For many decades Spain has been the European country of choice for British citizens buying a property abroad, quality of life and warm climate coupled with the affordable real estate prices makes Spain an excellent choice for a holiday home.  The Spanish government estimates that there may be up to one million properties owned by British citizens in Spain.  A property in Spain may initially be purchased as a holiday home with a view to eventually becoming the owners' retirement destination. Often British owners of Spanish properties plan to expand the length of time they spend in Spain gradually building up to the eventual retirement. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) estimates that over one-third of the British ex-pats with properties in Spain are over the age of 65 years.

The new rules that Brexit has introduced limiting the number of days a non-EU citizen can remain in Spain has left large numbers of disappointed second homeowners in Spain believing that they faced the prospect of being unable to spend their summer in sunny Spain as they have in previous years. 

However there is a satisfactory solution to this issue that enables citizens of countries outside the European Union to continue to travel and stay in Spain as long as they want to.

Giorgio Guaneri, an associate in the Barcelona office, commented "the solution to the limited residency for non-EU citizens in their Spanish properties is to apply for a non-lucrative visa which, once obtained, permits the holder to travel in exactly the same manner as previously without limit on the number of days that they can stay in their second homes in Spain" he further said "the non-lucrative visa is primarily intended for individuals who have retired or no longer work.  However, it can be has the flexibility to be able to be converted into a working visa after the first year provided the non-lucrative visa has successfully been renewed."

Giambrone's highly regarded Spanish immigration lawyers can advise and guide you through the entire procedure and ensure that all the documentation required to support your application is valid, compliant and that there are no omissions that will result in rejection.

The application for a non-lucrative visa must be made by the individual requiring it themselves. There are limited circumstances where an application can be made by a third party, with notarised authorisation, provided there is a justifiable reason or, through their parents or legal guardians in the case of minors.  Once the visa has been granted the applicant must collect their visa within one month of the date of notification of acceptance.  Giambrone's Spanish immigration lawyers point out that, under certain circumstances, if the consular office has a substantiated reason, it has the right to request additional documentation as well as face to face interview with the applicant.  Such requests do not imply that the consulate has approved the visa.

A non-lucrative visa is granted initially for one year.  The renewal process is very straightforward and the first renewal, if accepted, grants a non-lucrative visa for two years until such time as the applicant has resided in Spain for five years when the applicant can then apply for permanent residency. 

A non-lucrative visa has the flexibility to be amended to a working visa following the successful renewal of the visa after the first year.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.