It’s hard to believe that the Non-Lucrative Visa has only been a `thing´ for British citizens since 1st January 2021. With a slow start due to the pandemic, the first visas were eventually granted around late spring.
Fast-forward to the end of 2022, and after helping our clients successfully apply for over 250 non-lucrative visas, the Upsticks team considers that perhaps THE most important thing to get right is timing.
Here are our 5 top tips on how to get the timing right on a visa application.
To be (in control) or not to be (in control), that is the question
Always keep in mind that there will be elements of a visa application you can control and others that you can’t – this means you must be flexible with your plans.
Over the course of your visa application, you’ll need to deal with (and rely on) up to five different public sector organisations spread across the UK and Spain; the FCDO, ACRO, GOV.UK, the Consulate, Spanish Immigration offices and more!
Whatever your personal relocation schedule, these public sector offices work to their own timetable, not yours – trying to shoehorn your self-imposed deadlines on these organisations is a recipe for things to go sideways. Remember, you are an applicant, not a client.
Be prepared to have a foot in each country; have somewhere to stay in the UK while you apply and wait for your visas AND a roof over your head in Spain that you can head over to once the visa is granted.
So, what about the elements of the application process that you CAN control? Our record for a client, `fast tracking´ everything, is just 13 days from the start of the paperwork preparation to being consulate ready. You can read more here.
Turn your visa application into your full-time job – the quicker you turn around your applications, the quicker you will get the documents you need.
Prior planning and preparation – we’ll help you plan your timeline and provide resources and information so you know what information is required at each stage. There are “fast-track” options for most documentation if needed.
The great `tax wait´
Spain’s tax year follows the calendar year January – December, unlike the UK’s April to April format, so visa applicants need to be on the ball to avoid becoming a tax resident in Spain too early – which can be an expensive mistake.
However, waiting until the second half of the year to apply for a visa lands you smack bang in the middle of the summer holiday period and the dreaded `student rush´. Historically, July and August are nightmare months of the year for paperwork in Spain, and Immigration isn’t any different. So it might be better to ride out the summer in the UK and get cracking on a visa application in the Autumn.
Time your arrival in Spain carefully
If you own a property in Spain, then it doesn’t really matter when you arrive in Spain to start your new life in the sun.
But if you aren’t a property owner already, then you might find yourself entering the rental or property purchase market at the height of the holiday season, whether it be summer, Easter or Christmas. While lining up temporary accommodation is a good idea to start, during holidays prices skyrocket and availability plummets.
In a further complication, a lot of regions require you to have a Padron certificate to register your visa, which is usually only available for long-term rentals or a property purchase.
One final note, if you are renting (and plan to continue to do so), be careful of winter rentals with contracts that come to an end in May/June. This is the worst time of the year to find a long term rental in Spain because it’s the start of the summer season.
Don’t forget your 90 days!
Can you use your 90 days before getting a visa in your passport? Of course, you can!
Before making the jump to visa status, you can use your 90/180 to great effect on discovery trips and relocation preparations.
If you fall in love with a property, you can buy it as a non-resident in preparation for the move, and you can even buy a car if you want to. You’ll need an NIE number for this, so it’s a great opportunity to get this sorted out beforehand as well.
Using your 90/180 allowance after applying for your visa at the Consulate could be problematic, as the Consulate may decide to keep your passport. There’s no way to predict this as it depends on the Officer on the day as to what they decide to do.
Timing the next 5 years!
If you intend to continue your residency past the initial 12-month period, and through all the renewals up to the `tarjeta de larga duracion´ then you are going to need to plan your time carefully. You’re only allowed out of Spain for 10 months in the first 5-year temporary residency period.
Money timing is also key. Be sure to check the financial requirements for each renewal and it’s essential that you plan the whole 5 year period carefully in advance – this should be the very first thing you do. We have many clients who have financial savings to carry them through the first renewal for example, and then pensions or passive income from other sources kick in down the line.
Timing is key, before, during and after your initial visa application. Upsticks have helped with over 250 successful non-lucrative visa applications, and we’re already on the way to helping 100 Year 1 renewals. To find out how we can help you, book a call.
The information in this article was current on the date published.
Article last reviewed/updated 4.12.2022