About Us
Global Law Experts Logo
Global Law Experts Logo

Find a Global Law Expert

Practice Area


Since 2010, the Global Law Experts annual awards have been celebrating excellence, innovation and performance across the legal communities from around the world.

The Post-Brexit Residency Process in Spain

posted 3 years ago

Now that the Brexit Transition period has ended and the UK has officially severed all ties with the European Union, the residency process for Brits wanting to relocate to Spain has changed and is the same as for all other non-EU citizens wanting to become residents here.

The general rule is that Brits can still visit Spain without a Visa but for a maximum period of 90 days every six months. If they wish to stay any longer they will need a Visa, of which there are many types to choose from depending on your circumstances.

Bear in mind that this 90-day maximum amounts to a total of 60 days per year that a Brit can spend in Spain, however these two trips cannot be combined in an attempt to spend six consecutive months here.

You should also know that these 3 months start ticking as soon as you enter one of the EU-27 Schengen countries, not just Spain. Forexample, if you spend six weeks in France before entering Spain then you will only have six weeks left to spend here before having to return to the UK.

As for those wishing to stay in Spain for longer than 90 days or to live here permanently, the process to applying for residency will vary depending on whether or not this person is an EU citizen:

– If you are a national of another EU country, you have 90 days to apply for an EU citizen card which will show your personal information, NIE number and prove you are a registered resident here. It is a small credit-card sized, laminated green piece of paper that is very easy to apply for.

– If you are coming from the UK or another EU country then you will need a Visa.

When applying bear in mind that most Visas must be applied for from your home country via the Spanish Embassy, so if you are already living in Spain then you may need to take a trip back to the UK.

Should you wish to remain in Spain without declaring your residency then we are unable to say at the time of writing how strict the Immigration office will be, but the usual penalty for over-staying your welcome is a fine, temporary ban from the country or even deportation.

Therefore we strongly recommend you ensure you are a legal resident in Spain as soon as you arrive, especially now UK citizens are no longer protected by EU laws.

Something else to note and that is of the utmost importance is that should you spend over 183 days per year in Spain, consecutive or not, you will become a Spanish tax resident. The UK has a double tax treaty with Spain meaning you will not be taxed in both countries, only Spain, if you spend 184 days or more here.

As for Visas, there are many types you can apply for. Please contact us for more in-depth information on Spanish Visas. In the meantime here is a quick summary:

Short stay Visa: this is the Visa you are automatically granted upon entering the country for tourism, studies and volunteer work. The maximum stay is 90 days and you may not work during this time.

Student Visa: for studies that last longer than three months at a public or private institution. You will need to provide the enrolment document from the education centre you plan to study at upon application, in addition to proof of funds and health insurance. This is one of the Visas that can be applied for once you are already in Spain under a tourist Visa.

Work Visa: for when you have a job offer from a Spanish employer, plan to become self-employed and start your own business (entrepreneur Visa) or have been offered a managerial or highly qualified job position with a salary of over 40.000€ a year (Highly qualified Visa). This last Visa can also be processed in Spain and has a few twists so be sure to contact us for more information if you are interested in applying for one.

Non-Lucrative Visa: for those who plan to retire or simply live in Spain and not earn an income. Note that many people attempt to come here and work remotely for a foreign company but this is against the law and you will risk having your Visa revoked.

Family of an EU citizen Visa: this is to encourage family reunification and can be applied for from Spain.

Golden Visa or Investors Visa: this is a very popular, fast-tracked Visa that simply requires a minimum investment of 500.000€ into Spanish real estate. Not only do you get to own a home in sunny Spain, but you also get a very easy-to-obtain Visa to live here and travel Europe with no minimum stay to maintain it. The Spanish Golden Visa is one of our specialties so be sure to contact us for our in-depth digital guide.

Permanent residency Visa: for when you have already lived here under another residency permit or Visa for a minimum of five years. Once ten years have passed you can even apply for Spanish nationality and a passport. Under permanent residency you are allowed to work, even if the previous Visa you have been in Spain under for the first five years did not allow you to.

Intracorporate-transfer Visa: for workers being sent from their current company to the Spanish branch. The peculiarity of this Visa is that it must be applied for by the company, not the worker.

On a last note, you should know that one of the main benefits of living in Spain under a Visa means you can travel around the Schengen countries freely as long as you respect the 90 day limit. All Visas are easily renewed providing your circumstances haven’t changed and you still have sufficient funds and full-coverage health insurance.

If you plan on applying for a Visa please feel free to contact our highly qualified team for more in-depth information and assistance for the application.

Application process

The simplified application process is one of the main benefits of the Spanish Golden Visa.

Once you have submitted your application, the Visa will only take around 10 days to be approved meaning the applicant will automatically be granted a one-year multiple entry permit through their Spanish Embassy.

Within the next year, the applicant will need to travel to Spain to apply for the two-year residency authorization whilst maintaining the investment. Once they have the authorization they may apply for a five-year renewal after the expiration.

If the holder has been in Spain for over 183 days for five consecutive years then they may apply for permanent residency and even Spanish citizenship after ten years. Note that once permanent residency has been granted there is no legal requirement to keep the initial qualifying investment.

Upon arrival in Spain we strongly recommend that you open a Spanish bank account and apply for an NIE number as soon as possible which will help deal with financial, professional and social affairs whilst in Spain, even if you don’t plan on living here permanently.

Questions & Answers

Can the real estate investment be more than one property?

Yes, it can be made up of as many residential or commercial properties as you want as long as the minimum, unencumbered amount of €500,000 is met.

Can the investment property be rented or leased?

You can rent or lease the property as much as you want, just bear in mind that you will be taxed on this income and cannot sell the property if you want to maintain your Visa.

Can my children attend school here?

Yes, the holder and their family will have full access to Spanish healthcare and schooling. The Costa del Sol for example has plenty of public schools but also boasts world-famous private schools and universities.

Who applies for this Visa and where in Spain do they tend to invest?

The Visa is most popular amongst the Chinese, followed by Russians, Ukrainians, Egyptians and Venezuelans, with the most popular cities being Barcelona, Madrid, Málaga and Alicante.

Do I need to live full-time in Spain to keep the Visa?

No, this again is why the Visa is so popular. You can choose between just visiting on vacation or relocating to Spain.

Can I mortgage the property?

Only for any amount after the initial €500,000.

Can I live and work in Spain under this Visa?

This type of Visa grants you and your family the same rights as EU citizens, including living, working and studying in Spain.

In conclusion, this Visa is so popular for a reason – the simplicity to apply and maintain it.

Thousands of Spanish Golden Visas have been granted since its introduction in 2013, with 94% of them being through investing in real estate.

We strongly recommend you hire a lawyer to assist with your Spanish Golden Visa process. Start your application process now by emailing [email protected].

Find the right Legal Expert for your business

The premier guide to leading legal professionals throughout the world

Practice Area
0 m+


who are already getting the benefits

Sign up for the latest legal briefings and news within Global Law Experts’ community, as well as a whole host of features, editorial and conference updates direct to your email inbox.

Naturally you can unsubscribe at any time.

Newsletter Sign Up

About Us

Global Law Experts is dedicated to providing exceptional legal services to clients around the world. With a vast network of highly skilled and experienced lawyers, we are committed to delivering innovative and tailored solutions to meet the diverse needs of our clients in various jurisdictions.

Contact Us

Stay Informed

Join Mailing List