How I got my Spanish non lucrative visa

spanish non lucrative visa

Before reading Karen’s article about the Spanish non-lucrative visa,  let me ask you something:

Are you from the USA?

If yes, please read my article Moving to Spain from the USA :-)


Before we start… Yours Free

Spain 101 is a free ebook full of unique tips that will save you thousands of Euros when moving to / living in Spain.

Would you like to get it now?

Please click / tap on the image below:


When I first glanced at the email, my heart stopped.

“Dear Karen, We are pleased to inform you that your application has been approved. Please note, you have ONE MONTH from today to pick up your visa, otherwise, it will be cancelled.”

OMG! I reread the email a few times and immediately sent a screenshot to my dear Spaniard friend Alfredo with the caption, “I am moving to Spain.”

Those five words were the realization that my dreams of living in Spain really were coming true.  And I loved repeating them over and over for the next several weeks.

non-lucrative visa spanish

(Off we go Spain!)

Spain was my soul home.  My favorite country of the nearly 60 I had already visited.  The place I kept going back to. Every time I left, my heart hurt a little bit.  I was so in love with this beautiful, diverse country and its people.

Luckily, I worked remotely for a travel company and was able to work from Spain for about half the year.  As one of the original digital nomads, I followed the Schengen laws to the letter to make sure I was never overstaying. However, my corporate job required that I was a US resident so I couldn’t really turn my life upside down and just move to Spain immediately.  But it was always in my thoughts.

Ultimately I quit the corporate job and started my own travel company, specializing in building unique, tailor-made Spain itineraries for my clients.  Nothing was keeping me anchored in California anymore and it made perfect sense to move to Spain! I made this decision one beautiful winter night in Madrid and promised myself I would not change my mind.

Non-lucrative visa spain

(The dawn of my new home: Spain)

My Spanish non lucrative visa

Nevertheless, moving abroad anywhere is never easy.  For starters, moving there would require me to apply for a visa that would allow me to stay in the country longer than the 90 days typically allowed.  I knew I would be applying for a spanish non lucrative visa, but Spain’s visa process is somewhat notorious and complicated, filled with red tape and infamous Spanish bureaucracy.  


Expensive legal and certified translations.

Ever-changing rules set by the individual consulates.

Visas being denied for no apparent reason.

I joined expat in Spain communities online to hear stories from those who had been through the process.  You name it, someone had a frustrating tale to share about it on the internet.

If I was really going to do this, I needed to make sure I did it 100% right and on just one try, as the process for a Spanish non lucrative visa is so expensive and time-consuming.  

Basically, I needed professional help!

My friend Alfredo urged me to reach out to David Ruiz to help me with the process.  Alfredo had used David’s services to secure Spanish residency for a family member and had a great experience. I took Alfredo’s, who is a very trusted friend, advice and I emailed David.  Right off the bat, I was impressed with the response and the answers to my questions and concerns. I had no doubts that I wanted David to help me with this process.

Since I was in Spain at the time, David and I decided to meet face to face to go over all of the paperwork.  That way, I’d be 100% prepared when I flew back to San Francisco to get everything else ready for my appointment. He had all of my official translations done, and helped me organize all of the paperwork as well as fill out all of the application forms.  

When I finally left Spain to head back to California for my visa appointment, I was totally prepared, thanks to David.

Residence Visa Spain

(One of the last pictures I took as a “tourist”… now I’m a legal Spanish resident!)

My appointment at the Spanish Consulate in San Francisco went incredibly smoothly (the woman working at the consulate even complimented me for being so prepared).  Exactly two weeks after my appointment with the consulate, my visa was approved. And just over a little over a month later, I was on a one-way flight to Madrid, this time for good.

Arriving in Spain as a new resident felt nothing like arriving in Spain as a traveller.  Not only did I need to get everything in order to start my new life here (simple things such as buying a coffee grinder to more complex things such as finding an apartment and signing a lease), but the Spanish government also has several procedures one must do to secure their residency card.  As always, David had my back, helping me make the proper appointments at the extranjeria in Aluche to making sure all of the documents that I needed to present were correct. Thanks to him, my Aluche experience was smooth and I had my Spanish residency card (TIE) before I knew it.

Moving to Spain has proven to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The quality of life here is just better, and more in sync with my preferred way of living.  My travel business is thriving, and I can confidently tell my clients that I am the one to make their Spanish travel dreams come true. My information is always first-hand, and the itineraries I craft just keep getting better and better!  My weekends are spent exploring Spain off the beaten path. Just last weekend I was in the beautiful town of Albarracín. I am doing what I love both personally and professionally, and I couldn’t be more excited about where life in Spain will take me.  

non lucrative visa spain

(No more tourist staying time restrictions, now it’s time to discover the real Spain )

Today whenever I say the words “I live in Spain,” my heart is happy because I am living my dream.


About Karen

KarenKaren is a travel consultant specializing in Spain, from California.  She has 20 years of travel industry experience with travel companies like Airbnb and STA Travel.  Karen now lives in Spain and through her, Spain Less Traveled site, she helps clients who want to experience Spain more authentically with personalized itineraries and individual travel consulting.  Additionally, she founded and administers fast-growing Travel Spain! Facebook Community.


Yours Free

Spain 101 is a free ebook full of unique tips that will save you thousands of Euros when moving to / living in Spain.

Would you like to get it now?

Please click / tap on the image below:


Coverage areas

Alicante Province

Costa Blanca: These are my usual in-person coverage areas in Costa Blanca Spain,  Altea,  Calpe, Orihuela Costa,  BenissaGuadalest,  GuardamarJaveaMorairaAlicante, La Marina, DeniaVillajoyosa, Pilar de la Horadada, Benidorm, El Campello, Santa Pola, and, of course, Torrevieja; as well as other towns near Alicante.

Inland Alicante province: OrihuelaElche, Pinoso, Almoradi, Alcoy, Orba, Rojales, Biar, Crevillente, Los Montesinos, San Miguel de Salinas, Benijofar, Algorfa.

Murcia Province

Costa Cálida: including Costa Calida SpainSan Pedro del PinatarLos Alcazares, Santiago de la  Rivera, Mar Menor , San JavierMazarronAguilas.

Cities and towns in Murcia province: 

CartagenaYecla, Sucina, Totana, Alhama, Molina de Segura, Fortuna, Murcia city.

Other areas in Spain

I have collaborators almost everywhere all over Spain, so no worries, I can assist you anywhere you are in Spain, in cities such as: Zaragoza, Vitoria, Bilbao, Albacete, Almería, Logroño, Avila, Badajoz, Caceres, Majorca, Zamora, Barcelona, Burgos, Oviedo, Cadiz, Santander, Castellon, Pontevedra, Ciudad Real, Cordoba, Cuenca, Gerona, Granada, Guadalajara, San Sebastian, Huelva, Huesca, Jaen, Navarra, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Gijon, Leon, Lleida, Lugo, Madrid, Malaga, Orense, Palencia, Salamanca, Segovia, Sevilla, Soria, Tarragona, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Teruel, Toledo, Valencia, Valladolid.