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Traveling, working, studying, and staying in Spain after Brexit: do I need a visa?

2021 is being a year of changes. For British citizens and other UK residents, the Brexit is one of the biggest deals of the year. The exit of the European Union has changed the relationship between UK and the European countries forever. But how does this affect to the British citizens who wants to spend some time in Spain?


90-day rule: do I need a visa?

One of the inconveniences of Brexit is the revocation of the freedom of movement for British citizens. After 1st day of January 2021, all British citizens are considered third country citizens for EU countries and they must apply for visa and special permissions to enter in the EU zone.

In general terms, any British citizen can stay in Spain as a tourist for less than 90 days (in a 180-day period) without any problem. If you are a citizen from another country, you must check if you need a short-term visa (called as well Schengen visa) to enter and Spain and stay less than 90 days.

The 90-day rule applies to the total number of days for all countries in the Schengen area. That means you do not have 90 days to stay in Spain, 90 days to stay in France… if you stay 90 days in Spain, you are not allowed to enter in any other EU country in the current 180-day period.

Your “90-day-rule” counter comes back to 0 after 180 days. So, in a period of one year, you have two periods of 90 days to stay in any EU country. In these 180 days, you can use the 90 days freely. You do not need to stay the 90 days in a row. You are able to come in and go back to UK as many times as you want as far as you do not complete your 90-day period. For example, you can spend 20 days in Spain and then, go back to UK for one week. Then, you will have still 70 days to spend and enjoy in any EU country!

Can I stay more than 90 days? Can I work in Spain?

If you would like to spend more than 90 days (in a 180-day period) or like to work, study, or invest in Spain, you will need a visa. Please, keep in mind you can not apply for residency if you got atourist visa and there are just a couple of reasons you can convert your tourist visa into a working or residence visa.

There are a lot of different kind of visas but, in general terms, we can talk about:

  • Working visas
  • Studying visas
  • Residency visas (including non-lucrative visa)
  • Law of support for entrepreneurs and their internationalisation visas (for investment)

Each kind of visa has its own categories (i.e., inside the studying visas, you can find a variety of visas like au pair visa, language assistant, student visa…). Feel free to ask us for more information!
The Consulate will ask you for different documents or information for each kind of visa but, in general terms, you will need the following documents:

  • Visa forms fulfilled and signed
  • Original passport
  • Two recent photos
  • Private insurance
  • Medical certificate (not applicable for less than 6 months visa)
  • Police Clearance from countries of residence for the last 5 years (not applicable for less than 6 months visa)

But these are just few of the documents you will need to show in the Consulate. For example, for a non-lucrative visa, you must include some documents proving sufficient financial means for your living expenses and accommodation (€2,259.60 per month plus €564.90 per each family member). And, for a working visa, you must provide information about your labour contract or your employer. Contact us to obtain further information for each visa type.

Where can I apply? And how can I do it?

Applications must be submitted directly to the Spanish Consulate where you live. There are three Spanish Consulates in UK (Edinburgh, London, and Manchester) and each of them covers a specific area of UK. So, you can only apply in the Consulate that corresponds to your county.

You must arrange an appointment and go there, personally, the appointment day with all the documents. They cannot help you to sort out all the paperwork. But, as Spanish Lawyers, we will be more than happy to help you to deal with this long and complex process.

The Consulate must give you an answer within 1 month (3 months for non-lucrative visa) and, if they refuse your application, you can do an appeal and/or going to Court.

As Spanish Lawyers, we have more than 15 years of experience helping British citizens to deal with their issues in Spain. And, for 10 years, we were as well the Honorary Consulate of Spain in Liverpool. We have a large and long experience in consular matters.

Written by Ana Escauriaza

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