Since the beginning of 2021, things have drastically changed for UK citizens wishing to move to Spain. An immigration procedure that before just lasted a few days now requires months and tedious requirements.
Nevertheless, options still exist, and British citizens can still get their residency visas in the country.
How to do it is what we are going to actually explore through this article. We are about to discover the most recommended options to obtain Spanish residency as a UK national today, the new requirements, and other useful legal advice that will make the process much more straightforward.
The first type of visa is the tourist visa, which allows foreigners to stay in Spain for a maximum of 90 days in the country (from then on, a residency permit is required).
And, in that sense, UK nationals don’t need to request a Schengen visa to enter the country.
Nevertheless, that does not mean that they don’t need to comply with the different requirements to enter as a tourist, which you can find here.
How to obtain a residency visa in Spain as a UK national
British citizens must now follow the non-EU path to obtain Spanish residency, and even though there are several options for that, requirements and its application process are longer.
Nevertheless, there are 2 exceptions to that as we talked about in this article; the main one now being if you are joining one of your relatives who is currently living in Spain.
For the remaining cases, a residence permit must be requested, and next, we are going to explore the main alternatives that most UK nationals are moving towards.
Without a doubt, the non-lucrative visa is one of the most popular residencies among British citizens, both for those retiring in Spain and for those who do not wish to perform any kind of economic activity in the country (that is, work).
This 1-year residence permit (which can be then renewed) is granted to UK citizens as long as they hire private health insurance and demonstrate the possession of 26.000 euros in their bank account (minimum).
Those two easy-to-meet requirements make it the ideal path for many, especially because, even though it does not allow to work, it offers the possibility of moving to a work permit after 1 year of legal residence in the country.
Golden visa or investor residency
Then there is the golden visa, another popular residency due to its great advantages.
In this case, the investment residency is granted to those acquiring a property in the Spanish territory valued at over € 500.000.
It is a 2-year residence permit that also allows you to work in the country, and just requires you to visit Spain once per year in order for its renewal to be possible (unlike the rest of residencies, which require a minimum of 6 months in the country).
It can be applied both in the UK or directly in Spain as a tourist after having a confirmed spot on any university or private education center.
Hiring private health insurance is another crucial requirement here.
And, finally, the path for those UK business-oriented individuals wishing to set up their own project or business idea in the country.
The entrepreneur visa is the residency that is granted to entrepreneurs who develop a completely innovative and technological idea in Spain.
That idea and how it will positively impact the Spanish economy must be detailed via a carefully prepared business plan (a crucial requirement for a successful application).
Minimum income required for British citizens to obtain their residency in Spain
This may be one of the areas in which UK nationals are more affected.
Before, as European Union citizens, they just had to demonstrate the possession of 6.000€ in order to get a valid residence permit (their green card or EU registration certificate).
But now, as non-EU individuals, this amount has been largely increased.
The exact sum will vastly depend on the type of residency you are applying to, but if we take one of the most common paths (the non-lucrative visa), the monetary requirement is set at a minimum of € 26.000€.
Again, it is important to understand that this amount may differ according to the specific visa you request (as, for example, when it comes to a student visa, that amount is just around € 7.000 per year). That is why we suggest you first check the specific requirements according to your particular case.
You can do it directly by sending us an email through the following form:
The application process may be divided into the 3 following parts:
Submission of the required documents at the Spanish Consulate
Opposed as to what UK nationals could do before, now all application procedures under the general immigration regime start at the Spanish consulate or embassy in the UK (with the exception of the entrepreneur visa and the golden visa).
Depending on your current location, you would have to submit all the required documents at the Consulate located in London, Manchester or Edinburgh.
Each of them may request slightly different requirements for your desired residency option, so our recommendation is to first double-check with them.
After approximately 3 months, you will receive your favorable resolution, and will get your passport stamped with a visa allowing you to travel to Spain.
You will have 30 days to leave the UK.
Entry to Spain and first steps
With your positive resolution, you will have to travel to Spain and enter the Spanish border.
You will have been assigned an NIE number (ID for foreigners), which will allow you to formalize any kind of legal procedure in the country.
With that, we suggest that the first thing you do is to register yourself and family at the city hall, obtaining what is called “certificado de empadronamiento”.
Then you will have to visit the closest immigration office in order to register your fingerprints.
Bring with you a color ID photo, the form EX-17 (which you can download here), prof of the payment of the model 790 fee (which is around 12€), and your passport; so that the authorities can start preparing your residency card.
Pick up your residency card or TIE
After approximately 30 days after registering your fingerprints, you will need to come back to the immigration office and pick up your physical residency card (called TIE).
And that’s it!
How to stay in the country for the long-run
After the initial residency card expires, something that happens after 1 year (or 2 if you are the holder of a golden visa), UK national can renew her residency provided that she still meets the initial requirements.
The validity of a renew initial residency card lasts 2 extra years, and can be renewed until a total of 5 years in the country.
It will be then when the foreigner is allowed to apply for long-term residency, which lasts 5 years and is not linked to any work/income requirement.
After 5 years with permanent residency (total 10 in Spain), then it is possible to apply for Spanish nationality.
If you have any other doubt, feel free to contact our team of immigration lawyers for online assistance: