Moving to Spain after Brexit
Covid-19 and the fast-approaching end of the transition period make it an uneasy time for Brits keen to get on with a move to Spain, but the good news is there are ways you can give your relocation plans a boost even from the UK.
Key to making a smooth move to Spain, both before and after the end of the Brexit transition period, is preparation, which includes signing up the right professionals. You’ll also need a bit of patience during these unprecedented times. It’s already the end of October and we are still waiting for the UK Government and Brussels to strike a Brexit deal.
Meanwhile, here is what you could be doing to give yourself a head start.
Choose your agent(s)
If you’re yet to find a property, use email, phone, social media or Skype/Zoom to contact estate agents in the resort, town or area where you wish to live. Send them links of properties you’ve found online and listen to their feedback. The proactive ones will take the time to really understand your specific requirements and suggest other options. Some will offer to do virtual viewings for you, using their smartphone or tablet. Aim to have a shortlist of properties to view as soon as a trip out to Spain is possible.
Appoint a law firm
It’s never too soon to appoint an English-speaking Spanish law firm, specifically one with experience of helping British expats, such as Sun Lawyers. This way, in the current climate of travels restrictions, you grant us Power Of Attorney (POA) to act on your behalf throughout your property transaction. This enables us to carry out all necessary procedures leading up to and beyond completion without you needing to step foot in Spain if you choose not to. With the POA we apply for your NIE number, open your Spanish bank account, sign your purchase contract and even oversee completion at the Notary’s office. The POA can all be set up from the UK without you travelling to Spain.
Ready yourself for residency
Things get a little trickier with obtaining residency status. Applicants must make their application in person at a suitable national police station. But this doesn’t mean you can’t start preparing the necessary paperwork in advance, especially given that in some parts of Spain there are delays in getting appointments. To avoid any unnecessary delays, we at Sun Lawyers can assist with your application.
Spain recently introduced a new residency ID card for UK citizens called the Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE). Having a TIE, issued to all new British residents from July 6th 2020 onwards, guarantees your ongoing rights to residency, healthcare, and social security in Spain under the Withdrawal Agreement. Existing green cards remain equally valid.
S1 and healthcare
Registering for healthcare in Spain is an important step and for UK pensioners this starts by applying for an S1 form. The S1 form gives UK nationals who qualify for a UK State Pension or certain other benefits access to state healthcare in Spain on the same basis as a Spanish citizen. S1 application forms are available from the Overseas Healthcare Services, which is part of the NHS Business Services Authority (BSA). Once in Spain, you register your S1 form at your local INSS (Social Security) office.
Anyone who doesn’t qualify for an S1 will need to consider private medical insurance, which they can research before arriving. After a year of living in Spain, you could then switch to the state healthcare pay-in scheme, the ‘Convenio Especial’.
And for second homeowners?
The effects of Brexit are negligible for purchasers of second homes. During and after transition, your right to buy and own a property in Spain remains the same as when the UK was a fully signed up member of the EU. The same goes for all associated purchase costs and the right to sell and transfer the proceeds of a sale out of the country. Some tax rates may increased slightly post-transition.
Keep abreast of developments by following government advice about Living in Spain
What to do next
If you would like to get ahead and do not have a Spanish Power of Attorney set up yet, this can be done from the UK without difficulty. Contact us for details on how to do it and we will be happy to help.