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Looking for advice from Americans in Spain

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nathan1981
1/5/2016 14:29 EST

My partner and I are in our mid 30s and looking to move to Spain for a period of 1-2 years. We will have some savings to support ourselves, but not nearly enough for the entire time. We'll both need to have at least part time work while we are there. What do we need to know in terms of visas? Most of the information I've found online is geared toward citizens of the UK. All the info geared toward Americans seems to be about moving to Sweden for some reason.

Neither of us are fluent in Spanish, but are learning.

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courtclerk56
1/6/2016 12:59 EST

Hello Nathan. My husband and I moved to Spain three months ago. Please feel free to ask questions. We'll try to help you any way we can.

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nathan1981
1/8/2016 14:55 EST

Thank you so much for responding! My questions (for starters): Why did you decide on Spain? What part of Spain did you move to? How far in advance did you start planning? What was the visa process like? Are you working while in Spain? If so, what industry are you working in?

Again, thank you so much!

Nathan

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anlgza
1/9/2016 07:05 EST

We wanted to spend time in Europe and Spain is the most affordable, and we hope to become fluent in Spanish. Barcelona is now our home, though more expensive than other parts of Spain costs are still low. For example our rent for a 3 bedroom flat is $1200 per month, and a 3 course - "menu' del dia" - with beverage is around $10. The metro is 1 euro per ride.

The visa process is somewhat dependent on which embassy or consulate covers your area. The requirements are mostly similar except minimum income may be different. You cannot file your application until 3 - 4 months before your arrival date. Start about 4-6 weeks before that, as it takes about that long to get your state police records with fingerprints, and then get everything apostilled. Everything has to have a certified translation - we used an online service and the turn-around was less than a week. I can answer as many specific questions as you need. Buena suerte

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lashend
1/9/2016 07:53 EST

Dear Nathan,

If you want to remain within the law, the situation is a little trickier than you might be anticipating.

Regarding the visa: Your most likely option is the Visado de Residencia No Lucrativa. For this, you'll need to show that you have a certain amount of money available in your bank account (USA bank account is ok); or a contract guaranteeing you a certain monthly income (for example, from a USA company that employs you, while you work from home, wherever home happens to be). To find out just how much this total or monthly requirement is, contact the consulate to which you will apply for the visa. (It will be “around” 25,000 euro per person per year.) You'll also need to show that you have housing for the upcoming year, or a reasonable plan for procuring it (Again: I recommend asking the responsible consulate for further specification). Also: health insurance. Also: no police record. And some other paperwork-type items.

Again, the thing to do here is to contact the consulate to which you'll apply and get the right/exact details from the people who will process and approve your application.

See here an example of the application form and process from the Chicago consulate http://www.exteriores.gob.es/Consulados/CHICAGO/es/ServiciosConsulares/Serviciosconsularesenchicago/Documents/documentosvisados/nolucrativa.pdf


On another note, you’ve written that you want to work. To work (legally) will require you to have a work-permitting visa, and you will not be able to “just apply for one” and then, say, show up and start applying for jobs. It would be theoretically possible to get a job with a Spanish employer ahead of time and go from there, but this is extremely likely: the unemployment rate for Spanish young people ranges from 25-50% depending on the region, and, unless you’re a world-recognized astrophysicist contracting with the national science laboratory, employers are unlikely to receive “permission” to hire you.

So, if you want to work, you’ll need to (1) get a job or contract with an American / or international company which happens to have a branch in Spain, and manage to get yourself assigned to Spain; (if this interests you and you have some good qualifications, think about, e.g., the international consulting companies); (2) position yourself as a “teacher” of some sort and get a contract with one of the international schools or language schools; (3) work for yourself, and be sure – before applying for the visa – that you can prove the necessary income or savings availability (e.g., if you are, say, a translator or a web designer, show that you have a history of regular and sufficiently remunerating contracts).

I don’t want to dissuade you with the “hardness” of the process. You can do it! Be aware, though, that it’s going to take a lot of work, and maybe some creative problem-solving along the way.

¡Mucha suerte!

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courtclerk56
1/9/2016 11:22 EST

Hello Nathan. I have to agree with Lashend. The non-lucrative visa requires proof of a monthly income of around $3000 (for 2 people). And unemployment is very high here. Not to dissuade you from Spain, because it is a fantastic country, but France offers a one-year "Visitor" visa with fewer requirements and a shorter process. The visa process for Spain was pretty arduous, to say the least.

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Dhw
1/10/2016 18:38 EST

I would like to join this conversation if others don't mind. I am considering retiring to Spain - perhaps Seville - before June 2017. Are you retired or still working? Why Barcelona? What consulate did you work through? Do you have a residency visa? How difficult was the process? Any regrets? Suggestions based on your experience? Too many question but I'm guessing much like your own at one time.

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prigotkulow47
1/10/2016 20:31 EST

We are beginning the process to obtain visas also. Plan on moving Sept 1. Timing on getting all paperwork together seems difficult. Working with New York office. What did anyone find acceptable proof of imcome? Thanks

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dawnstarr
1/11/2016 05:50 EST

I agree with Lashend's post. There are numerous steps to obtain a non-lucrative visa. For documentation of income, I used my savings, statement of value of my retirement plan, and projected social security benefits once I turn 62 (not much help if you are young.) I had my financial adviser write a letter projecting how much money I would have available monthly based on these three documents. Of course, it also had to be translated into Spanish.
On my blog www.starrtreks.com. I write about moving to Spain, including a three part series on issues getting my visa with post -dates of 7-9-15, 726-15, and 8-9-15. I am happy to field any questions.

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dawnstarr
1/11/2016 05:50 EST

I agree with Lashend's post. There are numerous steps to obtain a non-lucrative visa. For documentation of income, I used my savings, statement of value of my retirement plan, and projected social security benefits once I turn 62 (not much help if you are young.) I had my financial adviser write a letter projecting how much money I would have available monthly based on these three documents. Of course, it also had to be translated into Spanish.
On my blog www.starrtreks.com. I write about moving to Spain, including a three part series on issues getting my visa with post -dates of 7-9-15, 726-15, and 8-9-15. I am happy to field any questions.

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courtclerk56
1/11/2016 08:35 EST

My husband and I fell under the jurisdiction of the San Francisco consulate. For that embassy, they required proof of income statements from our individual pensions. The amount of money in our bank accounts were totally irrelevant. Though the overall rules may be the same, I think the details vary depending on the consulate. San Francisco was quite difficult to be honest.

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dawnstarr
1/11/2016 08:39 EST

Yes, I was surprised to find that different Spanish embassies in the US have different requirements.

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LovetheBeach
1/15/2016 14:41 EST

I'm wondering if there are different Visa requirements for an American citizen who has been a permanent legal resident of another country for several years. I will have been in South America for about 3 years when I hope to travel to Spain for an extended visit the end of 2016 or beginning of 2017. Would I have to go BACK to the U.S. to apply for a Visa, or could I do so from the country I've been living in? Any other hoops I might have to jump through to obtain a Visa for about a year? I have a small retirement, but I also earn enough online to meet the financial requirements.
Thanks for any info anyone can provide!

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AlPavarotti
1/15/2016 23:12 EST

I was also suprised to read that you found several spanish embassies in the country. Because as far as I know there is only one diplomatic representation of a country AKA embassy in each country around the world. And they're normally located in the capital city of the host country. In this case the spanish embassy is located in Washington DC with several consulates around the country to take care of consular affairs such as issuing visas. But you're right some of the consulates have their own webpages. And I guess something is lost in the translation.

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dawnstarr
1/16/2016 05:30 EST

In the US, there are Spanish embassies in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Miami, Houston, New Orleans, New York, and Washington D.C. You must go the one which has jurisdiction over your application. Info easily found by googling Spanish embassies in the US or Spanish visa for US citizens.

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dawnstarr
1/16/2016 05:30 EST

In the US, there are Spanish embassies in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Miami, Houston, New Orleans, New York, and Washington D.C. You must go the one which has jurisdiction over your application. Info easily found by googling Spanish embassies in the US or Spanish visa for US citizens.

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anlgza
1/16/2016 08:15 EST

My guess is that you could apply through the embassy in D.C. The other requirement that is common to both the embassy and the consulates is a fingerprinted police record. If you still report a permanent address in the U.S. then you would have to use the corresponding consulate.

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AlPavarotti
1/16/2016 09:15 EST

Hi there. If you're holding a valid US passport, any of the Schengen Pact countries of which Spain is a member exempt you from the Visa requirement. But you can only stay up to 90 days. After the 90 days you have to leave the Schengen area for 90 days before you're allowed to re-enter the country. FYI I haven't heard of a extended visa unless it could qualify for some kind of business related exemption. But whatever your case might be you can apply for a spanish visa at the nearest spanish consulate in the country where you're currently residing. Good luck.

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Cosmopolitan
1/16/2016 14:27 EST

Dawnstarr : there is only one Spanish embassy in the U.S. and that is in the capital of the U.S. - Washington D.C.. All other locations you mentioned are consulates which deal only with consular affairs and not country-to-country i.e. bilateral relations (political, trade, etc.) This is the case with any and all countries in the world : one embassy in the capital city ONLY.

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joaquinx
1/25/2016 17:26 EST

lavoiee: Your statement "This is the case with any and all countries in the world : one embassy in the capital city ONLY." is only partially true. the USA Embassy in Israel is located in Tel Aviv not the capital which is Jerusalem.

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DrJBN
1/26/2016 09:48 EST

Also, requirements vary depending on who in the Embassy you talk to. I got my state police records as instructed by one person, and then was required by another to get the same from the FBI.

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