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Guide To The Retirement Visa For Spain Expat Tips

It’s a well-known fact that Spain is one of the most popular destinations for those looking to spend their twilight years in the sun.

With a combination of fantastic year-round weather, gastronomic delights, rich culture, and a more relaxed pace of life, it’s easy to see why so many retirees look to Spain when considering a dream retirement abroad.

But don’t take our word for it! Our sentiments are also backed up by countless surveys including International Living’s 2022 Annual Global Index which placed Spain in 9th position of the most popular destinations for retirees.

Many cited the improved safety aspect of living here along with the first-class healthcare services which are available.

That’s great, but who can legally retire here, and what are the requirements to do so?

In this article, we share everything you need to know about the retirement visa for Spain including the most common questions such as:-

  • What is a retirement visa for Spain?
  • Who is eligible for the visa?
  • What are the benefits of a Spanish retirement visa?
  • What are the requirements to get one?
  • How long are retiree visas valid for?
  • How to apply for a retirement visa
  • And lots more..

Let’s have a look.

Do I need a visa to live in Spain?

If you are coming from the EU, the good news is that you will not need to apply for a visa. You will be free to live, work and study in Spain pretty much unrestricted subject to some minor form filling.

However, if you are from the UK or another non-EU country, you will be limited to the amount of time you can spend in Spain without applying for a residency visa.

At the moment, this is 90 days in any 180-day period. Beyond 90 days, you will need to get the relevant visa for your circumstances if you wish to become a legal resident.

What is a Spanish retirement visa?

A retirement visa is a residency permit for non-EU/third country nationals who wish to retire in Spain.

It is commonly referred to as the “Non-lucrative Visa” or "Investor Visa" and entitles you to live in Spain on a temporary basis. However, it’s important to note that the retirement visa does not entitle you to work or carry out any business-related activities within Spain and its territories.

The visa is initially granted for a period of one year and can then be renewed for a further two years and then another two years.

After this initial five-year period, you will then be eligible to apply for permanent residency in Spain.

Once you have lived in Spain for 10 years, you will then be entitled to apply for Spanish citizenship, although this is not a requirement.

Who is eligible for Spain’s retirement visa?

The retirement visa is for those who want to live in Spain for more than 183 days per year, but do not need to carry out any work or business-related activity in Spain or its territories.

Required Income

To obtain the retirement visa, you are not permitted to work, so it’s important that you can demonstrate that you will have sufficient income to cover yourself and any family members and that you will not need to rely on the Spanish state for assistance.

This will mean that you will need a regular income in the form of a pension or investment return, for example if you are a landlord.

So how much of an income will you need?

The amount that you will need to demonstrate is based on the IPREM or “Indicador Público de Renta de Efectos Múltiples”. The IPREM is set by the government each year and is a reference figure used for granting welfare or subsidies.

For 2022, the IPREM is set at €579.02 per month or €6,948.24 per year. However, to be eligible for the retirement visa, you will need to have an income four times the yearly IPREM. This would therefore mean a yearly income of €27,936.96.

For each additional family member, 100% of the IPREM is required, which in 2022 amounts to €579.02 per month or its equivalent in foreign currency.

A retired couple would need to provide evidence including bank statements that they have an income of €34,885.20 per year or €2,907.10 per month.

Health Cover

A strict requirement of obtaining a retirement visa in Spain is that you take out a suitable private health insurance policy to cover yourself and any family members.

The policy will need to be provided by a Spanish insurance provider and offer full coverage with no co-payments. Please check our page for insurance policies for residency in Spain or contact us here at Health Plan Spain if you are unsure.

Another requirement is to provide an official medical certificate to certify that you do not have a disease or illness that could impact public health in some way.

Note that many official documents must be legally translated and apostilled by a notary. For further information and a list of the documents that need legalising, please refer to the Spanish government’s legalisation and apostille page.

Criminal Background Checks

Any applicants of legal age must provide an official criminal record check certificate from their home country which must cover the last five years. Certificates must not be older than three months.

Documents must also be legalised/apostilled and include a sworn translation into Spanish. These must be provided by a sworn translator or interpreter who is registered in Spain.

For UK citizens, an ACRO Certificate must be used.

What are the benefits?

Ok. So you may be wondering just what the benefits are of obtaining a retirement visa in Spain.

Firstly, you won’t be arrested! It’s a legal requirement to have a residency visa if you are a non-EU/third-country national and stay in Spain for more than 90 days in any 180-day period.

The following are the main benefits of obtaining the retirement visa:-

  • Free movement within the Schengen Area’s 26 countries
  • Your spouse and children may accompany you
  • You may work for clients or companies outside of Spain
  • The visa is valid for an initial one year, but may be renewed for a further four years at which time you may apply for permanent residency.

What are the requirements to obtain a retirement visa?

The main requirements are that you will be living in Spain for at least 183 days each year and will not be employed here or undertaking work for Spanish clients although you may carry out remote work for clients outside of Spain’s territories.

Which documentation will I need to provide?

The following are the main documents you will need to provide when making your application.

  • National visa form - Download SpanishEnglish
  • Form EX-01 - Download here.
  • Fee payment form - Download here.
  • Private Health Insurance - Proof of private health insurance contracted with a company authorised and regulated to operate in Spain. Please contact us here at Health Plan if you would like us to assist you with choosing the right health insurance for your Spanish visa application.
  • Bank certificate - Proof of financial means which satisfy the income requirements as outlined on this page.
  • Original passport
  • Photos with white background - See official requirements here.
  • Criminal records - These must also be legalised and translated into Spanish. They must not be older than three months.
  • Medical certificate - This will need to demonstrate that you do not suffer from any of the diseases that would prevent your entry into Spain. Certificates will need to have an accompanying sworn translation into Spanish.
  • Payment of the relevant visa fee which is payable at the Consulate on the day your application is accepted.

What is the process to apply for a retirement visa?

All visa applications must be submitted in person to the consular office in your home country. An accredited person may also make the request on the applicant's behalf if they have power of attorney.

To make the application, you will need to make an appointment at the consular office via email.

The email subject line will need to reflect the type of visa you are applying for.

The email should contain:-

  • Your given name and surname
  • Passport number
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Place of residence in the UK
  • Type of residence visa you wish to apply for

Note that a separate appointment must be attended for EACH applicant. This includes minors.

Once your application has been received, you will be provided with login credentials so you can check your application online via the following web address. https://sutramiteconsular.maec.es/Home.aspx

How long does the application process take?

You will usually get a decision within 10 days, although this may be extended if you are asked to provide additional documentation.

Collection of the visa must be made within one month.

If your retirement visa application is refused, you will receive notification in writing including why it was rejected. You may make an appeal within one month of the decision.

How long are the visas valid for?

Each retirement visa is valid for one year.

After year one you can renew for a further two years and then again for another two years. Permanent residency may be applied for once you have been in Spain for five years or more.