The 2020 definitive Spain visa guide and types of Spanish visas

Spain visa

Let me guess: you have been researching about the different Spain visa types.

You are from a non-European country.

You want to live in Spain.

Long-term.

Without any tourist visa, without the 90-day restriction.

You want to experience the real Spanish culture.

Life in Spain.

Learn Spanish.

Maybe work here.

Maybe create a business here.

Maybe study here.

Or simply live here because you have your own financial resources.

And, why not, moving to Spain and start a new life here… and stay here for a long while… or forever.

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Question number 1: Do I need a visa for Spain?

It depends.

There are two groups:

1. Tourist visa

Some non-EU countries must apply for tourist visas to spend time in Spain as a tourist.

For longer stays, people within this group will have to apply for a long-term Spanish visa.

2. Without tourist visa

Other non-EU countries have an agreement to spend in Spain up to 90 days as a tourist, without a tourist visa. Beyond those three months, you will need a long-term Spanish visa.

In this article, I’m only covering long-term visas.

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But there is a problem

There are so many long-term Spanish visas…

EU citizens can apply for Spanish residency in an easier way, but non-EU citizens’ visas work in a totally different way.

You don’t know where to start.

You have heard that you have to submit paperwork to the Spanish embassy.

Book an appointment to apply for your Spain visa.

Endless lists of requirements.

It’s a total chaos of information that you have found on the Internet.

You must have been reading many websites.

Asking on Facebook groups.

Asking on the forums.

Asking your country of origin’s Spanish Embassy.

You have spent already more than 100 hours researching.

Yes, 100 hours.

And you feel that you will not get anywhere after another 100 hours.

Visa in Spain

(Stop wasting your time on the Internet, getting your Spain visa is easier than building this machine)

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Nobody seems to know how to apply for your Spain visa

Nope.

Because you are asking at the wrong places.

Here are the top 2 wrong places:

1. Facebook Groups

Full of anonymous people who will likely confuse you with tons of contradictions.

You will be told that the Spanish NIE number is all you need.

You will be told that the padron certificate is all you need.

You will be told that they got their Spanish visas without showing any funds, without having private health insurance, without showing their criminal records… oh yeah!

And that you will have free healthcare in Spain.

Sure!

You will have the impression that your Spain visa application will be nothing. Just a simple procedure.

Fast, and easy, as ordering a pizza on a rainy Friday night.

Can you imagine?

Watching TV, a blue blanket on your shoulders, the sound of the rain outside, and then, the bell rings, and your Spain visa is delivered inside a beautiful box with a red ribbon around…

Without even applying for it.

No embassy interviews.

Nada.

Sorry… that’s not going to happen.

2. Forums

Remember, the forums were one of the original forms of social media where people would gather to share things.

Conversations here cannot be any slower. How long have you been waiting for an answer?

You spend days and days waiting for an answer.

You even re-post: any help would be most appreciated; we are in a desperate position.

Nobody answers.

Nada.

Oh, somebody answers a week after to let you know that the friend of the friend of the friend didn’t have to (fill the black).

Spain visa requirements

(Why not buy the violin instead of spending a lifetime to build it?)

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So, where should you ask about your visa  in Spain?

If you don’t want use professional services to obtain your visa in Spain, such as the ones we offer at Torrevieja Translation, there is only one relevant place to find out:

Spanish embassy or consulate

The relevant one where you will have to apply.

For example, if you are moving to Spain from the USA and would like to apply for a Spain visa, it would not make sense to ask at the consulate of Spain in Toronto (Canada), would it?

You got the idea 😊

There is one problem here though.

Consulates and Embassies of Spain receive countless emails a day from people who don’t even know the kind of Spanish visas they would like to apply for.

The usual response you will receive is a link to more official information within their website or some documents attached.

Most people struggle with this kind of information because they do not know how to interpret it.

The emails, the websites, and the attached documents are full of jargon.

Because we are talking about a lot of new concepts:

Official translations.

Up-to-date documentation.

Apostille.

Legalization.

Financial means.

Comprehensive health insurance with specific conditions.

Application forms.

Fees.

It’s so confusing, isn’t it?

The relevant Spanish embassies and consulates are the place to start your research for your visa Spain application, if you don’t want to hire someone.

Facebook and forums are full of free advisers who have no professional experience. Their comments look reliable, in part, because you get a quick answer in general.

But think for a moment…

Free advisers solving complex issues at no cost?

Why don’t we all use Facebook Groups and the Forums to solve all our problems?

Free advisers have the power to take to one place: nowhere.

Or even worse: nowhere, after wasting your time and money.

Spain visa appointment

(Free advisers, jargon, wasting time, wrong information… sunken boat)

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Top 5 types of Spanish visas

I’m just going to cover the 5 main types of visas in Spain.

There are a few more, but these are the most common ones in my opinion.

Every visa has a central point, but the central point is not the only requirement.

You will still need to have money to support yourself, healthcare, criminal records, doctor reports, application forms, fees, and other requirements exclusive to your relevant embassy.

I’m not going to get technical, nor speaking about any law, regulation, or whatever complex concepts that are almost impossible to understand.

Let’s get to the point, easy words, in plain English 😊

1. Non-lucrative visa

The Spanish non lucrative visa is a residence visa, only to live legally in Spain, not to work.

The central point to obtain this visa is that you have enough money to live in Spain.

2. Golden visa

You will obtain this visa when you buy Spanish property of at least €500,000.

One of the benefits of this visa is that it comes with a work permission. Your family members will get the same rights.

3. Student visa

Obviously, if you are going to study in Spain, the central point here would be the enrolment at any Spanish academic institution.

Make sure you register at an official institution or a private school recognized by the Spanish authorities, as otherwise you will not get the visa.

4. Working visa

Would you like to work in Spain? If yes, somebody must sponsor you.

In other words, it is not sufficient to be willing to work in Spain, or even to have a good CV, technical skills, university degrees, master, PhD, etc.

You need a Spanish company willing to hire you (and to go through the paperwork required by this procedure).

5. Business visa

Would you like to create a business in Spain? The central point here is the “business plan”.

But a good business plan, full of details, numbers, credible information, and a final validation.

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What are the Spain visa requirements?

There are no standard requirements.

I mean, besides the central points I mentioned before, each visa has their own requirements.

You must keep in mind that Spanish Embassies and Consulates can have different requirements between them, for the same kind of visa.

That is why I recommend you not to waste more time on the Internet because you are going to be reading conflicting information all the time.

Are you moving to Spain from Canada?

Hire professional services or query at the Spanish Embassy or Consulate in Canada.

Are you moving to Spain from Australia?

Hire professional services or query at the Spanish Embassy or Consulate in Australia.

Are you moving to Spain from South Africa?

Hire professional services or query at the Spanish Embassy or Consulate in Australia.

It’s a simple and reliable formula :-)

If you ever come across one website that describes every single visa, from every single Spanish Embassy all over the country, those are the right guys.

But I really doubt somebody ever even tries to do so because it would take a full encyclopedia of information which would probably get outdated once a week.

Do either of the following:

  1. Hire someone
  2. Speak with the relevant embassy or consulate and figure it out using their information

You are preparing for the big move. Don’t try to save money on important things, such as your visa, Spanish residency, tax advisers, healthcare, legal advising, property legal purchase process… as the comeback can be very painful if you do something wrong.

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The usual mistake when applying for a Spanish visa

I have seen very many mistakes over the years, but this is perhaps the most common one: booking flights and accommodation beforehand.

The question is: what about if the consulate requests additional information?

Or what about if the visa gets rejected?

Here is the order you should follow:

  1. Decide the type of visa you would like to apply for (retiring in Spain, working in Spain, golden visa, etc)
  2. Go through the application process
  3. Wait until you receive the final approval letter from the Spanish consulate
  4. Now… you got the letter of approval; it is time to book your flights and accommodation.

Trust me, I have met a lot of people who lost their money taking for granted that they would obtain their visas.

Let’s do it one step at a time, following the system.

Spain visa application

(Maybe… but don’t make that one, don’t book your flights and accommodation in advance)

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Spain visa application: Every case is different

I will be more specific:

  • Every visa is different.
  • Every case is different (even when applying for the same visa).
  • Every time of the year is different (the resolution timing of your case will vary depending on the amount of people applying at that moment… totally unpredictable).

The Spain visa forms will be related to the type of Spanish visa you are applying for.

There is one standard form you will need though: the national visa form.

The Spain visa fees will vary too from one country to another due to the exchange rate.

So, my recommendation is that you plan your visa accordingly, carefully, with plenty of time, and not following random advice on the Internet from a bunch of Free Advisers.

You must relax.

Applying for your visa in Spain is a long process, it will take months from A to Z, from visa to Spanish residency.

Be patient.

I get every now and then people pushing me, demanding, because in their countries of origin things happen at a crazy speed.

Relax.

You are moving to Spain; this is a country where things may move slower than in your country.

Enjoy the journey to obtain your visa in Spain.

Enjoy your life in Spain.

Try to leave all the stress and crazy speed behind.

Some things do not have to be now, immediately, right here, right now.

Take a deep breath.

And don’t forget this: Free advisers will not pay any consequences of wrong actions that you take (lost flights, lost accommodation, wasting money and time, etc).

Credit image: Stuart F.Phineas J.Thomas S., Kateryna B.

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If you are not sure which visa would be the right one for you, please put your name and email address below. I will get back to you soon!

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