“Maybe we can be in Spain by our anniversary!” Michael said. He thinks we’re going to get this whole thing done in two months?!
“Ummmm. . . Maybe,” I replied. ” But someone on the Facebook group said they had to wait two months just for their appointment at the Consulate. And you can’t get your appointment until you have all the documents in your hands. . .” Michael is more of an optimist than I am. My optimism comes with a minor in realism and an occasional dabbling in pessimism.
But Michael was right. On June 1, our visas arrived–two weeks before our third anniversary. For various reasons, however, we’ll be arriving in Spain three days after our anniversary. “So we’ll just spend our next anniversary in Spain,” Michael proclaimed. I agreed. It’s a one-year visa, and we intend to be in Europe for every possible moment of that year.
For those living in North Carolina and looking to embark on the process of obtaining a Spanish visa, here was our process. Note that I may have left out some things, so do your own research. This is just intended as an FYI. For my usual readers, there’s no more story. But feel free to read on if you’d like:)
As we are residents of North Carolina, our consulate is in Washington, DC. Find your consulate here. The Non-Lucrative Visa requirements for DC are listed here. From the moment we started our process until the moment we finished: 7 weeks. Here’s the order in which we did everything:
**Note: We chose to get a STATE background check instead of a FEDERAL background check (our consulate gives us the choice of either). The state background check has to go to your state capital to get an Apostille. The Federal one needs to go to Washington DC for an Apostille and people reported long turn-around times for that.
- We got these at the Buncombe County Bureau of ID in our county seat (59 Woodfin Place, Asheville, NC).
- $10–cash only.
- (Completed 4/14/21-This was when we started our clock to see how long the process would take.)
- State Background Check
- Next, we had to send our fingerprints and a form to the NCSBI (North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation). Info here.
- Cost is $14 by money order only made out to NC Bureau of Investigation. I did two money orders — for $14 each as some places want them to be separate.
- Takes 7 days to process.
- If you check off that it is for Travel/Visa, they will be notarized (and they need to be notarized to get the Apostille later).
- Note that you can’t fold the fingerprint card — you’ll need an envelope large enough so they don’t fold.
- Note that you cannot submit this information in person nor can you expedite this process (as per their FAQ).
- (Mailed 4/14/21; Per Post Office tracking, received in Raleigh 4/18/21; Received it back in the mail on 4/30/21)
- Apostille —
- Mail in using this cover letter.
- Alternatively, we can walk-in to get our documents back the same day. Click here for info.
- Need check or money order for $10 per document made out to NCSOS.
- We overnighted our background checks and marriage certificate to the NC Secretary of State ($32) on 5/4/21 and included a return envelope to overnight it back ($40). We got our forms back on 5/11/21.
**Note: These steps need to be done in the order above.
We are applying as a married couple. Therefore, I went to our county Register of Deeds to get a notarized copy of my marriage certificate ($10?). I then sent this along with our background checks to our Secretary of State to get the Apostille (Background Check #3, above).
We used this one as others that had gone to the DC consulate said they used it successfully.
(Husband: Completed 4/14; Mine completed 4/16/21)
At the recommendation of others on the Spanish NLV Facebook page, we went with Adeslas. Note that the first time we called they said they didn’t have a policy they could offer us. Then we called Carlos A. Blancos Rey and he got us set up. On his web site it says that you need a Spanish bank account, but you don’t.
Forms sent to Carlos 5/4/21 (but that’s a national holiday). Got our insurance letter on 5/5/21.
**Note: We had to pay the entire year up front (about $1900 total for the two of us for health and dental). We used Transferwise, which is now called Wise in order to pay the balance.
On Tuesday, May 11, we emailed all of the above as well as copies of our passports (issued in the last 10 years and valid for at least 6 months) and financials (showing at least $38,000) to firstname.lastname@example.org as per the consulate’s website here. In less than 24 hours, they got back to us with an appointment for Friday — two days away!
So, we got together the following to bring with us:
- Passport Photos (recent, white backgrounds–we got our at AAA as we are members there)
- Copies of everything we emailed to the consulate. (“Why do they need copies?” my husband asked. “I’m not sure, but it’s written here underlined and in bold,” I showed him on the website.)
- The Visa Application Form
- Money Orders ($140 each for the Visa; $13 for the residency permit. Can also be cash).
- Self-addressed express mail envelope so the consulate can mail our passports (now with our Visa stamps) back to us.
When we arrived, the sign on the door said “No Visa Appointments on Fridays.” But it all worked out (for more on that, read here). At the appointment, they told us we would have our passports back within four weeks. Eighteen days later, they were in our hands.
Things we didn’t need:
Different consulates require different things. The Spanish NLV Facebook group was incredibly helpful, yet every time someone posted a question about requirements for a consulate other than DC, I wondered. . . so here are some things other consulates require that the DC consulate doesn’t (at least as of our visit):
- Translations: The only thing that had a translation was our medical form.
- A lease: Not required nor requested.
- Affidavit saying you will not work: Not required nor requested.
- A statement saying why you want to live in Spain: Not required nor requested.
A huge thank you to everyone who helped us with this process. Hope to see you in Spain in less than a week:)