Spain Non Lucrative Visa application with a Criminal Record: A Guide for UK Applicants

Spain non lucrative visa

The post-Brexit era has introduced new challenges for British citizens aspiring to retire in Spain. The Spain Non Lucrative Visa, a pathway for those dreaming of a tranquil life under the Spanish sun, now stands as a requisite for UK passport holders. This article delves into a crucial aspect of the application process: the impact of criminal records on securing a Spain Non Lucrative Visa.

Understanding the Spain Non Lucrative Visa

The Non-Lucrative Visa, often referred to as a retirement visa, is essential for British retirees planning to relocate to Spain. This visa requires applicants to demonstrate financial stability, healthcare coverage, and a clean bill of health. However, a critical component often raising concerns is the Criminal Record check, known in the UK as the ACRO Police Certificate.

The ACRO Police Certificate: What You Need to Know

The ACRO Police Certificate is a document specific to UK nationals, detailing their criminal record history. To be valid for a Non-Lucrative Visa application, this certificate must be apostilled and translated by a registered Spanish translator. The key phrases to look for in this certificate are ‘NO TRACE’ or ‘NO LIVE TRACE’.

  • ‘NO TRACE’ indicates a clean record with no convictions or cautions.
  • ‘NO LIVE TRACE’ suggests that while there is a criminal record, it has been ‘stepped down’ and does not appear on the certificate.

If the certificate displays any offences, it is highly probable that the Spanish Consulate will reject the Non-Lucrative Visa application.

Checking for Offences

Applicants uncertain about their criminal record can take two approaches:

  1. Order an ACRO Certificate: At a cost of 55 GBP, this document will reveal any recorded offences. It’s important to note that for visa purposes, the certificate must be issued within six months of the visa appointment.
  2. Request a Free Subject Access Request (SAR): This can be done via the ACRO website and will indicate any convictions.

The Concept of ‘Stepped Down’ Convictions

The ‘stepped down’ policy categorizes offences into three levels of severity, influencing how long they remain on your record. Serious offences (Section A) are unlikely to be stepped down, while minor ones (Section C) may disappear after five to twenty years.

Can Convictions Be Removed from the ACRO?

If an applicant believes an offence listed on their ACRO should not be there, they can appeal through the “National Criminal Record Deletion Process”. This procedure, detailed on the ACRO website, allows for the potential removal of certain offences.


For UK applicants, understanding the implications of a criminal record is crucial when applying for a Non-Lucrative Visa to Spain. While a clean record simplifies the process, those with past misdemeanours must navigate the complexities of the ACRO Police Certificate. It’s essential to approach this process with clarity and preparedness, ensuring that dreams of a Spanish retirement remain within reach.