The dream of settling in a foreign country is an exciting and rewarding goal for many. Spain, with its Mediterranean charm and relaxed lifestyle, has become a desirable destination for those seeking a new adventure.

The Non-Lucrative Residence Visa (NLV) is one of the most popular residency options for non-EU nationals wishing to reside in Spain; however, there are many elements to consider before deciding if it is right for you. For example: the taxes, the benefits, the amount of money you need and how its requirements compare with other types of residence visas.

But it is also very important that, when applying for Non-Lucrative Residency for Spain, you avoid certain common mistakes that could hinder your application process.

Here is a guide to the most common mistakes you should avoid when applying for your Non-Lucrative Residency in Spain. Let's get to work!

1— Lack of financial planning

The authorisation granted by the non-lucrative residence visa allows third-country nationals to reside in Spain without exercising a professional activity or working. To do so, the applicant must prove that he/she has sufficient financial means to support him/herself and, if applicable, his/her family.

One of the most serious mistakes you can make when applying for a Non-Lucrative Residence is not planning your financial resources properly. It is essential to demonstrate that you have sufficient financial means to support yourself and, if necessary, your family, without the need to work in Spain. Many applicants underestimate the amount of funds needed to cover living expenses in Spain, which can result in the application being rejected.

Tip: Before starting the application process, carry out a thorough analysis of your finances and make sure you have a stable and sufficient income to cover your needs during your stay in Spain. Take into account all possible expenses, such as accommodation, food, transport and health insurance, and make sure you have a solid financial plan.

2— Incomplete or incorrect submission of documents

Another common mistake when applying for Non-Lucrative Residence is the incomplete or incorrect submission of the required documents. The application process may vary depending on the nationality of the applicant, but in general, a number of documents are required, such as a valid passport, a valid criminal record certificate, proof of income, private health insurance, among others. The lack of one or more of these documents, or the submission of incorrect or outdated information, may delay or even result in the rejection of your application.

Tip: Before submitting your application, make sure you carefully check all documentation requirements and fill in the forms correctly. Organise your documents in an orderly manner and make sure to include all necessary copies. If you have any doubts about the requirements, do not hesitate to consult a legal professional.

3— Failure to meet deadlines

The application process for Non-lucrative residence in Spain can take time, and it is crucial to meet the deadlines set by the relevant authorities. From collecting documents to submitting the application and waiting for approval, each stage of the process has its own deadlines that must be strictly adhered to. Failure to meet these deadlines can lead to significant delays in the processing of your application.

Tip: From the outset, set a clear timeline with all important dates related to your residency application. Make sure you start collecting the necessary documents well in advance and plan your time efficiently to avoid delays. If any problems arise that may affect your deadlines, immediately contact the relevant authorities to seek a solution or contact your trusted legal advisor.

4— Promoting your professional services on websites such as LinkedIn

Since the visa explicitly states that it is non-lucrative, i.e. it prohibits any kind of employment in Spain, including remote work for an employer in your home country, you should refrain from actively seeking employment during your stay in Spain.

At the end of 2023, the Madrid High Court of Justice upheld a decision to refuse a visa to an applicant from Venezuela because he had not ceased his professional activity and continuous promotion of his services on various platforms, including LinkedIn.

5— Appearing to be actively working

If the authorities have reason to believe that you are working or if there is evidence that you are working remotely for foreign companies, your application may be refused. It is crucial that you demonstrate full compliance with all visa rules, as this is of paramount importance.

Even if you are not in active employment, holding a managerial position in your company may result in refusal, as you are expected to perform work-related activities at some point. There are ways of dealing with this problem, but they will vary from case to case. It is best to seek legal advice.


The non-lucrative visa is a form of authorisation that grants foreigners of non-EU nationality, including those who are about to retire or already retired, the possibility of residing in Spain for a period of more than 90 days without exercising professional or employment activity.

Applying for non-lucrative residence in Spain can be an exciting, but also complex and difficult process. Avoiding common mistakes such as lack of financial planning, incorrect submission of documents and missing deadlines is essential to ensure a successful application.

Ava Gardner, Michael Douglas and Ernest Hemingway are just some of the celebrities who have adopted Spain as a second home after falling in love with the Spanish way of life. And although immigration policies are now stricter than in the past, the non-lucrative visa is still undoubtedly a valid option to reside legally in Spain and enjoy the Europe of the Schengen area.

With careful planning and attention to detail, you can maximise your chances of obtaining non-lucrative residence and start your new life in Spain with confidence and peace of mind.

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