The Spanish Consulate in London covers the southern counties of the UK, Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories. So if you live in East Anglia, the South East or the South West, you’ll take your application to the BLS International Visa Centre in London which handles visa processing for the Consulate of Spain in London.
The Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa offers residency to British nationals who have the financial means to support themselves without working. The Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa scheme is therefore ideal if you are retired, or have passive income, for example income from rental properties or other investments. The Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa is intended for full-time residency in Spain, i.e. 6 months or more per year.
What does the Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa Offer UK British Nationals?
The Spanish Consulate in Manchester covers Central UK. So if you live in the Midlands, the North West, Isle of Man or Wales, you’ll take your application to the BLS International Visa Centre in Salford Manchester, which handles visa processing for the Consulate of Spain in Manchester.
Locations that come under the Spanish Consulate in Manchester
All three Spanish Consulates in the UK have outsourced handling of Non-Lucrative Visa applications to BLS International.
The consulates in London and Edinburgh were the first to make the switch at the start of summer at the start of the onset of Student Visa application processing.
Manchester consulate continued handling Non-Lucrative Visa applications in house, though to the end of October, but has now also made the switch.
Everything is now handled by BLS so all former procedures through the Consulates have been done away with, and new processes with BLS are being implemented.
Who Are BLS International?
BLS International Ltd is an international provider of visa processing services.
According to its corporate website BLS International Services Ltd has 18+ years of experience and is a globally trusted and highly esteemed tech-enabled service partner for governments and citizens. The company has established itself as one of the top 2 players in the field of visa, passport, consular, and citizen services.
BLS further boasts to collaborating with over 46 governments, including Diplomatic Missions, Embassies, and Consulates and to have operations across 64 nations, with a global footprint spanning more than 50,000 centres worldwide supported by 60,000 employees and associates. According to the website write up, BLS International has processed over 220 million applications.
A review of their financial results for the quarter ending June 30th, shows income of just under £38m for the period, of which around £30m was attributable to visa services. It made a pre-tax profit of just under £8m for the quarter.
The company is listed on the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) and it has 26 subsidiaries, including the in the UK, BLS International Services (UK) Ltd. As of the time of writing BLS has a market capitalisation of just under £100m.
Non-Lucrative Visa Appointments at BLS International UK
Until the recent switch of long term visa application processing by the Spanish Consulates to BLS, the company only handled short term (Schengen) visas for Spain.
If you were to go by their Google or Trustpilot reviews, you might question why the Spanish Consulates chose BLS. However we have to say that the feedback about experience from all of our clients who have attended Non-Lucrative Visa appointments at BLS has pretty much all been positive. Perhaps arguably, processing times have even improved as we have definitely some very fast visa application turnarounds. Clients report back that staff were friendly and helpful. The BLS offices also have printing, photocopying and passport photo facilities, in case you forgot something.
Getting a Non-Lucrative Visa Appointment at BLS International UK
This is a sticking point at the moment. Initially, appointment booking continued to be done through the consulates booking process and the system which although not perfect, worked. Now that appointments have to be booked directly through BLS the system as it stands today, has some problems.
Appointments should be booked through the BLS website, however when clicking on the link to access the booking page, a 403 or 404 error page is often returned. BLS staff have advised that this is because the booking section is still being worked on, but there will be times when the page will be available. Apparently their system may also be blocking overseas IP addresses. So if you are in Spain and trying to book your appointment, you will not be able to. We have tried accessing the booking page via a UK VPN and the 403 error page still comes up.
Hopefully the page will work for you, but if not, in London there is a number that you can call, and if you manage to get through then the staff will usually accommodate a request for an appointment. Be prepared for hours of ringing trying to get through.
The Consulate in Manchester direct Non-Lucrative visa applicants to contact BLS. When you call the number, an automated voice message instructs you to go to the website to book appointments.
As of the time of writing this, the Spanish Consulate in Edinburgh was still accepting appointment requests by email.
All the BLS offices can be contacted by email, so if you do experience problems accessing the booking page and can’t get through on the phone, you can email the centre you need to attend to let them know you’re having problems.
Non-Lucrative Visa Appointments – Mobile Service
BLS International do offer a mobile service to collect your application and process your bio-metrics in your home. They charge for the service, and the fee depends on where you live. It has been observed by some that it’s convenient that the BLS home visit booking page is readily available, while the standard booking page isn’t. We can’t comment on that other than to say it’s definitely an awkward coincidence.
We have spoken to the management at BLS International UK voicing the concerns of our clients and the difficulties being experienced getting appointments, and have been assured the issues will be resolved soon.
We are in regular contact with BLS, and of course constantly checking the BLS website, and will update this page as and when there are any improvements to the appointment booking system.
Now that BLS International have taken over processing of Non Lucrative Visa Applications, it is no longer possible to track your application through the Spanish Consulate portal. BLS have their own tracking system, however at the moment its being worked on so is not available at the moment. We’ll update this page when it comes back online.
You can however still check the progress of your residency application on the Spanish immigration website.
There are three Spanish Consulates in the UK that issue Spanish residency visa. The Spanish Consulate in Edinburgh covers the North of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. So if you live in one of these areas, you’ll take your application to the BLS International Visa Centre in Edinburgh which handles visa processing for the Consulate of Spain in Edinburgh.
Locations that come under the Spanish Consulate in Edinburgh
Spanish Residency Certificate for Citizens of EU countries
All EU and EEA (European Economic Area) citizens and their family members have the right to visit, live or work in Spain. A Spanish residency certificate confirms your status as a resident in Spain. For stays of up to 3 months there is no need to register or obtain any Spanish documentation unless you are going to be working, or for example buying a property, in which case you’ll need an NIE. After that period, or if you intend to stay more than 3 months, you are expected to register as a resident.
You are given a residency certificate, or ‘certificado de residencia‘, when you successfully register. The issue of certificates is controlled by the National Police, (Cuerpo Nacional de Policia).
There are a few steps involved in the process to register a car from an EU country in Spain. Fortunately because of European standardisation, or homologation as it’s known, in most cases, provided you know the steps, it’s relatively straight forward.
The following is a basic run through of the steps and process.
The Spanish Golden Visa offers residency to individuals who make a real estate investment in Spain of €500,000 or more. The Spanish Golden Visa scheme has been in existence since September 2013 when legislation for the ‘residency by investment scheme’ was passed. The aim being to attract foreign investors at a time when the economy of Spain was not in a very good place. Since it’s inception, over 25,000 foreign investors have benefited from the scheme.
The main nationalities benefiting have been Chinese, Russian and US. However now that the UK is no longer in the EU, Spain is now receiving significant numbers of Spanish Golden Visa applications from British Nationals who wish to enjoy their holiday residence, without the 90 day Schengen limitation.
What does the Spanish Golden Visa Offer UK British Nationals?
When buying holiday money or sending money abroad, many banks and brokers include hidden fees and or a mark-up in the exchange rate. Not surprising, a recent study into international money transfers and payments found that 75% of consumers do not know about, or do not understand currency exchange rate mark-ups.
In recent years specialised currency exchange companies have broken the monopoly on the supply of currency exchange services. Banks and high street exchanges are no longer the go to choice for changing currency.
These currency exchange companies deliver much more competitive exchange rates to consumers, more personalised service, and faster transfer times than banks offer. It’s no surprise than savvy overseas property buyers and expats choose these companies to get a better deal.
A high street bank may seem like the easy or convenient option, and may be your choice through habit, however using a specialist foreign currency exchange provider is just as easy and more importantly works out much cheaper!