Have you always dreamed of retiring in Spain? Are you worried that Brexit has destroyed this dream? 

It's true that retiring in Spain isn't as easy as it used to be.

But, provided that you've managed to build up a large enough pot of pension, income and/or savings, retiring in Spain is very much still a possibility.

In this post, we'll assume that you don't want to work while living in Spain, but if that's not the case, take a look at the new Digital Nomad Visa. 

There are two main visa options for retirees:

1. The Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV)

The NLV is the most popular visa amongst Brits these days. 

You'll need to show that you have a passive income of €2,317 per month OR 27,793 in savings. This is the latest 2022 amount for a single person – if you are bringing over your partner or any other family members, you'll be asked to show an extra €579 of monthly income or €6,948 of savings per person. 

You'll need to apply for the visa in your home country and the initial visa will be for 1 year. It can be renewed once you are in Spain for a further 2 x 2 year periods, after which you'll be able to apply for permanent residency

If you are not yet above the government pension age, you'll need to buy a private health insurance policy. The cost will depend on your age and state of health but you should budget €100 a month as a minumum for a single person. 

You'll also need a doctor's certificate which states you are in good health and a criminal record check from the police. 

Things to consider: 

  • The NLV is intended for retired people and those who can live on passive income (i.e. rental income, investments). Working is not strictly allowed and many Spanish Embassies have begun to ask for proof that you've left your job before issuing the visa. 
  • In order to renew the NLV, you'll need to spend longer than 6 months of the year in Spain. This means that you'll automatically become a Spanish tax resident – it's crucial to investigate the effect this will have on your own personal circumstances before moving over. 

2. The Golden Visa

If you are able to invest at least €500,000 in a property, you may want to consider the Golden Visa when retiring in Spain. 

There are two main advantages over the NLV:

  • There's no restrictions on working, either in Spain or anywhere else in the world. 
  • You don't need to spend more than 6 months in Spain each year in order to keep the visa. This means that if you wanted to avoid becoming a tax resident, you could choose to spend less than 183 days in Spain each year. 

It's important to note that even if you spend less than 183 days in Spain during a year, the Hacienda (the Spanish version of HMRC) may still decide that you are a Spanish tax resident and should pay tax in Spain IF Spain is your main base or centre of economic activities or economic interests. This could be the case if, for example, your partner pays tax in Spain as a Spanish tax resident, your children go to school in Spain or your only property is in Spain. 

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About the Author Louise Carr

I'm a UK-Spain cross-border tax specialist. After qualifying at PwC in the UK, I moved to Spain and continued my studies. My work focuses on tax matters and advising expats.

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