For Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who dream of starting a new chapter of their lives in Spain, applying for a non-lucrative visa offers an opportunity to make that dream a reality. The non-lucrative visa allows individuals to reside in Spain for an extended period without engaging in any work-related activities. If you’re an OFW seeking to explore this path, understanding the application process and requirements is crucial to ensuring a smooth and successful transition.
In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of applying for a non-lucrative visa to live in Spain as an OFW. From gathering the necessary documents to navigating the consulate appointment and interview, we aim to provide you with valuable insights and practical advice based on the experiences of those who have gone through this process before.
Disclaimer: The information posted here is based on the personal experiences shared by the OFW in the video below. Please let this post serve as a guide only. If you have specific questions, you may ask the OFW by commenting on their video on their accounts.
Comprehensive Guide to Applying for Non-Lucrative Visa in Spain as an OFW
Are you curious about what it takes to move to Spain? Join us as we follow a vlogger’s journey through the application process at the Los Angeles Consulate. The full video can be accessed below:
Getting an Appointment and Preparing Documents
- Share your experience: If you notice a lack of information or resources on a particular topic or process, consider sharing your own experience to help others facing similar challenges.
- Understand the application process during COVID-19: During uncertain times like the COVID-19 pandemic, be prepared for changes in the application process. In this case, appointments had to be booked online, and documents were submitted via email. Stay updated with the latest guidelines and instructions from the consulate or embassy regarding any modifications to the application procedure.
- Be patient and persistent: Obtaining an appointment for the application process can require patience and persistence. The vlogger shares their experience of continuously checking the website until they found available appointments. It’s important to persevere and keep checking for appointment slots, as they may become available at specific times during the day.
- Avoid paying excessive fees: The vlogger highlights the importance of not falling for scams or paying inflated amounts for appointment slots. Appointments should be free of charge, and it’s crucial to remain vigilant against fraudulent practices. Do not pay large sums of money to secure an appointment. Regularly monitor the official website or authorized channels for appointment releases.
The vlogger noticed that there wasn’t much information available about applying at the Los Angeles Consulate. They wanted to help others by sharing their experience. Due to the COVID-19 situation, appointments had to be booked online, and documents were submitted by email. The vlogger shares how they patiently waited and checked the website until they found available appointments.
They give an important tip—never pay a lot of money for an appointment! Appointments are released at certain times during the day, so it’s best to keep checking. This way, you won’t miss your chance. The vlogger wants to make sure you don’t get tricked into paying extra money.
Learning from Others’ Mistakes
When the vlogger went to the consulate, they noticed that some people weren’t ready for their appointments. They didn’t have all the right documents or asked too many questions. It’s important to be prepared and have everything you need before your appointment. That way, you can avoid delays and make the process smoother.
Timeline and Gathering Documents
- Plan your timeline: When applying for a non-lucrative visa to move to Spain, it’s helpful to establish a timeline. The vlogger suggests picking a target date for your move and counting back three months. This allows you to estimate when to book your appointment at the consulate. By planning ahead, you can ensure that you have enough time to gather all the necessary documents and complete the application process smoothly.
- Check for appointments within your desired timeframe: Availability of appointments can vary, so it’s important to keep checking for available slots within the timeframe you have set. By regularly monitoring the appointment system, you increase your chances of securing a suitable appointment date.
- Legal residency is sufficient: The vlogger emphasizes that you don’t need a specific citizenship status to apply for the non-lucrative visa. Being a legal resident within the consulate’s jurisdiction is enough, regardless of your citizenship or visa type. As long as you can provide proof of lawful presence, you are eligible to apply.
- Review requirements and prepare necessary copies: Take the time to carefully review the list of requirements provided by the consulate. Identify which documents require photocopies and ensure you have them prepared. It’s beneficial to have extra copies and even blank forms on hand in case they are needed during the application process. Organize your documents in separate binders, keeping originals and copies neatly arranged for easy access and reference.
The vlogger shares their timeline and how they collected the necessary documents. They suggest picking a date when you want to move to Spain and then counting back three months. This will help you estimate when to book your appointment. Also, keep checking for appointments within the timeframe you want.
They explain that you don’t need a specific citizenship status to apply. Being a legal resident is enough, no matter your citizenship or visa type, as long as you can prove that you’re living in the consulate’s jurisdiction.
They advise reviewing the list of requirements again and identifying which ones require photocopies. They highlight the importance of being prepared with copies and even having blank forms in case they were needed, although they ultimately didn’t use them. To keep everything organized, the vlogger’s partner put the documents in separate binders for each of them, including a binder with copies of the original documents.
Arrival at the Consulate
The vlogger shares their experience upon arriving at the Spanish Consulate. They mention the challenge of finding parking, as there were no signs indicating where to park. Eventually, they discovered that parking was available on the right side of the building, underground. They express surprise at the small size of the building, which they didn’t expect.
The vlogger continues by describing their arrival at the consulate’s lobby. They logged in and took the elevator to the designated room. The waiting room appeared small, similar in size to their living room. They note that due to social distancing measures, seating was limited and could accommodate around eight to ten people. The vlogger compares the experience to a bank visit, with a glass window where applicants approach the teller. They mention that conversations can be overheard by others in the waiting area.
The Appointment Process
- Arrive prepared: During your appointment, make sure to have all the required documents ready and organized. Triple-check everything to ensure you have everything you need before approaching the window.
- Follow the order and provide information: When interacting with the consulate officer, be prepared to answer their questions in the order listed on the website. Provide the necessary information as requested, demonstrating your understanding of the process.
- Pay attention to specific requirements: Be aware of any specific requirements related to your application, such as bank accounts or financial documentation. Ensure you understand the instructions clearly and fulfill them accordingly.
- Promptly address any concerns: If there are any discrepancies or issues with your documents, be proactive in finding a solution. In the vlogger’s case, they walked to a nearby bank branch to obtain the required combined total and promptly returned to provide the necessary proof.
- Emphasize financial capability: Highlight your ability to afford living in Spain, regardless of your age or retirement status. Show that you have diligently saved and prepared for this opportunity, demonstrating your commitment and readiness.
The vlogger shares their firsthand experience during the appointment. They explain that despite being listed as the dependent, their appointment came first, so they went up to the window first. They mention the limited seating capacity and the intimate nature of the setting, where conversations can be heard by everyone. The vlogger highlights that when called, applicants approach the window to explain their situation and provide the necessary information.
During the appointment, the vlogger shares an interaction with the consulate officer. The officer expressed that if all the required documents were not present, they would not accept the application, and the applicant would have to book another appointment and return. The vlogger reassured the officer that they had triple-checked everything and were confident in their preparedness. The officer asked a few questions, such as the amount of money they were taking, which the vlogger answered and provided the necessary information in the order listed on the website.
The vlogger mentions a specific requirement related to their bank accounts. They had separate business checking and savings accounts under Paul’s name, and the officer requested a combined total of both accounts. However, the vlogger only had separate letters with individual totals. They were instructed to obtain a combined total from the bank and mail it to the officer. Determined to fulfill this requirement promptly, the vlogger walked to a nearby Chase bank branch, obtained the most recent bank balance, and returned to provide the necessary proof of their financial capability.
The vlogger reflects on the officer’s initial skepticism, as many applicants for the visa they were applying for are often retirees expecting a pension. However, they emphasize that the requirement is based on an individual’s ability to afford living in Spain, and they had diligently saved and prepared for this opportunity. The vlogger also mentions that the officer might have thought they were younger than they actually were, as they appeared surprised by their age.
Reviewing and Submitting the Documents
- Observe and learn from others: Pay attention to the experiences of other applicants during your visit to the consulate. The vlogger noticed that students going through a similar visa category had a quick and straightforward process. Take note of any observations that may provide insights into the requirements and procedures for your specific visa category.
- Review documents and ensure mutual understanding: Before the appointments, it’s essential to thoroughly review all the required documents, including the letter of intent and paperwork. Both partners should participate in this process to ensure a shared understanding of what is included and required. This helps avoid confusion and ensures that both individuals are well-prepared.
- Divide document preparation responsibilities: To ensure that both partners are involved and aware of the application details, consider dividing the document preparation process. This allows each person to take ownership of specific tasks, promoting shared responsibility and knowledge of the required documents.
- Be prepared for specific document requests: During the appointment, the officer may request specific items or documents that were not initially provided. In the vlogger’s case, tax returns were required. Stay adaptable and ready to provide any additional documents or information as requested by the officer.
After the vlogger’s appointment, their partner, who went next, headed straight to a nearby Chase bank, located about 0.7 miles away. While waiting, they observed two students going through a quick and straightforward process, suggesting that their visa category might have simplified requirements.
The vlogger recalls the night before the appointments, where they both reviewed all the documents, including their letter of intent and paperwork. They wanted to ensure everything was in order and that they both understood what was included. When it was their partner’s turn, they provided the necessary documents. The officer was already familiar with their case due to previous filings and only required specific items, such as tax returns, which were not initially provided. The vlogger suggests that couples divide the document preparation process to ensure that both partners are involved and aware of the details.
Navigating the Interview and Observations
The vlogger shares their experience during the interview portion of the appointment. They recall being asked specific questions about their tax return and benefits, which caused some panic as they weren’t initially familiar with the details. They advise future applicants to be well-informed about what they are filing and understand the names and details of the required forms. It’s essential to have the necessary information readily available rather than searching for it during the interview.
They mention the consulate’s early closing time, emphasizing that the doors are locked promptly at 1 pm. The vlogger shares their rush to return in time for the interview, including running the last two blocks. They stress the importance of being prepared and arriving on time.
The vlogger clarifies that applicants should avoid asking questions during the interview. Online forums and Facebook groups are better resources for inquiries before the appointment. The consulate officers are the ones who should ask questions during the interview.
Observations from Other Applicants
- Submit only the required documents: Ensure that you provide only the specific documents mentioned on the consulate’s website. Avoid including unnecessary additional documents that may complicate the process and cause confusion.
- Appreciate the helpfulness of consulate officers: Take note of the friendly and helpful nature of the consulate officers. While the process may be strict, they are there to assist applicants and ensure a smooth filing process. Recognize and appreciate their willingness to provide guidance and support.
- Pay attention to document details: Give careful attention to the details of the required documents. Make sure you understand the specific requirements and follow them meticulously. Attention to detail will help avoid any potential issues or delays in the application process.
- Properly apostille your documents: If your application requires apostilled documents, ensure they are correctly apostilled with proper stamps and seals. Pay attention to the details, such as staple placement, to avoid any concerns about document authenticity.
- Be patient during the response process: Understand that response times can vary, and it may take some time to receive a response from the consulate. Be patient and allow sufficient time for the application to be reviewed. Make sure to provide accurate contact information during the application process to ensure effective communication.
- Plan your travel timeline: Consider the validity period of your visa and plan your travel accordingly. Once you receive approval, schedule an appointment to collect your visas promptly. This will allow you sufficient time to make travel arrangements and begin your one-year residency within the designated timeframe.
While waiting for their partner’s interview, the vlogger noticed a situation involving another applicant. The applicant was trying to pick up their documents or passport, but there seemed to be an issue with their application. The consulate officer mentioned that the third-party intermediary (middle person) had complicated the process by providing more documents than necessary. The officer reassured the applicant that they only needed the specific documents mentioned on the website and that they were there to help with the filing process.
The vlogger reflects on the friendly and helpful nature of the consulate officers, despite the strictness of the process. They mention their own experiences with immigration in the past, noting the contrast in attitudes. The vlogger finds it admirable that the officers at the Spanish consulate were both strict and willing to assist applicants, creating a more positive atmosphere.
The vlogger explains the approval process after the consulate scrutinizes the application. Once the application is passed to Madrid, it is generally approved. They mention overhearing that around 1800 applications were being processed at that time, and all were approved. The vlogger emphasizes the importance of paying attention to the details of the required documents and suggests watching their upcoming video for further information.
The vlogger provides an important tip about apostilled documents, specifically mentioning the background check. They explain that an apostille is an international certification that verifies the authenticity of a document. They recount a situation where their document’s staple had been moved, causing panic. To ensure acceptance, they advise properly stapling documents and ensuring they are apostilled correctly with proper stamps and seals.
Continuing the discussion, the vlogger shares that it took them 11 days to receive a response from the consulate. They were then emailed to inform them that their visas were ready for collection. Following the provided instructions, they scheduled an appointment to pick up their visas on the following Monday. The visas were valid from December 10th until late March, giving them approximately three months to travel to Spain and begin their one-year residency.
The vlogger notes that response times may vary, citing a friend from San Diego who received their response in just 10 days. They express the importance of providing accurate contact information during the application process to ensure timely communication.
Joyful Moments and Community Support
- Utilize online resources and join Facebook groups: Join Facebook groups related to the application process for the non-lucrative visa. Actively participate, ask questions, and read through discussions to gain insights and advice from individuals who have gone through similar experiences. These groups can provide valuable support and guidance throughout the application journey.
- Stay positive and don’t get discouraged: The application process may initially seem overwhelming, but it’s important to stay positive and not let discouragement deter you. Remember that many others have successfully gone through the process, and with proper preparation and guidance, you can too.
- Seek specific and relevant information: When reaching out for assistance or clarification, ensure that your questions are specific and cannot be easily found on the consulate’s website. This increases the chances of receiving a response and obtaining the information you need to proceed with your application.
- Follow the requirements diligently: Pay close attention to the requirements outlined by the consulate and ensure that you meet each one. Take the time to thoroughly understand the documentation needed and diligently gather the necessary paperwork.
- Appreciate the differences in the application process: Acknowledge and appreciate the differences between the immigration processes in the US and Spain. Recognize that the Spanish application process may offer a smoother and more straightforward experience, but it still requires careful attention to detail and adherence to requirements.
The vlogger shares a heartfelt moment during their application journey. On the 11th day of waiting, while driving, their partner received an email notification. As the partner read the email out loud, the vlogger couldn’t contain their joy and cried in disbelief. It was a joyful and emotional moment for them both, signifying the approval of their application.
In response to a viewer question from Napoleon, the vlogger explains that they completed the application themselves without the assistance of a lawyer or agency in Spain. However, they emphasize the importance of joining Facebook groups related to the process. They had been part of such groups for a year, reading through discussions, asking general questions, and gaining insights from other people’s experiences.
The vlogger emphasizes the significance of receiving support and advice from individuals who have gone through a similar process. They also advise future applicants to join Facebook groups, actively participate, ask questions, and read through the discussions. While initially daunting to see a list of required documents, the vlogger shares that once they started with the background check, everything began falling into place.
They also acknowledged that some people in the forums complained about the Los Angeles Consulate’s lack of email responses. However, they mention that the consulate did respond to their valid questions, highlighting the importance of asking specific and relevant inquiries that cannot be easily found on the website. They compare the consulate’s response to the immigration process in the US, noting that it can be challenging to receive timely responses in both cases.
The vlogger concludes by emphasizing the importance of following the requirements and not getting discouraged. They highlight the stark differences between the immigration processes in the US and Spain, expressing gratitude for the smoother and more straightforward experience they had with the Spanish application.
The vlogger places importance on the way you present yourself during the consulate appointment, emphasizing the need to be respectful and professional. They recall their own experience, where they chose to dress up for the occasion. The vlogger wore a suit, while their partner opted for a button-down shirt. They explain that dressing appropriately not only shows respect but also conveys seriousness and the significance of the process.
Drawing a parallel to a job interview, the vlogger shares advice on attire, suggesting plain shirts or clothing that reflects a connection to Spain. They humorously mention avoiding casual attire like band shirts or flip-flops. By dressing nicely and appropriately, applicants can create a positive impression and demonstrate their commitment to the process.
The vlogger’s story about getting a non-lucrative visa to live in Spain as an OFW is full of helpful tips. They learned how to plan the application process, collect the right papers, and do well in the interview. The vlogger also suggests joining online groups for support and advice. They were happy to find that the consulate officers were friendly and willing to help. So, if you dream of living in Spain, follow their advice, stay positive, and take this exciting opportunity to make your dream come true.