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2020 will go down in history as a very difficult year due to the implementation of Brexit and then the arrival and subsequent lock down and travel restrictions due to the Corona Virus Covid 19 Pandemic. With many UK nationals planning or even in the process of moving to Spain what is the effect on Removals to Spain after Brexit.
The Advance Moves team have put together a guide on Removals to Spain after Brexit to help you through some of the new changes involved for a Removal to Spain after Brexit. Scroll down for information on just about everything you need to know for a Removal to Spain.
Every British citizen either living in Spain or hoping to move to Spain is quite rightly nervous of the UK leaving the European Union. With many questions still left unanswered and a lot of false media coverage, no one seems certain of what will become of those already living within Europe, and how those looking to relocate will be affected. The worry is that Removals to Spain after Brexit could get a lot more complicated than they were before Brexit.
Hopefully we can answer some of those questions as best we can from information we have sourced from various government websites as well as our own sources.
The UK’s withdrawal terms from the EU will be set out in the Withdrawal Agreement and this will provide all the information and terms of the deal on UK citizens’ rights. It sets out a transition period which lasts until 31 December 2020 (this maybe extended due to the delays caused by the Corona Virus). During this time you can continue to live, work and study in Spain and any EU country exactly as you did before 31 January 2020.
So until end of 2020 you can still move to Spain and live in Spain but in order to be able to continue to live in Spain after the end of the transition period that ends on 31st December 2020 you will need to gain Spanish residency in order to be able to continue to Live in Spain. You can already apply for an EU long-term residence permit. This permit will grant you a permanent status, and allow you to enjoy the same treatment as nationals regarding access to employment, education, and core social benefits.
Any rights that are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will be the subject of future negotiations. This could mean that any removal to Spain after the transition period results in a more complicated and difficult process to become a Spanish resident and to be able to Live in Spain after Brext.
So in the meantime, make sure you are registered as a resident in Spain. You should also read the UK government information page guidance on living in Europe.
You must register as a Spanish resident if you want to stay in Spain for more than 3 months.
You will get a green A4 certificate or credit card-sized piece of paper from Extranjeria or the police.
If you are resident in Spain before the transition period ends on 31 December 2020, you will be able to stay.
If you arrive in Spain before 31 December 2020, you will be able to register as resident in Spain under the current rules, and will have your right to residence in Spain protected for as long as you remain resident.
If you have been residing in Spain for more than 5 years lawfully with the correct documentation, you can also apply for a national permanent residence permiso de residencia de larga duración’. In cases where you have a permanent registration certificate, a national permanent residence will be issued at the policia nacional premises.
There are four main conditions that will apply in order for you to be able to remain in Spain after Brexit:
If after Brexit you are living in Spain legally, but have been in Spain for less than 5 years, there is no great need to worry. The time you have spent there will count towards the 5 years and as long as you meet the above criteria, you will then be able to apply for the ‘permiso de residencia de larga duracion’. What you might have to do though, is apply for permission for what you will be doing in Spain. For example, if a retiree, you might need to ask to be that in Spain. Or, if you wish to work you will need to apply for this also. If you wish to holiday for less than 3 months at a time, then you should not need to apply to remain in Spain for this.
If you are living in Spain or move there permanently before 31 December 2020, you’ll have life-long healthcare rights in Spain as you do now, provided you remain resident.
You must register for healthcare as a resident in Spain.
Read the UK government page guidance on who can access healthcare in Spain.
If you are living in Spain and receive an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance (ESA) or any another exportable benefit, you may currently be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.
You can apply for an S1 certificate through the Business Services Authority.
If you are entitled to an S1, you are also entitled to apply for a UK-issued EHIC.
If you are not an S1 holder, but are registered for public healthcare in Spain in another way and are travelling outside of Spain, you must apply for a Tarjeta Sanitaria Europea (TSE - a Spanish-issued EHIC) online (in Spanish), or go to your nearest social security office (Insitituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social).
You must also buy comprehensive travel insurance to cover anything not covered by your TSE, EHIC or for travel to countries outside the EU.
The Spanish healthcare system is of a high quality but you will find you are not covered for everything like the NHS does in the UK. For example if you are participating in a sport then you will normally need a private health insurance (usually provided by a license from the sports spanish governing body) to cover you. Otherwise you may get a big bill.
If you are resident in Spain, you must not use your EHIC from the UK to access healthcare in Spain, unless you are a student or posted worker.
When you travel from Spain for a temporary stay in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland, you can use your UK or Spanish-issued EHIC to access state-provided healthcare in the country. During that short stay:
There will be no changes to your healthcare access before 31 December 2020. You can also continue to use your EHIC, as you did before, during this time.
Read the Spanish government’s guidance on access to healthcare.
You should also read guidance on:
The rules on travel will stay the same until the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. During this time you can continue to travel to countries in the Schengen area or elsewhere in the EU with your UK passport. So a Removal to Spain does not require any extra paperwork.
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. A Removal to Spain will be complicated if your passport expires.
You’ll need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on your passport.
The pages are updated with details of any changes to the rules as soon as information is available. You should sign up for updates to this guidance.
On 1 September 2019, the Spanish authorities implemented a new regulation. Children (under 18 years old) resident in Spain, who travel out of Spain without a person who has parental responsibility, may need a certified authorization by that person. This is required in addition to a valid travel document. This is to protect a child and you may need to consider this for a removal from Spain to the UK
The Spanish authorities have confirmed that the regulation does not apply to foreign children resident in Spain who are subject to the law of their country of nationality, or to non-resident foreign children visiting Spain.
The UK government has notified the Spanish immigration authorities that there is no similar standard regulation in the UK, so British consulates do not provide travel authorization documents.
British children do not need written permission to travel unless they are subject to a court order which states that written permission is required from those holding parental responsibility. If the child is subject to such a court order, or to ensure that an unaccompanied child will be able to leave Spain without delay, you must obtain a certified authorisation from a public notary in Spain.
Driving license rules will stay the same until 31 December 2020.
If you are resident in Spain you must, exchange your UK licence for a Spanish one. You can still use your Spanish license in the UK for short visits or exchange it for a UK license without taking a test if you return to live in the UK.
When you change your license make sure you don't drop any categories, the Spanish authorities have a habit of getting it wrong and many expats get a Spanish License with a few categories missing. You will then have to apply again. Keep copies of your Uk License as proof of what you did have.
If you hold an old UK license that doesn’t have a 10-year validity period, you must renew or exchange it for a Spanish license once you’ve been a resident in Spain for 2 years.
If you are in Spain and your UK driving license is lost, stolen or expires, you will not be able to renew it with the UK Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). You will need to apply to the DVLA for a ‘certificate of entitlement’ in Spanish to be able to apply for a Spanish driving licence.
For information on driving in Spain, read the UK government guidance on:
Read our guidance on taking a vehicle out of the UK.
If you register as a resident or spend longer than 6 months of the year in Spain, you must register your vehicle with the Spanish authorities and you may need to pay some taxes. This maybe something you need to budget for when considering your removals UK to Spain.
You may be exempt from some of these taxes. If so you will need certificates of exemption.
If you are resident in Spain on or before 31 December 2020, your right to work will stay the same, as long as you remain resident in Spain.
If you moving to Spain after Brexit, but NOT going to be undertaking any form of paid work in Spain, you will need to apply for a ‘permiso de residencia no lucrativa’ which is essentially a ‘non-profit visa’. You will also have to prove you have finances on which to live, such as a regular permanent income, like a pension (a salary would not count for this) or through bank statements showing that you have enough savings, and the account must be your own personal account, showing your name and account number and will need to be up to date when you apply. It is always best to prepare all your paperwork in advance before undertaking any removals UK to Spain, so that you have no issues obtaining what you need, which can be far more complicated if you are already abroad.
If you are an employee of a company in Spain, then they will generally take care of your application to stay, however many Gestoria's know the process and if you are looking to be self employed you will need to take this route.
If you are moving to Spain and looking to be self employed, or ‘Autonomo’. You will need to be able to demonstrate the following, as well as applying for permanent residence as set out above, i.e. ‘permiso de residencia de larga duración’. The commercial activity you will be doing must comply with Spanish rules and you must:
To find out the current information on the Spanish site regarding residency and social security you can follow this link http://www.mitramiss.gob.es/es/brexit/index.htm
You can also read the UK government guidance on working in an EU country.
To apply for a job, you may need to provide a:
If you are thinking about retiring to Spain after Brexit, there will be several criteria to fulfill and adhere to in your application. Those are:
Note, once you have resided in Spain for 5 years, you can then apply for ‘permiso de residencia de larga duración’ as mentioned above and will only need to adhere to those criteria moving forward from that point.
The process – what happens when you are accepted?
When you have been accepted, you will be issued a visa within 1 month and you must enter Spain within 3 months for this to remain valid. If you have permission to work and you do not register with the social security office within three months of your arrival, your right to remain will lapse.
Where to apply when moving to Spain, after Brexit
To apply for permission to live in Spain, you go to your local Spanish Consulate, even if you are not living in your country of origin. The process is thus: the Spanish consulate confirms whether all the relevant documents are in order and that everything has been provided that needs to be. They, in turn, send this to a Spanish Government office who will decide if they will give you permission to move to Spain.
If your application is successful
If applying to live in Spain without working and you are successful, you can then pick up your visa within one month. If applying to work, you will then be asked to make this application, again within one month, once you have been given the ok to reside in Spain.
The visas are valid for one year, when it needs to be renewed for periods of two years moving forward. During this whole time, you need to abide by the rules mentioned above including having the required income to live/run your business. Then, after you have lived in Spain for five years you can apply for ‘permiso de residencia de larga duración’ and solely adhere to those rules, again as mentioned above.
Once you have moved to Spain legally, your rights, taxes and your families rights will be the same as any citizen of the EU. Like everyone else, having lived in Spain for 10 years, you can, if you wish, apply for Spanish residency. To do this you need to demonstrate that you have integrated into Spanish society, including speaking the language and understanding the culture.
The UK has a double taxation agreement with Spain to make sure that you do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. You can ask the relevant tax authority about double taxation relief.
Existing double taxation arrangements for UK nationals living in Spain have not changed.
As a Spanish resident, you must declare your global income to the Spanish authorities, no matter which country it came from. If you are not a resident, you will only pay tax on income that came from Spain.
Read guidance about:
You should get professional advice on paying tax in Spain. You can use a registered ‘gestor’ or find an English-speaking lawyer.
You may need to file an annual declaration of overseas assets called a Modelo 720. There are severe penalties if you do not file, or give incorrect or incomplete information.
On March 30th, automatic coordination of social security between the UK and the EU came to an end. Thus there will have to be a new bilateral agreement covering this area between Spain and the UK or between de the EU and the UK. This would enable existing social security rights and aggregated pensions to be recognised for Spaniards in the UK and Britons in Spain.
Find out if you can pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.
If you are employed or self-employed in the EU or EEA and you have a UK-issued A1/E101 form, you will remain subject to UK legislation until the end date on the form.
You will need to tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad.
If you retire in Spain, you can claim:
If you get a life certificate from the UK Pension Service, you need to respond as soon as possible. Your payments may be suspended if you don’t.
There will be no changes before 31 December 2020 to the rules on claiming the UK State Pension in the EU, EEA or Switzerland as a result of the UK leaving the EU.
You can continue to receive your UK State Pension if you live in the EU, EEA or Switzerland and you can still claim your UK State Pension.
If you are living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020 you will get your UK State Pension uprated every year for as long as you continue to live there. This will happen even if you start claiming your pension on or after 1 January 2021, as long as you meet the qualifying conditions explained in the new State Pension guidance.
If you are living in Spain by 31 December 2020, you will be able to count future social security contributions towards meeting the qualifying conditions for your UK State Pension.
If you work and pay social security contributions in Spain, you will still be able to add your UK social security contributions towards your Spanish pension. This will happen even if you claim your pension after 31 December 2020.
Read the UK government page:- guidance on benefits and pensions in the EU.
You will need to tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad.
You may still be able to claim some UK benefits like child and disability benefits if you live in Spain.
Many income-related benefits such as pension credit and housing benefit cannot be paid to you if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.
You may be entitled to Spanish benefits. To find out if you are entitled to Spanish benefits and how to claim, you can:
You can request proof of the time you’ve worked in the UK from HMRC if you are asked for this.
There will be no changes before 31 December 2020 to the rules on claiming UK benefits in the EU, EEA or Switzerland as a result of the UK leaving the EU.
If you are living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020, you will continue to receive any UK benefits you already receive. This will continue for as long as you live there and meet all other eligibility requirements.
If you work and pay social security contributions in Spain, your UK social security contributions will be taken into account when applying for Spanish contributions-based benefits. This will happen even if you claim contributions-based benefits after 31 December 2020.
Read the UK government page :- guidance on benefits and pensions in the EU.
You can stand and vote in local elections. To do so, you must:
You can go to your local town hall and check your padrón status and the municipal electoral roll at any time.
You cannot vote in general or regional elections in Spain or European Parliamentary elections.
You may be able to vote in some UK elections. You can:
If your child is born in Spain, you will need to register the birth abroad.
If someone dies in Spain you can:
Find out how you can get married abroad.
Find out about notarial and documentary services for British nationals in Spain.
Read guidance the UK government page how to buy or let property in Spain.
Current pet travel rules will stay the same until 31 December 2020.
If you’re travelling with your pet for the first time you must visit your vet to get a pet passport. Often if you are undertaking a removals from the UK to Spain or removals from Spain to UK, the removals company can assist you with finding a reputable company to transport your pet or helpful information about moving your pet yourself.
Read the Uk Government page on guidance on bringing your pet to the UK.
You can dial the European emergency number on 112 or:
If you’re the victim of crime, have been arrested, or are affected by a crisis abroad, contact your nearest British embassy or consulate.
If you are returning to the UK permanently tell the UK and Spanish authorities, there is a lot of planning and paperwork to undertake before you undertake your removals from Spain to the UK. To help prove you are now living in the UK, you must deregister with your:
You will need to budget for your removals from Spain to the UK. Check if your tax status will change if you return to the UK.
If you get UK State Pension or benefits payments, you must tell the International Pension Centre and the Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social. All this needs to be organised and planned before you undertake your removals Spain to UK.
If you get healthcare in Spain through the S1 form, you must contact the Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 (0)191 218 1999 or Seguridad Social to make sure your S1 is cancelled at the right time.
Read the guidance on returning to the UK permanently which includes information on, amongst other things, tax, access to services, removals from Spain to the UK and bringing family members.
You may also want to view this list of useful websites for UK nationals living in Spain. You can access information and quotations regarding removals Spain to UK from the advance moves Moving to Spain information Page.
We hope that our help page has answered any questions you may have about Removals from the UK to Spain after Brexit. Now click on the yellow buttons at the top or bottom of the page to get your Instant Online quotation for your Removal to Spain.