Changing from a non-lucrative visa to a long-term residence permit in Spain

Spanish residency permit

Like most temporary residency permits in Spain, they can be made permanent after five years if the criteria are met.

A non-lucrative residence visa allows successful applicants to reside in Spain without engaging in any remunerated activity during that time.

However, circumstances can and do change. Luckily, after five years, those who meet the criteria are eligible for permanent residence and gain the right to live and work as any Spaniard.

So how is it done? And what are the criteria?

Conditions for the non-lucrative residence visa

To obtain the non-lucrative residence visa, the interested party must apply for it in person in their country of origin.

To obtain the non-lucrative residence visa, the applicant must meet certain requirements. Primarily they cannot be an EU citizen, have a criminal record or be banned from entering Spanish territory or the EU. Additionally, they must have medical insurance and provide proof of financial means.

Importantly, the latter must be sufficient to cover the costs of their stay, livelihood and maintenance, both for themselves and for the rest of their dependent family members.

As with most residency permits, this initial authorisation is of a temporary nature, granted for a period of one year and then extended every two years.

Holders of this card must at the time of renewal prove that they still meet the requirements to maintain their residence permit.

Changing to long-term residence

Once five years of legal and continuous residence in Spain have been reached, the holder of a non-lucrative residence visa (as well as most temporary residence permits) can be granted a long-term card. This means that they would be granted a permanent permit, allowing them to reside and work in Spain indefinitely, under the same conditions as Spaniards.

To access this new card, applicants don’t have to comply with each and every one of the previous requirements (such as financial means), but they will have to be able to prove legal and continuous residence in Spain for five years (not having left the country for more 180 days a year) and that they do not have a criminal record.

Maria Luisa Castro

Director and Founder
María founded CostaLuz Lawyers in 2006 and is the Firm’s Director. María is registered Lawyer number 2745 of the Cadiz Bar Association and is licensed to practice in all areas of law throughout Spain. Working closely with her team, María has developed the firm into one of the most highly regarded and trusted Spanish Law Firms acting for English-speaking clients with legal problems in Spain. We’re here to help. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation, initial legal orientation.

12 thoughts on “Changing from a non-lucrative visa to a long-term residence permit in Spain”

  1. This is great information, if I have had a non lucrative visa for 3 years, and previously student visas for 3 years and I now eligible to apply for the permanent residency visa?


      Unfortunately, the Student visa only half counts (1.5 years in your case) for permanent residency. And it does not count for Spanish citizenship. This only happens with the Student visa.

  2. Hi, is this the same from people from Mexico, Chile, Peru, Phillipines, etc? Or is it 2 years?
    Are there any other ways to switch from a non-lucrative to a long term or work visa?

  3. Buenos días,
    I have been living in Spain for two years now with a visado no lucrativo. I have heard that I can possibly apply to change it to a work visa at the time of my second renewal (coming up in March 2024) but I can’t find any information about this. Is it possible to do this without potential employer, or do I need a job offer first?

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear Haleah,

      I understand that you have been living in Spain for two years under a non-lucrative visa and are interested in transitioning to a work visa during your next renewal.

      In most cases, in order to transition from a non-lucrative visa to a work permit, you would first need a job offer. This is because one of the main requirements for obtaining a work permit in Spain is typically having a work contract or a job offer signed by an employer in Spain.

      Once you have a job offer, your potential employer will need to apply for an initial residency and work authorization on your behalf at the Foreigner’s Office. If approved, you will then be able to change your immigration status.

      I wish you all the best in your process and hope you find the best solution for your needs! We will be pleased to assist you in the transition if needed.

      Warm regards,

      Maria L. de Castro
      General Director
      Costaluz Lawyers

  4. Hi , I have been living in Spain legally with non lucrative residency. Now, im about to apply for the larga duracion residency card but one lawyer told they will give give the card for 10 years based on the new law but other said it’s still 5 years . I want to know which one is sayin the truth.

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Good morning Jerry. This is Claudia Gonzalez from CostaLuz Lawyers. It is a pleasure to speak with you and be able to help you.

      We are happy to help you with your case, you must be residing in Spain for at least 5 years to be able to apply for long term residency.

  5. Hi again Maria, also how long before your non-lucrative visa expires can you apply for the the long-term residence permit? Usually for the non lucrative renewal, it is up to 60 days before expiration, but I don’t know what it is for the long-term residence permit. Thank you

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear John:

      The renewal of the foreigner identity card for a long-term residence authorization in Spain must be requested during the sixty natural days prior to the expiration date of the current card. If the application is submitted after this date, a sanctioning procedure may be initiated. This procedure is crucial to maintain the legality of your residency status in Spain.

      Best wishes,


  6. Hello,

    My question, after completing the five years in Spain NLV and obtained the long-term visa, can I live out of Spain for more than six months a year.
    Thank you.

    1. Maria Luisa Castro

      Dear Elias:

      After obtaining long-term residency in Spain, maintaining your residency status requires adherence to specific regulations, including the time you spend outside of Spain. Typically, for long-term or permanent residents, there are certain limitations on how long you can live outside Spain without affecting your residency status.

      Some tips below:

      Six-Month Rule: Generally, long-term residents in Spain should not be absent from the country for more than six consecutive months within a year. Prolonged absences can lead to the presumption that you have relocated your primary residence, potentially affecting your long-term residency status.

      Extended Absences: For certain specific reasons like employment, study, or serious health issues, exceptions might be made. However, these exceptions usually require proof and prior approval.



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