Visas – including the temporary residence one and the so-called golden one

There was a time when I was able to say that “the British and Spanish authorities are aware of the swallow issue, and the matter is firmly on their radar but as yet there is no confirmation of whether special rules will be put in place for British national temporary visitors.” Now, unfortunately, that has distilled into “You must register as resident, or apply for the appropriate visa if you want to stay in Spain for more than three months.” British nationals are then referred to the Spanish authorities to find out what requirements are in place, and how they might be able to stay for more than the 90 days allowed for third-country nationals entering the Schengen area.

So, as we all know, anyone can come to Spain for up to three months without a visa but after that they have three choices: leave the country, register as a resident, or get a visa – and if that’s their option then they need to do this before arriving in Spain. Anyone who’s coming here to live must register with the Policía Nacional. Anyone who wants to remain UK tax resident cannot be here for more than 183 days so those wishing to be here between three and six months – ie beyond the first visa-free period but without registering as a resident – needs a visa. Below are the several options available in English from the Spanish Government’s Immigration page for third country nationals – see HERE. The fees payable for them are detailed HERE.

The link that will apply to the majority of enquirers is the second one, the non-lucrative visa, essentially a temporary residence visa for those not intending either to work or study. Apart from being essential to apply for this before leaving the UK, however, it will require a couple to provide proof of financial means of over €30,000 a year – see page 6 of the specific information in the link. The visa itself costs €516 per applicant … and this is one visa per person per temporary residence. Subsequent visits will require reapplication.

I’ve also been asked several times about a “golden visa”. There’s no such thing in itself but it’s the name given to the Investors and Entrepreneurs visa which requires applicants to show Spanish property investment of a minimum of €500,000. There is a Court judgment allowing the visa (and so residence) to a third-country national who spent less, but he successfully appealed his rejection, the Courts ruling that although the initial investment was around €350,000 for a plot of land, a house was built on the land which comprised a total investment of nearer €1m.

If you are thinking that either of these, or any of the others, could be a route for you, then I hope the above links will be helpful, and you might also look at what Diana McGowan has herself written in THIS report about the visa system. I repeat, however, and Diana herself says, that applications must be made before leaving for Spain and cannot be applied for after arrival. These are, however the only options available to British nationals now who wish to be in Spain for more than 90 days in any 180 day period while retaining UK tax resident status.

The above was originally posted in January 2021. As of September 2021, Age in Spain have provided THIS guide in English for the non-lucrative visa for residential purposes (NLV).


  1. Agree Tony. Especially with your final comment.

    1. Author

      As I’ve said before, I am not a travel adviser, do not intend to be one, and do not know the detail of the visa system for travellers beyond what I have posted above.

      Anyone can come to Spain without a visa but after three months people have three choices: leave the country, register as a resident, or get a visa. Beyond that, questions should be put to the Spanish authorities.

      And to those complaining that this post is “point scoring”, it is purely factual information provided to answer the increasing number of enquiries I’m getting about visas now that the UK is wholly out of the EU. Anyone who thinks it is gloating needs to consider why we are all in a position where the “winners” can feel like that … .

  2. Hi, all good information for normal times. What will happen due to present circumstances when UK nationals potentially over run 90 days stay on Tenerife through no choice of their own. Mainly flight cancellations.

    1. Author

      Travelling in a pandemic always risks disruption, warned about by multiple Governments, and must be factored in and is entirely the responsibility of the person travelling.

  3. Maybe over optimistic but I would hope that once the dust settles on Brexit and the virus is dealt with, then the Spanish will sit down and negotiate a more attractive bi-lateral agreement. There are quite obvious advantages to them doing so.

    Of course we are talking about politicians seizing the initiative so I’m not holding my breath.

  4. Many thanks
    I’ll check the link and work it all out for them and send

  5. I have just been asked by an elderly friend with a second home on the island what the situation would be in their case and thought you would know
    Their case being they stay for about 60 days, return to the UK for about 1/2 weeks for appointments and medical needs and then return for about 60 days and continuing the pattern as mentioned

    1. Author

      Well given their movements they should be registered as residents because they clearly spend the majority of their time here. If they are, then presumably they missed the window to register with the Spanish Health System with an S1. But assuming they are not resident, their situation is the same as every other non-resident’s. They will need to consult the Schengen calculator for their visit allowance. I’ve posted the link several times, but it is HERE again.

  6. Hi Janet,

    For your information.

    I think if you check Diana’s site you will see that her second name is McGlone not McGowan

    1. Author

      Hi Tony, for your information she is married, and is now Diana McGowan but still operates professionally under her maiden name. She’s a personal friend so I’m pretty sure of my information without checking her website. 🙂

  7. Well having read all the document requirements to apply for a visa I don’t think there will be many issued 😂 What on earth is a UK residence permit? I don’t have one of those! Having owned a property in Tenerife for longer than I care to remember, I have never stayed or wanted to stay for longer than 90 days. I personally do not consider it to be any kind of hardship not to be able to stay for more than 90 days and given the documentary requirements to support the visa application, I would have no intention of staying for more than 90 days in the future.

    1. Author

      I wondered about that myself! I presume it’s a passport!

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