Residency & Visas

Visas for long stays in Spain and the residency process

Visa and Residency Applications

Since the UK left the EU when the transition ended on 1/1/21 the rules for applying for residency to live long-term in Spain changed. British citizens are now treated in the same way as Americans, Canadians and Australians (i.e. with third-country status) who want to spend more than 90 days in 180 in Spain. The application is made via one of the three Spanish Consulates in the UK, located in London, Manchester and Edinburgh. You are advised to apply to the consulate nearest to where you live.

One of the important changes to know is that applications for Spanish residency now begin before you come to Spain, in the UK with an application for one of the long stay visas that are available.

While the rules on residency have altered British citizens still have the same rights to buy property in Spain as they have always enjoyed.

What are the different types of long stay visas?

What is the 90 day rule?

Visitors from the UK may enter any European Union country without a visa for stays of no more than 90 days in any 180 days. But the 90-day rule means that the amount of time British people can spend in the Schengen area is limited. So if you spend 85 days on the Costa Blanca you will not be able to enjoy a week in France within the same 180 day period. There are online calculators to help work out how many days you have used and how many are left.

Visa application support

Whichever long-term visa best suits your circumstances, the application is detailed, lengthy and may require document translation. If an application is rejected because of an error, you will forfeit the visa consular fee (over £500) and will need to begin the application process again. Sun Lawyers offer a visa application support service to ensure all of the requirements are met before the application is submitted.

Non-lucrative visa

This visa is designed with people who want to live but not work in Spain and will be the most popular choice for retirees. At the time of writing (October 2021 these visas are taking about three months to process). Once you have paid for and collected your visa from the Consulate you are required to travel to Spain within a month. Then within a month after arrival you arrange to attend a meeting at the immigration office or police station to exchange your visa for a 12 month temporary TIE (residency) card. After 12 months there is a process to re-apply for a further 2 years, and two years after that until permanent residence is granted after fiche years. After 10 years the option of Spanish Citizenship becomes possible.

Click to watch our explainer video about non-lucrative visas

Golden Visa

The Spanish Golden Visa scheme offers British citizens a path to residency in Spain. The most common method is through an investment of €500,000 made through one or a number of property purchases totaling at least this amount. Spanish residency also conveys visa free access to the Schengen zone. We can provide all of the advice and support to help people through the Golden Visa Spain application process.

READ MORE: How to apply for a Spanish Golden Visa

Other visas

We can provide support with the application of other long-terms visas including:

  • Family re-grouping visa (permission in Spain by resident)
  • Family re-grouping visa (via Spanish consulate)
  • Employment & residence visa (permission in Spain by employer)
  • Employment visa (via Spanish consulate)
  • Self-employment and residence visa (permission in Spain)

Living in Spain. Official information for UK nationals moving to or living in Spain, including guidance on residency, healthcare, passports and the Withdrawal Agreement.