Spain: Residential Visa Renewal

26 Apr

“Come back after 30 days to pick up your new Spanish visa. You don’t need an appointment; you can pick it up between 9:00 and 2:00,” she told me in Spanish. HURRAY! This was my second renewal of non-lucrative (non-working) residential visa/NIE card.

This time the renewal process was surprisingly easier than my initial visa application (the first part done in California and the completion once I arrived in Spain), as well as the first renewal. The best part of this visa renewal process was that I no longer had to travel twice from Altea to the provincial capital of the area, Alicante, which takes about an hour each way by car. Instead, I was able to get my fingerprints “huellas” appointment at nearby Benidorm, and also pick up my visa there.

Part of the reason this application was easier was because the requirements were the same as the first renewal application. I keep a file of each application with copies of all documents including what to submit and the documents I submitted. Before starting, first check the government website to make sure the requirements have not changed. The reapplication can start up to 60 days before the visa expires, and up to 90 days after it expires. For your convenience, I have included the links to the internet sites I used, which I filled out, then saved and printed. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of these links, as they sometimes change or are not working; the latter was the case for the government website when I initially looked for it.

I then proceeded to complete and print EX-01. I then asked my financial adviser to draft a letter regarding my financial status, demonstrating that I met the minimum monthly income requirement. In my case, I used my private retirement account, and also the projection of what I would receive from Social Security once I reach 62. Attached was a recent copy of my retirement account showing its monetary value, and the most recent Social Security Statement, which can be found online. I review the email draft for accuracy, and then have the original (which is required) with an original signature by the document’s author; the signature must be notarized. Once I receive the original and notarization, I take it to an official translation office to have it translated into Spanish by a certified Spanish translator.

I made a copy of my current Spanish medical insurance which shows it is in force and that there is a zero co-pay. Since I did not have a Spanish bank account, I found a local agent who could issue the annual policy with an annual cash payment rather than the standard monthly bank deductions. My annual policy is around $1100 U.S.

I also made a copy of both sides of my current Spanish visa (NIE) card, and all of the pages of my U.S. passport. Since I had just renewed my passport, there weren’t any travel stamps on any of the pages, but one has to copy all of the pages regardless. (I was able to renew my passport by mail by sending it to the U.S. Embassy in Madrid; I received my new passport in less than two weeks, paying the shipping fee to the delivery driver.)

There are additional requirements if you have minor children, which are described on the government website. The instructions are generally in Spanish, another good reason to learn it; the staff at the visa application offices often do not speak English. If you have problems understanding or implementing any of the requirements for the visa, for a fee, you can employ a gestoria, a person who is experienced in dealing with the vagaries of the Spanish bureaucracy.

Next, I went to the local Oficina de Extranjería with all of my documentation to make sure I had everything correct. I had gone online to print Modelo 790 codigo 052 and printed it, but I was told I still needed to go to the bank to pay the 15,76 Euros. Make sure your address on file in Spain agrees with the documents you are submitting.

If there are any problems or missing information, you receive a certified letter. Once all documents were correctly submitted, I received an email with instructions for setting up an appointment for fingerprints. As with the whole process, the instructions are in Spanish. However, they do show photos of which items to click on the website. They also say to leave blank the box entitled “Fecha de Caducidad de su tarjeta actual.” After you select the best appointment time, they email you a paper with the appointment date, which needs to be printed and brought to the appointment, along with printed form Tasa Modelo 790 codigo 012, which has to show paid; my fee was 18,54 Euros. While it did NOT say it on that instruction sheet, you also need to bring your passport, current Spanish visa, and photos, which are described in the visa initial application instructions. I saw numerous people turned away from the office for such things as lack of an appointment; not bringing a valid passport, current Spanish identification card, paper showing you have paid the fee; or one parent bringing a child to register him/her but not having both parents present as required. The varying 790 forms need to be paid in advance, at a bank, where they are stamped.

At the appointed police office, I had an unusually short wait compared to typical wait times at a Spanish government office. They took several fingerprints of each of my index fingers, took the photo I brought to be on my new visa, and reviewed my Spanish visa and US passport, along with the paper showing my appointment date and time. The clerk then gave me a paper designating when I could return to pick up my visa, noting the hours, and that I need to bring that paper, my Spanish visa, and U.S. passport. While the clerk told me to come back to retrieve my visa card after 30 days from the appointment with her, she did not mention that the card must be retrieved before 45 days after the appointment; otherwise, the availability of the picking up the new card expires (which I read on the bottom of the form.) This second visa renewal was completed about three months after first submitting my application, only two months after my visa formally expired, as compared to a prior renewal which took eight months.

Here are links to my prior posts on getting a Spanish residential visa:;;

What have been your experiences in getting or renewing a Spanish visa?

11 Responses to “Spain: Residential Visa Renewal”

  1. KELLY KNAPE June 6, 2017 at 2:47 pm #

    Thanks for your previous reply.

    Do you recommend staying less than 183 days a year to avoid the tax obligation? I get the impression that some expats just don’t file and I haven’t heard of Spain going after anyone. The bureaucracy probably can’t afford it, much less the bad press.

    My husband is paranoid about jeopardizing our chance of residency renewal. Our current NIE expires in 12/18. We have an abogado that is helping us with the tax return and the Net Worth paperwork (which we will owe a wealth tax every year and we are late so there will be a fine.) I’m thinking we won’t file when we find out how much we owe and take our chances. The abogado alone is charging ~3000 euros. I wish we had known all this before (especially the wealth tax) and we wouldn’t have stayed more than 183 days per year.

    Any comments would be appreciated. You are welcome to use this in your blog.

    Take care.

    • dawnrstarr June 6, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

      I don’t feel comfortable or qualified to publicly comment on tax issues, but you can contact me via email and I will give you my impression.

  2. iheartjennychu November 29, 2017 at 5:34 am #

    I’m in the process of renewing my Non-lucrative visa and I need help! I have enough funds for the two years but in a US bank account. The statements are already translated in Spanish. Is that acceptable? I’m currently living in Spain now. Do I print it and then have it notarized here? or by an official translator?

    • dawnrstarr November 29, 2017 at 9:17 am #

      My experience was that I had my bank manager print out an originaly of my bank statement and have them notarize that it is accurate. I also have a financial adviser who manages my stocks/investments, and he wrote a statement about my financial situation, including projected amount of monthly income including when my social security starts. He also notarized it. Without the notarization, Spain would not except the documents. Then once they mail you the original(s), they need to be translated by a certified person.

  3. David January 30, 2018 at 12:19 pm #


    Thanks for the article.

    For how long the secnd renewal is valid?

    Another question, Im reading that you have to be 183 days in Spain with that visa? Is that correct? Cant I stay for example 2 months in Spain and 10 months in other Schengen countries?


    • dawnrstarr February 7, 2018 at 4:26 pm #

      The first and second renewal (not including the initial application) are for two years each. Then the next is five years. As to the second question, I had consulted a “gestoria” (basically a professional who helps people negotiate the difficulties in dealing with the vagaries of the Spanish bureaucracy). While there, I asked about whether it would be a problem with my visa renewal as I had to return to the US to assist my son and had not met the minimum number of days to be in Spain that year. They told me they were aware of someone who was in a number of Schengen countries one year and had difficulties getting their visa due to the lack of the necessary number of days. However, I just sent my application off and they did not question me, but at the time my passport was quite large with extra pages added for my many prior foreign trips, so they may not have taken the time to put all the pieces together. I obviously do not have the legal basis on which to advise, just what I was told and what my experience was. Hope that helps. Good luck.

      • David February 8, 2018 at 4:07 pm #

        Thank you

  4. Michael Alford March 6, 2018 at 4:28 pm #

    At the end of this year I am due for a 5 year residence permit. I wonder whether the 183 days in country rule applies once one has a 5 year permit. If so is it 183 days per year or an average over the 5 years? Any ideas?

    • dawnrstarr March 8, 2018 at 2:23 pm #

      Sorry, I do not know, as I have not gotten to that point yet. Let me know if you find out.


  1. 5 Year Spanish Residential (Non-Lucrative) Visa | Starr Treks - May 10, 2019

    […] to the initial application, the process was easier, although still not without some challenges. The third renewal was also for two years, and again, increasingly easier, especially as I could go to nearby Benidorm […]

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