Moving to, or living in Spain after Brexit – What do you need to do?
If you have been living in Spain lawfully for at least five years, you will be able to apply for indefinite permission to reside there, which is termed ‘permiso de residencia de larga duración’ simply meaning ‘long term residence permit’. Note that you cannot apply until the UK has ‘potentially’ finally left the EU.
Apart from this, there are four main conditions to be able to remain in Spain after Brexit:
- No criminal record
- That you have not been ejected from Spain OR from a country which Spain has a verbal agreement with
- You have private health insurance
- You have a net monthly income of at least €799 for a family of two, and a further €266 per month for each additional family member
However, if after Brexit you have not been in Spain for 5 years but are living there legally, there is no great need to worry. The time you have spent there will count towards the 5 years and as long as you meet the above criteria, you will then be able to apply for the ‘permiso de residencia de larga duracion’. What you might have to do though, is apply for permission for what you will be doing in Spain. For example, if a retiree, you might need to ask to be that in Spain. Or, if you wish to work (see more about this below) you will need to apply for this also. If you wish to holiday for less than 3 months at a time, then you should not need to apply to remain in Spain for this. Before Brexit, obviously none of this was required.
Working, or not working, in Spain – after Brexit
If you wish to move to Spain after Brexit, but NOT work in Spain, you will need to apply for a ‘permiso de residencia no lucrativa’ meaning essentially a ‘non profit visa’. You will also have to prove you have money to live on, such as a regular permanent income (a salary would not count for this) or through bank statements showing that a minimum balance has been maintained over at least the last year, with your name and account number.
If you are an employee of a company in Spain, then they should be taking care of your application to stay.
Moving to Spain after Brexit as self employed
If you are looking to move to Spain and work for yourself, you can apply to be self employed, or ‘Autonomo’. You will need to be able to demonstrate the following, as well as applying for permanent residence as set out above, i.e. ‘permiso de residencia de larga duración’. The commercial activity you will be doing must comply with Spanish rules and you must:
- have the relevant qualifications
- have sufficient funds to invest in the activity to make it viable
- give the number of people you will employ, if any
- have sufficient funds to support yourself, on top of the funds for the activity (see above)
- Provide a business plan which makes sense to the Spanish Authorities
- not be suffering from a serious illness
Retiring in Spain after Brexit
When looking to retire in Spain after Brexit, there will be several criteria to fulfil and adhere to in your application. Those are:
- No illnesses that are a serious public risk (eg smallpox, SARS)
- €2130 monthly income for the main earner in the family, and an additional €532 for each dependant
- Proof of ability to sustain this income for one year
Note, after you have resided in Spain for 5 years, you can then apply for ‘permiso de residencia de larga duración’ as mentioned above and will only need to adhere to those criteria moving forward from that point.
The process – what happens when you are accepted?
When you have been accepted, you will be issued a visa within 1 month and you must enter Spain within 3 months for this to remain valid. If you have permission to work and you do not register with the social security office within three months of your arrival, your right to remain will lapse.
Where to apply when moving to Spain, after Brexit
To apply for permission to live in Spain, you go to your local Spanish Consulate, even if you are not living in your country of origin. The process is thus: the Spanish consulate confirms whether all the relevant documents are in order and that everything has been provided that needs to be. They, in turn, send this to a Spanish Government office who will decide if they will give you permission to move to Spain.
If your application is successful
If applying to live in Spain without working and you are successful, you can then pick up your visa within one month. If applying to work, you will then be asked to make this application, again within one month, once you have been given the ok to reside in Spain.
The visas are valid for one year, when it needs to be renewed for periods of two years moving forward. During this whole time, you need to abide by the rules mentioned above including having the required income to live/run your business. Then, after you have lived in Spain for five years you can apply for ‘permiso de residencia de larga duración’ and solely adhere to those rules, again as mentioned above.
Once you have moved to Spain legally, your rights, taxes and your families rights will be the same as any citizen of the EU. Like everyone else, having lived in Spain for 10 years, you can, if you wish, apply for Spanish residency. To do this you need to demonstrate that you have integrated into Spanish society, including speaking the language and understanding the culture.
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Retirement in Spain
For many retirees the dream of relaxing on a warm, sunny beach in a village or town that offers a laid back and safe way of life comes true when they move to Spain. One of Spain’s biggest appeals is the quality of life on offer. Retirement in Spain offers expats year-round sunshine, stunning countryside and beaches, and a low cost of living. Retirees are attracted here by the fulfilling post-retirement lifestyle that is on offer as well as the financial benefits that arise from inexpensive housing and healthcare.
Spain remains a relatively cheap place to live, especially when compared with other western European nations, and will offer retirees a good standard of living for their money.
Spain has a well-developed national health system that is available to all, even those from abroad, although there are some limitations to this latter group. However, the health service here does experience high demands for services and there are often long waiting lists for treatment and operations. Many people opt for private healthcare in order to avoid this and people who are seriously considering retirement in Spain may want to research the cost and availability of such care.
The housing market in Spain, as with many countries throughout the world in recent times, has suffered from over speculation and there is now a shortage of affordable homes. Retirees may wish to delay intended house purchases until the housing bubbles have been fully resolved.
Spain is extremely popular as a retirement destination for Europeans, many of whom choose to settle in the Costa del Sol, part of the Andalucia province. This area is particularly attractive to retirees as it offers an excellent infrastructure together with a proliferation of English-speaking service providers. However, this area is often criticized for feeling more British than Spanish and retirees who are seeking a more Spanish experience often opt for areas in and around Benicassim.
Social and Political Climate
Unfortunately Spain has been victim of terrorist attacks both from Islamic fundamentalists and the militant organization the ETA. Attacks are rare but retirees should be aware of the risk of them occurring.
Spain is a developed country that offers good communication and transport infrastructures. There are no major issues within the developed areas of the country.
Retirement in Spain: Visa Requirements
European Union Citizens
EU citizens are required to obtain Spanish documentation when they wish to live in Spain and will need a foreigner’s card. Any EU citizen who wishes to live in Spain as a retiree needs to obtain EU form E-121 before traveling. This form entitles them to obtain health care in Spain, providing they have paid all relevant social security in their home country. If you are not entitled to a state pension in your home country you will need to demonstrate that you have a regular income from an alternative source.
Non-European Union Citizens
Non-EU citizens will need to obtain a visado de residencia from the Spanish consulate in their home country prior to traveling to Spain. This will be needed when you apply for residency upon arrival in Spain. The visado de residencia provides Spanish officials with permission to examine your financial situation.
The requirements for retirement visas do differ according to which country you are from but, in general, you will be asked to provide the following:
- Certificate from a public or private institution that proves you will be receiving a regular pension, together with details of that pension.
- Proof of any other sources of income you have together with the details of any properties in Spain you own.
- Proof of ownership of any property in Spain that you own.
For full details about the latest visa requirements for living in Spain please see our international relocation guides. These contain full and up to date details of the visa requirements and application process for retirement in Spain.