Around 360,000 British citizens are registered as permanent residents in Spain, although many more are estimated to have been living in the country without registering.
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Since 1 January 2021, when the Brexit transition period ended, anyone who wants to move or visit the bloc will have to follow a new system.
Here’s what you need to know.
Can I still move to Spain ?
Yes you can but the process might be more difficult than it was before Brexit.
Under new rules, UK passport holders won’t be able to stay in the country (or anywhere else in Europe) for longer than three months out of any six-month period.
British citizens are now treated in a similar way that non-Europeans are, which means that the process of moving and obtaining a resident permit is also more complicated.
Those who want to move to the sunny country permanently, will need to meet certain conditions to gain resident status including financial means and health cover among other things.
The criteria depends on your status. For example, it might be different for employees, pensioners or those who are self-employed.
Anyone wishing to obtain resident status will need to show a proof of income either through an employment contract with a Spanish company or by providing that they earn at least £2,000 per month, according to the BBC, with that figure expected to be higher for families.
You will also need to prove that you don’t have a criminal record and that you have the appropriate health cover.
Those looking to start their own business in Spain will need to show they have the adequate qualifications to carry out their work as well as a business plan.
What changes if I am already living in Spain?
The rules are simpler for UK citizens who have been living in Spain before 2021.
The Withdrawal Agreement protects the rights of UK citizens in the EU (and vice versa) and broadly gives guarantees that people already resident can stay with some caveats.
This means that anyone who has been living in Spain before 1 January 2021 will be able to stay – although they will need to register as a resident.
If you’re registering for the first time, you will need to apply for a biometric residence card known as a Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE) and follow a two-step process.
You’ll first need to submit your residence application to the immigration office and provide the following documents:
- application form EX20
- documentation which demonstrates your residence in Spain before 1 January 2021
- documentation which demonstrates you meet the EU residence criteria on income and healthcare
You can do this electronically, in person by appointment at the immigration office or via a third party representative. Find more information on how yo submit your application on the Government’s website.
Children must also be registered and apply for their own TIE.
Once your residency application has been approved by the immigration office you will need to obtain the TIE from the national police. You must apply for an appointment online.
If you registered as a resident before 6 July 2020 and you already have a green paper residence certificate, it will still remain a valid residency proof and you won’t need to take.
Bear in mind that the Spanish government does recommend to obtaining the TIE at it is more durable and may simplify some administrative processes.
Will I need a visa to visit Spain for holidays ?
Once Covid travel restrictions are lifted, visa-free travel for short-term trips (stays of less than 90 days) to the continent – including Spain – will remain indefinitely, although the EU is planning to introduce a visa waiver scheme known as ETIAS from 2022. This will cost €7 (£6.40) and be valid for up to three years.
Your passport will need to have at least six months’ remaining validity before you can travel to Europe
If you have a second home in Spain you can continue to visit it, but you cannot spend more than 90 days out of any six-month period in Europe, which makes it harder to make extended trips to the continent.