a Spanish visa inside that’s valid for 90 days. You have to get to Spain generally within a month, after which you will obtain a place to live and apply at the local police station for your residence card. Once you have the residency card, I’m told the renewal process each year is much simpler, involving only showing proof of income or proof of funds, and also proof that you stayed in Spain for at least six months each year.

Given that the residency permit is renewable twice for two years each, in theory once you obtain your non-lucrative visa you can live in Spain for up to five years. And after those five years are up you quality for permanent residency, which would start the five year clock towards becoming a Spanish citizen.

If you want help with this process, make sure you buy a copy of our comprehensive 61-page guide for completing the non-lucrative application package. You can buy a copy of the Guide to Obtaining the Non-Lucrative Visa via our store.

June 2019 Update – This all worked! I’ve been a resident of Spain for ten months! You may be interested in what’s involved with renewing the non-lucrative visa in Spain

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!

And It’s Off – My Completed Application Is In The Mail!

Two days ago I picked up my new passport from the office in Surrey, BC, Canada and updated the last bit of my non-lucrative application. Afterwards I went across the street and made two full copies of the entire application, one for me and one to include in the application (since most consulates say you should include duplicates).

One thing I didn’t do is submit my entire passport with the application: instead I opted to just send in a photocopy of the primary page and said in my application I will just mail it overnight as soon as they require it. I hope this doesn’t cause any issues, but with the amount of travel I do, not having my passport for three months would be difficult.

If you live in the Toronto, Ottawa or Montreal regions, you can simply go in person to start this process, and they’ll simply make a copy of your passport – when your visa is ready, they ask you to bring the passport back in and put the visa in it, usually within 24-48 hours. Unfortunately because I live in BC, Canada, I have to mail my application in to Toronto, and they ask for the passport on the website. But hopefully they’ll just process it as is and email/call me when they want me to send the original in.

I did one final check of all the documentation, then put it in an Xpresspost envelope and sent it off to the embassy in Toronto. It’s a long weekend here in Canada, which means they should receive it on Tuesday, July 3rd, at which point the clock will start ticking. My current plan is to leave for Spain on October 8th, which gives me a little over three months for them to process my application (the website says three months is typical). So I’m in good shape from a time perspective.

In terms of final costs, here’s the tally:

  • Non Lucrative application fee – $762
  • Temporary residence fee – $16.10
  • Medical exam in Spain – $80
  • Criminal record check in Canada – $80
  • Various copying at Staples – $30
  • Two-day postage from BC to Toronto – $30
  • Self-addressed envelope to return my passport – $21

So in total I’m looking at about $947 for the application. I also renewed my passport for $210 recently, and my Sanitas plan in Spain (which was a requirement for the non-lucrative visa) is about $710/year, but those have other benefits besides just this application, so I’m not including them in the direct costs. So in short, it’s not a cheap process.

Regardless, I’m happy to be done with the application process. It takes quite a bit of time to assemble everything properly, and I’m happy that time is now freed up again. With luck in a few months I’ll have a shiny new non-lucrative visa, which will allow me to live in Spain for a year or more. Wish me luck!

Paying for your Non-Lucrative Visa

One of the last tasks a person needs to do before sending in their non-lucrative visa application is to pay for the process and the resulting residency. If you look at the Toronto embassy’s website, they have this really informative paragraph:

You must pay a fee. Look for it in this page: [
link
] Please, ONLY money order or certified cheque payable to the Consulate General of Spain in Toronto will be accepted.

So, they ask that you go to another page, and then figure out the fees there. But which out of all those options are the ones you need to pay?

Using some of the other embassies websites to cross check the information, it looks like the two fees that need to be paid are the Canadian citizens 22 years old or over, which is $762 CAD currently, and the Initial authorization for temporary residency, which is $16.10 CAD.

A ‘money order’ in Canada is sort of like a certified cheque, but you buy it from the post office. I originally went down to my local post office and tried to buy two for the amounts listed above. Unfortunately I was quickly informed that ‘Consulate General of Spain in Toronto’ won’t work since it’s too large for the computer field that is available. I thought about shrinking it to something like ‘Consulate General of Spain’, which may have worked, but I really didn’t want to risk it.

I decided to go to my bank and try the certified cheque approach. I’m not a big fan of certified cheques, since banks charge you to issue them, and they are almost like sending cash (unless you have the original cheque, they are hard to cancel). And unlike a cheque, you can’t put a stop payment on it, which means it can be cashed later even if for some reason you need to cancel it. Seeing as I didn’t really have any other choice, I asked my bank for two certified cheques in the above listed amounts.

Tomorrow I have an appointment to pick up my new passport, which will hopefully be valid for 10 years. Once I have that, I am going to quickly update my application to reflect my new passport number, and then send it off. With luck I’m only about 36 hours away from sending off my completely application.

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