British citizens living in Italy and Spain are being met with long and daunting bureaucratic processes to obtain visas to remain in the bloc post-Brexit. British expat Jan Bennett, who is hoping to be able to live in Abbruzzo, in central Italy, has claimed the evidence the country is asking her to provide for the application is “very onerous”.
Speaking to The Local, she said: “We have to provide evidence of income and assets, to meet a threshold that does not seem to be actually documented anywhere.
“So far, it is very complex and stressful as we keep being told different things by different people.”
In Spain, another expat also told the same website that the experience of applying for a visa has been “maddening”.
They said: “The experience was maddening. We spoke to a few lawyers and each one was telling us something different about the paperwork we had to submit, different from what’s listed on the Spanish government website even.
“I think there is a lot of confusion since they think of him as a non-EU citizen not a husband of an EU citizen.
“Eventually, I submitted the documents myself and we’re still waiting for a decision.”
An estimated 300,000 Britons live in Spain.
Spain was listed as one of the top 10 countries to move to in 2022 by International Living.
The ranking aimed to “help you with the exciting business of choosing where in the world will best suit your needs”.
By analysing factors such as cost of living, health and happiness, the experts have been able to conclude which destinations best suit a range of expat needs.
Britons have consistently been attracted by a life in the sun and over the years many of them have moved to Spain.
But post-Brexit rules mean British people are now considered third-country nationals and therefore have to comply with new regulations to be able to leave in the EU state.
First of all, Britons must obtain an NIE number before they arrive in Spain.
This is the Spanish identification for foreigners and is required for any activity from working to studying to buying a home or starting a business.
Applications are made through the closest Spanish consulate.
Picking the right residency is the next hurdle post-Brexit Britons must face before booking their one-way flights.
Depending on the exact purpose of their stay, a different type of visa may be applied – student, work, family reunification, or an investment visa.
If they have the necessary funds, one of the easiest ways to become a legal resident of Spain is through the Golden Visa.
It is a part of the country’s Law of Entrepreneurs, which encourages outside investments in Spain in exchange for residency.
British citizens who have resided in Spain before 31 December 2020 and can prove this fact with the necessary documents can apply for a TIE card (Tarjeta de Identidad Extranjero) instead.
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Living in Spain will also mean incurring taxes in the country unless the expat decides to stay on Spanish territory for no more than 183 days per year.
Income Tax and a Declaration of Assets will otherwise be required.
Britons who plan to permanently live in Spain must tell the UK’s NHS to be removed from their register.
This is so they can access Spain’s free healthcare system as new residents there.
Finally, expats must register their new address with the authority in their chosen area of the country.
This is the register of all people who live in that particular city or town and is handled by the local Town Hall.