How to Renew a Non Lucrative Residence Visa in Spain

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My most popular posts all begin with the phrase “How to…” so here’s another one in the Spanish Non Lucrative Residence Visa series.  The first series dealt with the initial application that is able to afford you 12-months of residency in Spain.

This is the first post of the next series related to renewing that residency.

Spain Non Lucrative Residence Visa Renewal

At the bottom of my initial approved residency paperwork was a little blurb that said if I was interested in renewing, I could do so within 60-days before or up to 90-days after my residency expiration date (which was July 1, 2015).

Because our family was planning on doing some out-of-country traveling at the end of July, I made it a goal to take care of all the renewal paperwork prior to leaving.  I didn’t want to find out what would have happened if we tried to re-enter Spain with expired residency cards.  We probably would have ended up with the one customs agent that doesn’t understand the “90-day after expiration” rule.

Anyway, I made a solo journey to the foreigner’s office with the only objective of trying to get a list of requirements for the renewal.  I waited my turn and found myself at Manolo’s desk where he promptly printed off a little pamphlet in Spanish with a succinct list of the items I needed to provide.  He also highlighted an email address that I was to write once I had all my paperwork together to request an appointment time.

Requirements

1.  Form EX-01 – Application for renewal of non-lucrative temporary residence (one per applicant).

2.  Original passport (for each applicant).

3.  Copies of *every* page of the passport (for each applicant).

My Note:  I believe this is to show how much time you’ve actually spent in Spain the past year as a “resident”.  You may not be approved if you are considered a resident, but spend very little time there.

[4/25/16 Edit:  I had heard that you need to spend a minimum of 6 months in Spain during your first year in order to be approved (180 days to be exact) and now have heard of a first rejection as a result of not spending enough time in Spain during that inaugural year.  So if you plan on renewing this type of residence visa, make sure the majority of your time is actually spent in Spain.]

4.  Proof of sufficient financial resources (one per family).

My Note:  To prove you can support yourself for another year in Spain, they require proof of recurring income.  In my little pamphlet of renewal instructions, there were the following monetary guidelines that were unchanged from a year ago.  They are a minimum of 2,130€ per month (~$2,470) plus an additional 532€ per month (~$620) for a spouse and each additional dependent.  This means 3,726€ per month (~$4,320) for our family of four (4).

For our initial application, I had simply submitted bank statements showing savings that eclipse the monthly amount extrapolated to a year.  For us, this translates to 44,712€ per year (~$52,000).  This year, I submitted one bank statement that totaled about double that amount.

5.  Proof of medical insurance with coverage in Spain (for each applicant).

My Note:  Based on the number of emails I’ve received about insurance, I know there is a lot of confusion swirling around this one.  What kind of coverage is needed?  Is repatriation required?  What about medical evacuation and deductibles?  Frankly, I have no idea.

Here is the seven-word sentence I received in my pamphlet of renewal requirements:  “Documentación acreditativa de disponer de seguro médico“.  Which I translate to “Accredited documentation arranged for medical insurance”.

As a result I went with a cheap, local Spanish company for our medical insurance this year and no one batted an eyelash.

6.  Proof of school enrollment (for each child/minor applicant).

My Note:  This was an interesting, new requirement – different from the initial application and one that I didn’t expect.  I visited our school’s secretary who whipped up a one-pager for each of our boys stating that they had been enrolled in Spanish public school for the entire scholastic year.  A quick signature by the principal made this requirement an easy one to fulfill.  I’m not sure what you’d do if you were homeschooling your kids.

Curve Balls

The pamphlet that I had went out of its way to say that all documents from other countries must be translated in Spanish (Castellano).  I wasn’t too concerned about this since out of the 6 items they were asking for, only my bank statement fell into this category.  And even then, it was only one page and contained primarily dollar amounts and dates.

Manolo informed me that I would need it translated.  Since we were now on a first name basis and I was feeling feisty, I prodded a little bit and said “come on, Manolo, it’s a half page document with nothing but dollars and dates, what is there to translate?“.

I think he understood where I was coming from, but I wanted to see what he would say because just prior to this meeting I had heard from another friend in Granada whose renewal was not accepted on the basis of an untranslated bank statement.

He said, “It isn’t up to me.  It depends on my colleague who will review your paperwork.  Look, gather up the rest of the stuff, make your follow-up appointment and let’s see what happens.”  That is just what I did.  They ended up accepting my bank statement as-is and saved me about 30€ in the process.

The Appointment

After a couple of days rounding up the needed paperwork, I emailed the office with days and times my wife and I were available.  Manolo had informed me that it wasn’t required that the kids show up to the initial appointment – only adults.  This was nice as we didn’t need to take our boys out of school.

We showed up early and had our paperwork ordered by applicant, which makes it easier for everyone.  Teresa was busy processing the paperwork and asking us about our first year when she came upon the bank statement.  I expected her to ask where the translated copy was but instead she asked me to write what the approximate account balance was in euros!

She confirmed that we were staying at the same address (we were) and informed us that if approved, the renewal was valid for two (2) years!  This is good news for us since we want to stay a little over one more year.

She also informed us that in order to get everything submitted, we’d have to pay the appropriate tasa (fee).  Which led to one more needed item.

7.  Form 790 Code 052 – Initial Residence Authorization (one per applicant).

At this point, I’ve pretty much learned that anytime you need to go into the foreigner’s office to process some paperwork, there is going to be a fee.  A fee that can’t be paid right there on the spot.  This is when they hand you Form 790 and hopefully have filled in the appropriate fee (15.76€ per applicant in this case).

Teresa said to pay the fees at an eligible bank (usually BBVA or Santander) and come back another day.  I think she saw the look on my face when she asked me to return and said if I hurried, I could run to the bank right then and get it all taken care of that same day.  Easy decision.

Additional Considerations

  • This information is valid as of June 2015.
  • The renewal process is significantly less strenuous than the initial application.  Note the lack of background checks, marriage and birth certificates, Apostilles, etc.  Wahoo!
  • Non-Lucrative Residence Renewals are good for two (2) years.
  • I think it helped to include everyone’s NIE numbers in all email correspondence so they knew who they were dealing with and can look up additional details as needed.
  • Children did not need to be present for the initial renewal appointment.
  • Ask the names of the people you deal with in the office.   It will take them aback, in a good way.   I did and think it made a difference in my dealings with them.
  • The biggest expense at this point of the process comes from making the needed copies (~10€ worth) and the fee associated with Form 790 (63.04€ total for our family) to submit our application.
  • There is no dealing with photos or fingerprints yet.  They aren’t needed until the renewal is indeed approved and you are beyond your initial residency’s expiration date.

This rounds out the application step of the renewal.  The next steps have been outlined in this post.

99 thoughts on “How to Renew a Non Lucrative Residence Visa in Spain”

    1. It’ll be a breeze, I’m sure. The crazy part of this residency stuff is that I have yet to hear of an example of someone being denied. Postponed or required to jump through more hoops? Yes. But flat-out denied? Nope. You?

    1. Time flies when you are having fun! Everyone’s doing great. You all? We’re currently in Italy again (Lake Como). Say ‘ciao’ to Fede for us.

  1. Hi, I’m planning to renew my visa now, but do you have information on how to make the appointment with the (foreigners’ office?) to submit the documents?
    Thanks so much, your post was so helpful!

    1. Hi Samantha. One of my letters had a link to the following online application.
      In addition, I suspect each city’s office has its own way of arranging appointments. As I mentioned in the write-up, my attendant provided me with a direct email address to him when I was ready to make an appointment. If you are renewing in Granada, hit me up and I’ll send you his email address. Otherwise I’d use the national online reservation system or visit your office in person and ask that way.

      1. Hi Jed,
        First of all, thank you for your concise explanation of the renewal process. Woo, you brought my stress level down, which is no easy task.

        So the one issue I’m confused about is the place file this paperwork. You say the foreigner’s office and when I look that up here in Gijon, Asturias, it gives me the Policia Nacional, which is where I went to submit this paperwork last year when I was living in Catalunya.

        I asked at my local town hall and of course got two separate answers.

        I’ll continue researching this myself but wanted to ask just in case you have the answer

        1. Hi Liviana. Unfortunately I don’t know the correct office for Gijon. I did a quick google search for ‘gijon españa oficina de extranjeros’ and it pointed me to the office in Oviedo. I´d just hit the street and first try the two locations you were told. You´ll stumble upon the correct place at some point! Good luck.

  2. Hello, thanks for our ebook and help on round 1. Here goes 2!! On Form 790 can you tell me what to check? Is it 1. a “Proggoga de estancia”(extend your stay?

    Thanks!

    1. I’d leave it blank and let the admins at the office check the appropriate box and also let you know the appropriate fee. I can’t say I remember what was checked as they filled this form out for us.

  3. About to renew myself, the comparative ‘ease’ looks promising. A question – were you not asked to present an empadronamiento? It seems like no, they just asked you if you were still at same address?

    1. We’re in the process of renewing, and so far, our experience has been a bit different from Jed’s. This seems to be common, though, as every province/region/person seems to want something different. Our requirement sheet from the extranjería specifically stated that we needed an empadronamiento. We just went to the correct office for registering with our old paper, and said we needed a new copy with a new date stamp. Took about two minutes, in and out (not counting the line heh).

      I personally would suggest that you do this just in case your extranjería wants it. ¡Buena suerte!

      1. Hi Bill. No, they did not ask me for empadronamiento but as Ryan mentioned, I think that is a rarity. I would plan on having it with you, especially if you have since moved locations.

        1. Thanks you-all. I’ve not moved since the first one. I’ll try to get a fresh one just carrying in the old one, that would be grand. I always figure they’ll ask to see the lease contract – in original no copies, younger than 3 mos old, printed on proper regulation paper etc etc etc. Hope always to deal with as few spanish bureaus or bureaus anywhere in fact as possible.

  4. Thank you, thank you so much Jed. We are planning on hanging around Andalucia after our year is up. 🙂 Hope you guys are having fun wherever you are.

    1. We got our insurance from http://www.insubuy.com/ and don’t find it to be particularly expensive. It’s definitely more expensive than Mapfre, but it was very easy to do and it’s all in English. Due to the pain of using some private insurance here, we actually just pay cash for everything – unless there’s something very major, which there fortunately hasn’t been as of yet – and consider the insurance part of the cost of getting a visa and living here.

  5. Hey, does anyone know for certain if the non-lucrative visa does eventually lead to perm residency and citizenship? And if so what’s time frame and process? Thanks Liam

    1. On paper, yes. However in practice I would be very surprised if this could ever be actually managed all the way through to citizenship. Spain is very much a 3rd world country in 1st world clothing. All of the bureaucracy apparatus is in place, but very little of it functions. There is no work ethic in Spain and the people who make the various bureaus and immigration processes function have little incentive or cultural motivation to see that the whole convoluted process actually works properly.

      My own experience bears this out (I am the fellow who posted above in November asking about empadronamiento). I have been legal resident in Spain for 1.5 years. The initial application process, which is well documented here and elsewhere, was the most ridiculous, backward, difficult system I have encountered over many years of living in various places abroad. However it was eventually surmounted and I was legally resident here. One year passed, and now came the time for renewal. The renewal process, exceptionally well documented on this very page, is supposed to be very simple and straightforeward. And so it is. All of my papers were unimpeachable, I had everything required, obtained my appointment, submitted my documents, paid the fee, and was told by the official everything is in fine order. I asked when the decision would arrive, and how. The official simply shrugged in responce to my first query, and to the second she said it would come in the mail. Official law says they must give some responce within 90 days. I sat back and waited. The author of this website states he received his decision via post in 6 days’ time.

      As I type this it has been 2.5 months and I have had no reply. Two days ago I returned to the immigration office to enquire, and was simply told I would first need to make a new appointment. They could tell me nothing save that something was indeed quite amiss if I hadn’t received a responce by now. The nearest appointment is several weeks away. I have booked the appointment but have largely lost all interest at this point. Bear in mind that after this one must obtain still another appointment to apply for residence card (soonest appointment will be 2-4 weeks away at best), and then after applying for card wait a further 40 days before the card is ready. The entire renewal process will by then have taken me, in this instance, nearly six months. Six months does not pass lightheartedly when the legality of your simple existence on the earth rests in a constant state of flux and limbo.

      I am leaving Spain largely because of this, in disgust. Not simply this single incident but an overwhelming tendency, in this country, toward this sort and shade of lackadaisical attitude toward everything. There are so many ludicrous hurdles placed before you here to accomplish the absolute simplest, most basic tasks I feel finally, after some time here, that it is not worth my time and energy to remain. I do not take this viewpoint from a position of ignorance. There are places in the world in which bureaucratic processes are both warranted and operationally functional. There are other places in the world which lack both the bureaucratic processes and also the fruits such processes afford. Spain occupies some nether-place in the middle of these. It wants to display the appurtenances of the first world, yet takes little or no responsibility for making those appurtenances to function.

      I moved here with the same idea / plan you seem to be eyeing here. Obtain legal residency with intent toward eventual permanent status and citizenship. After 2 years here I have lost all interest for fatigue with the state of things. I’ll gladly return to Mexico instead. I am an american citizen.

      To ‘answer’ though your query, the numbers on paper as far as I have come to understand are: you are given initially a 1 year residence permit. Then you renew and are given 2 years. Renew again and are given another 2 years. This makes 5 years so far total in residence. After that, you are able to renew again and obtain permanent residency. However, this still must be renewed I believe each five years. After ten years total residency in Spain, you are eligible to apply for citizenship. Eligible to apply does not mean it will be granted. There is a whole battery of tests, language and cultural etc., which stand in the way of the citizenship-seeker, and I am guessing this process would take years worth of obtaining and waiting for appointments, and chasing down papers, and still further appointments to obtain still further papers, and finding out the papers you have are no longer valid for being more than 90 days old, and beginning the process anew, etc. As I am finding out, the system here cannot seem to manage confidently my very run-of-the-mill, simple, straightforeward residency renewal without screwing it up. I would have zero confidence in seeing the process through to actual citizenship. The fact seems to be that Spain does not want you here, and these guaranteed fouls-up are the manner in which this distaste for non-refugee migrants is communicated.

      Best luck though, with your attempt.

      1. Thanks very much Bill, a lot to think about given I am risking losing my UK visa to move to Spain and already on a path to citizenship there.

        Hope it improves for you.

        Cheers,
        Liam

      2. Every experience is different. I say for those who want to stay, lean on friends in Spain, expats, do research and whatever you can to streamline the process. In Washington Dc, we were approved for our non lucrative in 30 days. Living near DC and Annapolis and making the visa a full time job, I gathered all paperwork needed in 10 days. This is rare, but the process for our family was 40 days. We submitted our renewal paper work in Valencia on October 20, 2015 with the help of an expat on FB who had just gone through the process. He gave us instructions on what to do, links on how to check things online and recommended making an appt ASAP online which we did. We picked up our cards January 15, 2016. I am not saying they are bending over backwards to help you, however, with some persistence and research you can do things in a timely manner. We came from Baltimore and as landlords in the city, I can’t say things in our government offices worked any smoother (sadly.) A fellow expat just got her residency and we were told after our next renewal we too will have our residency. Good luck to all, we love Spain and have no plans to return!

  6. Hi, My husband and I got a letter from Extranjero today asking us to show up within 10 days with paperwork to prove we still have sufficient funds, insurance and our passports ( with photocopies ). We initially submitted paperwork in L.A. April 27th, 2015, so we are nearing a year but our initial non-lucrative permit is good until Sept 1st, 2016 and we plan to renew around that time. We are in Alicante and must go to Valencia for this. Luckily enough, we just made reservations yesterday for a 4-day visit to Valencia next week ( are we psychic, don’t know … ) so it hopefully won’t be such a pain but I am curious if anyone else has experienced this and/or if this might go towards a renewal ?
    Thanks, Nancy

  7. Just an update for everyone reading this (and Jed!)…

    We applied a month before our renewal date, with all correct and complete paperwork. About 6 weeks later, we finally got a letter stating they were missing our proof of health insurance, even though it was in the first submission of paperwork for renewal. Ah well.

    So, we resubmitted that. A couple months later, we received notice that we were approved for two more years. They gave us an appointment to come in for fingerprints and to bring our paid taza and all that jazz, which we did back in March. On that day, they gave us an appointment for April to pick up our cards.

    Et voilà, we received our two-year renewal cards, nearly six months after we applied for them, and they expire in 1.5 years due to the delay haha.

    I know it’s different in every place; but in Seville, they’re now giving appointments for everything after the initial renewal submission/application. It’s nice because you know things might get done, but annoying to wait weeks just to go get some fingerprints taken or whatever. Also, at least here, one can now check the status of the renewal process online with a NIE.

    Happy renewing!

    1. Ryan;

      Congratulations for the renewal!

      Did you have to translate the medical coverage in Spanish? Thanks for the medical insurance link. I am considering getting the Insubuy “Atlas International” coverage for my renewal which is due in 3 months.

      Cheers
      John

    2. We just submitted our renewal about a month ago. And all they said was we will get a letter delivered. My wife and I have been checking our mailbox almost everyday and getting more and more anxious. But I guess if it did take that long for you, I should relax a bit. Although we didn’t have to provide any more additional information, they had given us 15 days to go back with our Health Insurance. But after that they just said we will get a letter at home.

  8. Does anyone know if I can stay in Spain for 90 days on a tourist visa after my 1 year non lucrative visa runs out? I spent 90 days here last year March-June, then traveled to the UK for the day to start my 1 year visa. They wanted me to enter the country during my long term visa time. Would it be simple enough as me leaving the last week of my eligibility of my 1 year visa, then re-entering under a 90 day tourist visa? I worry I will travel to the UK or to Morroco for a few hours, only to be told I’ve been in Spain long enough, and I can’t come back in. That would be a bad things as all my things are here and need to be moved back to the US when we plan on returning in September.

    Would it be safer to get pre-approval for a tourist visa (if that’s even possible)? If so, who do I contact for such a pre-approval. The consulate in the USA? Someone here in Spain?

    Thanks to anyone with any input.

    1. Hi Jim. I’m not sure I understand your scenario entirely, but let me offer up this anecdotal story. In short, if your extranjero office is any bit as helpful as the one here in Granada, you may be best paying them a visit and outlining your plan/need with them to see what they offer up.

      I had a friend whose family was here in Spain living for one year on a non-lucrative visa. They wanted to return back to the U.S. about 2 weeks *after* their visa expiration and were prepared to go through the renewal process just to be safe. Turns out while they were at the office trying to renew, the attendant sussed out their plan (just to stay another extra couple weeks) and offered a very easy alternative that was processed through the mail (?). I believe they had to show proof of their return by showing their airline tickets.

    2. Jim, did you get any further info on this? We are in a similar situation where we wish to leave Spain 25 days after our non-lucrative visa expires. Don’t want to stay longer than that. Anything you can share would be helpful.

      1. HI Andrew, yes you can. When your visa expires, you automatically fall back on Schengen, so 90 days. Should you change your mind and wish to renew your visa, you may do that within that 90 day window.

        1. I got the info here :

          http://extranjeros.empleo.gob.es/es/InformacionInteres/InformacionProcedimientos/Ciudadanosnocomunitarios/hoja011/index.html

          “Plazo de solicitud: durante los 60 días naturales previos a la fecha de expiración de la autorización. También se puede solicitar dentro de los 90 días posteriores a la fecha en que hubiera finalizado la vigencia de la autorización, sin perjuicio de la posibilidad de que sea incoado el correspondiente procedimiento sancionador”

  9. Hi Jed
    Great post!
    I’m about to get my non lucrative visa from the Spanish embassy here in Tel Aviv.
    Would you by any chance know about the wealth tax? If I stay less than 182 days in Spain the first year in order to avoid paying the wealth tax will I be renewed for the second year?
    Thanks
    Alan

    1. Hi Alan,
      Sorry – just seeing this now. I don’t know about the wealth tax but I do know that you’ll have trouble renewing if you stay less than a half year your first year. 183 days is the minimum.

  10. Your documentation of the process has kept me sane through the initial application and I’m looking forward to renewing!
    Question – did you need to give them your passport to be returned with your mail carrier, or just to present at the appointments?

    1. Glad to hear this helps, Rebecca. No, we did not need to give them our passports. They were for reference only and given right back. They did keep our copies of every page of all of our passports, however – ha!

    1. The office (Oficina de Extranjería) in Marbella is the (Cuerpo Nacional De Policía) CNP office on Avda. Duque de Lerma, Edif. España Local 2. This is located near the McDonalds on the traffic circle just south of La Canada shopping center.

  11. Awesome news! We arrived on non-lucrative visas at the end of October and are picking up our Tarjetas de Extranjero in a couple weeks. I’m so relieved to hear the renewal process is much easier. I have a question, though. Did you need to show empadronamiento? I ask because we will be moving around the country this year and won’t be renewing where we are receiving the Tarjeta. We’re currently in Tarragona but will most likely be in San Sebastian when we renew. Do you think that will matter?

  12. I know they need to see your passport and a copy – did they keep the passport? I am going on a short trip in the nesr future and am worried they will ask to keep it.
    Thanks for all the helpful info! The renewal is definitely proving less stressful than the original process.

  13. dear Jed :
    my second renewal for my non lucrative residence is refused due to not staying more than 180 days in Spain .
    can I apply for this visa another time from the Spain embassy at my country ?
    or what can I do because I still at Spain now ?
    thanks

    1. I’m sorry to hear that, AFAF. To answer your questions, I’m not entirely sure. I would think you could start the whole process again (from your home country) but ultimately I’m not sure. I’d ask about your options at your nearest foreigner’s office there in Spain.

  14. Hi there now its time for our first renewal and i wanted to ask which cheap medical insurance to use and i think the next card will be for 2 years. so the insurance has to be for two years as well. or one year should be sufficient?
    thanks in advance for help

    1. I’d check local providers like Mapfre or Sanitas. I think you’ll find them very reasonable. You will most likely need to operate in Spanish, however.

  15. Thanks a lot Jed. i called sanitas and they gave me quote for little above 520 euro a year which i think is reasonable. and i can pay it monthly. they told me maximum insurance certificate they will issue me is for one year and they said its sufficient for immigration even though i will get 2 year approval. I will call Mapfre as well and post a quote here so everyone know approximately how much is it.

  16. Now i have one more questions my empadronamiento is in salou Near tarragona. do i need a appointment for initial submission of application? if i need it then i dont know which option to select there are many options online when i go on website? I know i need appointment once i receive approval letter and go for finger printing but not sure for initial application submission if i need or not.

    1. I heard in cataluna you cant get online appointment to apply for your renewal application from past few months? and you have to apply in person… Does anyone has any information on it?

  17. Does anyone know how long it actually takes to get the letter? It’s been more than a month now for me and we still haven’t received it. This is my 1st renewal… and I did it in Castellon. What is the normal turnaround for renewal? My uncle living in Malaga got his letter after 3-4 weeks approx.

  18. Hello

    I have a question about the permanent visa. After having the permanent visa, even if you were with the non-lucrative visa during 5 years. You have the right to work or such like temporary visas, permanent visas also have some types? I also wonder if you have a work right, does it restricted to Spain or all over the Europe.

    Regards.

  19. Hi, just wanted to share what happened with us and our first renewal. We waited until the last moment. Our first 1 year visas expired mid June… we stayed here living and requested an appointment to renew in September. Our appointment was 89 days after our visas expired. Thankfully they accepted all the paperwork even though I messed some of it up.

    I asked the woman who helped us if it was legal to stay in Spain while this request was processed. She assured me it was. We waited a good 2 months for our approval letters to arrive. Now we have 2 more years of enjoyment.

    1. Thanks for the update, Jonathan! Good news all around. Quick question: the renewal of 2 years is from the date that your first year expired or from the date you received your approval letters? I suspect it is the former but wanted to see if you somehow gamed the system to get a bit of extra time due to the delays.

  20. I’d appreciate any updates on timing. We submitted our one year renewal forms on Nov 13 (our expiration date of our 1st year approval was Nov 21). We have now waited almost 4 months with no news at all. After a little over 2 months we went back to where we submitted the forms and were told that Spain had been backed up on the renewal process since August. Now it’s almost 4 months and still no news. We have been checking the website where it lists NIE numbers that have passed the 3 month mark but our NIEs are not there. We have gone to the submission place in Barcelona and it has a big sign on the door saying to direct all questions to a phone number. Some friends in Almuñecar said they waited over 3 months so we haven’t been stressing. Any ideas for how to get information about our renewals? BTW – the initial approval was easy in Washington, DC. They were very helpful there. Thanks! We love it here. Oh, and we were told to carry our submitted EX-01 form because it is stamped when you submit your forms. This way anyone looking at your expired date on your card will know that your submission is in process.

    1. Hi Robin. In reading through some of these comments through the years, I don’t think you’re alone in getting a delayed response. I like the idea of having your EX-01 forms handy if any question does come up – especially if you leave the country. It proves that at least you made the effort and did the renewal “on time”.

      1. Thanks for the moral support. Four months of waiting is pushing our comfort level. If we find out any further helpful information about the process I’ll let folks know.

  21. New information! Spain doesn’t notify you in writing anymore about the status of your residency renewal. (it must be a new change since we were told otherwise in November and January that they were simply backed up in responses. Also all the web sites have not yet been updated.) But now for the good stuff: Google the following: ‘información sobre los expedientes de extranjería.’ It brings you to a web site where you can check on the status of your renewal and if approved, print off the sheet of paper you need to take to the meeting to get your new card. Don’t forget to take the EX-17 form, your photos, and proof that you paid for the charge at the bank beforehand, too. Hope this helps others!

    1. HI Robin,
      Can you please tell me what message did you receive when you entered your N.E.I. and info. I keep getting that no info was found and to check back later. Does that mean that it has not been processed? Any info would be appreciated.
      Thanks Lisa

  22. For all one day we received either a 505 Error or the message that you got and we kept checking back later. Then the next day we got into the system and it showed we were approved and we printed off what we needed. You can get very basic information by texting 638444386 with only the message ‘NIE’ followed by your NIE number. Our response said, ‘Approved pending notification.’ We got this in November about a week after we submitted our paperwork. But then we never got any notification. The texting may give you peace of mind until you can get the website to work. Keep at it. I just tried it again and got the same error message you got. I think Spain is changing over to a new system and the bugs aren’t worked out yet.

    1. My experience was that for weeks I got “No results found” and sometimes a 505 error message when visiting the web site. During that time I used the SMS method which returned “TRAMITE-REQUERIDO.” Well, at least I knew I was in the system! Eventually, I received a snail mail request for an additional document, and submitted that document. About a week later I tried the SMS method again and got “RESUELTO OK, PTE.NOTIFICACION.”. At that point, I checked the web site, and received the correct response, marked “favorable.”

      Currently (9/2018) in Barcelona it is impossible to schedule the “toma de huellas” visit to get a new TIE card in the Comisaría de Policía on Rambla Guipuzcoa. That is where I went a year ago when I got the first one. The only places I was able to go were outside Barcelona in Manresa, Terrassa, Sabadell… Only dates available were over a month away.

  23. Very helpful info. I am moving with my family to Spain in 2 months with the non lucrative visa but we did not get the letter you were given. We just got the passports with the visa. I will try to check with the consulate and go from there. Question… Did you have to get a return flight ticket to enter Spain? Some people have been telling that I may not be allowed in the plane without a return flight.

    1. A non lucrative visa is open ended and will need to renewed in a year. Are you there to live? If so, I don’t understand your question about a return flight. You really only need your visa in your passport at this point. (In my query I was talking about the renewal process.) Once in Spain to live you have a month to register where you live with the adjuntamiento. Then you go about getting your NIE and Spanish residency card through the extranejeria. Once you have those, if they are current, you can go in and out of Spain with no issue. Did this answer your question?

      1. Hi Robin!

        Yes we are going there to live so I only bought a 1 way ticket to Spain. However someone that works for a travel agency told me that we may not be allowed in the plane or that we may get detained in customs in Spain or our connecting city if we do not have proof of a ticket to return. This sounded weird to me but the fact that the visa on the passport says 90 days stay instead of 1 year made me a little nervous. With that being said I wanted to hear your experience on this since you went through this already.

        Thanks! 🙂

        1. So long as you have the 90 day visa in your passports your are fine. I would apply for the residency card asap. A soon as you get an address. Good luck.

          1. I agree. You’re expected to apply for and hopefully receive your residency card within that 90 day period. But first you have to register at the adjuntamiento of the district where you live. No need for a return ticket.

  24. You have to pay for them ahead of time. Fill the form out only online where it adds the bar code and calculates and prints the fee.

  25. Is there an english-language forum where things like this are discussed? This comments section is the only I know of, so I post my current experience here.

    I am american, have been living in spain 3 years on non-lucrative permit. A month ago I applied for my second renewal in Barcelona. I have had the same address, same everything, all the time. Submitted the exact same documents as for first renewal (obviously current bank statements etc.) A few days ago a ‘missed delivery’ aviso waited me in the mail. Uh oh. Retrieving this from post office reveals the immigration believes I have been outside of spain for too long, due to scrutiny of entry/exit stamps in my passport. I am invited to present proof that I was not absent from spain for more than 6 months in a calendar year. Apparently I have ten working days from date of receipt to show up and defend myself. I do not know how they know I am showing up within ten days. I just received the letter today, the 12 May, but it is dated 19 April.

    The problem here is that I was not at all absent for that amount of time. What happens when you are resident (at least to me) is, when exiting the EU from countries other than spain, when the immigration officer sees that I hold a valid EU resident’s card, they usually hand it all back to me and wave me through. No stamp is put in my passport, in other words. This happens to me mostly when exiting / entering in France, Switzerland, or Holland. If entering / exiting from spain, I am almost always (but not ALWAYS) stamped. In any case, these sporadic omissions in entry / exit stamps make it looks like there are giant holes of time, the largest is 10+ months, where I was absent from the EU. Why I would keep my apartment, and keep paying the bills, only to be gone for 10+ months I have no idea. I have counted the days and across the last three years I have been away from the EU a cumulative 122 days. I do travel a fair bit, but far fewer than the maximum allowed.

    I honestly cannot believe that someone in an office somewhere actually sifted through the jumble of all of my passport stamps, of which there are many, to tease out the dates during which I was supposedly absent.

    I have dug out of my email three years’ worth of airline booking receipts showing dates of travel and entry / exit which I will print out to show. Also, I will be printing copies of bank statements during the time periods in which I am accused of being away from europe, which demonstrate things like withdrawals from the ATM at the end of my street in Barcelona. Finally I will be writing a document which explains the above, that the stamping of passports of resident-card holders when entering / exiting the EU is not universal, and until now I never thought it important to DEMAND that they stamp me on exit / entry. I am always all too happy to save the stamp-space in the pages.

    With all hope, this will be sufficient to convince them. However, I would lie if I said I was confident. In actual fact I am terrified. So I am now looking down the barrel of what – deportation? Does anyone know the mechanics of being refused residency renewal? I have an apartment with a lease, pots and pans, furniture, a car, a girlfriend, a social life and obligations. So one is supposed simply to walk away from everything, his entire life? What of my landlord, who is / was counting on the rental income? Is there a grace period between refusal of renewal in which one might dissolve his existence? Or one is simply rendered illegal from one moment to the next, and thus subject to fines or travel ban when he does go to exit at immigration? Or does the standard 90-day tourist visa kick in on the day of refused renewal? So I am refused renewal – am I expected to simply stuff what I can into a bag and go straight to the airport, leaving everything else behind for someone else to deal with? I am very curious.

    I write this here only to share my experience with others. I have been helped by reading the experiences in this comment section and now I pay in my piece. My advice to anyone looking to renew, and who has travelled in and out without being stamped every time, it is probably best to lose your passport and get a fresh blank new one before handing in the copied pages.

    Thanks for reading.

    1. A follow-up to my above story. Today 23 May I handed over my defense papers to the extranjeria. I had all flight itineraries (via booking receipts) for last 3 years to show all dates / cities of entry / exit of schengen. I had bank statements for all disputed periods during which I was accused of being absent, which showed ATM withdrawals in Spain and were marked very clearly and obviously. I prepared a written statement, in spanish, explaining everything in detail very clearly (this was checked by a native spanish speaker also). I made a paper which listed very clearly the dates on which I entered and exited the EU, and via what city, and whether or not my passport was stamped, for the last three years. This to augment simplicity in sifting through flight booking receipts. Everything was made as clear and complete and easy to read and understand as possible.

      I was the last person served at the office. The man at the desk looked at my case and said he cannot do anything but scan and send my documents in. No decision could be given there. I figured this. I explained my fear and stress over this and the severe impact this has had on my life. He looked through my documents and said if it were him, he would say it all looks good and makes sense. But it is not him who decides (of course. in spain it is never the person you actually talk to). Later, as he was scanning my documents, he suggested it might not be good enough because who is to say I didn’t just give someone my bank card and have them make withdrawals at ATMs while I was away? He accused me of this with a straight face. Next he said it would have been better if I had been sick frequently because then I would have medical records to show. I did not feel compelled to apologise to him for being in (at least before all of this) good health.

      In the end that was all. He gave me a paper confirming he’d sent it all through. I asked in the case of final rejection, what happens, how long does one have to get out? He said he didn’t know, but he thinks 15 days. I have been here 4 years. 15 days to dismantle and erase a life spent 4 years building. Relationships, house / apartment lease, plants / pets, furniture, pots, pans, automobile, whatever else comprises a modern life. You have 15 days to obliterate it and get out.

      Now I wait. I will update in this comment section when a decision comes. In the meantime the stress and worry and fear resultant to this has me feeling very near to stroke. In fact I nearly went to hospital today for it. I have been so disgusted by this process and these accusations, which are entirely false and brought about through no wrongdoing of my own, I am thinking I do not even want to remain here. Even in the event of a favourable decision I may leave spain. I have no confidence in this country or the processes in place and will or would never again feel “safe” from this sort of thing here. It seems you are simply never safe from someone else’s mistake wiping out your life entirely.

      I do not mean to make this space my personal diary but am posting this here for the potential benefit perhaps someone else might take from it down the line.

      1. All is going to be ok Will, I have been waiting for almost 3.5mos now (no notices yet) for my visa renewal. Guess I’m not the only one.

  26. To renew your visa these days, Spain doesn’t let you know by mail. You must check a website. Google ‘Informacion de estado de expedientes de extranjera’ to get to the website. Use your NIE to check to see if you’ve been approved. If so, then there is a page to print off to take to the extranjeria along with your completed and paid 790-012. It’s about 19 Euros. In Barcelona we had to set up our meeting with the extranjeria on http://www.seap.minhap.gob.es. All the best! (We waited over 3.5 months when we learned about this website and our renewal had been approved a week after we submitted our paperwork. )

    1. Hey robin! Just got my expediente nbr just now after checking it again and again. Hang on to your patience guys. 😉

    2. I must differ with this, I am afraid. If only something were so confidently universal in spain. My (still ongoing, barcelona-based) renewal story is above. I checked the status website for a month to see the status “en tramite” unchanged. Additional paperwork was needed, and the notice of this came via certified letter to my house. The date on the letter was ten days after I’d submitted my application (of course it then took 3 weeks to go across town in the post). When I supplied in-person the additional papers, the desk man said the decision notice would come in the mail, not the website. The website took another two weeks before it reflected this status of “tramite – requerido” or “something else required” that the postal letter notified of.

      Also, at bottom of the online status page see the notice which says “communication of the resolution will be sent through the mail to the address on your application.”

      I am not calling anyone here a liar, only expressing that it is not universal that the website is the only sovereign means of notice now, even if the bureaucrat himself tells you so. Nothing in this country is ever that easy or straightforward or sensible. When I renewed two years ago I was told by the desk official the decision would come in the regular mail. I waited 3+ months, nothing came, I went back to ask, and now the desk person literally laughed in my face, “no, it would never come in the mail, check the website.” I made him show me the website and the decision had been rendered about 3 weeks after my application.

      In short it is just like spain to build and implement an easy, reliable, modern system of status-inform on the internet, and then entirely ignore it and revert to sending people their resolution via certified, signature-only postal letter at some hour of the day when inevitably they won’t be home.

      Of course, we don’t lose anything by checking the website obsessively, either.

      1. Hello Will

        I just wonder one thing. Are you definitely sure that they are checking only the stamps on your passport.

        Maybe there is a mechanism which let them see your entrance exit to other schengen countries and they have made an online query and check ?

        If they are checking the stamps then they assume that you immediately came to spain from netherlands etc ?

        I really wonder how they count the days you have been in Spain. It sounds me weird that they are counting your visa stamps on the passport.

        1. As I understand, the ‘scanned’ information of passport checks at immigration control (when they scan your passport on the little machine) isn’t shared between EU nations. Sure in cases of serious import, criminal stuff, it can be collected and checked, but it’s not a single system that’s all linked together. I believe that’s the reason they require a copy of EVERY passport page when you submit for renewal. It’s so some poor bastard at a desk somewhere can tease out from all the smeared, jumbled stamps what dates you entered / exited the EU and see if your time violates their 6-months-per-year rule.

          As there are no border checks between EU countries there is no way for them to know whether you returned to spain from netherlands, or france, or wherever.

          I too find it very strange that someone has that job of scrutinising stamps in a passport. I was astonished when I received the letter, especially since this is my SECOND renewal. However, the letter they sent me reflects only the dates of the entry / exit stamps in my passport. I think if there was some other way they were checking it, they wouldn’t reference only the passport stamps. And even then, my story in my ‘defence’ would still be 100% true and accurate, because the times they haven’t stamped me in / out at immigration, neither have they scanned the passport in the machine. When I hand them both passport and residence card, they briefly glance at it, hand it back, and wave me through (in places like france etc). So there would be no record even if all of the systems were linked up.

          Spain stamps my passport in and out pretty much every time. So I guess Spain assumes everyone in the EU stamps passports every time too. But it isn’t the case. It’s just another weird aspect of the EU being a union pretty much in name only. Every country does things by different rules and standards. I had residency in Germany for three years before moving to Spain, and in Germany there is NO clause which states you have to prove at each renewal that you weren’t absent for more than 6 months. You do not have to submit copies of your passport pages, etc. Not to mention the whole permit process takes about 3 hours in a single day, top to toe, rather than the months and months and months of waiting and appointments and more appointments you endure in Spain even in the best case scenario. My last renewal here in Spain took 5 months, from submitting the papers until I had the new card in-hand. 5 months, and nothing went wrong that time, no problems no trouble. Preposterous.

          I don’t mean to write so much here every time, but this whole thing clearly inflames my rage. In addition to an immigration lawyer, I’m going to need a therapist from all of this.

  27. Thanks for your story showing that there is not a ‘one size fits all.’ It seems like needing to submit additional paperwork (plus who knows what else) complicates things a lot. I’m sure I’ll be checking this thread when we have to renew in 2019. We’ll be glad when we get to the 5 year renewal periods. Good luck to all of us relying on this process.

    1. Oh guys new info, my friend went to extranjeria office just now(Madrid) and was told to pass her docs renewal to her Ayuntamiento! So she just have to wait their confirmation letter and get ready for huellas . But let’s see how long will it takes to received her letter 😉

  28. Herewith an update to my grand sad travail outlined above. Spain has accepted my defence against their charges of being outside of Spain for too long. Buried in a terrifying letter absolutely brimming with legalese and references to various government statues etc was the news that my evidence was sufficient and the validity of my residency remains intact. So halleluya for that, I suppose. The date on the letter was the 24th May, the day after I handed in my papers of defence. It was not delivered however until 3 weeks later.

    Now I continue to wait the approval (godwilling) of my renewal. The favourable outcome of the absent-from-spain accusation took much of the stress off, but far from all. I continue checking the website daily, to see my status of “Tramite – Requerido” unchanged. But then it’s “only” been 2.5 months since I began the renewal process, so it’s still early.

    I’m bracing myself for it all to take so long that by time I have the actual new card in-hand and the whole thing finished, I’ll only be about 5 or 6 months away from having to start the renewal process again.

  29. Well here is another sad update to my 2nd renewal saga. Today, 14 July, I have checked the status website to discover the resolution of my renewal as “No Favorable.” Sigh. I have no idea what reason they could, now, have to refuse me. And especially for it is apparently outright refusal, and not simply an appeal to see further papers or clarification over something.

    I suppose I must wait for the official resolution papers to come in the mail and which perhaps might list some clarification as to the reason. But hell, perhaps not. In any case I’ll have to take this to a lawyer and start the appeals nightmare. As I say they’ve NO sound reason, that I know about, to deny me. I’ve zero criminal history here nor anywhere on earth. I have demonstrated well over the base-amount of required money for the non-lucrative visa, the same as my last renewal. I have spanish health insurance. I don’t have kids or wife so the “kids must be in school” rule doesn’t apply. I haven’t violated any rules by earning money in spain. It’s a mystery.

    Does anyone here reading this know of an english language, or hell any language, forum where things like this are discussed? This comments section of an old blog post is very nice, but I would love to know if there were somewhere more regularly updated or trafficked in which to ask questions. Any info would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Will I’ve read through your whole story and I’m wondering if you filed an appeal. I had a similar experience in Teruel. My husband, daughter, and I submitted our first renewal 59 days before expiration because we had a summer trip back to the States planned. We flew back to Spain 1 week after our cards expired. Within a week we received an on-line, and later, mail, request for further proof of financial documents. I had originally submitted a bank statement showing almost double the required amount.
      I wasn’t sure what to expect. We actually spoke to the boss at Extranjería (the one who would be making the decision) and she said she wanted proof of income from our jobs in the States (we go back summers to work to keep the coffers full). I explained that, unlike most Spaniards, we are paid hourly so my past income is no guarantee, but she said that’s what she wanted. I got a letter from my HR department stating my hourly wage and also a long printout showing my wages for last year. We submitted it figuring they would request more info if needed. No such luck. After a month we received a flat out denial on line. No Favorable. We immediately went in and brought a native speaker friend in case we didn’t understand correctly. Apparently they couldn’t tell if our documents were fake or not and said we should have gotten them apostilled.

      My question for everyone- any of you get your financial documents apostilled??

      So at this point we had to do a Recurso de Alzada-oficial appeal going over the head of the Extranjería boss who denied us.

      This experience was an absolute nightmare. We kept getting conflicting information from the Extranjería boss and one of her clerks. We got sent to the policia at one point and they gave us a blatant “WTF? Extranjería should help you. Not us.” We spent hours in and out of Extranjería trying to figure out what documents they actually wanted. They didn’t actually know.

      Finally they tell us just to take our original documents to the Spanish notary and have them draw up a sworn statement from us saying the documents are real and we have enough money. 200+€ later we submit our sworn statement with our official appeal. Well, the clerk reads it, takes off his glasses, and puts his head in his hands. We’ve just done exactly what his office told us to do and now he’s acting despondent? I’ve never felt more hopeless myself.

      That was this morning and now we wait. Our denial letters say we have 15 days to leave the country, but the result of our appeal can take 3 months. I’m feeling fed up with this country now, and wondering whatever happened with your appeal. Did you go through with it or just leave?

      1. Hello, just read your story above, and it looks like we are having the same exact issue. Just saw our No Favorable online. We had to submit additional documents from the bank in the US, had them officially translated, but I guess its not good enough. So now we are looking to submit the appeal. Have you had any results or update on your appeal yet?

        Thank you!

        Iryna

        1. Out of curiosity, what province are you in? We’re in Teruel, in Aragon, and the workers at the Oficina de Extranjería seem totally clueless about everything. I wonder if bigger cities are more accustomed to dealing with this?

          1. Oh, thank you so very much! This is really helpful. We are in Javea, Alicante. Looks like the process will be similar though. Again, thank you for a detailed answer. Keeping my fingers crossed it goes well for you and us !

      2. Update-
        We got nervous while waiting for the results of our Recurso de Alzada and ended up meeting with a lawyer. She submitted an addendum to our recurso within the required 30 days. I was able to get a notarized letter from vanguard and scanned her a copy from the US (I was back in the US recently making it easier to collect docs). I also got a notarized letter from my boss showing all my paystubs for the last 1.5 years. The lawyer submitted copies of these.

        I sent both letters for apostilles and should have those by next week. The lawyer will try to submit them but we are well past our 30 days.

        The lawyer seems confident we should win our Recurso. She says if we get denied again we will file our final attempt- a Recurso Contencioso. This will be in front of a judge. She says she will supoena our Spanish and US banks to show all ATM transactions. And we will have the apostilled documents by then.

        Finally, she told us that they almost always respond on the 90th day to a Recurso de Alzada. They mail a letter and that can take a week to arrive. Assuming that, we should know by the 2nd week of January.

        She also told us we are legally allowed to be here while appealing.

        My advice is to get a lawyer who specializes in Extranjería to file your Recurso. Ours is so much more knowledgeable than anyone who works in our Oficina de Extranjería. As for proving your bank statements are real- call your bank and beg them to sign a statement in front of a notary. Use scary words like “deported” and perhaps they will cooperate. It’s difficult when you don’t have a brick and mortar bank. Then you can mail your notarized document for an apostille. It’s so contrived, but I guess it’s how Spain wants it. It’s nearly impossible to get it all done in 30 days, but with luck and help from a stateside friend you might be able to.

  30. Hello! Where were you able to get an appt so fast for this! I’m doing my renewal but they are telling me it’s a 6 month wait for an appt!!! I have to leave for 2 months to the USA and need an appt

  31. Hi. Great article. Thank you! We have been in our renewal process for 6 weeks now. We got cold feet and hired attorneys to help us with our first visa renewal process. This was good because they caught a small bump in the road. One of our passports was going to expire within the next two years so we had to get that updated before proceeding. But this week, there is another roadblock. We are now being told we still can’t make an appointment because we need another copy or our marriage certificate with Apostille, (ugh!), in order to renew. Just thought I’d let people know so they don’t get surprised like us. I hope this is the last surprise for us. Fingers crossed…

  32. Hello there…Very informative article. I am trying to find out status on my Application for renewal online . I am entering all the information correct but its telling me file not found. I applied for renewal in Barcelona more then 3 weeks ago. Anyone knows if i am doing anything wrong. or any solution how to find out the status. Thanks for any help on this matter…

  33. Hi there, I just wanted to note that Jed’s information above has been incredibly helpful to us (when we renewed our visa) and continues to help others going through this process. Our own process was straightforward, and we received our renewal without a hitch, although it did take several month to process. It may be because Granada is a smaller office, but we found the staff there quite knowledgable and helpful. My only point is that the process can (and does) often work well.

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