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.

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

  1. Seth

    Wondering if you have some thoughts:

    In 2017 i lived in Madrid pursuant to a non-lucrative visa. In early 2018 I left Madrid and move to Germany pursuant to an EU Blue card.

    I am now changing my situation and moving to a remote consulting role (+ I have sufficient assets) and want to move to Barcelona pursuant to a Non Lucrative visa.

    1. Do you know if i have to go through an entire reapplication or is there a way to use my previous Non Lucrative visa as a base?

    2. I’m told that I apply in Germany – however what about the lack of criminal activity component – I’ve been here less than 5 years but is a German background check sufficient?

    Thanks so much!

  2. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Seth

    You certainly need to apply for an initial authorization as your previous one expired and as you failed to file the renewal application in time because you moved to another country, you lost the right to extend the validity of the Non Lucrative residence permit. You can file a new application via the Spanish consular office in the country where you are currently residing, that I understand is Germany. With regards to the Criminal records´certificate requirement, you need to provide with records of the countries where you have lived during the last five years, and that includes Germany.

    Regards,

  3. Sarah

    What about a situation of an applicant having a misdemeanor on their criminal record? I understand that this is not a “clear” criminal record. However, if the sentence for the misdemeanor was completed and all associated fees paid and it has been greater than 5 years since the misdemeanor, is there any chance of still obtaining a non-lucrative visa?

  4. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Sarah,

    If the criminal records refer to a misdemeanor dated more than 5 years ago and the sentence was completed, you should be fine and ready to apply for a Non Lucrative residence permit providing you meet all the other requirements.

  5. Sarah

    Thank you for this help! Do you know if they judge the 5 years time by the date the misdemeanor was initially received or by the final sentencing of the case? Thank you!

  6. Shane

    Hello another question about maximum days out of Spain.
    My mothers initial residence card was valid from October 15 2018 (her day of arrival) until October 15 2019. She later left for Canada on April 16 2019 and returned to Spain on October 22 seven days after her card expired. But DURING the 365 days when the initial resident card WAS VALID my mother was in Spain for 183 days and out 182 days. If you count the days from when she left on April 16 2019 to October 22 2019 it was 189 days out of Spain.
    In the BOE-A-2011-7703 article 162
    e) Cuando se permanezca fuera de España durante más de seis meses en un periodo de un año.

    They write that she can not be out greater than six months or her process will be terminated. Her renewal has been denied for being out of Spain for more than 6 months. We have a month to reply. Can they count time out of the country after her card was expired ? Or do they only count the time out of the country while the card is valid?

  7. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Shane,

    What they check is that she has been out for 6 months in the period of one year. They count 6 months back once she has re-entered Spain, no matter if the card is expired. You so not indicate her nationality, but note that is he does not need a visa to be in Spain on a short visit, she can add three months to her stay and have grounds to file an appeal. Otherwise, she may have to re-apply for the residence permit.

    Regards,

  8. HON MO KUNG

    I am from Hong Kong. I was told that it is difficult to open a bank account in Spain and the banks like to freeze accounts without previous warnings. So, can i just open an account with non lucrative visa on my passport? Or i am allowed to open a basic account after i get the residence card. But no bank statements prevent me from renting, connect utilties or even hard to register at town hall as they require rental contract. Can you provide me with answers in my situation?

  9. Patricia Martin Post author

    Mr. Kung,

    In principle, there are no problems to open a nonresident’s account in Spain, unless you come from certain countries that are embargoed or are considered financially unstable. You just need to be sure you can provide with all the documents the bank will request to learn about your financial situation and personal profile. Their aim is to minimize the risk of debts and unpaid bills. Most banks tend to open accounts by means of a Power of Attorney if you are able to provide with all the documents via a legal representative, like a lawyer. However, the bank will always request that you sign the account contract and digitalize your signature personally at the bank offices in Spain before they activate the account so it is fully operative.

    Once you have a non-Lucrative residence visa, the next step is to travel to Spain and apply for your ID card at the relevant police station. You will be considered a resident and be able to open a resident´s bank account at any bank, always providing them with the financial documentation from your home country or any other documentation they request.

    With regards to your last concerns, note that in terms of renting, the landlord can request information about your financial background like in most countries, before accepting you as a tenant. Having set a Spanish bank account in advance is not mandatory, though if your intention is to rent on a long term basis, it will be useful to pay the rent and supply bills by standing order.

    If you buy a house, you will certainly be asked to provide with a Spanish bank account to set up the contract and proceed with the installation. If you are only renting, the utilities remain in the owner´s name, so you just need to pay the supply bills together with the rent. You are not required to have a back account in order to register at the town hall, but only the rental contract.

    I trust my answers have been helpful.

  10. JatinD

    Hi,

    This is Jatin here from India! I found your article really enlightening! It is best to know the reasons of rejection so we can prepare accordingly and give our best. I am planning to apply for this visa next year and had a small doubt. I will be applying for myself plus spouse and a daughter. I need to know that do I have to show a regular monthly income as (2151+538+538) = 3227 euros per month or can I show 3227×12 = 38724 euros in my bank account. I can show even 50000/60000 euros if required. My doubt is whether savings are fine or we need to show monthly regular income..thanks!

  11. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Jatin,

    The current regulations indicate you need to prove you meet the financial criteria, that is 400% of the IPREM per month for the main applicant and 100% IPREM for dependents. The IPREM in 2020 is 548.60 € and it remains the same for now.

    We always recommend to prove the regular monthly income, though if you can only prove your current savings cover the minimum income required, it is also accepted, as long as you count on supporting documentation concerning your income (owned assets and a fixed source of income), that guarantees the reception of such income.

    These are the amounts to be provided per year, depending on the number of applicants:

    (1) 26,332.80 € (2.194.40 € per month)
    (2) 32,916 €
    (3) 39,499.20€
    (4) 46,082.4 €
    (5) 52,665.60 €

  12. Minerva Chbeir

    Hello, around how much money should I have in my account/my partner’s account if I am applying for Residence Permit of family member of EU citizen?

    Thank you!

  13. Mourad

    i am on non lucrative visa ,my renewal due on the beginning of june 2020 it will be my first renewal.
    my question is how cab i submit my renewing application during the lockdown i live in madrid.
    i tried to do it online but unfortunately i dont have a digital certificate.
    Thenk you and best regards.

  14. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Mourad,

    Renewal applications can certainly be filed electronically and you need to have installed your digital signature in your PC. If you do not have this signature, you can either send the documentation by registered post or hire the services of a gestor or law firm to file the application in your behalf.

    We recommend the latter in the event you are unsure about the documentation to file and if you can´t read Spanish, as the Immigration office may send you a notification by post requesting further documentation and you need to understand well the content, deadlines, etc.

    We offer this service at Lawbird, and will be very happy to assist.

    Regards,

  15. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Minerva,

    Current regulations indicate that in case none of you are registered workers in Spain, you need to prove you have a minimum amount of income plus medical cover ( via a private or public insurance policy).

    These are the official amounts:

    5,488 € main applicant plus 3,841.60 € per additional member.

    Regards,

  16. Karen Kitchens

    Hello,
    For retirees applying for a non lucrative visa: do we need to show both the minimal amount in the bank and sufficient monthly income? Or is sufficient monthly income by itself acceptable? Thank you , Karen

  17. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Karen,

    You need to show that you receive a monthly income that meets the minimum financial requirements, and this income must be based on pension benefits, or any other source that does not involve a work activity. If on top of that, you can show a fixed ampount in an account, the better. It will show a more solid situation.

    Regards,

  18. Maria

    Hi I’m applying a non lucrative for me and my spouse. We have enough savings out of the USA from rental property, will it be ok to use this income? Also, my fiance has a felony for been illegally in the country 8 years ago, this case was dismissed and he’s now a USA citizen. We also have saving in the state made from working 9-5 job which we are about to quit once the visa has been approved.

  19. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Maria,

    Thanks for your enquiry.

    If the criminal records refer to something that is not penalized in Spain, they won´t pose a problem.

    Regarding the income to prove your financial capacity when applying for a Non Lucrative residence permit, it must be sourced from savings, investments or an economic activity that does not imply you need to work in a salaried position in order to obtain it. Rental income is accepted. You mustn´t provide with income generated from a 9-5 job that is still active when you file the application. The law is very clear and strict with this fact.

    Please let me know if you need further information.

    Regards,

  20. Stewart

    Hi Patricia, thanks so much for writing such a helpful article. I am from the UK and thinking of moving to Spain. I work completely online and all my clients are in the UK. I would prefer to continue paying tax in the UK as the Spanish ‘autonomo’ tax system looks expensive and very complex. Would a Non-Lucrative Residence Permit be suitable for me? I can show bank statements showing the minimum monthly income is being met.

  21. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Stewart,

    If you decide to register as a resident in Spain, you will also be a fiscal resident, and this means that no matter if you do not register as autonomo in Spain, you will still be in the obligation to file your tax declaration in Spain, since this will be your official country of residence. If you already pay taxes in the UK, you will be exempt to pay taxes twice based on the double taxation treaty between both countries; the UK and Spain.

    When you register as a resident, you can provide with your financial documentation and a private medical insurance, that are the required documents for non-working situations. I assume you already know that if you are not registered at the Social security system you won’t have access to the public health system.

    Regards,

  22. Edduin

    Hi Patricia. Many thanks for all the information regarding this matter. Regarding my particular case, for different reasons, I live in Singapore (1.5 years) and my family in Chile (1.5 years). As I understand, I have to apply where my residence is located, but if I want to apply in Singapore, how can I apply for my family as they don’t have residence here. On the other hand, if I want to apply in Chile, I don’t have residence there but my family does. Do you have any recommendations? Another question is working for a company (online) can be considered as “working in Spain” as basically you are not taking the job of any citizen. Many thanks.

  23. Edduin Herde

    Hi Patricia. May be I was not clear in my previous question. My idea is to apply for a non lucrative visa in Spain and due to the fact that my family lives in a different country, I don’t know where I have to apply. As I mentioned I live in Singapore and they live in Chile (we are Venezuelan). Many thanks.

  24. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Edduin,

    You can all file the applications via the Spanish consulate of the country where you hold your current residency. You would file the application at the Spanish embassy in Singapore and they would do it via the consular office in Santiago de Chile. If you are the main supporter, I recommend you to file your application first, so when they file their applications, they can indicate the reference number of your application as they are linked.

    If you obtain a Non Lucrative residence permit you won´t be allowed to register as a self employed worker, since that type of authorization does not include a work permit. If you are a self employed worker, registered in another country where you pay your job related tax, and that activity allows you to work from anywhere in the world also providing a substantial amount of income that covers yours and your family´s living expenses in Spain ( there´s a minimum amount per month), you may have a chance to meet the requirements of this type of permit. Each case must be analysed individually and our recommendation is that you discuss your particular situation with an immigration expert to confirm whether you meet the requirements for this option or another one that involves a work permit.

    Please feel free to contact us if you need more specific information.

  25. Lyn Yulo

    Hi,

    I submitted my document and interview yesterday for NLV.

    I answered them with all honesty.
    I have a worked in Philippines in a software company that I am allowed to work anywhere in the world.

    I showed bank account with 30K euros plus more than 2,100 euros as monthly salary.

    In the sworn statement after my interview there is observation part which they stated:
    1. Income Tax return not filed coz no BIR stamp. Which I submitted document from my employer that my tax was filed by them

    2. Bank statement is from mar – june only
    Which I submitted additional statements later that day

    3. Payroll account was not submitted.

    How critical are these observations? DO you know anymore who got NLV with work from their home country?

  26. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello Lyn,

    Spanish consular offices are very discretional when accepting documentation and making the interview for this type of applications.

    We recommend you to keep a copy of everything you have submitted so if they reject the application because they believe you have not provided with a certain document, you have evidences of the opposite that will help you in case of appeal.

    Maybe, you didn’t have the requested documents when they asked for them and they have recorded that, but of your did at a later date, it must be recorded.

    In response to your last question, we have certainly dealt with cases where the NLV applicant works remotely.

  27. MO

    Hello Patricia
    I got my Non lucrative visa in June 2020 along with my Spouse and Daughter.
    We have been faced with a situation that would lead us not to travel to spain during visa validity time (i.e next 3 month) and we are afraid that this will cause to a rejection if we decide to re-Apply in future for the nom lucrative Visa. Do you have any suggestions ?

  28. Patricia Martin Post author

    Hello MO,

    Your visas has been extended for three more months due to the COVID-19 crisis, so if it was issued in June, its validity is extended until December this year. If you decide to give up on the visas, and not enter Spain before December, you will have to re-apply, and the fact that you gave up on the previous application has no effects on the new applications.

    Regards,

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