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
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?
Spain’s Digital Nomad Visa is now available following the passing of the new Startups Law, ‘Ley de Startups‘. This visa which allows the holder to live in Spain and work remotely or online, can be applied directly in Spain, or via the Spanish Consulate in the country in which you currently reside.
To get Spain’s Digital Nomad Visa, applicants must have sufficient funds to support themselves, proof they can work remotely from Spain, and must already have been working in their current ‘remote worker’ employment or self-employment prior to applying.
Holders of the Digital Nomad Visa are eligible for a special income tax rate fixed at 24% for the first 5 years, offering higher earners reduced income tax compared to normal residents.
A Private Medical insurance policy for Spanish visas and residency has to provide a level of healthcare cover equivalent to that provided by the state healthcare system. For a lot of private medical insurance providers this will mean taking out their top level fully comprehensive policy. Co-payments policies that have much lower monthly or annual premiums and you pay a small fee when you need treatment or to see a doctor, are not acceptable.
The general requirements for Private Medical Insurance for Spanish visas and residency are much the same across all the different types of residency, however that are some differences between what’s needed for some.
Private Medical Insurance for the Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa
A Private Medical Insurance for a Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa, has to pass the equivalent to state healthcare test. The policy has to be annual most Spanish Consulates expect the policy to be paid in full up front. Some even insist on there being a full year paid up front from the date you expect to enter Spain with your visa. When you don’t know exactly how long your Non-Lucrative Visa will take to process, getting the Private Medical Insurance policy start date right can be tricky, and sometimes if there are delays, extra months of insurance have to be paid for added to the end of the policy to make up a full 12 months of cover.
For a Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa application, it is best to take Private Medical Insurance with a Spanish provider. Policies from other countries may provide an acceptable level of cover, but if the policy documents are not in Spanish, it can end up quite costly getting the policy documents translated into Spanish to prove this.
Private Medical Insurance for the Spanish Golden Visa & Investor Residency
Along with the general requirements of Private Medical insurance for Spanish visas and residency, a Private Medical insurance for the Spanish Golden Visa and investor residency, has to be from either a Spanish insurance provider or an insurance provider that is authorised to operate in Spain. So, international or global healthcare policies which may even have superior cover to a Spanish policy, will not be accepted, unless the provider is registered with Spain’s insurance regulator the DGSFP. (Dirección General de Seguros y Fondos de Pensiones). Foreign insurance companies registered in Spain can be searched on their website: http://www.dgsfp.mineco.es/en/Entidades/Paginas/rrpp.aspx
Private Medical Insurance for Spanish Residency for Citizens of EU Countries
The requirements of a Private Medical Insurance Citizens of EU countries applying for their Spanish Residency Certificate, are much the same as for the Non-Lucrative visa, i.e. the policy just needs to meet the general criteria. Because the EU citizen Residency Certificate application is handled on a municipal level at the National Police station, there are variances from place to place as to what may be accepted, and the proof of insurance documents that will be required.
In most places a certificate of cover for a residency application from the provider along with proof of payment of the policy is sufficient. In some places however, they insist on a copy of all the policy documents including the lengthy terms and conditions!
Taking Out Private Medical Insurance for Spanish Visas & Residency
Taking out the wrong Private Medical Insurance policy for your Spanish visa or residency application, can end up in a lot of wasted time and money. We recommend that you use an insurance broker that has lots of experience arranging Private Medical Insurance for Spanish Visas and Residency, as well as knowing which policies are suitable, they will most likely also know a fair bit about the variances in requirements for the different type of visa and residency, the differences from one Spanish consulate to the next, and from place to place.
We handle all the above types of Spanish Visa and Residency applications, and work with a specialist insurance broker to arrange suitable Private Medical Insurance for our clients. If you need to take out Private Medical Insurance for your Spanish Visa or Residency application, we can help you.
Click the link below and fill in the short enquiry form.
(+34) 951 77 55 44 / (+44) 033 000 10 777
Spanish residency requirements for British citizens / UK nationals changed on January 1st 2021 when the UK left the EU.
British citizens / UK nationals now have to follow the same process as other non-EU national citizens of third countries to get Spanish residency, i.e. there is a requirement to first obtain a visa.
The minimum income required for a British Citizen / UK national to obtain a residency visa, is a lot higher than it was to get residency before Brexit. In most cases a single applicant needs to have at least €28k per year, whereas previously less than €6k income would have been sufficient.