There was a time when I was able to say that “the British and Spanish authorities are aware of the swallow issue, and the matter is firmly on their radar but as yet there is no confirmation of whether special rules will be put in place for British national temporary visitors.” Now, unfortunately, that has distilled into “You must register as resident, or apply for the appropriate visa if you want to stay in Spain for more than three months.” British nationals are then referred to the Spanish authorities to find out what requirements are in place, and how they might be able to stay for more than the 90 days allowed for third-country nationals entering the Schengen area.
So, as we all know, anyone can come to Spain for up to three months without a visa but after that they have three choices: leave the country, register as a resident, or get a visa – and if that’s their option then they need to do this before arriving in Spain. Anyone who’s coming here to live must register with the Policía Nacional. Anyone who wants to remain UK tax resident cannot be here for more than 183 days so those wishing to be here between three and six months – ie beyond the first visa-free period but without registering as a resident – needs a visa. Below are the several options available in English from the Spanish Government’s Immigration page for third country nationals – see HERE. The fees payable for them are detailed HERE.
- Non-lucrative residence
- Highly qualified professional
- Investors and entrepreneurs
- National and EU researcher
- Employment work
- Employment work with fixed-term contract
- Working permit exemption
- Intra-corporate transfer
- Work under transnational provision of services
- Self‐employment work
- Family reunification under general regulation
The link that will apply to the majority of enquirers is the second one, the non-lucrative visa, essentially a temporary residence visa for those not intending either to work or study. Apart from being essential to apply for this before leaving the UK, however, it will require a couple to provide proof of financial means of over €30,000 a year – see page 6 of the specific information in the link. The visa itself costs €516 per applicant … and this is one visa per person per temporary residence. Subsequent visits will require reapplication.
I’ve also been asked several times about a “golden visa”. There’s no such thing in itself but it’s the name given to the Investors and Entrepreneurs visa which requires applicants to show Spanish property investment of a minimum of €500,000. There is a Court judgment allowing the visa (and so residence) to a third-country national who spent less, but he successfully appealed his rejection, the Courts ruling that although the initial investment was around €350,000 for a plot of land, a house was built on the land which comprised a total investment of nearer €1m.
If you are thinking that either of these, or any of the others, could be a route for you, then I hope the above links will be helpful, and you might also look at what Diana McGowan has herself written in THIS report about the visa system. I repeat, however, and Diana herself says, that applications must be made before leaving for Spain and cannot be applied for after arrival. These are, however the only options available to British nationals now who wish to be in Spain for more than 90 days in any 180 day period while retaining UK tax resident status.
The above was originally posted in January 2021. As of September 2021, Age in Spain have provided THIS guide in English for the non-lucrative visa for residential purposes (NLV).