On the 1st of January 2021, the UK officially left the European Union. With over 400,ooo Britons living in Spain, the question on everyone’s minds is ‘can I live in Spain after Brexit?’, and the answer is yes, you can. However, it is important to be aware of the different conditions and criteria in place that will enable you to gain a resident status there.
Why move to Spain?
Spain is undoubtedly one of the best places to live in Europe. With a beautiful Mediterranean climate, calming picturesque beaches and a low cost of living, the Spanish enjoy a relaxed lifestyle that many desire to have. According to The Olive Press, Spanish people are also among the happiest in the EU. 65% of Spaniards are said to consider themselves to be either happy or very happy, which is 15% higher than in the rest of Europe.
There are plenty of other reasons why people choose to move to Spain. If you are considering a move from the UK to Spain, it is vital to understand how the moving process works, especially post-Brexit.
Can I move to Spain post-Brexit?
Spain is very much still open and is welcoming Britons to live in the country. There are, however, still many unanswered questions about the process. In our recent article, we will be outlining the latest information about living in Spain after Brexit, and how the shift out of the EU will impact your way of life there.
Living in Spain criteria
There is a list of certain requirements that must be met by British citizens that wish to move to Spain:
- Pay processing fees for the residence and work permit
- Present a contract signed by your employer that guarantees continuous activity to reside and work in Spain
- Possess the training and qualification/s that are legally required for you to work
You should not:
- Be in Spanish territory irregularly
- Have a criminal record
- Be prohibited from entering Spain
Residency in Spain after Brexit
If you plan on moving to Spain, you must inform the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax. Before you move there, you must apply for the appropriate Spanish visa from the Spanish consulates. You will need to apply for your residency as soon as you arrive in Spain. Any children must be registered with their own documents.
If you are registering for the first time, you will be given a Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE) residence card; a card of identification that is currently issued to residents living in Spain that are not originally from countries in the EU. The TIE card proves your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. Please note, the TIE card issued to British expats differs slightly from the one given to other nationals.
Read the UK government’s guidance on how to apply for residency in Spain.
Do you need a visa to move to Spain?
Under the Freedom of Movement Act, if you’re from the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland, you don’t need a visa to visit, live, work or study in Spain. If you live in a country outside of these areas, you will require a visa and often a work permit too. There are three different types of visa:
- Airport transit visa – allows you into the international transit zone in a Spanish airport.
- Short-stay Schengen visa – allows you to stay in the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days
- Long-term visa – allows you to stay in Spain for over three months
Learn about how to get a visa to live in Spain after Brexit.
Can you retire in Spain after Brexit?
Spain has friendly locals and welcoming culture, making it a great place to spend your golden years. The slow pace of life and high standards of healthcare also make Spain a very attractive place to retire. Brits can still retire in Spain, however, the path has changed slightly since leaving the EU. If you plan on retiring in Spain as a UK citizen, you will need to apply for a non-lucrative visa. This is a permit for one year (which can be renewed every 2 years after obtaining permanent residency) and is granted to non-EU citizens who wish to stay in Spain without performing any economic activity.
Can I continue living in Spain after Brexit?
Any UK citizens that were already living in Spain prior to January 1st 2021 are allowed to continue their residency in Spain under the European Union Withdrawal Act. British expats already living in Spain will have the same rights as before Brexit, as long as Spanish people residing in the UK have the same right in return.
Living in Spain
While moving to Spain after Brexit may have slightly more challenges than before, it can be done. Whether you decide to retire, work, or holiday in the country, you can still lawfully do so if certain criteria are met.
Once you move to Spain, living there will be just the same as it was before Brexit. As a resident, you will still be able to purchase or rent property, obtain the same rights and pay the same taxes.
There may be more hoops for Britons to jump through if they choose to move to Spain, but the red tape is just a small price to pay for the beautiful weather and relaxing Spanish lifestyle.
Driving in Spain
If you already have a valid UK driver’s licence, it will be recognised for 6 months from the date you obtained residence. If you were already living in Spain before January 1 2021, your licence will no longer be valid. To obtain a new licence, you must follow the Spanish Traffic Authority (DGT) process for non-EU nationals. You will need to pass both a theory and practical driving test.
If you require any further guidance on moving and/or living in Spain, take a look at the GOV.UK website.