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Retiring In Spain With A Non-Working Visa

5 min read

Retiring In Spain With A Non-Working Visa

Spain has an abundance of mountains, natural beauty, and famous beach towns, such as San Sebastian. Tourists can also enjoy other events, such as visiting palaces, monuments, fortresses, and medieval cities. The Camino de Santiago, a famous pilgrimage hiking trail, also runs through Spain. Many people spend weeks hiking this trail and exploring smaller towns in Spain.

If you want to spend an extended time in Spain, then the Spain Non-Working Visa (Non-Lucrative Visa) may be a solid option. The financial requirements for this visa are low, and you do not need to invest in Spain to be eligible.

Spain’s non-lucrative visa is most suitable for non-EU citizens who can demonstrate that they have the financial means to live in Spain. While this visa is most appealing for retired people, it could also be an option for younger people with enough savings to support their stay in Spain. Moreover, you could also consider this visa a potential route to gaining citizenship in Spain.


Retiring in Spain with a non-working visa offers a vibrant and fulfilling lifestyle for those seeking a relaxed and culturally rich retirement experience.

Map of Spain


Spain is one of the most visited countries in europe, as 83.7 million tourists visited Spain in 2019. These numbers later dropped to 18.7 million during 2020 due to Covid. It is not surprising that Spain has programs like the non-working visa and the pending digital nomad visa to help attract tourists to boost its economy.

Spain is also a relatively low-cost hub in Europe, which is an advantage for retirees and others looking for appealing destinations in Europe. The average annual wage in Spain is around €2,000, but many people in the country earn less than this. The minimum wage in Spain is around half of this amount. This puts Spain right between cheaper destinations In Eastern Europe and other Western European countries.

Spain has five national languages, Castilian (Spanish), Catalan, Galician, Basque, and Aranese. You can get around with basic Spanish since almost everyone speaks Spanish. This is important because English isn’t widely spoken. Only about 28% of the population speak English, primarily the younger generation. So it would be good to go to Spain knowing a bit of Spanish. From the bustling streets of Madrid to the coastal charm of Barcelona, Spain has long been a popular destination for retirees from around the world. The country boasts world-class healthcare facilities and well-trained medical professionals, making it an ideal place to retire for those concerned about their health and well-being.

Spain's diverse landscapes and communities cater to various retirement preferences. The country is renowned for its picturesque coastal areas, where mild Mediterranean weather prevails. Regions such as the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca have become hotspots for retirees seeking a sunny climate, beautiful beaches, and a relaxed pace of life. Alternatively, vibrant cities like Madrid and Barcelona offer a bustling urban lifestyle with a rich cultural scene.


One of the primary attractions of retiring in Spain is its excellent healthcare system. Spanish residents, including retirees, enjoy access to high-quality medical services, ensuring peace of mind during their retirement years.

Toledo, Spain Town Skyline


At first glance, one may think the non-lucrative visa is simply for someone who wants to retire in Spain. However, other types of applicants may find this visa to be useful. You must understand the legal framework to ensure you do not mistakenly apply for this visa. You should also be willing to spend more time on the application, especially if your family is coming, as it can take months to receive approval.

Overall this visa is for individuals who can support their stay off of savings and passive income. It is not designed for people who want to work in Spain, including local companies and companies outside of Spain. Although this visa is most relevant for older retirees, younger people can apply as long as they only live off of savings and passive income. Many retirees find that the cost of living in Spain is reasonable compared to other European countries. Housing costs can vary depending on the area, but there are plenty of options to fit various budgets. The cost of groceries, dining out, and transportation is generally affordable, allowing retirees to make the most of their retirement income.



Although retirees are the most appropriate target, a younger individual could use this visa for an extended stay or sabbatical in Spain. This visa is also a convenient way to travel around the region, as one can stay in any Schengen country for 90 days or less with this visa. If you want to spend a gap year in Spain and live off of savings, then this could be the perfect visa for you. Spain is a very affordable and relaxing place to retire, and most people can live comfortably off their savings and pension/social security.

Not all residency programs allow you to bring your family members with you when they are accepted. This can create issues for people who want to live abroad with their family, as they may have to apply separately. However, this visa program allows applicants to bring their families with them. Therefore, this visa is very convenient for retired couples who want to live in Spain long term. Furthermore, people who retire earlier and still have kids can bring their kids on this visa. There are around 276 international schools in Spain, and annual fees are reasonable. However, we recommend a program like ours at Expat International School for maximum flexibility and the highest standard of education.


Related article: The Basics Of How To Get A Second Passport Or A Second Residency.


This visa requires applicants to demonstrate sufficient financial means to support themselves and their dependents without working in Spain.

Spain passport


Retirees in Spain have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the country's rich culture and join a thriving expatriate community. The Spanish way of life encourages socializing and enjoying leisurely pursuits, such as savoring tapas at local bars or attending flamenco shows. Retirees often find it easy to integrate into their local communities while enjoying the welcoming atmosphere of Spanish culture.

To be eligible, you must submit the necessary documentation and proof that you have 4x the Spanish government’s IPREM, which is currently around €579/month. This means you would need over €27,000/year. You will also need to prove that you have more if you bring your family.

In order to apply for this visa, you must complete the following:

  • Complete the 5-page visa application form, which asks for personal information, contact information, employee history, etc.
  • Another application for a non-working residence visa
  • Copy of your passport and passport-sized photos
  • Criminal background check
  • Proof of health insurance for the duration of the stay, as well as a medical certificate that shows that they do not have any severe health conditions
  • Documentation proving that you have the necessary finances to support you and your family if they are applying with you

The application process is relatively straightforward. You can apply online or in person, and the fees can be paid online or at a consulate. If you bring your family, they will be required to provide documentation (i.e. birth certificates or marriage certificates) verifying their relationship with you.

Notably, it may take up to three months for the Spanish authorities to approve your visa. It is very crucial to apply in advance, especially if you are bringing your family.


Related content: What Is An Apostille, And How Do I Apostille Documents?



One of the key benefits of this visa is that you do not have to invest in Spain to be eligible. Individuals may take advantage of this visa if they are interested in gaining citizenship eventually. You may qualify for citizenship if you can prove that you have sufficient funds for around ten years. This is very appealing for many people who may meet the requirements to invest in real estate but would prefer to rent and keep their money in other investments or savings. While this route is more time-consuming and complex, it is worth considering as a potential option.

For those who desire city living, Madrid and Barcelona offer a wealth of cultural experiences, from world-class museums and theaters to lively street festivals. These cities are also known for their excellent public transportation systems, providing retirees with convenient access to all they have to offer.


 retiring in Spain with a non-working visa promises a fulfilling lifestyle filled with diverse landscapes, cultural richness, and an excellent healthcare system.

Ronda, Spain


The Spanish non-working visa is perfect for anyone who wants to stay in Spain long-term while not working. Spain is a beautiful place to retire or spend a sabbatical, as the cost of living is affordable, and it is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. The mild climate, reasonable cost of living, and straightforward visa application process make it an attractive destination for retirees seeking a peaceful and enjoyable retirement. Whether you prefer the charm of coastal areas or the energy of city life, Spain has something to offer for every retiree.

This visa currently restricts remote working, but the government is interested in implementing a digital nomad visa in the future. It is best to wait for this visa to be implemented before travelling to Spain on this visa, especially since most digital nomads can easily get a 90-day tourist visa to Spain.

One of the key appeals of this visa is that it may offer a path to long-term residency and eventual citizenship if one is willing to live in Spain for ten years. Furthermore, this program has no investment requirements, which is highly appealing.


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Mikkel Thorup

Written by Mikkel Thorup

Mikkel Thorup is the world’s most sought-after expat consultant. He focuses on helping high-net-worth private clients to legally mitigate tax liabilities, obtain a second residency and citizenship, and assemble a portfolio of foreign investments including international real estate, timber plantations, agricultural land and other hard-money tangible assets. Mikkel is the Founder and CEO at Expat Money®, a private consulting firm started in 2017. He hosts the popular weekly podcast, the Expat Money Show, and wrote the definitive #1-Best Selling book Expat Secrets - How To Pay Zero Taxes, Live Overseas And Make Giant Piles Of Money, and his second book: Expats Guide On Moving To Mexico.

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