The 6 Most Common Causes for Application Rejection on Non-Lucrative Residence Permits

April 8th, 2019

During our many years of experience in dealing with Spanish immigration, we’ve come across some circumstances in which non-lucrative residence permit applications have been rejected by the Spanish immigration authorities.

In order to minimize the chances of non-approval for our clients, we’ve gathered below the list of the most common causes for rejection:

  1. Insufficient regular income

    Applicants must count on a relevant income as savings or receive periodic income from investments, pensions, etc., which should allow them and their family to support themselves while living in Spain for a minimum of six months per year.A non-lucrative residence application will be rejected when the applicant cannot prove a minimum monthly income of €2,151.36 (plus €537.84 for each economically dependent person).

  2. Limited medical insurance

    The compulsory medical insurance policy must be hired from a company operating in Spain and offer the same cover as the Spanish national health system. Travel medical insurance is not accepted and those insurance policies hired from their home countries offering medical coverage while in a foreign country are neither accepted, as they usually include many limitations.

  3. Lack of proof of accommodation

    We want to put some stress on a reason that has been and is actually a matter of deliberation, often ending in rejections not expressly motivated by the Spanish consular office. The Spanish embassies in some countries value and take more into consideration those applications filed by property owners in Spain. That is, that the applicant has bought a house in Spain. Even if rental properties can also be provided as proof of address, an owned property has more weight on the application. Nevertheless, we need to make it clear that the current Law on Immigration in Spain does not indicate proof of address as a requirement to be met when filing a non-lucrative residence permit application. However, we have found that some consular offices slightly mention it in their internal information for applicants, like for instance the Spanish embassy in Quito, Equator: “Accommodation Availability or proof of sources leading to such availability”.

  4. Lack of schooling plan

    If applicants have children in schooling age, which in Spain ranges from 6 to 16 years old, they will be required to prepare a schooling plan for them before submitting the applications. The usual procedure involves enrolling the children at a private school, often an international one, being the first step paying a school reservation fee deposit.

    Many applicants find it difficult to comply with the above mentioned requirements, especially since they must invest on a property rental or initial school fees without confirmation or guarantee that the residence permit applications will be approved.

  5. Failure to construct a convincing argument supporting the applicant’s real motivation

    Coherence and common sense are major factors when the authorities review a file and try to interpret the real intention behind a non-lucrative residence applicant. An unconvinced officer may conclude that the applicants are not truly willing to spend at least 6 months in Spain, but just want to acquire Spanish residency to gain freedom of movement around the Schengen area without the need to apply for entry visas, and will thus reject the application. We see two types here:

    • Incoherence in the family situation: Single applicants who apply for just one residence permit for themselves, and have planned to leave their family back home, will probably raise a red flag for the Spanish immigration officer in charge of reviewing the application file. In the officer’s view, this person will probably be unable to meet the minimum stay requirement if his family resides abroad.
    • Incoherence in the employment situation: When applying for a non-lucrative permit, it is assumed that applicants receive enough income from their business activity in their home country, and that such business activity doesn’t require their physical presence. This is easy to meet for wealthy business owners, or retired individuals living on high standard public or private pensions. However, we find that there are many young couples that happen to work salaried who want to relocate to Spain, but wish to keep their managing roles at their current companies (with offices in their home country). This may pose a problem when applying for the first time, as the Spanish immigration officer will deem improbable that the minimum stay requirements will be met, as a managing position cannot be left unattended for prolonged periods of time. In those rare cases where an initial application is approved, the bad news is delivered upon renewal, when applicants are unable to prove having spent enough time in Spain during the previous two years. In the remote work era, applicants may be able to convince immigration officers if they can make their current company sign a letter stating they are allowed to work remotely from within a foreign country for at least 6 months a year.
  6. Failing the interview at the embassy

    Once the application is submitted, the staff at the Spanish Embassy will interview the applicants to confirm that everything stated on the file is true, and to gather any other subjective information not present in the file which can be useful in deciding on the application outcome. They will want to know things such as whether there are any type of family bonds or business connections that support the application and justify the decision to choose Spain among other countries to settle down. Also, if the applicants have visited the country at least once on a recent date or if they have any relatives or business partners already residing in Spain.

    It should be an easy interview. However, a small percentage of applicants will surprisingly fail to provide the right answers to these questions, and some will even tell the embassy staff that they really don’t plan on living in Spain as residents, but instead want to use the residence card as a travel visa. This will result in an immediate rejection.

79 thoughts on “The 6 Most Common Causes for Application Rejection on Non-Lucrative Residence Permits

  1. Patricia Martin Post author

    ello Timothy,

    I understand that Spanish consular offices do not accept applications from those holding loans or other financial obligations in the US, so this fact may jeopardize your chances of approval.

    I can´t confirm whether your medical condition will pose a problem, as one of the documents required for the NLV applications is that you provide with a medical certificate that confirms you are in good health, free of infectious diseases and not subject to quarantine. Your doctor will determine whether you meet the requirements.
    Also, note that you need to provide with a medical insurance policy that covers all medical services in Spain, including hospitalization costs and for a period exceeding 90 days, that is the usual cover in international health insurance policies. The insurance provider must be recognised by the Spanish authorities. You can check if your US insurance company is included in the list by clicking here.

    Regards,

  2. Michael Root

    I am looking for a way retire in Spain . I am buying a house . However my income per year is only about 20000 us.can you help me. Thanks Michael.

  3. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Michael,

    The Spanish authorities have pre-set financial requirements for those applying for retirement or non-lucrative residence permits in Spain. The minimum income required is 400% of the monthly IPREM (minimum wage in Spain), plus full private medical cover.

    The current monthly IPREM is €537.84, that makes €2,151.36 the minimum monthly income to be evidenced when filing non lucrative residence permit application, €25,816.32 per year.

    You need to increase your income in order to be eligible.

  4. Reba

    Hi Patricia,
    Can you say you are going to Spain to be with a significant other? Eventually planning on marriage but not there yet? I dated a Spaniard for nearly 2 years while I lived there. I want to find a way to go back legally but I am only 26, not sure if this visa would be a good fit.

  5. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Reba,

    The government announced some specific instructions for those cases where long time partners have been separated due to the pandemic. The aim of those instructions is to facilitate access to visit visas.

    You need to book an appointment at the relevant Spanish consular office and provide with documentation proving the relationship is stable and of lasting nature, being considered equivalent to a de facto partnership. If after sending the documentation to the relevant authorities in Spain, they believe these are sufficient to prove the relationship, the consulate will issue a certificate that you need to take with you and show it to the airline and passport control staff. Nevertheless, the final decision is taken at the border control in Spain.
    The usual documentation you need to provide is:

    – Documents proving that you are travelling with your partner or that the purpose of the trip is to reunite with them: travel tickets indicating you are on the same flight, notarized statement of your partner indicating your are travelling to stay with them.

    – Documents proving the relationship is stable and long lasting, like photos, travel reservations in chronological order (it must be apostilled, legalized documentation) Documents from Spanish public entities (appointments at the Civil Registry, town hall-empadronamiento)

    – Other documents where you contract obligations jointly (rental contracts, invitations to weddings, joint bills and invoices)

  6. Larry

    My job allows me to work remotely in any place as long as there is sufficient internet and electricity. I am planning to apply for NLV but I am not sure how the financial requirements work. I am professionally employed but my monthly income does not meet the 2120 euros/ month, but it is almost there (2000 euros/month.) However, I have 8550 euros in my bank for emergency fund, another 8550 as time deposits, and 12,000 euros investment in stocks and mutual funds (which are liquid assets). Can I combine my savings/stocks and my monthly income to meet the financial requirement? Or is it considered either monthly income or total savings in the account, and not a combination?

  7. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Larry,

    Our recommendation is that Non Lucrative visa applicants prove a steady and regular income of 2,300 euros per month.

    The minimum salary amount (IPREM) has increased in 2021 to €564.90 and the financial requirements for the type of visa you are interested in is 4 times the monthly IPREM, that is €2,259.60 per month, or €27,115.20 minimum income available in cash.

    If the current funds you can prove are available at all times and you can prove you are not moving to Spain to work ( be reminded that the NLV is a type of permit for those applicants that do not wish to carry out any work activity in or from Spain), you will be eligible for the Non Lucrative residence visa.

    Please feel free to contact us by email to look into your particular case in detail.

  8. Mimi

    Hi Patricia,

    Would it be okay to apply with a savings account instead of regular income? I inherited more than the required €27,115.20 and was wondering if I can show that. My bank has held this money for me for over six months and it’s accumulating interest in a savings account. Would bank statements and a letter from the bank be enough proof that I have this money?

    Thanks!

  9. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Mimi,

    The consular office examines every case in detail. You can justify your income via a bank balance letter.

    Please feel free to contact us by email so we discuss your case further.

  10. Oswaldo martinez

    Hola patricia. Somos una pareja legalmente casados. Tenemos tres propiedades de renta bajo una corporacion .Mas yo estoy retiradoy recibo mensualmente mi retiro por el seguro social.En total recibimos mensual $6110.00 dolares. Ademas tenemos nuestro apartamento donde vivimos sin deuda . Quiero saber si esto seria suficiente para obtener la visa no lucrativa y poderla renovar al año? . Espero su respuesta . Saludos !

  11. Patricia Martin Post author

    Buenas tardes Sr. Martinez,

    Tras leer su comentario, le confirmo que cumple con los requisitos para el permiso de residencia no lucrativo. Podrá encontrar información detallada de los requisitos en el correo que le enviado.Según la legislación vigente, el ingreso mínimo a acreditar es del 400% del IPREM mensual para el solicitante principal y 100% IPREM mensual por cada dependiente. El IPREM actual (2021) es de 564,90€ mensuales. El 400% son 2.259,60 € mensuales, es decir, 27.115,20 € anuales.

    Además de cumplir con los requisitos económicos, deben tener contratado seguro médico privado en España y contar con alojamiento. Para poder renovar el permiso de residencia tras un año, y dado que dicha renovación extiende las autorizaciones por dos años más, la capacidad financiera debe cubrir los gastos de dos años en vez de dos: 54.230.04 €. (año 2021)

    Saludos.

  12. julie palmer

    I would just like to know if the amount needed for non lucrative visa can be made up of pension and savings .Thank you

  13. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Julie,

    Yes, those sources of income are accepted.

    The usual accepted documentation is: ownership titles, certified bank checks and credit cards supported by a letter issued and stamped from the relevant bank or financial entity, indicating the available amount as well as the credit on the card. If the financial means are sourced from shares in foreign companies established in Spain, Spanish or mixed corporations, the applicant will have to prove, via a company certificate, that they do not carry out any work position in any of the said companies and will file a sworn declaration or affidavit to that end.

  14. Paul Miller

    Hi
    I have no regular income but enough in the bank to cover the IPREM for five years. Is this sufficient for an application for the non lucrative visa? If so, how would I need to prove this? With bank statements etc?

    Thanks

  15. Patricia Martin Post author

    Mr. Miller,

    The usual accepted documentation is: ownership titles, certified bank checks and credit cards supported by a letter issued and stamped from the relevant bank or financial entity, indicating the available amount as well as the credit on the card. If the financial means are sourced from shares in foreign companies established in Spain, Spanish or mixed corporations, the applicant will have to prove, via a company certificate, that they do not carry out any work position in any of the said companies and will file a sworn declaration or affidavit to that end.

  16. Ana

    Patricia,
    We are two retired senior sisters that would like to apply for the NLV in Spain. I meet the financial monthly requirements, plus cash in the bank from sale of my house. My son and wife (EU member) have been residents of Spain for over a year and own property and have their residency cards. They want us to be closer to them as we have no other family left.
    My sister however does not meet the financial requirements though she does receive monthly social security benefits. Because I will have enough cash to show in my bank account, can that help on her behalf? My son is prepared to write letter to show we will be staying with them upon arrival, for indefinite length,, and until the time we find property or rental. I read about family reunification but don’t know all pertinent details. Thank you.

  17. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Ana,

    Your sister is not considered a first grade relative and therefore, cannot be included in your NLRV application or be reunited via a family reunion permit, unless she has been your dependent and cohabited with you for at least one year. Also, her dependency would need to be based on severe health reasons, and you would have to prove you are her official caretaker. All those facts will need to be evidenced with official and proved documentation.

    Your son can apply for your or your sister´s family reunion in the event you are his dependents (see same conditions as explained above).

  18. Tili

    Hi,
    I am from the U.K. looking to get a Long term Student Visa and require a Police Check.
    I am currently waiting for my results for a DUI drugs blood test, after being arrested for driving under influence. I wanted to know if the results of this could affect my chances of getting a student visa?
    If this is on my police check will I be denied access?
    And when I have the offence on my record after the court date can I continue my Visa?
    I have no intent to drive when in Spain, and for the 3 years I would be there I wouldn’t have any need to travel by car.

    Thanks

  19. Phil wickison

    I am looking to apply for non Luke’s rice visa I have a draw down pension and draw down the right amount each month but my wife has no income currently but I can draw down extra if needed from my pension pot and can show how much is in the pot will this cover meet her criteria for the application

  20. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Phil,

    You need to check whether you meet the minimum financial requirements. You need to prove a monthly income of 400% IPREM (The Multiplier for the Public Income Index in Spain) in Spain and them add 100% monthly IPREM per dependent. The current IPREM in Spain is 564.90 Euros (2021), so you need to show a total monthly income of 2,824.50 Euros covering a whole year: 33,894 Euros.

  21. Irene Jeffries

    We have the savings in the bank for the 5 years but the only regular monthly money coming in is our UK state pension at £1.400 a month. Would this be enough for the NLV.
    Thanks

  22. Annie Train

    We are a gay couple who have been together for over 30 years and married for six years.My partner’s income meets the criteria for non luc residency, but mine does not.We are oaps.We own our own property in Spain and do not have a mortgage We would like to access health provision via contribution to the state insurance route.We also have joint savings of over £50000.Would we qualify fo a non lucrative residency permit. t ?

  23. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Irene,

    Each case is being revised by the consulate individually. Even if your regular income is not very high, you may still meet the financial requirements in the event your savings are high.

  24. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Annie,

    I recommend you to check the minimum financial requirements established in the current Immigration regulations and then make the needed calculations. The non-lucrative residence permit is geared towards those applicants who can demonstrate that they receive an income from a business, an investment or any other source –provided it does not require the applicants physical presence where the income is obtained– of at least 4 times the IPREM (Public Index of Multiple Effects), which is currently 564.90 Euros per month, suitable accommodation and private medical insurance.

    In principle, you meet the financial requirements.

  25. susan

    hi,

    i was convicted of a felony in the us (embezzelment). it was 30 years ago. i paid everything back. wondering my chances are for getting NLV. ty.

  26. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Susan,

    Each case is considered individually and the embassy will check the nature of the conviction and the time that has passed before resolving the application. I do not anticipate any problems to be granted the NLV if the felony happened that long ago.

  27. Rachel

    My husband and I are hoping to move to Spain and apply for residency as self-employed individuals (so I realize it’s probably a different type of residence permit). He has dual citizenship in the U.S. & the Philippines (which apparently makes it possible to achieve permanent residency more quickly). Do you know if citizens of the Philippines get any type of break on the monthly income requirement? If not, do we both need to prove the $2300/month, or can it be $3000 total between us (if I say I’m his “dependent”). Also, I own a house in the U.S., which I rent out. After paying the mortgage & prop. mgmt co., I make a monthly profit. Can that be included in our monthly income? What documentation is needed to prove this? Would having student loans cause a rejection? Finally, I take an antidepressant to manage an auto-immune disorder. As long as I take that, I’m fine. Would that be considered “good health”.

  28. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Rachel,

    The fact that your husband is also a Philippine national does not make it easier or quicker to obtain a long term residence permit. It is beneficial in terms of the Spanish nationality application, as he will be able to apply after two years of becoming a Spanish resident instead of having to wait for 10 years.

    The monthly income requirement applies to all non-EU nationals regardless their nationality. The income amounts you mention in your message applies to the Non Lucrative Residence permit application and not the Self Employed work and residence permit application. The former does not include a work permit and the latter does. You need to be sure what type of permit you are applying for as the requirements vary.
    A Self Employed work and residence permit application mainly requires a business plan and proof of investment (that you have the financial capacity to cover the business set up costs and needs during the first year) but not a monthly income.
    Rental income can be also provided as proof if income in Non Lucrative Residence permit applications. This can usually be proven via copy of rental contracts, proof that you are the registered owner of the house and then bank statements showing the rental payments coming into your account. If you are declaring the rental in your income tax, this document can also be provided. Student loans aren’t usually a cause of rejection though some consulates are asking for proof of not having charges or loans in the USA, but this is something the Spanish Immigration Law does not mention.
    In response to your question about the medical certificate, there shouldn’t be any problems as long as the medical certificate indicates your are generally in good health and that your condition is under control due to your medication.

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