Spain Golden Visa vs Spain Non Lucrative Visa: how long can I be outside of Spain?


One of the advantages I was hoping for with the Spain Golden Visa is that we could spend more time out of Spain than is allowed in the Spain Non Lucrative Visa ie more than 10 months total in first 5 years.

This would allow for weddings, babies, and other things that could happen.. Have I got this wrong? If it is the case then I’m not sure I see any real advantage to the GV over the NLV as we are both retired on passive income.


These are the answers of Spainguru’s Facebook group members:

“From what I understand, you can come and go as you please with Spain Golden Visa. Someone please correct me if I am wrong.”

“That is correct.”

“Perhaps one to check with an expert/ lawyer but, as I understand it, the 10 months issue is the same for Spain Non Lucrative Visa and Spain Golden Visa, if one wants to become a permanent resident after 5 years. GV allows you to be in and out of Spain as often as you want but, I believe, does not grant an exemption re qualifying periods in country for permanent residency purposes.”

“My understanding is that the NLV forces you to become a tax resident too, because in order to renew of have to have spent more than 183 days/yr in Spain. The Spain Golden Visa allows you to spend less days and therefore not become tax resident. GV also allows you to potentially work.

But as far as long term 5 year plan and potential permanent resident goes, they both have same restrictions of no more that 10 months total out of Spain. So it really depends on whether your long term goal is to become permanent resident or not.”

“You are correct in your assumption. With the GV you can spend as much time out of Spain as you want (though a minimum of 1 day a year in Spain). This proviso is the reason we have the GV too.”

“I think the confusion is caused by the following: The golden visa has a limited time period. It can be successively renewed for 5 years. However, if you seek permanent residency thereafter, the criteria for permanent residency apply.

So you do not have to stay in Spain while you hold the golden visa, but if you desire to apply for a permanent residency after 5 years, you have to show that you resided in Spain and the absentee periods are limited to 10 months during the prior 5 years.”

“Under the current rules, you can renew the golden visa indefinitely. Yes the law and the regulations can change in the future. Impossible to predict the actions of the Spanish government and/ or parliament in the future.”


The conversation clarifies that the Golden Visa (GV) offers significant flexibility for those looking to spend time outside Spain, allowing holders to come and go as they please.

However, this flexibility does not extend to the requirements for obtaining permanent residency, which are similar for both the Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV) and GV holders: a maximum of 10 months outside Spain in the first five years.

The GV also offers the possibility of working in Spain and potentially avoiding tax residency if under 183 days are spent in the country annually.

The decision between Spain Golden Visa and Spain Non Lucrative Visa largely depends on one’s long-term goals in Spain, whether that be permanent residency or the flexibility to travel.

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Bruno Bianchi
Bruno Bianchi is the Director at SpainGuru, where he offers his expertise on Spanish immigration, visas, and residency. Over the years, he has been a guide for many navigating the intricacies of Spanish immigration & bureaucracy. In addition to his role at SpainGuru, Bruno anchors the SpainGuru YouTube channel. Through this platform, he shares valuable insights and updates on immigration matters, simplifying complex processes for a global audience. Bruno's dedication to providing clear and trustworthy information has made him a trusted figure in the community. In addition to his pivotal role at SpainGuru, Bruno boasts over 17 years of professional experience in several online platforms. With roles ranging from the COO and co-founder of and Sales director of the MAPSA Group, Bruno's diverse experiences (he holds 3 nationalities) and multilingual capabilities (he speaks 5 languages) make him a dynamic and influential figure in both the immigration and business sectors.