After years of questions and uncertainty Brexit has finally been finalised and we were delighted that a deal was able to be made.
Understandably we’ve had lots of phone calls and emails from our clients asking what it all means for them buying a property in Spain.
Below we will address the questions we currently have the answers to the best we can. The good news is that it seems not a huge amount is going to change! Tourism is hugely important for Spain and will therefore be made as easy as it can be!
Driving in Spain After Brexit
A majority of people who visit Spain tend to travel by plane and hire a car for the length of their stay. This includes those who own holiday homes in Spain. For those people nothing has changed. Many people seem to be under the impression that you now require a green card to prove you are allowed to drive in the EU when hiring a vehicle. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. All you need is your UK driving licence.
If you are travelling to Spain in your own vehicle from the UK or using a UK hire car then you will need to ensure that you have a green card as well as a GB sticker (even if your number plate has it on). A green card simply proves that your vehicle has the correct insurance to be driven abroad. You can get this from your insurance company. Please allow a few weeks for this.
The other question we have had about driving in Spain after Brexit is whether they need an International Driving Permit (IDP). Again, THIS IS NOT THE CASE. You can drive in Spain without one for up to 6 months. Again, for most people buying a property in Spain, this will mean no changes for them.
For those who are looking to move to Spain and become a Spanish resident, the rules for exchanging your licence have not yet been confirmed. However it is expected you will simply need to make an appointment with the Spanish Traffic Authority (DGT) to complete the exchange of your UK driving license to a Spanish one.
Visas to Visit or Live in Spain After Brexit
If you are looking to buy a property in Spain as a holiday home then this is not something you will have to worry about. You will be able to visit Spain for up to 90 days in any 180 day period without a visa. This means you are able to travel back and forth as many times as you would like without a visa providing you do not go over the 90 day limit. This equates to 180 days a year. Please note that the 90 days starts from the date you enter any of the Schengen countries, including Spain.
If you spend more than 183 days a year in Spain (again this can be spread out) then you are classified by the Spanish tax authorities as a Spanish resident. You will need to apply for a visa which gives you Spanish residency. This was also the case before Brexit. The only difference is the process.
If you had not begun the process of becoming a Spanish resident before 31 December 2020 then you will now need to follow the same process as other non EU countries and apply for a visa which gives you Spanish residency.
Depending on your reason for moving to Spain there are some residence permits which you can apply for where the process is quite simple. If you are looking to live but not work in Spain then you will most likely need to apply for a non-lucrative residence visa. If you are a highly qualified professional looking to live and work in Spain then you will want to look at applying for a highly qualified professionals visa and so on. The Consulate of Spain in London website has some good information about different visas, their requirements and how to apply.
Healthcare in Spain After Brexit
One of the biggest concerns for many is healthcare. Of course if you are buying a property in Spain you want and need to know that you will be able to easily access healthcare should you need to. The good news is you do not need to worry!
Your EHIC card can still be used in Spain until its expiry date. Then you will be able to get a new card which the Government have said will be called a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). Like EHIC, the new card will cover chronic or existing illnesses and routine maternity care as well as emergencies in Spain! What fantastic news!
Please note certain visas (but not all of them) require you to have a private health insurance policy in Spain as well.
Your UK Bank Account
Some of our clients have been under the impression that if they move to Spain their UK bank account will automatically be closed. This really depends on who you bank with but most banks have said this is not the case. A majority of banks have said if you are an existing customer they will do their best to continue to accommodate you. Please see below the links to the Brexit Q&A pages of most popular banks in the UK.
- Lloyds https://www.lloydsbank.com/help-guidance/brexit-questions.html
- Barclays https://www.barclays.co.uk/brexit/
- HSBC https://www.hsbc.co.uk/help/brexit/
- Natwest https://personal.natwest.com/personal/support-centre/brexit-hub.html
- Santander https://www.santander.co.uk/personal/support/customer-support/brexit-and-santander-uk-plc
- Nationwide https://www.nationwide.co.uk/support/brexit
- Halifax https://www.halifax.co.uk/helpcentre/brexit-questions.html
There are just a couple more things that you may need to think about.
- Before you travel to Spain you will need to make sure that you have at least 6 month left on your UK passport. It also needs to be less than 10 years old. If not you may be denied travel.
- You should check whether or not your mobile phone provider have changed their mobile roaming charges before travelling. We are hopeful this will not be the case but it is important to check to avoid additional charges.
We hope this article has helped to answer your questions about how Brexit will impact your buying journey in Spain. However please feel free to contact us at Movehappy if you have any additional questions about this or anything else. We are always here to help!