Can I move to Spain after Brexit?

Spain News

Brexit changed the way Brits can live, work and travel in the EU, but that doesn’t mean living in Spain is off the agenda. We look at the rules around moving to Spain after Brexit.

Spain has been popular with Brits for a long time – the lure of guaranteed summer sun, beautiful beaches and lower prices in bars and restaurants is a distinct pull.

However, Brexit has made moving here – or to another EU country – more complicated.

Can I still move to Spain after Brexit?

Yes, you can but as we said above, the rules are stricter and the process more complicated.

Now the Brexit transitional period has finished, Brits cannot stay in an EU country for more than 90 days in any 6-month period. Therefore, within ninety days of your arrival in Spain, you must apply for the appropriate visa or residency.

This rule applies whether you plan on working or not.

What are the requirements for me to move to Spain

There is a list of requirements for UK citizens planning to move to Spain after Brexit. The below is the general information available; however, individual circumstances may vary so it’s a good idea to contact the Spanish Embassy in the UK.

You must:

  • Pay the fees for processing the residence permit and the work permit
  • Present a contract signed by the employer and you that guarantees a continuous activity during the period of validity of the authorisation to reside and work
  • Possess the training and, where appropriate, the professional qualification legally required for the exercise of the profession

You must not:

  • Be a citizen of a State of the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland, or a family member of citizens of these countries to which the Union citizen regime applies
  • Be found irregularly in Spanish territory
  • Have a criminal record
  • Be prohibited from entering Spain
  • Be, where appropriate, within the period of commitment not to return to Spain

Additional requirements may include proof of income of at least £2,000 per month.

Moving to Spain as a retiree

If you wish to retire to Spain, then the following conditions apply:

  • Prove you are healthy and that you pose no serious risk to the public
  • Prove you, or the main earner, has a monthly income of €2130 (approximately £1,846) and an extra €532 (approximately £461) for each dependant
  • Demonstrate the ability to maintain this income for one year
  • Request an S1 form (previously E121) from the Overseas Healthcare Team, if you are receiving a UK state pension 
  • If you receive an exportable DWP benefit, you can apply for an S1 form from the office that pays your exportable benefit
  • If you are eligible for an S1, you are also eligible to apply for a UK-issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

Moving to Spain as a non-worker

If you want to live in Spain, but not work in the country (for example, your spouse may be employed but you are not), you will need to:

  • Apply for ‘permiso de residencia no lucrativa’ (non-profit visa)
  • Prove you have money to live on (a consistent, permanent income)
  • Demonstrate that a minimum balance has been maintained across the last year, showing your full name and account number

This is not the same as moving to Spain as a retiree.

Moving to Spain as self-employed

This is not the easiest route, and as a self-employed worker you will need to register as ‘autonomo’. This involves a monthly fee, payable regardless of how much you earn (new laws are coming in which will see a sliding scale introduced).

There are many steps required. You will have to:

  • Apply for a permanent residence
  • Demonstrate that the commercial activity you are undertaking is compliant with Spanish rules
  • Possess appropriate qualifications
  • Have adequate capital to invest in the activity to make it feasible
  • Provide details of the number of employees (if any)
  • Have enough money to support yourself, as well as funds for the activity
  • Provide the Spanish authorities with a viable business plan
  • Prove you are healthy

Moving to Spain as an employee at a Spanish company

Your prospective employer should submit your visa application to the elegación Provincial del Ministerio de Trabajo e Inmigración (provincial office of the Ministry of Labour) on your behalf.

While this is being processed, you get a copy of the application with the stamp from that office and file number. You can send it to the Spanish embassy as part of your visa application.

It can take up to eight months to process a work permit application. The work permit has to be renewed after one year.

Moving to Spain as a worker for a non-Spanish company

 If you plan on working in Spain for a company not based in Spain, you will need:

  • To provide your contract of employment or other proof of your employment status (payslips)
  • Apply for ‘permiso de residencia no lucrativa’ (non-profit visa)
  • Prove you have sufficient funds to live on from a permanent income

Moving to Spain after Brexit as a student

If you have a student residence card, you can work up to 20 hours a week during your studies in Spain. Your employer must arrange a work permit on your behalf.

You will also need:

  • Proof of your registration in an educational establishment
  • Public or private health cover
  • A formal declaration that you have adequate financial means to support yourself during your stay

Applying for a visa

You will need to apply for your visa whilst in the UK. If you enter Spain as a tourist, you cannot subsequently apply.

You should submit the visa application within 90 days of your intended travel date.

The Spanish Consulate will require the following documents:

  • National visa form (available for download from your local Spanish Consulate website)
  • Private Health insurance policy from a company authorised to operate in Spain
  • Bank certificate, demonstrating the possession of required funds per year.
  • Photos, 3×4 cm with white background
  • Original Passport (minimum validity of one year and at least two blank pages).
  • A medical certificate, demonstrating that you do not suffer from any restricted diseases
  • Criminal record check, translated to Spanish and legalised (issued by the country or countries where the applicant has resided in the last 5 years)
  • Documents (original and stamped) to prove you have the required funds

Confirmation should be received within one month and the visa stamped in your passport. You will then be free to travel to Spain as a resident. 

The visa will also include your NIE Number.

Visas can be renewed every year until you get permanent residency, which is available after five years in the country.

Once you’re in Spain

Living in Spain is worth all the paperwork as many who live here will attest. However, it is no longer the simpler process it once was.

Once here, there are a number of other further activities you will have to do. These include:

  • Registering on the Padron (a list kept by the town hall for their population records)
  • Apply for a Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE)
  • Register for healthcare
  • If you’re working, register with Dirección General de la Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social (Spanish Social Security authorities, the General Social Security Fund – TGSS)
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