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Moving to Spain after Brexit: Everything Brits need to consider before deciding

Moving to Spain after Brexit: Everything Brits need to consider before deciding
Cibeles fountain in Madrid. Photo: Jorge Fernández Salas/Unsplash
Moving to Spain in 2021 has become considerably harder for UK nationals, with everything from visas, to healthcare, taxes and other matters to weigh up before deciding whether it’s worth it. Here are 19 detailed articles that will help you decide.

Is it possible to move or retire to Spain after Brexit?

Yes, but it’s become increasingly complicated and it’s not possible to do it on a whim anymore. 

Britons who want to move to Spain from 2021 onwards have to factor in that as they are non-EU nationals now, they have to abide by more stringent rules, just like Americans, Indians, Australians and other third country nationals. 

As a result of Brexit, UK nationals no longer have the freedom of movement, access to jobs, guaranteed healthcare and other perks of the EU framework that give Europeans flexibility and ease when moving to another EU country. 

What paperwork and requirements do Brits need to move to Spain after Brexit?

Before Brexit, UK nationals could move to Spain without hassle, even if they had few savings, no job waiting for them and if they hadn’t set up their healthcare yet.

Now they have to get a visa at the Spanish Embassy in London if they intend to spend more than 90 out of 180 days in Spain. 

Visas such as non-lucrative visa and the golden visa (€500K property purchase) are good options for those with considerable financial means to cover their life costs, private healthcare and possibly a property. 

Spain also has a work visa and a business visa for those who intend to work for a company or become self employed, but Britons need to be aware that these also have tough criteria, such as there being no EU candidate for the job or a comprehensive business plan and job creation.

A student visa is also available for UK nationals who want to enrol at a Spanish university or educational institution.

The following articles will help you to decide which visa is best for you.

Do Brits moving to Spain after Brexit need to get a Spanish residency card?

Yes. Whichever visa Brits obtain will entitle them to enter Spain and effectively make them residents, but they must still apply for Spain’s Foreign Residency Card for non-EU nationals, the TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero) within the first month they’re in the country. 

Britons who were living in Spain before Brexit are now also being encouraged to get this biometric card even if they have the old green residency documents. 

You can find out more about the TIE card here and how to apply in the links below.

What do Brits need to know about healthcare if they move to Spain after Brexit?

UK nationals moving to Spain for the first time in 2021 and onwards have to have total healthcare coverage in Spain, with no co-payments or shortages. This can be through public or private healthcare, depending on your situation. 

The following articles should help you decide the best option for you.

Roda de Berà in Catalonia. Photo: Alberto Frías/Unsplash

What other important matters should Brits moving to Spain after Brexit consider?

UK nationals need to know that when they take up residency in Spain, they are also becoming fiscal residents in Spain and ceasing to be a resident of the UK. 

There are other matters to consider from the lack of dual nationality available to them, the reasons for losing Spanish residency and other questions which we’ve covered in the articles below.

If Britons move to Spain after Brexit, can they drive with a UK licence?

Yes, but currently for a period of six months only, just like other non-EU nationals in Spain. 

The UK and Spain are having ongoing discussions about whether they’ll allow the exchange of all British licences for Spanish ones after Brexit.

But as things stand Britons who didn’t register their intent to exchange their UK licences have to sit their driving test again in Spain.  The following links cover what you need to know in more detail. 

What do Brits moving their belongings to Spain after Brexit need to know?

Brexit has ushered in a host of extra rules and restrictions on imports to Spain from the UK, but Britons moving to Spain in 2021 can bring belongings into Spain duty free. Here’s what they need to know about this and the different paperwork and processes.

Is it worth it for Brits to move to Spain after Brexit?

That really depends on your personal assessment of the pros and cons that are covered in the articles we’ve linked to, and in many cases whether you can meet the visa requirements.

Spain consistently ranks amongst the highest for quality of life in expat surveys, with fantastic weather, food, people, history, nature and more. It’s also an integral part of the EU, to which you’ll have easier access as a Spanish resident. 

Ultimately it’s up to you and your circumstances, but our recommendation is that a move to Spain after Brexit is certainly still very much worth it.


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