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Complete guide to obtaining a Spain retirement visa, the required documents, and the best places for retirees

A picturesque country located in southwestern Europe and home to more than 380.000 expats from around the world, perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy life. 

Besides working or studying purposes, Spain is also a popular option for financially independent individuals who plan to retire to the beautiful country. The country also offers great benefits for anyone who retires here, such as low costs of living, a high-quality lifestyle, and excellent healthcare.

Although the retirement benefits are charming enough, Spain does not issue retirement visas. However, Spain has other alternative options for anyone who wants to move here for the purpose of retiring.

How Can I Retire in Spain?

To retire in Spain, you must consider other options besides the retirement visa since the country does not have a dedicated retirement visa for foreigners. If you wish to move to Spain and continue your retirement years here, you have other available options. One of the options is to get e residence permit, which can be obtained after getting a long-stay visa.

There are different types of residence permits, but the most popular ones for retirement are the Spain Golden Visa or Spain Non-Lucrative Visa. 

The Golden Visa As A Spanish Retirement Visa

The Spain Golden Visa, also known as the Spain Investor Visa, is a type of residence permit through which you can get residency in Spain by investing a certain amount in real estate, company, or personal business.

To get a Golden visa, you need to have sufficient financial funds (at least €500,000, €1,000,000, or €2,000,000).

This type of visa allows you to bring your family members and can lead to permanent residency.

The Non-Lucrative Visa As A Spanish Retirement Visa

The Spanish Non-Lucrative visa is issued to people who want to move into Spain and have the needed income to support themselves and their dependents without participating in gainful activities.

To be eligible for a Non-Lucrative visa, you must have a clear criminal record and the required financial means. You are also not allowed to work or benefit from any job.

What Are The Eligibility Requirements for Retirement in Spain?

You must meet a few requirements to be eligible for retirement in Spain:

  • You must be financially independent and have sufficient funds to support yourself and your family members.
  • You must not participate in or benefit from any work-related activities.
  • You must not have any criminal charges.
  • You must be in good health conditions. 

What Is the Duration of a Retirement Visa for Spain?

A Golden Visa is issued for a period of one year, and later, you can convert the visa into a residence permit for investors. The residence permit you receive is valid for two years and can be renewed every two years.

A Non-Lucrative Visa is issued for a period of three months and 15 days. You must apply for a Non-Lucrative Residence Permit within this period, which will be issued for two years and can be renewed for another five years.

How Much Money You Need to Retire in Spain?

Generally, Spain is not an expensive country to live in. Expats find Spain’s prices to be relatively low and affordable. Depending on your lifestyle and place of location, you can spend less than you have imagined. 

For example, if you want to move in alone, you will need an amount of $700 per month to pay for your necessities, whereas for a family of four, $2290 would be enough. This amount is only relevant if you purchase an apartment in Spain.
Suppose you want to rent out a place; in that case, your monthly budget will be higher depending on the type of apartment you are renting and the location. Rent prices range from $410 to $920 for one-room apartments and $665 to $2040 for three-bedroom apartments.

A single person can live comfortably with a monthly income of $1500 to $2000.

Here is a presentation of the average living costs in Spain:

ACCOMMODATION (rent)Monthly Cost
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center$750
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Center$615
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Center$1260
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Center $950
Price for purchasing an apartment in City Centre$3120
Price for purchasing an apartment Outside of Centre$1930
Rice $1.20
Apples (kg)$1.80
Electricity, Water, Heating, Cooling, Garbage$125

Healthcare for Retirees in Spain

Spain has a universal healthcare system ranked as the 7th most efficient healthcare in the world. The government funds the Spanish healthcare system, and every resident can access free health insurance coverage. 

Foreign residents living in Spain have two health insurance options that they can choose: Private Insurance Provider or National Healthcare System (Sistema Nacional de Salud SNS).

In addition, as a foreign retiree, you can also qualify for public healthcare called “Convenio Especial.”

The Convenio Especial is a scheme that allows individuals who are legal residents of Spain and are unable to get healthcare by any other means to get public healthcare services. If you decide to choose the Convenio Especial, there is a certain fee you must pay a monthly fee to receive insurance coverage.

The Convenio Especial Monthly Fees
Persons under the age of 65$61
Persons over the age of 65$160

Why Retire in Spain?

Here are some of the reasons why you should retire in Spain.

  • Healthcare. The healthcare system in Spain offers universal coverage as a constitutionally-guaranteed right to all its citizens has both public and private healthcare systems. The public healthcare system provides free healthcare services to retirees, including retirees who are not from Spain. Foreign retirees have the option of choosing the Convenio Especial, a scheme designated for individuals who cannot have access to public services.
  • Life quality. In Spain, you can have a laid-back style while also having time to enjoy everything you want to do. Spain is known for having a great work/life balance, quality of medical care, safety, and comfort. 
  • Living Costs. Spain has relatively affordable living costs. However, in cities like Ibiza, Barcelona, or Madrid, due to their popularity, prices can be a little higher. Living expenses for single retirees are lower and affordable if you have enough financial means, whereas a couple could live on $20,000 to $22,000 a year.
  • Safety. Spain is ranked in 38th place when it comes to safety and security and has a relatively low crime rate. Spain’s crime rate is way lower than other countries around the world, but there are still some minor safety measures you must take for scams or theft.

What Are The Best Places for Retirees in Spain?

Spain has some of the best places to retire. Whether you like a place near the beach or in suburban or rural areas, Spain has it all. Here is a small list of the best places to retire in Spain.


The capital city of Spain, is also one of the most populated cities, with more than 3.4 million inhabitants. Madrid is home to impressive architecture, incredible museums, and stunning outdoor plazas. Life in Madrid is exciting and dynamic, there is a low crime rate, a good climate, and you have access to free public services. 

Making friends in Madrid is super easy because there are thousands of foreign retirees living in Madrid looking for new friends.


There are many reasons why one would make the beautiful and colorful Barcelona their permanent home, and it is not because of its football team.  The Spanish city has some of the most stunning architecture you have ever seen. To make it even better, Barcelona has world-class cuisine, breathtaking sandy beaches, and vibrant nightlife.

Barcelona has a charming atmosphere that will win you over after five minutes of stepping into the city. 


Alicante is a great place to retire and already has a high number of foreign retirees living there. The city is perfect if you want a place with warm weather all year round, affordable housing, and a great transport network. 

Alicante is known for its expansive public beaches and has something for everyone. With rich culture and history, epic nightlife, and beautiful beaches, Alicante makes it one of Spain’s most popular places for retirees.


The southern part of Spain is known for its high-rise hotels, luxurious resorts, and yellow-sand beaches. Málaga is a port city located in this area and one of the most visited coastal cities in Spain. While living in Málaga, you will enjoy the sunny weather and high temperatures on the beautiful beaches while tasting some of the most delicious Spanish dishes.

Málaga is perfect for history lovers who want to dwell more on the Spanish culture and traditions.


Valencia is another great city to retire to on the southeastern coast. The city is known for the City of Arts and Sciences, with futuristic architecture, pristine beaches, the Valencia Cathedral, museums, and beautiful festivals. 

When it comes to living costs, Valencia can be a bit expensive depending on how much you are willing to spend per month. But, although it is considered the 8th most expensive city in Spain, Valencia can still be budget-friendly if you know how to manage your finances.

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