31st January 2020
Considering buying a property in Spain after Brexit? This year is a great opportunity for UK buyers wanting to move to Spain. Many have dreamed of a new life in Spain and have concerns over the changes due to Brexit. The good news is nothing changes for those who can move in 2020. If you are resident in Spain before 31st December 2020 nothing changes.
UK citizens registered as resident in Spain before the 31st December 2020 will keep all EU membership benefits.
In this article we cover some of the key issues of buying and living in Spain during and after Brexit. Including the differences before and after the transition period. We also cover the differences for those wanting to buy a holiday home and those wishing to live in Spain.
Moving to Spain and Brexit
For those wanting to make a permanent move to Spain 2020 is a superb opportunity. This is the same if you are moving to retire or to start a new life here in the sun. You can make the move and keep all the current EU membership benefits. Registering as a Spanish resident by the end of 2020 is key for work, health care and pensions.
The rules for those making a permanent move to Spain after this date are currently unclear.
Buying a holiday property in Spain and Brexit
The good news is that there Brexit makes is difference for buyers looking to buy a holiday home in Spain. Only those wishing to move full time will be subject to new rules, if they move after the end of 2020.
UK buyers will still be able to buy Spanish property after Brexit. The transition period has no affect, buyers will be able to buy after 2020. Spanish property ownership is under Spanish control and not the European Union.
After Brexit buyers of holiday homes will still be able to rent their properties out as they can now.
Key things about the Brexit transition period
The agreed Brexit transition period runs from 1st February until 31st December 2020. During this period current EU rules will continue to apply /no changes. So if you move to live in Spain before the end of 2020 you will keep all your rights. This include rights to live here, healthcare and pensions.
Access to Spanish health services after Brexit for residents
Residents will continue to enjoy the use of reciprocal healthcare arrangements. Both during and after the Brexit transition period. Those resident before the 31st December 2020 will receive ‘life-long healthcare rights’. This is available as long as they remain resident.
Access to Spanish health services after Brexit for holiday home owners
Here the rules differ for permanent residents and holiday home buyers. During the transition period there is no changes for UK visitors. They will still be able to use their EHIC card. They can have free health care under the current EU reciprocal healthcare arrangements.
After the end of the transition period it is unclear if the EHIC will continue to operate. If not holiday home owners will need to make their own travel health arrangements. For example healthcare travel insurance.
Right to visit and stay in Spain after Brexit
For those wishing to move to Spain it will be much easier to do this before the end of the transition period. As stated above those registered as resident before the end of 2020 will keep all current EU rights. The EU member rights to live, work and/or study in Spain.
After Brexit, UK visitors should have similar rights to other non-EU visitors. Including the rights to visit and stay in Spain. Most non-EU citizens can visit Spain without needing a visa and stay for up to 90 days in every 180 days. Allowing you to visit Spain after Brexit for about half a year each year.
After the transition period UK citizens may need a visa to stay in Spain for periods over half a year.
UK Pensions in Spain following Brexit
Retired people can receive their pensions in Spain. Before or after the Brexit transition period. You may also be able to claim certain Spanish benefits if you qualify. This will depend whether you move before of after the transition period.
If you are resident in Spain before 31 December 2020 you will continue to receive your pension in Spain. It will also be up-rated every year. The same as it would be in the UK. That applies even if you retire after Brexit. You will also be able to continue to pay contributions into your pension.
If you move to Spain after the transition period you will still receive your UK pension in Spain. It is unclear if it will be up-rated each year. The latest words from the UK government state: “the rules on entitlement to UK benefits in these countries will depend on the outcome of negotiations with the EU and may change.”
UK Drivers in Spain after Brexit
UK citizens living in Spain should change their UK driving licences for a Spanish permit. This is simple and you can do this up until the end of the transition period.
After the transition period things are currently less clear. British visitors may need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in Spain. These are available at any British Post Office over the counter.
Buying a property in Spain after Brexit – Summary
If you are buying a holiday home – There is no problem. Unless you plan to live in Spain more than 180 days per year nothing will change post Brexit.
I’m moving to Spain before 31st December 2020 – Again no problem. Nothing will change. Providing you register as a resident you will keep full EU membership benefits.
I’m moving to Spain after 31 December 2020 –You may need a visa. Currently a ‘temporary residence (non-lucrative)’ visa allows you live in Spain. Providing you have enough funds. This level is currently set at €8,000 per person per year. You will also need to show you have full private health cover. If you wish to work in Spain you can currently work under the ‘temporary residence (lucrative)’ visa. You can also be self employed under this visa. You must earn at least the minimum wage equivalent which is currently around €600-800 a month.
For those buying a property worth over €500,000 after Brexit. You may qualify for a Spanish golden visa. This gives you and your family fast-track residency, renewable for five years.