Spain has been the country of choice for UK nationals to relocate to for some decades. Oxford University's Migration Observatory's latest data suggests that in 2022 412,040 British nationals were resident in Spain. Jay Lindop, deputy director of Population Statistics that produces data for the Office of National Statistics (ONS) stated "Spain continues to be the most desirable location for the three-quarters of a million Brits living in the EU".

The criteria that an individual has to fulfil if they apply for a non-lucrative visa in order to relocate to Spain includes the ability to support yourself with a financial capacity of an annual income of €28,800 that provides a monthly income of €2,400, a valid passport with at least 12 months before expiry. Also, in keeping with the criteria for other types of visa, the applicant must not have a criminal record.

However, in limited circumstances, the authorities in Spain will consider applicants that have criminal records and will permit individuals with a criminal record to make an application, this depends on a number of factors:

Types of Criminal Offence

  • The offence committed cannot be serious and must not have been repeated.
  • It is more favourable if the one-off offence was committed some time ago.
  • If the offence could, in part, be construed as an error of judgment rather than criminal intent.
  • The applicant must be able to demonstrate that they are fully rehabilitated by way of having a work history or involvement with a charity or involvement in social causes, green issues for example, or running a business.
  • Being able to show written recommendations from employers.
  • A sworn statement outlining the reasons for wishing to relocate to Spain.

British applicants who are concerned about a criminal conviction, some considerable time ago and wish to understand whether it will impact on their application can apply for an ACRO police certificate unique to the UK that will define the applicant's criminal record as follows:

  • No Trace – a clean criminal record with no convictions
  • No Live Trace – a criminal conviction that has been stepped down meaning it is deemed to be no longer relevant due to the distance of time and minor nature

In Spain No Live Trace is considered to be a clear criminal record.

The most compelling factor to assist an applicant with a previous minor criminal record is having an experienced lawyer argue your individual case to enable it to be assessed individually by the authorities in relation to the circumstances.

Andreu Marin, who heads the immigration department in Barcelona, has extensive experience with the Spanish Consulates in the UK, and he has been able to help a number of Giambrone & Partners' clients who have criminal records for such offences as driving when related to alcohol, issues with former partners such as harassment, drunk and disorderly offences, to obtain their respective non- lucrative visas. Andreu's considerable expertise in criminal law assists him to manage such cases in immigration law.

Andreu recognises it is extremely important to prove that the applicant has been rehabilitated from his or her crime and that they have reintegrated into society as an exemplary citizen. He has frequently demonstrated that he can show that the initial reasons for the offence, such as immaturity, gullibility and to some degree being influenced by others, are no longer applicable and the applicant, not only has learned the error of their ways but has absolutely no intention of ever repeating such behaviour.

Andreu Marin, senior associate in the Barcelona office commented "No two criminal cases are the same, even when the offence appears to be the same. Therefore, once the detailed facts of the matter are known and the mitigating factors surrounding the offence can be outlined and explained, only then can the applicant be reviewed fairly". Andreu further commented "The Spanish constitution lays great emphasis on rehabilitation and will look favourable on an individual who can demonstrate the fact that they have reformed. Each case must be dealt with on its own merits. "

In 2023, the success rate of our Spanish Immigration Department in non-lucrative visa cases handled at Spanish Consulates in the UK was 100% in all circumstances. Giambrone & Partners can deal with your case and prepare and defend your interests in the corresponding appeals where required.

Andreu Marin has extensive experience in immigration matters, from obtaining visas (non-lucrative, Golden Visa, student or Schengen visas) to applications for EU family members, deportations and Spanish citizenship.

He has also successfully acted in a wide range of criminal proceedings, assisting foreign nationals with extraditions, EAW (European arrest warrant) and at hearings with defendants, amongst other matters.

Andreu is well-regarded by his clients for his comprehensive understanding of their needs and objectives which enables him to advise them and provide the best legal solution to their problems. He is able to create a strategy for his clients to achieve their objectives that can be adapted when necessary to meet other issues that may arise.

Andreu has successfully obtained non-lucrative visas for all the British clients he has assisted through the consulates in London, Manchester and Edinburgh since joining the firm in October 2022.

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.