Moving to Spain After Brexit: Options and Scenarios
Thinking about moving to Spain after Brexit?
This post will help you.
Basically, at the moment there is no difference between a British and an US citizen moving to Spain as regards either rights, options or requirements. This is an important point that many people do not know, do not want to believe or cannot accept. There still are some benefits if you come into Spain as British citizen, but actually these benefits are about visit Spain as a tourist. Indeed, you don’t yet need a tourist visa in order to enter Spain, as some people coming from Africa, Asia and some American countries do (those citizens from the countries that didn’t take part of the Schengen Agreement).
As an UK National, you do not need an International Driving Licence to drive around Spain as a tourist either, in comparison to any other non-EU citizens doing so, according to the Spanish authorities who announced this exception some months ago.
Nevertheless, as described above, these benefits only apply for tourists, not for residency proposes.
So, let’s review the different options for UK Nationals moving to Spain after Brexit without holding a valid residence permit or certificate in Spain.
CASE A: NO RESIDENCY CERTIFICATE, NO RESIDENCE PERMIT IN SPAIN
Unfortunately, this is the most typical situation at the moment. However, not everyone under this situation is in UK, strangely enough. In fact, there are many British expats that have been living in Spain for weeks, months and even years without applying for any residency certificate.
Therefore, in this case we also find 2 different scenarios:
- I have never lived in Spain, but I would like to.
- I have been living in Spain, but I do not have a residency certificate.
A.1. I have never lived in Spain, but I would like to.
As any other non-EU citizen, if you want to live in Spain, you will need a VISA to Spain. There is no exception, there is no privilege. Although there are plenty of visas that would take a whole post to talk about, basically the main visa options are:
I – Non-Lucrative Visa: this is the most sought after, apart from the tourist (Schengen) visa. In short, you need to be self-sufficient to apply for this option, either you have a huge enough pension, job position that allows you to work online, company or any other similar source of incomes. The problem: you need to earn 2150€/month for you plus 550€/month for each family member moving to Spain with you.
II – Family Reunification Visa: rather you have a wife or husband (or parents if you are not of legal age yet) legally living in Spain, you can apply for this option. Besides, if such a relative is an EU citizen (including Spanish citizens, of course), the chances of success rise considerably. Forget about brothers, sisters, cousins, grandparents or friends, it doesn’t apply.
III – Work Visa: forget it, unless you are a high-qualified worker who can do a work activity that any other Spanish or European may do, you will never get a work visa. We know this very well.
IV – Self-Employed Visa: it is a similar visa to the non-lucrative one, but with a big difference – you will run a business in Spain and therefore you will make some profits in Spain. Although you will not need to have so huge incomes as for the non-lucrative visa, indeed you will need some economic funds to prove you will be able to run such an economic activity. We must say it is one of the most difficult visas regarding the requirements and paperwork, such as the business plan, to mention one of them.
V – Investment Visa: also called “Golden Visa”. To be brief, you need to invest €500,000 the least in properties, shares, businesses or treasury bills (or a mix of them) in Spain.
VI – Other visas: there are other unusual or specific visas, such as sport (for real professional athletes playing in the main competitions), medical research, au pair, refugees, etc.
A. 2. I have been living in Spain, but I do not have a residency certificate.
According to the signed Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community2019/C 384 I/01, if you were effectually living in Spain before 2021, you can still apply for your residency in Spain just fulfilling the same requirements as required for EU citizens applying for a residency certificate in this country.
Indeed, we must say we are still applying under this Agreement for those UK Nationals who were effectually living in Spain before 2021, as soon as they can prove such a fact.
CASE B: I HOLD AN EU RESIDENCY CERTIFICATE IN SPAIN
At the beginning of this year, some public authorities and local offices were publishing various information about the validity of this “Certificado de residencia de la UE” for British citizens living in Spain. But the situation changed once the TV news started to inform about several British people who were affected by denied boarding when trying to flight to Spain, as the Airport Spanish authorities didn’t recognise such an EU certificate in the hands of a UK National, i.e., not an EU citizen anymore.
Indeed, we have also experienced similar situations with some British expats holding such an old EU certificate. For example, applying for a family reunification visa (as visa sponsors for their family members) or for a public health coverage in Spain.
Therefore, our recommendation is to exchange this certificate for the new residence card for British citizens (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero or T.I.E.) as soon as possible, especially if you plan to travel out of Spain.
We hope new agreements between UK and Spain/Europe come soon allowing UK Nationals moving to Spain after Brexit. It is not sure, and for sure it will not be soon, but we might have hope.
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