I’m going through this process right now. I have not yet been approved. A coupe things I’ve learned:
There’s a “self-employed” visa as well as a “non-lucrative”.
The non-lucrative is really supposed to be for people that are retired. However, in my case, since I own a company in the USA, I was able to say that my income comes from the ‘ownership’ of the company and not me “working”.
If you are working for a company… or freelance… this is going to likely be considered “Self-Employed”. Spain is allegedly getting more stringent on this particular rule.
Having credit cards with available credit helps… having 25k-30k euros in the bank helps… the more the better. They’re getting more concerned about people that get approved for a year with their 26000 in savings and then don’t have the means to continue financially beyond the year… but stay anyway.
You’ll only be given a 90 day visa from the USA – then you need to go an finish the process at the local police station where you live. You need to have a ‘permanent address’ when you do this.
Which Consulate you’re applying at matters. Los Angeles & San Francisco are considerably more ball-busters than New York & Miami, for instance. (I went to the LA location with all my documents… but they ultimately made me come back with a new appointment (6 weeks later) because I did not make copies of bank statements & insurance info for my children’s applications.)
For nomads, I think the Visa application process is going to be pretty challenging b/c we’re used to being so ‘free’ and ‘flexible’. Government red tape is like our kryptonite. I can’t speak for “all” countries - but I’ve talked to some other nomads and expats and really it’s the same everywhere – well ‘same but different’ - they all have red tape, but the nuances are very different from country to country (and even Spanish Consulate to Spanish Consulate).
If I was single, I would seriously consider just 3 months in Spain… then 3 months in a non-Schengen country… and then back again. If you really want to stay in Spain for a year or more – then you’ve just got to be ready to collect a bunch of paperwork and decide that it’s worth it to overcome the challenge.
(Oh, and if your plan is to just stay in Spain for a year and not travel outside of that country - they’re known to be very relaxed in this regard. Spain, Italy, Greece and some others are very relaxed on the ‘3 month schengen’ rule. Maybe that’s changing b/c of the refugee crisis, I don’t know.)