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.

55 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)

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