Can pensioners still retire to Spain?


After the travel restrictions of COVID, and the legislative changes due to Brexit, you may have been left wondering if you can still fulfil your dream of retiring to Spain.

Therefore, the experts here at Property Sotogrande have put together this handy guide, detailing all the need-to-know information for retiring to a property in Sotogrande in the current climate.


The coronavirus pandemic has made the task of travelling to another country a somewhat more complicated one than it was before the crisis.

However, just to reassure you, it is still possible for pensioners from countries such as the UK to retire to Spain. Before making any plans, you just need to check the travel restrictions of your home country, and the requirements for you to enter Spain, which may include a vaccination passport, negative COVID test, and a valid visa.

Visa requirements

If you are considering or have already purchased property in Sotogrande or elsewhere in Spain, and you are hoping to retire here, there are a few different visas you might consider, based on whether your home country is part of the EU. As the UK has left the EU, British citizens are now subject to the same rules as other non-EU countries.

EU citizens

If you are an EU citizen, you do not need any visa or residence permit to live, work, retire, or study in Spain, due to the EU’s free movement of labour agreement. You will only require a valid identity card or passport to enter the country.

Long-Stay or Non-Lucrative Visa (Visado Nacionale)

For non-EU citizens, a long-stay visa, otherwise known as a non-lucrative visa, entitles you to live, work, retire, or study in Spain. It must be renewed annually, and you are required to spend at least six months of the year in Spain.

Residence Visa (Visado Residencia)

A residence visa can be easier to obtain than the other visas, and so is a very popular choice for non-EU citizens who want to retire in Spain. This visa does not give you the right to work in the country.

Golden Visa

A golden visa allows an investor from a non-EU country permanent residency in Spain, which might then lead towards gaining Spanish citizenship if they stay for six months a year for 10 years.

Visa requirements

To apply for a non-lucrative visa, applicants must be able to prove that they have an annual income of €27,115.20, or €33,894 for a couple.

Golden visa applicants, meanwhile, must make a €1,000,000 capital transfer or business investment in Spain. If this isn’t feasible, you could invest €500,000 in Spanish property instead, perhaps with a property in Sotogrande.

How do I invest in property in Sotogrande?

In order to buy a property in Sotogrande, however, you will need an NIE number, which serves as an identification and tax number for foreign nationals residing in Spain. You can find out more about NIE numbers and other requirements by reading another one of our helpful articles.

To find your dream Spanish home to retire to, or for more advice on starting your retirement adventure,browse the latest listings at Property Sotogrande today and get in touch with an expert real estate agent.