Will I be denied a Retirement visa because caution/record

Have I now ruined any chances of moving to Spain
Because of stupid decisions I made getting a conviction as youth for shoplifting over 40 years ago the circumstances I doubt would of got me a criminal conviction but 40 years ago they was so much unforgiving and I got a conditional discharge and fine for 20 pounds I was never ever in trouble again until 15 years ago when I was given a caution for smoking weed because of my MS
From that day gave up smoking
Never thought I'd want or be able to be in the position to leave the Uk but have I now blown all chances of this because of my  criminal history to obtain a visa for residency in Spain as you have to get a police certificate to apply
My record is still on file as they don't ever get wiped even though I'm not hardened criminal I'm still classed as a criminal for these mistakes I made
it's well publicised that Spain dose have some very very dodgy  uk gangsters there and I'm sure they have much of crime sheet than me with nicking fizzy pop and smoking a joint but a record is a record
Because of Covid I was just going to get there and just apply for residency before brexit but it wasn't to be
If anyone in similar position or knows how the Spanish will look at this  be appreciated for your views
As the saying goes you never know what tomorrow can bring and now Could pay for them  for stupid mistakes I made in the past


This is kind of a tough one. I have asked for this post to be moved to the Spain Forum. John the expert there might be able to help more because he has worked with his local police as a translated I believe.

Good luck

Expat Team

Many thanks 🙏

Spain only ask for the No criminal record for the past 5 years where you reside. At least it's the case a couple years ago when I did it.

I don't have any personal knowledge of the situation of people with criminal records applying for residence, however smoking a joint is not a crime in Spain.  Shoplifting 40 years ago I am pretty sure would not be a problem.

Needto.  In your situation I would apply.

Thanks for your reply
but because probably more now we have left the Eu any visa application you have to submit a police certificate which shows any criminal record or cautions held by the police regardless of time
I hate to think what a harden criminal record looks like but they made mine look terrible they won't put was arrested for smoking a joint they use official wording like possession I suppose so that they can hammer you if arrested again
I was cautioned no fine nothing but there record makes you look really bad in a official way regardless

I suppose time will tell if the Spanish government will now start making  minor offences reject you from getting a visa  but it's not just Spain I think all Eu countries ask for this requirement for obvious reasons there not letting a Hannibal lecture into there country just because there not been trouble

When the authority asks for a No Criminal Record, they expect exactly it. You need a NO Criminal Record from where you have resided. The police will issue a No Criminal Record for the period that you request. The crimes will be defined by the local rules where the record is issued, not according to the Spanish definition. And you don't produce a Criminal Record (if they issue it) with petty crimes to negotiate with the Spanish authority.

If you really didn't commit anything after the incident 15 years ago, you should have no worries of getting a clean NO Crime Record for the past 5 years as the Spanish immigration requires, unless your local police only issues it without time period, as in the case of one of my past cities.

One reminder if you do obtain it though, is that it's only valid for 90 days for visa purpose to the Spanish authority. If it passes this expiry date, they will ask you to obtain a fresh one.

Not sure of the difference between British & US visa requirements, but in the US you can get a state background check if you've lived in the same state for last 5 years. If multiple states - FBI background check. My husband had a felony charge from 2001 but it was dropped. Still on his record though. I emailed the consulate before applying--they said the last 5 years are all that matters. The government seems to give more weight to the financial requirements of being able to support yourself. Our NL visa was recently approved & the background check was not an issue (though I had to pay $300 for a translation as it was so many pages. They are not accepting remote employment to fulfill the financial requirements--so you must show savings or a pension-type income for the visa. Americans also have to buy private Spanish health insurance before applying--not sure about Brits.

I agree that you shouldn't have a problem.  But...

I applied for (and received) Spanish citizenship, which also required 'no criminal record.' But I had a misdemeanor (minor offense in the USA) with a fine and probation from 30 years ago. My Spanish attorney had me obtain the US court documents, translated and apostilled, to submit with my application. I also supplied a letter from my US attorney briefly describing the violation - in lay terms - and emphasizing how minor it was, translated.  And as my US attorney said "of course it's a good legal opinion; you paid a lot of money for it."  Mind you, obtaining pre-computer-era court documents and paying a USA attorney for the opinion wasn't cheap.  Pero asi es la vida.

Thanks for all the replies as another poster posted it dose look like there normally only bothered about the last 5 years  criminal records hopefully when the time comes I'll just apply and fingers crossed be no problems if that's where my destiny is
With pressures of criminal records and brexit now the increased added cost of proof of income needed to be tied up just to get a visa the chances of making the move are becoming more and more smaller for Spain

Just a thought--my husband is British with US citizenship. We also should have done the move before Brexit--but Covid, etc. We really want out of the US---our backup plan was to move to Gibralter if for any reason we couldn't get a visa for Spain. It is a bit more expensive to live in Gibralter, but you wouldn't need private health insurance. Maybe it balances out.

I'll probably look more towards Portugal maybe now with a D7 visa as far as I'm aware it's like 7000 euros or just under 10000 euros for a couple per year proof of income needed compared to Spain's 30000 odd thousand you need to tie up in a bank account each year to prove income
I suppose it just down to how far your budget can take you, Gibraltar dose seem pocket busting in the property market

God I pray you are right I'm.53 and I have a felony conviction goes back 20 years and been clean ever since I'm also retired Navy disabled vet and me and my wife dream of moving to Costo del solo Spain . I do have a passport does that say anything or can I atleast visit

Could you please give me the Spain consulate email I do have a felony conviction going back 20 years and want to retire in Spain and I do most definetly have the financial means they want for the retired visa/residency . I sure hope so thx

Hi. Did you get an answer to your question?

About me having a convicted felony twenty years ago if i can still move and retire in Spain?
No I have not do you know the answer. Everytime I email a consulate they never just say yes or no they send me to a site which I can't find the answer or tells me to email somebody else . Have a great day

I am in the same boat. I don't know the answer but if I find anything I will share. The UK system is really crazy. Either the conviction is spent or it is not. The additional problem is there will not be much experience of this as the UK has only just left the EU and before this year residence did not require police certificates.

Thank you I will also post info when I find out. I just don't get why it just can't be yes or no. I even spoke to someone in a consulate ask them they said email the question.

It is because they don't know the answer. It is a novel problem as the UK is the only country with 'no live record' and the UK has only recently left the EU. Over time, practices and principles will develop.


Yes. We are the first people to be in this situation. I am looking at the possibility that the UK approach is a breach of the European Convention of Human Rights - the right to privacy.

Ooohh ya your right

I think you should have just applied and if that got brought up and then address it when the process was already underway.

It is time consuming to apply.

I was told my Houston Texas consulate that if you have had no criminal activity in past five years you will be able to become a resident .

Hi, I would like to discuss this with you further. Sent you a PM.

OK am listening

hi could you send me a private message to please i want to retire to spain from uk will i be able to and what do i need to do, sorry dont know anything about it, hope you can help. ****

many thanks
kind regards

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I wanted to weigh in here although I don't know the specifics of Spanish law. But the major world countries share information about criminal charges; 5 Eyes Agreement, 7 Eyes Agreement etc. And to think that any serious conviction, especially for any violent crime or drug charge, will be ignored after 5 years is just naïve.  I know for a fact that such things stay in the records forever.

I know a Brit who lived in Hawaii and married an American woman. He got deported under Trump. The reason was that he had an arrest but no conviction as charges were dropped for having had a joint at a London airport 30 years prior. And sorry but ones rights to privacy do not include expulsion of criminal charges except in some countries for offenses committed as a minor.

The thing is that local immigration officials might have some leeway in deciding. They can take into account that laws differ. Homosexuality is a capital offense in some Muslim countries yet seen as a human right in others.  And possession of a small amount of marijuana that could be a serious offense in one country might be legal elsewhere. When the disparity of offense is so large then one might be given a break if other factors speak for someone.

The UK Police Certificate system is absolutely mad.
As we have just discovered there is a clause in the ACRO Step Down model for convictions that means should there be any overlap in regards to the "Step Down" period applicable for an offence or any police action taken against you, ACRO will NOT "Step Down" previous Cautions or Convictions.
Even the most minor offence is not eligible to be "Stepped Down" until a period of 12 clear years has passed.
My partner received a minor conviction as a juvenile, was then caught for driving with no insurance 10 years later, had another minor motoring conviction 10 years after that, and finally a conditional discharge for common assault for protecting me from a drunk who tried to attack me 10 years after that.
So there has not been a clear 12 year gap between any of his run ins with the police.
My partner is now in his mid-fifties and his ACRO Certificate has come back showing every offence even the juvenile conviction.
This makes him look like a career criminal so I guess our chances of obtaining a Visa are now absolutely nil.
However if we lived in the USA and he had committed a whole list of far more serious crimes as long as his last offence was more than 5 years ago under their system his Criminal Record check would show as clear.
What is even more annoying is that if he was allowed to use his DBS certificate for the Visa process, under the "Rehabilitation of Offenders" model his certificate shows as totally clear.
The discrepancy between the 2 systems makes no sense at all.

I'm in the same situation. Applied to Manchester embassy on the 17 th Sept 2021.

Got a conviction from 22 years ago and not been arrested since. The guy behind the desk said I need to remove the conviction and only go back 5 years. I said it is not poss in the UK. He basically said I will try but don't hold your breath for the non-lucrative visa.
I have spent nearly £2,600 to get this visa, meet all the criteria but it's just the unfair police check.

So you can commit a serious crime in the USA 6 years ago and be ok but a minor crime here 20 years ago is not allowed.

Really sticking it up us after Brexit

Sorry but I do not understand

It's not U.K. which is penalising you by not hiding / concealing your conviction but spain who are saying people with certain convictions will not be allowed to reside in spain.

PS No insured is not a minor offence.  When I was 18 I was involved in an accident. I suffered nerve injuries which left me with a paralysed arm for over 18 months. The prognosis was it would be paralysed for life.  Fortunately it recovered almost completely

Had the other driver not been insured and I had not recovered I would have been a invalid with my potential to work destroyed with no compensation.

Not serious !!!!!

sadly. that's life darling. You already did illegalities in the past, so you shud expect the rejection.

The unfair bit I mentioned is the inconsistency of the process. Yes I admit as a juvenile I had a minor offence and screwed up.
It just seems that if I was in another country and not the UK the visa would be granted as other countries only go back 5 years.

Spain only asks for 5 years but because that's not possible in UK, they then take into account stuff from 20 years ago.
My crime is officially spent and can't even be brought up in a court room.

But that's the Spanish for you. All you want is same rules for everyone, not different rules from where you are born.

‘ ……. it's just the unfair police check'

That appears to be criticising the U.K.    But it is Spain which is creating the obstacle not U.K.

In lots of countries, you have your fingerprints taken as you are 3CN. If you shows alarm bells then you will not be allowed in.

Ok then I worded it wrong. The UK police check only doing its job. Spain not showing a level playing field is my main gripe.

One rule for all is not a lot to ask for.

heather287 wrote:

However if we lived in the USA and he had committed a whole list of far more serious crimes as long as his last offense was more than 5 years ago under their system his Criminal Record check would show as clear.

A criminal record for a juvenile in the US can sometimes be sealed if the offense was not too serious. Otherwise, felony criminal convictions of adults do not get purged in the US. I don't even know why they should. And for serious offenses one can lose the right to have firearms or even have their passport taken away.  I have zero idea what you are referring to about having a clear record after 5 years. Not in the USA for a  felony anyway, its on the record forever unless one would get a judgment of false conviction.

https://felonyfriendlyjobs.org/criminal … r-7-years/

Let us know how you get on. Good luck.