Spanish residency requirements for British citizens / UK nationals changed on January 1st 2021 when the UK left the EU.
British citizens / UK nationals now have to follow the same process as other non-EU national citizens of third countries to get Spanish residency, i.e. there is a requirement to first obtain a visa.
The minimum income required for a British Citizen / UK national to obtain a residency visa, is a lot higher than it was to get residency before Brexit. In most cases a single applicant needs to have at least €28k per year, whereas previously less than €6k income would have been sufficient.
You also have to obtain a police criminal check report, and medical certificates are also required for most visa applications.
Spanish Residency Visas for British Citizens and UK Nationals
The majority of Spanish residency visa applications are made through the Spanish Consulate either in London, Manchester or Edinburgh, depending on which part of the UK you live.
An exception is the Investor ‘Golden’ Visa, in all other cases, Spanish residency visa applications have to be made in person at the Spanish Consulate in the UK, before you travel to Spain.
Once you arrive in Spain with the relevant visa, (or otherwise meeting residency eligibility, you can begin your application for the Spanish residency card, the TIE, ‘tarjeta de identidad de extranjero‘.
The following is a summary of the various types of Spanish residency visas that British Citizens and UK Nationals can apply for. The most popular are the Non-Lucrative and Golden Visas.
Non-lucrative visa for Spanish Residency
The non-lucrative visa for Spanish residency is for those who have means to support themselves without working whilst residing in Spain. According to the Spanish Embassy website, it is ‘for non-working individuals (with a reliable, ongoing source of income or sufficient savings), who wish to reside in Spain for more than 3 months’.
Individuals who have Spanish residency under this scheme, cannot engage in any type of ‘economic’ activity during the period of residency in Spain. To obtain the visa, you must have private medical insurance and prove that you have either sufficient capital to fund the duration of the residency, or adequate secure passive income, e.g. pension or investment income. The income requirement for a married couple is €34k per year.
To maintain Non-lucrative Spanish residency, you have to commit to living in Spain fulltime, i.e. to spend the majority of time in Spain and become a Spanish tax payer.
Investment Visa for Spanish Residency
British citizens / UK nationals can obtain a Spanish residency visa under the Spain’s Investment Residency Permit Program. More commonly known as the ‘Golden Visa‘, it allows investors and their families who meet the requirements, to secure Spanish residency by investing in Spain.
The minimum qualifying investment is €500.000 into real estate. Larger investments such as a €1m bank deposits, or purchase of €2m shares in a Spanish company or Spanish Government bonds are also eligible.
‘Golden visa’ Spanish residency doesn’t impose a minimum period of residence, and is renewable for up to 5 years.
Self Employment Visas for Spanish Residency
The Self Employment Visa is for British citizens / UK nationals wishing to start a business in Spain, or move or expand their existing business to Spain, working on a self-employed baseis.
A self-employment visa applicant, must demonstrate that their proposed business activity in Spain is viable and also that they have sufficient financial means to fund themselves and their planned business activity through to profitability. The minimum requirement of personal funding is approximately €13k per year. Business running costs, e.g. social security are counted in addition to this.
Those with a high-tech, high-growth business idea and the qualifications to pull it off can also apply for an Entrepreneur Visa. The business plan has to be approved by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and the applicant must have the financial means to start the business.
The self-employment visa is a temporary work residency, valid for one years and renewable.
Work Visas for Spanish Residency
To apply for a work visa, a British citizens / UK national will need to have an offer and contract of employment from a Spanish employer. The employer has to show that they have not been able to find suitable candidate resident in Spain or the EU already. There are a few exemptions from the requirement for a Spanish work visa. For example, scientists or teachers invited by a Spanish University or research institution.
As the name suggests, this visa allows Spanish residency for those coming to study in Spain. You can apply for the student visa for undergraduate courses, Masters, Ph.D. and other short term qualifying studies.
The student visa is valid for one year and renewable. It also allows work for up to 20 hours per week on an internship, gives easy access to getting a work permit once your studies have finished. Student visas also allow the students family members to get Spanish residency subject to the conditions of financial means being met.
Digital Nomad Visa
Spain has approved draft legislation for a new visa for remote workers.
This new Spanish visa when passed into law will create a special regime for people from non-EU countries to live in Spain and work either as a freelancer or for a company outside of Spain.
As the legislation is yet to be signed off by the Spanish parliament, the specifics are not yet clear regarding what exactly it will offer, the requirements or application process.
Application will most likely be via the Spanish consulate since it will be a national visa application.
Applying for the Spanish Residency Foreigners ID Card (TIE) for Non-EU Nationals
Once you have arrived in Spain with the relevant visa or otherwise meeting the eligibility for Spanish residency, you can begin the process to apply for Spanish your residency card or TIE as it’s called, ‘tarjeta de identidad de extranjero‘.
The application for the TIE has to be made in person at the Provincial Foreigners Office, or National Police station in the area that you are living. You go along with your residency approval letter, completed (EX17) application form, modelo 790 form stamped as paid or with the payment receipt, photos, and copies of your passport, visa and padron. Everything is checked and they and take your fingerprints. The card is ready after a few weeks, it is collected from the police station usually by appointment.
Requirements once you have Spanish Residency
There is no requirement for holders of Investor residency or ‘Golden Visa’ to spend a minimum number of days in Spain, however to renew a Non-Lucrative Visa, the holder has to prove that they spent at least 6 months of the 1 year duration of their residency in Spain. So holders of the Golden Visa can keep their tax affairs out of Spain, however this is difficult to do with the Non-Lucrative Visa.
You are generally liable to pay taxes in the country in which you reside. Your country of residence is usually deemed to be the one in which you spend 183 days or more in.
Tax for Spanish Residents
If you become tax resident in Spain you pay tax on:
*Interest on savings and investments
*Capital gains on sale of assets
*Wealth (if your total wealth is €700k or more – €1m including your main home)
*Gifts and inheritance
Taxes apply to worldwide income, interests and assets.
Overseas Assets Declaration
On taking up residency, Spanish residents must declare certain assets they own outside of Spain, such as:
Read more about Overseas Assets Declaration in Spain
Planning before taking up Spanish Residency
The process for British Citizens / UK Nationals to get residency in Spain is now a much more involved and lengthier. You can no longer just turn up in Spain and apply. Aside from the formalities of the process itself, prior to applying, there is now the added need to determine which type of residency you qualify for or which will be right for you, and also the tax implications.
There are now a lot more things for British Citizens / UK Nationals, to consider when taking up Spanish residency. Moving to Spain now requires detailed planning and understanding the in an outs. For this reason many choose to employ the services of a specialist company like ours to advise and guide them through the process.