Non lucrative visa and remote work for Canadians

Hi everyone!

There does not seem to be a lot of Canadians here but I will take my chance anyways.

I have a job in Canada that allows me to work remotely. This, according to several Spanish lawyers, should allow me to have the Non lucrative visa. However, the consulate in Montreal disagrees and says it is absolutely illegal to work with the non lucrative visa, period. It does not matter if I would work online remotely for a company that is located in a different country.

Any Canadians here who managed to get the Non lucrative visa for Spain with a remote job?

Many thanks!

Hi there,

From a quick look, there are a few Candains either living in Spain or looking to move to Spain.

You can search for them HERE.

I hope this is of help.

Expert Team

P.S Please beware, If you copy and paste too many times the same message your PM system might be locked if you do not make enough posts on the forum.

More than I thought for sure, many thanks SimCityAT! :-)
Now if I am very lucky, some of them are in the same situation or know of someone in the same situation than me, will see my post and be kind enough to respond.
I don't suppose there is a specific forum page for Canadians in Spain...?
Have a great evening!

There is not I am afraid, but as you have included Canadians in the header, that with any luck draw it fellow Canadians attention. I wish you all the best in finding help on the matter.

You never know someone else might have the answer you are looking for. :)

It is illegal to do any type of work on a non-lucrative visa, hence the title of the visa.
That said it appears some US consulates state otherwise for one reason or another and there are plenty of people over her here flaunting that law but the rest of the worlds consulates obey the actual law, hopefully one day hacienda will catch up with these law breakers as it makes it harder for those of us doing the right thing.

Even if you do find a consulate that says different it still will not change the fact that if you get caught you will be heavily fined, deported and banned from EU entry for up to 10 years.

I know it is of no real help to you, sorry.

Thank you JB80 for your response.

My understanding is that it is illegal to work on that type of visa because they would not want you to "steal" a job from locals, especially given the current economic situation. One woud think that they would not mind you spending there the money that you would earn in a different country.

In all cases, I am not planning on being illegal.

It's not illegal to work a job in Canada from Spain on a non-lucrative visa (NLV). What matters is where the *job* is at, not where the work is being performed; in this situation, you're not taking a job away from a Spaniard or even an EU citizen.

But because of the complexity of the situation, it's sometimes tough to get a NLV.

The trick that I've heard from fellow Americans who are doing this is that they often did not explicitly tell the consulate that they had a *job*.  In the US, a lot of this type of online contract work is performed under an employment rule that presents the worker as a contractor, not a regular employee of the company.

And since it's a contractor, in many instances the people have set up their billing situation so that they have a small "company" with a company name that does the billing of their employer.

So they go into the Spanish consulate to apply for the NLV and when asked what their source of income is, they say "I have a small company that I own and it pays me a dividend (or "profit sharing" or "ownership payment" or something like that) of $XXXX/month".

Instead of saying they are the sole employee of this "company", they present it more like they're the owner of a company, they don't actually do work, the company provides services to some business in the USA, and they just receive payments from the company.

Does that all make sense? If you go in and say "I work for XXX company and I'm going to keep working for them in Spain", they'll say "no, you can't work in Spain on the NLV".  But if you "own" a company and are just an idle rich person who gets paid profits, well, sure, you can have a NLV.

The problem is that you have to pay taxes on your world wide income when you live in Spain. Then when you make a declaration the authorities will see you have broken the law.
You have to make statements on your visa application when you apply. Do not tell teh truth then either you do not obtain the visa or you could be fined, jailed or thrown out of the country. Maybe all 3.
Is it really advisable to even think about this method of trying to live in Spain. We have the same "problem" if we wanted to live in say the USA or Canada

But it is not illegal to have business income from the US or Canada when you are living in Spain on a non-lucrative visa. Otherwise, without income, nobody could get the non-lucrative visa to begin with.

The Spanish consulate in San Francisco, for example, says that a person applying must provide "Proof of enough periodic income (investments, annuities, sabbaticals and any other source of income) to live in Spain without working"

So you can (and indeed must) have a source of income. If that income is a business, that's okay; it's an investment or "other source of income".

But you cannot work in Spain for a Spanish company or do anything that involves earning an income in Spain. If someone works online, though, as a contractor and is taxed in Canada, they're effectively a Canadian tax resident for the purposes of that income.

As an example- I have a pension from the US. I have to declare it to Spain, but the US/Spain tax treaty says that when someone has financial interests in both nations, they are primarily "tax resident" in the nation where the majority of the income comes from- in this case, the US.

I am sorry I was only giving the information that has been given on the Spanish government website. Perhaps I made an error in not giving a link. I will correct that now and apologise that I did not do that in the first place. … 20visa.pdf
This is the section I was referencing.

Foreigners subject to the requirement of this visa
All foreign nationals who wish to stay in Spain for more than ninety days per semester, without undertaking any type of work or professional  activity  must  be  in  possession  of  this  type  of  visa,  unless  they  are  citizens  of  the  European  Union,  Iceland, 
Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

If you want to work in Spain you have to set yourself up as a self-employed person. Again a visa can be obtained for this. … worker.pdf

More information on the EU website covering Spain. … -worker_en

When we applied for our visa through the consulate in Toronto we were told that we had to provide either proof of funds or proof of income. We provided both and were granted our visas.
I'd say I'm surprised that a different consulate is giving you conflicting information but I'm not at all. What you are finding out through this is how pretty well everything runs in Spain. People working at the same desk have different ways of doing things and will give you conflicting information.
Unfortunately, if they are telling you that you can't work and need to show proof of funds it makes it tough. The amount for personal exemption is a fair bit of money. They demand that you have something like €3000/mth in your account, except in on lump sum. Each dependent requires an extra amount on top of that. It's ridiculous when you consider that the average contract pays about €1000/mth and many Spaniards live in less.
Good luck

Thank you all, I appreciate your time and responses.

Matty3000, may I ask if the income you had to prove was passive?
2 different Spanish lawyers say that it is legal and I would tend to believe them considering the logic behind that law...

Nope. They were letters from our employers saying we would continue to work over the wire for $xxxx.xx/ month.

Wow; this almost makes me want to move my residency to TO.

So you do your tax declaration in Canada?

You have to declare taxes in both countries regardless of where you earn. You should find an accountant who specializes in foreign arrangements and deals with Spain so you don't get screwed and end up paying in both countries. I can't help you beyond that.

You have already been very helpful, thank you!

I'm from the US and my wife and got non-lucrative visas with no issues before working for 13 months for a US college and living in Granada.

DCinME :

I'm from the US and my wife and got non-lucrative visas with no issues before working for 13 months for a US college and living in Granada.

Did you have to declare the income in the annual tax return in Spain? Does that income fall into the "work" category in the tax form?

We didn't file a Spanish tax return since our earnings were strictly from US-based employers.

DCinME :

We didn't file a Spanish tax return since our earnings were strictly from US-based employers.

But you have to if you stayed in Spain more than 183 days in a year.

I don't think you understand or have experience with what you are writing or posting about because the experience I had and that many others have had in similar situations directly contradicts what you say.

You do not need to be set up as a self-employed person to work for an entity outside of Spain. That is according to the Spanish consulate in Boston and aligns with the experience my wife and I had while living and working in Spain.

That is not what we were told when we asked at the consulate and we simply filed our taxes in the States as we normally do.

I hate giving links but in this case I will break the exception to prove DCinME you are incorrect. … spain.html … dex_en.htm … ence-spain
The Spanish tax regulations are not country specific.So no matter where you are from if you are in Spain for more than 18 days you are obliged to fill out tax returns in Spain. If not Fines are very steep.

Oh, boy! Looks like you got me!!!


Posting a bunch of links is great, but what is more useful is the experience of others in similar situations. No one I know who lived in Spain while working for out of Spain entities ever had issues with the Spanish government or tax authorities doing the exact same thing I did.

Yes I have had issues with the tax office. But I am not willing to publish what happened in an open forum.

No one I know who lived in Spain while working for out of Spain entities ever had issues with the Spanish government or tax authorities doing the exact same thing I did.

You write in past tense, what happen then does not count for what happens now.

I'll ask my expat friends and family there now what issues they have had, if any, with the Spanish authorities and let you all know.

DC. If I posted,from some of my experiences, the info would be very wrong

Having a working lifetime in the law enforcement area I always refer to the legislation   

Last year my accountant in spain compensated me (3,000 euros) from her private account when I demonstrated to her the errors  she had made with my tax declaration   

Had I underpaid on her advice I would have been penalised by the tax office

Read the rules, that’s what the tax man does if something goes wrong. 

Claiming you did something wrong on the empirical advice of others, who thought they were right when they were not, carries no weight

Good point.

I tried to send a PM


You have a typo in a post. 18 days instead of 183


Thanks John.
I am not willing to accept PMs as just after I joined this forum I was asked to be friends etc with some dubious members. I turned "everything" off. I am also a person who prefers questions on an open forum.
I make a lot of typos in words too.
I have to say you have much better way in explaining things then I do. I just get all rapped up in those who have several views on Spain and the Spanish.
1) Everything goes.
2) You can get way with everything.
3) The police and the rest of the Spanish authorities are inept.
3) What I do is the norm.
Unfortunately the real world is just not like that.  Those who cannot tell us really how it is could be in jail, even for tax evasion. ;)

Hi @asmaa_h

I am in Montreal as well asking the same question, did you ever get a final resolution on your initial question? Are you in Spain currently?


matty3000, Thank you for your valuable contributions which are very useful for someone who needs to apply for the non-lucrative Spanish visa.
I will appreciate clarification on the following points considering that you have already gone through the process yourself:
1. Income amounts requirement for the non-lucrative visa - The Toronto Spanish Consulate website specifies the amount of income an applicant needs as follows:
     "7. You must  prove that you have enough means to live in Spain whitout working for the wole period that you want to stay in Spain. You must justify CAN $ 3108 per month, and CAN $ 777 per month for every member of your family." (copy-and-pasted with spelling errors intact).
This comes from their website: … .aspx#sec4

Question - Has the amount changed? The amount of Euro 3,000 that you have mentioned would be 50% higher than CAN $3,108 on the Consulate website.

2. Method of Application - Getting an appointment and taking all the documents in person would be my preference considering we have to submit original documents like passports, and to clarify details should there be any questions. However, the Consulate website says, "Once you have all the required documents with you –see below-, you must post by mail your application. You cannot fix an appointment in our web."
I would appreciate any information you can provide, including your impressions of how the process was conducted at the Toronto office. Thanks.    -nowretired

New topic