Spain’s relaxed lifestyle, cheap cost of living, and an average of 300 days of sunshine per year on the Mediterranean coastline make it an appealing destination. It is a top choice for British ex-pats looking to escape the harsh UK weather and relocate to sunnier climes.
However, with Brexit done and dusted, many people are uncertain about moving to Spain after Brexit.
Many customers ask: “Can I Still Move to Spain After Brexit?” Moving to Spain after Brexit in 2022 is still possible, but British ex-pats will need to gain resident status. While there were no significant changes to the legislation during the transition period, which ended on 31 December 2020, British nationals now have to abide by further procedures and standards when it comes to emigrating to Spain after Brexit.
Below, we explain what is required to move to Spain from the UK in 2022 and how British citizens can gain Spanish residency after Brexit.
Moving to Spain after Brexit
Although the UK has left the European Union, British citizens can still travel in Europe after Brexit for up to 90 days within a 180-day period. This is perfect for those looking to get a feel of life in Spain without committing to a visa application.
However, if you are moving to Spain after Brexit on a permanent basis, you will need to obtain a visa. It is important to make sure your passport is up to date before you leave.
You will need to apply for a visa that corresponds to the purpose of your stay. The application fee for this is currently €80, and your application must be submitted from within the UK within 90 days of your intended travel date.
Be aware that the Spanish Residency application process is notoriously long and requires several documents. Hence, it is important to ensure you have everything you need to complete your application successfully. Initially, the consular staff must consider your application before sending it to the Spanish government office nearest to the region of Spain you wish to live in.
Successful applicants will then be asked to appear at the consulate personally to collect their visas. Should your application include the right to work, you will be advised to fill in some additional forms.
What do I need to move to Spain after Brexit?
All UK residents who wish to move to Spain after Brexit must be able to show that they have the following:
- A clean criminal record.
- Proof they can support themselves and their family by having a salaried position or are self-employed.
- An income of 700 Euros each month.
- Proof that they have not been ejected from Spain before.
- An EX18 application form was appropriately filled in and signed (two copies).
- A passport (original and a copy).
- One passport photo.
- A certificate of registration (Certificado de Empadronamiento) from the Town Hall that is no less than three months old from the day of application (original).
- A Spanish NIE number.
Additional requirements depend on the type of visa you will apply for.
Once your application has been authorised, you will be supplied with your visa within one month. You will then need to arrive in Spain within three months of your application in order for it to remain official.
Obtaining a Spanish NIE number
No matter which type of visa you are applying for, you will need to obtain a Spanish NIE number (Numero de Identificación de Extranjero). Having an NIE number was important even before Brexit, but is now an essential part of the visa process for those moving to Spain after Brexit.
The NIE number is used to identify you as a foreign national living in Spain, which means that anyone wishing to stay in Spain on a permanent basis needs an NIE. Many important activities, such as working, studying, buying property and paying taxes, require one. An NIE number is also needed in order to open a bank account.
You should make an appointment to obtain an NIE number as soon as possible after you arrive in Spain by visiting your local Oficina de Extranjeros (Foreigner’s Office). There will typically be at least one month’s wait for an appointment.
To do this, you must fill out the EX-18 NIE number Spain form in Spanish and take two copies with you to your appointment.
In order to get an NIE, you will need to provide a document explaining your reasoning for needing one, such as an employment or mortgage contract. You should also take your passport, photocopies, and passport-sized photographs to the appointment. You will likely also need to take your visas or permits. Finally, you will need to fill out the online 790 forms and pay a government fee of approximately €10.71.
Obtaining a TIE in Spain after Brexit
Once you have been granted a visa lasting longer than six months, you must apply for a Foreigner Identity Card, also known as a TIE.
A TIE, or Tarjeta de identidad de extranjero, is a form of proof of the legal status of a foreigner in Spain. It is issued to foreigners who have been authorised to stay in Spain for longer than six months and contains the individual’s name and surname, the period of validity, and a unique Foreigner Identity Number.
To obtain a TIE, you must take your documents to the Oficina de Extranjeros or submit an application electronically. You will need an NIE to do this.
Working in Spain after Brexit
Depending on the type of work you will be doing in Spain, the process of acquiring a working visa will vary. For example, if you are looking to work for a Spanish company, an international company, or as a self-employed worker, the process will be different.
Ensure you are familiar with the requirements for the type of work you will be doing in Spain to acquire the appropriate working visa.
Obtaining an EU Blue Card can also help speed up your visa process.
Moving to Spain after Brexit to work for a Spanish company
In order for you to get a work permit in Spain as a prospective employee for a Spanish company, you will need a Spanish work permit. To obtain this, your employer must submit a visa application to your local Ministry of Labour office (elegación Provincial del Ministerio de Trabajo e Inmigración).
You will also need to provide your employment contract or other proof of your employment status when applying for the combined work permit and residence visa (also known as the visado de trabajo y residencia).
It is also important to note that if you have permission to work in Spain and fail to register with the social security office within three months of entry, your right to remain will expire.
Moving to Spain after Brexit to work for an international company
If you are moving to Spain after Brexit to work for an organisation based outside of Spain, you must provide your employment contract, as well as past pay stubs, to demonstrate that you have enough money to live on. Additionally, you must apply for a non-profit visa, or permiso de residencia no lucrativa in Spanish.
Moving to Spain from the UK post-Brexit as a Self-Employed Worker
If you are self-employed, moving to Spain after Brexit is still an option if you declare yourself ‘self-employed’ or Autonomo.
However, it is necessary to apply for a freelance visa. To obtain one of these, you must be able to prove that you have the required qualifications for the business activity you are carrying out and that your activity is legal in Spain. You must supply a business plan approved by an appropriate Spanish authority. You must also be able to provide proof that you have sufficient funds to support your stay in Spain.
To obtain this visa, you must also:
- Apply for permanent residence.
- Have adequate capital to invest in the activity to make it feasible.
- Provide details of the number of employees (if any).
Other Spanish work visas
Other Spanish work visas include the visa for seasonal workers, which lasts for as long as the duration of the contract, and the visa for Au-pairs, which allows those aged 18-30 to stay in Spain provided that they have an au-pair agreement with a host family and can support themselves.
What is an EU Blue Card, and how can it help me move to Spain after Brexit?
The European Blue Card is a work and residence permit for non-EU/EEA nationals that provides comprehensive socio-economic rights and a way to be granted permanent residence and, eventually, EU citizenship.
They are valid in all EU countries except Denmark and Ireland and are available for highly-qualified workers.
In order to be eligible for the EU Blue Card, you must be able to prove that you have a higher education qualification which lasted for at least three years or a minimum of five years’ worth of professional experience at the same level.
You must also have been offered a position as a paid employee in Spain, with a salary no less than 1.5 times the average wage in Spain. The job offer must be for a minimum of one year, and you must be able to provide health insurance for yourself and any family members joining you.
If applicable, you must also be able to prove that you meet the legal requirements to practice your profession.
The EU Blue Card application process will be undertaken by your employer, meaning that you will need to provide them with your passport, information about your qualifications, and evidence of your health insurance in Spain.
An EU Blue Card also allows family members to join the holder immediately without needing to go through the visa application process.
Moving to Spain post-Brexit as a Non-Worker or Employee
If you would like to live in Spain after Brexit but not work in the country, such as to retire there or perhaps as a backpacker, there are some requirements you must fulfil.
The first step is to apply for a permiso de residencia no lucrativa (‘non-profit visa’). To do this, you will also need to prove you have a monthly income of €2,130, and you must demonstrate the ability to maintain this income for one year.
A common question in this post-Brexit period is, “Can I still retire to Spain after Brexit?”
If you are receiving a UK state pension, you must request an S1 form (previously E121) from the Overseas Healthcare Team for your application. If you receive an exportable DWP benefit, you can apply for an S1 form from the office that pays your exportable benefit.
It is also worth noting that if you are eligible for an S1, you are also eligible to apply for a UK-issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
Studying in Spain after Brexit
As a student moving to Spain, you can apply either for a visa that will cover you for a stay of three to six months (short-term) or for courses lasting longer than six months (long-term). You must apply for your visa before you move to Spain.
To do this, you must be able to provide proof of:
- Your British nationality or a valid UK residence permit.
- 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.
Although the UK is no longer part of the ERASMUS scheme, UK students can now participate in a study abroad programme through the Turing scheme. This scheme provides funding to UK organisations to support experiences across the world for pupils, students and learners, a similar function to ERASMUS grants for British students before Brexit.
There are also plans in place to abolish the necessity for British students to renew their student visa each year they stay in Spain and to introduce the possibility of remaining in Spain after graduation to fully benefit from the professional opportunities offered.
Living in Spain after Brexit
Ex-pats may feel like moving to Spain is much more complicated after Brexit, but in reality, much has stayed the same for British citizens after Brexit. Read on to find out what has changed and how to address that, as well as what is just as easy as it was before Brexit.
Accessing healthcare in Spain after Brexit
If you reside and work in Spain, you will likely have free access to the Spanish healthcare system, which consistently ranks among the best in the world. These services are partially funded by social security payments, which will be deducted from your income.
Residents in Spain who are employed or self-employed, even foreign nationals, qualify for free healthcare. This also applies to those who are recently divorced or separated from a partner who was registered with social security, pregnant women, those under 26 who are studying in Spain, or state pensioners.
If you are not eligible for state healthcare, there are many private health insurance companies that you can choose from. Some of the most popular private health insurance companies in Spain are Allianz Care, APRIL International, Cigna Global, and Globality Health.
Driving in Spain after Brexit
Since May 2022, British citizens residing in Spain have been required to exchange their UK driving licence for a Spanish one.
The current process to obtain a Spanish driving licence means you will still have to take a practical and theory driving test. The Spanish and UK authorities are still negotiating for further recognition of UK and Spanish driving licences in both countries.
Opening a bank account in Spain after Brexit
Opening a Spanish bank account has not changed drastically since Brexit happened; you can open an account even as a non-resident in Spain.
However, to open a resident’s account, which allows you much more flexibility, you will need to submit the following documents:
- Your passport is a form of valid identification.
- Proof of your Spanish address.
- Your NIE number, as proof that you are registered in Spain
- Proof of your employment status, which could be your employment contract or student card if you are a student.
It is worth noting that these must be submitted in Spanish.
Buying property in Spain after Brexit
Both EU citizens and non-EU citizens alike still have the right to buy property in Spain, meaning that there is no difference for UK ex-pats moving to Spain after Brexit.
The associated costs of doing so remain unchanged, regardless of nationality, and generally include purchase tax, a Notary’s fee, a property registry fee, and your lawyer’s fees, among other various expenses. These costs have not been affected by the UK’s departure from the EU.
What comes next?
Life in Spain as a British ex-pat will be just as it would be for a citizen of an EU member state once you have obtained a visa. Your taxes will be the same, your rights will be the same, and your children’s rights will be the same as those who were born Spanish and are living in Spain.
Once you have lived in Spain for 10 years, you may be eligible for Spanish citizenship if you can show that you have integrated into Spanish society. This includes being able to speak the language and understanding the culture. Ex-pats moving to Spain after Brexit on a permanent basis may find this beneficial thanks to the EU passport and freedom of movement within the EU granted to them.
Are you moving to Spain after Brexit?
If you are still considering moving to Spain after Brexit, then Matthew James Removals is the right removal service for you. We offer cost-effective weekly removals services to Spain from the UK and vice versa. Our dedicated team of removals experts can handle full relocations, shared loads, or even just single items.
Matthew James Removals has depots in London, Malaga, Barcelona & Madrid. With 30 years of experience in removals to and from Spain and a wealth of local knowledge, we can make your move to Spain as hassle-free as possible.