Spanish Residence Permit Renewal – Approval


In my mind, there are four (4) main steps to renewing a Residence Permit for Spain via a non-lucrative visa.  They are:

Step 1.  The Renewal Application

Step 2.  Approval

Step 3.  Residence Card Renewal Appointment

Step 4.  Card Pickup

This post will cover Steps 2 through 4.

Step 2.  Approval

Exactly six days after submitting our Non Lucrative Residency Visa renewal application there was a knock at our door.  Standing there was our out-of-breath post carrier eager for my wife to sign for a certified package.

“What the heck could this be for?” we wondered.  We opened its contents and found glorious approval letters for each member of our family.


In them contained additional instructions to essentially turn those letters into new NIE residency cards with updated expirations.  To do this, we needed to schedule another appointment with the Foreigner’s Office and bring with us:

  • The Renewal Approval letters with assigned NIE for each applicant (photo above).
  • Two (2) copies of Spanish passport-sized (carnet) photos for each applicant.

My Note:  The official size of carnet-sized passport photos in Spain is 32 x 25mm.  Use these instructions on how to obtain these for next to nothing instead of paying $10+ elsewhere.

  • Passports and a copy of the passport “details” page (with photo, number, and other personal information) for each applicant.
  • Proof of payment of fee (tasa) via Form 790 Code 012.

Step 3.  Residence Card Renewal Appointment

Because this last list of requirements was so small and manageable, I got overconfident.  Within one day, I had everything we needed and wrote the email address included in our approval letters to request an appointment for the entire family to submit the last of our paperwork.  This was in late May requesting an appointment in early June.

The Foreigner’s Office promptly wrote back and confirmed my appointment for July 2.  They explained that we at least needed to wait until our current residency cards have expired before applying for new ones (expiration was July 1).

My second mistake was not interpreting the fee (tasa) correctly.  I had seen that they were asking for proof of payment for Form 790.  I remembered that I had paid a fee associated with Form 790 Code 052 during my last visit to the office upon renewal application and thought they were just asking for that receipt again.  “Yeah, I already have paid” I thought.

Well, July 2 rolled around and I confidently presented all of our paperwork and waited for the rubber stamp.  Not two minutes into the discussion and the attendant asked where my payment for Form 790 Code 012 was.

My surprised: “Oh, it’s another fee?!” was met with a nodding head.  In my lame attempts to explain my confusion, the attendant just interrupted and said, “if you hurry, you can run to the bank right now while I process the rest of your family’s paperwork.”  Done and done.  This fee was an additional 18.54€ per applicant.

Just like during the first round one year ago, they do take another electronic copy of your fingerprints and signature.  Be sure to have all members of your family present for this step – even children.

Once everything was collected, they provided a receipt of sorts that called out our “lot” number and advised us to return after 25 days to pick up our formal residency cards.


Step 4.  Card Pickup

This is the easiest step of all.  After the 25 days pass, make another visit to the Foreigner’s Office.  They do not notify you when your card is ready.  At our particular office, there was no need to “take a number”.  We just identified ourselves as needing to pick up our physical residency cards and they ushered us directly to the lady who seemed to have a big metal shoe box full of them.Card

We showed her our receipt and they again took the electronic fingerprints (maybe for validation?) and we were off.  Again, only those physically present are able to pick up their cards (including kids).


Wahoo!  Did you make it?

Please tell your experience renewing your Spanish visa in the comments below.

34 thoughts on “Spanish Residence Permit Renewal – Approval”

  1. Thanks so much for this information! Once you had all of your documents that you outlined in the previous post- how did you schedule the initial appoint? Did your gestor do it or could you schedule it online?
    Ours will expire August 16th, 2016. We want to renew early. After reading your post I’m concerned about the time frame. We plan to spend July and August in the U.S. Therefore we’d need to complete this process by the end of June. Will they allow this? Or will they make us wait until ours expire so we would have to do it in September? Thanks!!!!!

    1. Hi Jenny. Because I had visited the foreigner’s office prior to formally submitting everything, I had an email contact with whom I scheduled the initial appointment. No gestor was used.
      Based on my experience, I don’t think you’ll be able to renew early. My contact wouldn’t allow me to schedule the appointment to submit our renewal paperwork until the day after our first year residency expired. As always, your experience may vary.

  2. Hello Jed- as to how long you waited for pick up…. was the 25 days calendar days or weekdays? ie approximately 3.5 weeks or 5 weeks? I know it may only be an approximation but just wanted toget the best sense of the time as I could.
    Thank you

  3. Hello Jed – Thanks for all the very helpful info! We will be renewing our non-lucrative visa later this year and will surely be helped by your posts on the subject. I was wondering if you know what happens after the two, 2-year renewals (after you’ve been in Spain 5 years)? Do you have to apply for citizenship if you want to stay longer? Any info or direction is appreciated. Thanks!!

    1. Hi Mark. To be frank, I’m not sure what happens after the 5 years. Anecdotally I’ve heard that after the initial 5 (in the form of 1 year + 2 years + 2 years), apparently you can do the 1+2+2 again to gain another 5 years (10 total at this point) after which then you can apply for citizenship (or permanent residence) or what have you. I know this wouldn’t apply for us so I haven’t followed up on it much. If you hear something more concrete, feel free to keep me posted. I am curious and would like to know. Heck, never say never, right?

      1. Hey Jed – Thanks for the prompt and frank reply. We have heard similar anecdotal things as well. If we ever get a concrete answer, I’ll let you know. It sure would be nice if anyone in government here could just give us a straight answer. Oh well, I guess it would not be Spain if everybody thought a lot about rules! If you are ever in Barcelona, drop me a line and I’ll take you out for a canya or cava. Thanks again!

  4. Hey

    Does this non lucrative visa mean you are no longer a resident of your home country? Also, does it mean you are a resident in Spain for tax purposes and need to declare your worldwide assets to Spanish tax authorities? We are Canadians with a house in Spain which we have owned for 30 years but can only use it 90 days every six months. We are looking to spend 5 months a year in Spain. Any info you have would be much appreciated. Gracias.

    1. Hello G. Brooke Carter,

      My wife and I have the non-lucrative visa and live in Spain full-time. However, we are still residents of the US for tax purposes and file and pay in the US each year. With this visa Spain does NOT require you to file or pay any income taxes in Spain. This is because with this visa you are not allowed to work in Spain, and thus generate income in Spain, so no income tax need be paid. My wife and I both work online and have both active and passive income from the US, which is not only permissible with this visa, but necessary for this visa as they require you to provide bank statements showing you will have the means to support yourself while not working in Spain. One thing you need to look into further is the amount of time you need to spend in Spain each year in order to get this visa renewed. Five months will likely be enough, but I haven’t researched this issue since we live here full-time. The initial visa is granted for one year, then you have to renew (within 60 days before or 90 days after initial visa expiry). The renewal is good for two years, and then you can renew again for another two years. The non-lucrative visa seems like it a good option for you as long as Spain does not require you to be in Spain for more than 5 months a year to get your renewals. Hope this was helpful!

      1. Hello- “…as long as Spain does not require you to be in Spain for more than 5 months a year to get your renewals. ” Is that a requirement being in Spain more than 5 months per year?

        1. Hi all,
          I’d be careful with the minimum amount of time you need to live in Spain on this residence visa in order to successfully renew. At the time of writing, I had no idea what it was but have a friend going through this process right now who has been traveling outside the country quite a bit and they told him he needs to prove he’s been in Spain for a minimum of 180 days (about half-year, 6 months) in his first year to be able to successfully renew. Seems fair to me. I’d double check with the administration if you plan on renewing to see if you could get away with anything less than that.
          Of course, your mileage may vary.

          1. Be interesting to see if they said 180 days or 186 days. If I am outside Canada for more than 186 days, I lose my Canadian Health care, which I don’t want to lose, and my understanding always was that if you are in Spain for more than 186 days, you
            are a tax resident. I already pay “income” taxes as a property owner in Spain. I know that if you want a full residencia, you have to spend the 186 days each year for 6 years.

            1. Wow Brooke- I didn’t know that. I’m just up for my 1st year renewal. I wish they told me that before I went through the whole process of getting my residency last year. Would you be able to direct me to any Spain site or document that confirms that number & that requirement?
              Thx/ Brad

      2. Mark,
        As far as I learned, you are considered Spain resident for the tax purposes, as soon as you spend 183 days during a calendar year in Spain. Are you sure, that you are free from filing Spanish income tax while staying in Spain on this visa?
        Please let me know (if possible) the source you received your information from.
        Thank you!

        1. Greg,
          Death and taxes, right? Well, I’m sure about the death part, but I’m not 100% sure of much of anything else, much less as regards the Spanish bureaucracy. I’ve read about Spain’s rules on “fiscal residency”, and you very well may need to file and pay taxes in Spain, but I am not the one who can tell you that for sure. As such, and as a retired US tax attorney, I would recommend getting your advice from a Spanish tax attorney about your specific situation.

      3. Hi Mark. Sounds like you and your wife are in a similar situation to my partner and I. We are halfway through our first 2-year renewal of the non-lucrative and we’re starting to think about the next one. Last time, the lawyer we worked with told us that we needed to move the entire amount of money required (2040 euros per month X 24 months!) into a spanish bank account. We did that at the time because we were desperate, but I’m hoping that won’t be necessary the 2nd time around. When you’ve renewed, what documentation did they accept for the financial requirements?

  5. I was out of Spain for more than 6 months and was denied when trying to renew my residence permit. Now I have to start over from the beginning in my home country 🙁

    1. Hi Kate- thx for your post. Would you know of any specific Spain website page or document that confirms that number & that requirement? I haven’t found anything yet.
      Thx/ Brad

  6. Hi, I am in a similar situation as Kate. I am American but I have owned a home in Spain for years. I have been going in and out on the tourist visa and they definitely are questioning you more and more now with the chipped passports as they can track your exact comings and goings. I have finally decided to apply for a residency visa. My husband is a UK passport holder so he can go in and out no problem (thus far). I have two grandparents born in Spain thus after a year of residency in Spain I can apply for Citizenship, which is the goal. The thing that scares me is the Patrimonio tax which means they can tax your worldwide assets (which for us are homes and savings) so I may have to pay the tax one year. Once I get my citizenship, then I can avoid it. I have been emailing with the local US Consul about exactly how many days during my first year of residency I have to remain in Spain so that I can successfully apply for Citizenship and he has avoided the answer although answering all my other questions. I would like to travel back to the US during that first year, maybe for two weeks every two to three months. My husband is going to stay working in the US while me and my infant son move for the year. I will certainly ask during our interview. Does anyone have any concrete answers if I can leave Spain at all during that first year or tips? My husband is the breadwinner so he will support us and can’t leave the US.

    1. Hi there! I am currently in Spain on a Non Lucrative Residency Visa. When applying for the visa there is an option to request number of re-entries (I think it was none, two, or multiple); I wasn’t entirely certain what that meant so I selected multiple as I was expecting the arrival of my first grandchild back in the States and didn’t want to miss out. That being said… once you obtain your initial visado for your passport (done Stateside) you then must go through the process of obtaining your Identity Card (Permiso de Residencia) when you arrive in Spain which, once started, takes no less than 45 days start to finish (card in hand). Once you have your card, you can come and go in and out of Spain as you wish. But as stated in the other posts previous to this, you will want to keep in mind your ultimate purpose for residency with respect to the amount of time you plan to be out of Spain.

  7. When I originally came to Spain (BCN) last year on a non-lucrative visa my lawyer told me the renewal process would be really easy–and that he would help me. So, like a good girl I contacted him in October of 2016 to start the renewal process (NIE expiration Dec. 11). It was at that time he told me he wouldn’t help me, and I also discovered many of the other things he’d told me about the visa in the first place were false. So I spent all of October trying to find another lawyer: one month lost. On the 1st of November I met the new lawyer, and impressed upon him the importance of getting everything submitted before the US election, because if Trump won there’d be an onslaught of Americans applying for visas. He didn’t listen to me, application did not go in until early December. It is now February and I still have no receipt, no way of tracking, no assurance that I can stay, hearing frightening phrases about having to go before what sounds like a tribunal for them to determine my case… I’m from DC so going to the Spanish embassy and running around getting all my paperwork and apostilles for the original visa was easy–right in my backyard essentially–and took me two days. And once it was submitted, it took six weeks for the final approval. But this time–I’m in my 4th month of this odyssey!

  8. Hello Jed- have you ever heard, with a non lucrative residency in Spain, what the minimum time required in country each year is? so that one is able to qualify for renewal each time it comes due?
    Thank you, Brad

    1. Yes, anecdotally I have heard you need to prove a minimum of 183 days in Spain the previous year. In other words, you need to spend over half your time in country in order to be considered for renewal the following year. As with all of this stuff, however, your mileage may vary.

  9. Hi Jed, an important question comes to the picture about 183 days. I have to leave for almost 2-3 months but then I will turn back permanently. For example If your residency start by end of April and you spend around 150 days in the calendar year. However till the next April you have exceed the threshold and be in Spain around 250 days(from april 2017 to april 2018). Do you think you are eligible to renew your residency or they are counting the calendar year not your full year.

    Best Regards.

  10. Jed,
    Thank you so much for all the great information. Do you know where I might be able to find out more about the income requirements for a non-lucrative visa. I’m trying to determine if I would be permitted to work with – that is, as a consultant, not an employee – Spanish companies, organizations and/or individuals as a resident on this visa.
    Appreciate any information you may have,

    1. Hi Laurie. Sorry, your comment got stuck in my Spam filter. Anyway, that is a good question that I don’t know the answer to. I’d hit up your local consulate. My hunch is that I believe you’d have a hard time consulting for a Spanish company “above the table” since then you may be dealing with Spanish taxes, etc. but ultimately I’m just guessing.

    2. Hi Laurie

      You definitely can’t work legally in any way with your non-lucrative visa. If you want to work as a freelancer, you should be autonomo here and as far as I know it is a complete different process.

  11. Jed, I can’t tell you how helpful your blog has been to us over the past few years. Our visa renewal appointment is today, and I was sure that we had already paid the fee, but thought I would check your blog just to be sure I was correct, and sure enough, I see that you made the same assumption. Like you, we just can’t get enough of Granada! I met Radhika on a group walk above the Alhambra when your family last visited, but did not get a chance to meet you. Thanks again. –Dani

    1. Hi Dani. Good to hear you’re renewing and funny that this process appears to be consistently confusing! I believe I met your son at the slushy shop near school last time we were there. Enjoy the next couple of years!

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