Living or moving to Spain

Living or moving to Spain Official Guidance

Official information British people moving to or living in Spain need to know, including guidance on Brexit, residency, passports and healthcare.

If you need assistance with your paperwork once in Spain here are some contacts for you




Driving in Spain section updated 9th April 2021, see below  


From midnight European time this Thursday (31st Dec) evening, UK passport holders become third country citizens, with regard to being able to move to Spain.

The following are the full requirements to obtain permission to live in Spain after that date. The cost of the visa to UK citizens is currently 516 UK pounds. 

Note...This residence permit if granted, does NOT ENTITLE THE HOLDER TO WORK IN SPAIN.

British citizens and their family member need a visa for journey undertaken after 31st December 2020 for the purposes of residence, studies for period larger than 90 days, work, professional, artistic or religious activities.


This visa can be requested by third-country nationals who wish to reside in Spain without engaging in any work or professional activity.

It does not apply to EU citizens or to nationals of countries to whom EU law applies, for being beneficiaries of the rights of free movement and residence.


It is an essential requirement to be in possession of a valid UK residence permit, and apply for a visa before moving to Spain.


Applicants must request their appointment through the following procedure: Sending an email to the following address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In the SUBJECT they must specify the type of residence visa they wish to apply for.

The TEXT of the message should state:

- PERSONAL DETAILS of the applicant (full name, nationality, passport number and telephone number)

- TYPE OF RESIDENCE VISA you wish to apply for.

- REASONS for the request.

- DESIRED DATE for the appointment at the Consulate General (only on TUESDAYS and THURSDAYS of each week, between 09:30 and 12:00).  The final date and time of the appointment will be confirmed through email.

Applicants who do not intend to attend their appointment are kindly requested to notify the Consulate as soon as possible.

No applicant will be accepted without prior appointment, each appointment being only for one person, therefore, family members accompanying the applicant who wish to apply for a visa need to book an additional appointment.

The Consulate General will not accept appointments that have not been requested in accordance with the aforementioned procedure.

The visa is requested personally, the application will only be accepted through a representative with a notarised authorisation, where there is justified reason or, in the case of minors, through their parents or legal guardians.

In the case of a positive answer, the applicant must collect personally their visa within one month from the date of notification. Failure to do so, it will be understood that they have renounced the visa granted, and the procedure will be closed.

The consular office, on the basis of a substantiated reason and in addition to the required documentation, reserves the right to request additional documentation or the personal appearance of the applicant without this implying the approval of the visa.

All official documents (birth certificate/death, marriage certificate/divorce, criminal record) must be legalised through the consular representations of the issuing country or, in the case of signatory countries to the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961, hold the Hague Apostille, except official documents issued by a Member State of the European Union, which will not require to be legalised.

If your application is refused, you will not be refunded the fee you paid at the time of your application.


The non-lucrative residence visa can be applied for up to 90 days before the desired date of entry into Spain.


When applying for a visa, you must submit a photocopy of all the original documents that you want to be returned to you at the end of the procedure. This consulate does not make photocopies.

1. National visa form complete, dated and signed. It can be downloaded free of charge HERE 

2. Recent passport photograph with white background. Information on the requirements to be met by photographs can be found in the ICAO document. This Consulate does not accept digital retouching on identity photographs.

3. Valid passport or travel document, recognised as valid in Spain.  It must have a minimum validity of one year and at least two blank pages. Photocopy of all passport pages.

4. Valid UK residence permit and photocopy. Visa applications submitted by non-residents who are in the UK on a C-Visit stay visa will not be accepted

5. Certificate of criminal record (only in the case of persons over 18 years of age, criminal age in Spain) issued by the country or countries where the applicant has resided within the five years preceding the date of the visa application. It cannot be older than 3 months, unless the certificate itself specifies a longer expiration.

These certificates must be legalised through the consular representations of the issuing country or, in the case of signatory countries to the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961, hold the Hague Apostille, except official documents issued by a Member State of the European Union, which will not require to be legalised. Sworn translation into Spanish is also required.

6. Public or private health insurance taken out by an insurance company authorised to operate in Spain.

7. Medical certificat.   Issued no later than 3 months prior to the date of application, it must be formulated in the following terms or similarly: If the medical certificate is issued in the United Kingdom: “This health certificate states that Mr./Mrs. (…) does not suffer from any of the diseases that may have serious public health repercussions in accordance with what is stipulated by the International Health Regulations of 2005”

Certificates issued in the United Kingdom must be accompanied by a sworn translation into Spanish.

If the medical certificate is issued in Spain: “Este certificado médico acredita que el Sr./Sra. (…) no padece ninguna de las enfermedades que pueden tener repercusiones para la salud pública graves, de conformidad con lo dispuesto en el reglamento sanitario internacional de 2005”

The Consulate does not provide information about medical centres that issue this certificate. The applicant may contact any public or private medical centre duly accredited in the territory of the United Kingdom or

Spain. Medical certificates issued in countries other than the United Kingdom or Spain will not be accepted.

8. Financial means required to cover the living expenses and, where appropriate, those of their family members, for one year, in accordance with the following amounts: - For the support of the main applicant, monthly, 400 % of the IPREM (Indicador Público de Renta de Efectos Múltiples), which in 2020 amounts to 537,84 €, being 2.151,36 € or its legal equivalent in foreign currency.

- For the support of each of the family members in charge, monthly, 100% of the IPREM, which in 2020 amounts to 537,84 € or its legal equivalent in foreign currency.

The availability of sufficient financial means will be evidenced by the submission of original and stamped documents that verify the perception of a periodic and sufficient income or the holding of an estate that guarantees the perception of that income.

If the financial means come from shares or participations in Spanish companies, mixed or foreign companies, based in Spain, applicants shall prove, by certification thereof, that they don’t carry out any work activity in such companies and will submit an affidavit to that effect.

9. Fill in the ‘Autorización inicial de residencia temporal’ fee self-assessment form 790-052, to be paid at the Consulate on the day your application is accepted.

10. Fill in the EX-01 form ‘Autorización de residencia temporal no lucrativa’.

11. Pay the relevant visa fee at the Consulate on the day your application is accepted

After obtaining the visa, the applicant has one month from the date of entry into Spain, to process the TIE - Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero at the Immigration Office or Police Station.

In the case of spouses or civil partners, it is necessary to submit, additionally, marriage or civil partnership certificate and, in the case of descendants, birth certificate.

All these documents need to be legalised through the consular representations of the issuing country or, in the case of signatory countries to the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961, hold the Hague Apostille (except official documents issued by a Member State of the European Union, which will not require to be legalised).

In the case of minors travelling with only one parent, a notarised authorisation from the other parent or official document proving sole custody is required, these documents must be translated into Spanish by a sworn translator.

Fee list for British citizens


NON-LUCRATIVE VISA FAMILY REUNIFICATION VISA ROM VISA  - £516 see details above  FINANCIAL STATUS - You will need to submit evidence of your financial status to prove that you will not become a financial burden on Spain, usually by means of the previous 6 months bank statements in your name. As per 2020 figures, for the first year this will be €25,816 pa in the bank for a single application and with an extra €6,454 for the spouse and for each child under the legal age (unless they are proven as your dependants). This doesn’t have to be all in the same bank and can be split in UK and Spanish bank accounts but must equate to a minimum of these amounts. Proof of relationship to spouse (marriage certificate or common law document) and birth certificates for children are required.















Information on all the Visa Types available HERE

Living or Moving to Spain Official Guidance

The information given below is quite generalized, you will find more local information on each subject in the LIVING IN SPAIN SECTION of our website.

Stay up to date on Brexit

The Withdrawal Agreement

If you were legally resident in Spain before 1st January 2021, your rights will be protected by the Withdrawal Agreement.

You should check that you are correctly registered and should get a new residence document to evidence your rights.

Visas and residency

If you were legally resident in Spain before 1 January 2021, you will be able to stay. You must ensure you are correctly registered as a resident. Children must also be registered with their own residency document.

If you are registering for the first time, you will be issued with a biometric residence card called a Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE). This card will prove your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

If you registered as a resident before 6 July 2020, you will have a green A4 certificate or credit card-sized piece of paper from Extranjeria or the police. This is still a valid document and proves your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

If you have trouble using your green EU residence certificate, read the Spanish government’s informative note on documentation for UK nationals. This explains which documents you can use to prove your residence and Withdrawal Agreement rights in Spain. You can refer to this informative note when dealing with service providers.

You can exchange your paper EU residence document for the new TIE but you are not required to.

The Spanish government recommends obtaining the TIE because the biometric card is more durable. It will also simplify administrative processes and border crossings.

Read the Spanish government’s guidance on how to apply for the new TIE.

The Spanish government recommends obtaining the TIE because the biometric card is more durable and may simplify some administrative processes.

Additional support

If you need additional support to complete your residency application, read the guidance on the UK Nationals Support Fund.

Other local support

For details of official Spanish government and non-government organisations including in the voluntary sector, visit the Support in Spain website.

Moving to Spain

Check the entry requirements for Spain.

You must register as resident, or apply for the appropriate visa if you want to stay in Spain for more than three months. Read the Spanish government’s guidance on moving to Spain (in Spanish).


Read our guidance on healthcare in Spain and make sure you are correctly registered for your circumstances.

State healthcare: S1

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you live in Spain and you:

  • are receiving a UK State Pension
  • are receiving some other ‘exportable benefits’
  • are a frontier worker who lives in Spain and commutes to work in the UK
  • have been sent to Spain temporarily by your UK employer

Read our guidance on using an S1 form in Spain to ensure you are correctly registered in healthcare.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)

If you are resident in Spain, you must not use your UK-issued EHIC or GHIC for healthcare in Spain, unless you are a student or a detached (posted) worker. Current EHICs will remain valid until the expiry date on the card.

If you are not an S1 holder, but are registered for public healthcare in Spain in another way and are travelling outside of Spain, you must apply for a Tarjeta Sanitaria Europea (TSE - a Spanish-issued EHIC) online (in Spanish), or go to your nearest social security office (Insitituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social).

You must also buy comprehensive travel insurance to cover anything not covered by your TSEEHIC or for travel to countries outside the EU.

If you are living in Spain you may be eligible for a new UK-issued EHIC or GHIC if you’re:

  • UK student in Spain
  • UK State Pensioner with a registered S1
  • a frontier worker with a registered S1

The card you receive will depend on when you moved to Spain.

Apply now for a new UK EHIC or GHIC.

An EHIC or GHIC is not a replacement for comprehensive travel insurance.

You will keep your rights to healthcare in the EU country you live in, as long as you remain covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. If the UK pays for your healthcare, for example through the S1 scheme, this is included.

If you live in an EU country, you may be eligible for a new UK-issued EHIC or GHIC if you’re:

  • a UK student in an EU country

  • a UK State Pensioner with a registered S1

  • a frontier worker with a registered S1

The card you receive will depend on when you moved to the EU country you live in.

Apply for a new UK-issued EHIC or GHIC.

An EHIC or GHIC is not a replacement for comprehensive travel insurance.

Passports and travel

You should carry your residence document (the green paper EU residence certificate or the new TIE), as well as your valid passport when you travel. If you have applied but not yet received your document, carry proof you have started the registration process.

If you have not yet applied for a residence document, you should carry evidence that demonstrates you are resident in Spain. This could include a tenancy agreement or a utility bill in your name, dating from 2020.

If you cannot show that you are resident in Spain, you may be asked additional questions at the border to enter the Schengen area, and your passport may be stamped. This will not affect your rights in Spain.


If you are a British citizen with a Spanish residence permit. Even with that permit, you are still bound by the 90 days/180 days rule when visiting other Schengen countries. Your passport would have to fulfil the conditions of that country, check the individual countries requirements.

When you travel to Ireland, the rules of the Common Travel Area continue to apply.

Finally, stays in EU non-Schengen countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania) are not calculated in the overall period of stay for the Schengen area. Instead the 90-day limit is calculated individually for each of these states. For instance, after a 90-day stay in the Schengen area, the person can immediately travel to Croatia and stay for another 90 days there


Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. You can apply for or renew your British passport from Spain.

You must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland). This requirement does not apply if you are entering or transiting to Spain, and you are in scope of the Withdrawal Agreement.

If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.

Renew your passport before booking your travel if you do not have enough time left on your passport.

As a non-EEA national, different border checks will apply when travelling to other EU or Schengen area countries. You may have to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queuing. You may also need to show a return or onward ticket.

Updates January 2921 Information provided by the UK Gov

We are aware that some UK nationals resident in Spain, have had your passports stamped at border control.

The general rule is that UK nationals who can demonstrate that they were resident in Spain before 1 January 2021 should not have their passport stamped or be subject to routine intentions questioning upon entry, exit and transit through the Schengen border.

If you are resident in Spain, you should therefore always travel with both your valid passport and proof of your residence status, such as: • your residence document: the green paper EU certificate or the new TIE.  • a certificate of application for residency in Spain • or other documentation that shows you were resident in Spain prior to the end of the transition period.

If you have had your passport incorrectly stamped, despite showing proof of residency, your rights in Spain will not be affected. The stamp will also not affect your ability to apply for residency in Spain, under the Withdrawal Agreement, as long as you can demonstrate that you were legally residing here by 31 December 2020.

When travelling in the future, any stamp will be considered null and void when accompanied by evidence of lawful residence such as your residency certificate. Some border authorities may annul incorrect stamps when presented with evidence of residence, but this is not required.

Entry requirements

You can travel to other Schengen area countries for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa for purposes such as tourism.

To stay longer than 90 days in any 180-day period, to work or study, or for business travel, you must meet the entry requirements set out by the country you are travelling to. This could mean applying for a visa or work permit.

Periods of time authorised by a visa or permit will not count towards the 90-day visa-free limit.

Different rules will apply to EU countries that are not part of the Schengen area. Check each country’s travel advice page for information on entry requirements.

Travel to the UK and Ireland has not changed.

Children travelling from Spain

Children (under 18 years old) resident in Spain, who travel out of Spain without a person who has parental responsibility, may need a certified authorisation by that person. This is required in addition to a valid travel document.

The regulation does not apply to foreign children resident in Spain who are subject to the law of their country of nationality, or to non-resident foreign children visiting Spain.

The Spanish immigration authorities are aware that there is no UK equivalent, so British consulates do not provide travel authorisation documents. British children do not need written permission to travel unless they are subject to a court order which states that written permission is required from those holding parental responsibility. If the child is subject to such a court order, or to ensure that an unaccompanied child will be able to leave Spain without delay, you must obtain a certified authorisation from a public notary in Spain.

If you have parental responsibility for Spanish children in Spain, you can obtain a certified authorisation at a notary, national police station (in Spanish), or at the Guardia Civil (in Spanish).

Driving in Spain Updated 9th April 2021

If you live in Spain and have a valid UK driving licence, this will be recognised for driving in Spain until 30 June 2021.

If you wish to exchange your UK licence for a Spanish one, the process to follow depends on whether you registered your intention to exchange with the Spanish Traffic Authority (DGT) before 30 December 2020.

If you registered with the Spanish Traffic Authority (DGT) before 30 December 2020

If you were resident in Spain before 1 January 2021 and registered with the DGT before 30 December 2020, you should request an appointment with the DGT to exchange your UK licence by 30 June 2021.

To exchange your licence you will need:  proof you are registered as a resident in Spain (eg. TIE – Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero; green EU residence certificate) and your UK licence

Read DGT’s guidance on how to get an appointment (in Spanish with English translation).

The DGT will exchange your UK licence for a temporary driving permit (‘autorización temporal para conducir’) until your Spanish licence is processed. This document is valid in Spain only.

If you did not register with DGT before 30 December 2020

If you did not register with DGT before 30 December 2020 and wish to exchange your UK driving licence, you should follow the DGT process for non-EU nationals. This includes taking a driving test.

The UK government is in discussion with the Spanish government on future driving licence exchange without the need for a practical test. Sign up for email alerts to this page, to get notified of our updates on changes to the rules.

Your valid UK licence will continue to be recognised in Spain until 30 June 2021.

Driving in the UK with a Spanish licence

You can use your Spanish licence in the UK for short visits, or exchange it for a UK licence without taking a test. We will update these pages if there are any changes to the rules, as soon as information is available.

Lost, stolen or expired UK licences

If you live in Spain, you will not be able to renew your driving licence in the UK. If your UK licence is lost, stolen or expired, you will need to apply to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) for a ‘certificate of entitlement’ to be able to apply for a Spanish driving licence.

Bringing a UK-registered vehicle to Spain

Read our guidance on taking a vehicle out of the UK.

If you register as a resident or spend longer than 6 months of the year in Spain, you must register your vehicle with the Spanish authorities and you may need to pay some taxes.

You may be exempt from some of these taxes. If so you will need certificates of exemption.

Working in Spain

If you were legally resident in Spain before 1 January 2021, you have the right to work, as long as you remain legally resident.

If you are planning to come to Spain to work, you may need a visa or permit. You should check with the Spanish Embassy in the UK.

To apply for a job, you may need to provide a:

Frontier workers

If you live in Spain and were regularly commuting to work in another EU or EFTA country, before 1 January 2021 you may need a permit to show that you are a frontier worker. You should also check that you are correctly registered for residency.

Money and tax

The UK has a double taxation agreement with Spain to make sure that you do not pay tax on the same income in both countries. You can ask the relevant tax authority about double taxation relief.

Existing double taxation arrangements for UK nationals living in Spain have not changed.

As a Spanish resident, you must declare your global income to the Spanish authorities, no matter which country it came from. If you are not a resident, you will only pay tax on income that came from Spain.

You should get professional advice on paying tax in Spain. You can use a registered ‘gestor’ or find an English-speaking lawyer.

Declaration of overseas assets

You may need to file an annual declaration of overseas assets called a Modelo 720. There are severe penalties if you do not file, or give incorrect or incomplete information.

National Insurance

Find out if you can pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.


Whether UK banks can provide service to customers living in the EEA is a matter of local law and regulation. Your bank or finance provider should contact you if they need to make any changes to your product or the way they provide it. If you have any concerns about whether you might be affected, contact your provider or seek independent financial advice.

Read the Money and Pension Service guidance on banking, insurance and financial services changes for more information on cross-border banking.


You will need to tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad.

If you retire in Spain, you can claim:

Life Certificates for UK State Pensions

If you get a life certificate from the UK Pension Service, you need to respond as soon as possible. Your payments may be suspended if you don’t.



You will need to tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad.

You may still be able to claim some UK benefits like child and disability benefits if you live in Spain.

Many income-related benefits such as pension credit and housing benefit cannot be paid to you if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.

Spanish benefits

You may be entitled to Spanish benefits. To find out if you are entitled to Spanish benefits and how to claim, you can:

You can request proof of the time you’ve worked in the UK from HMRC if you are asked for this.


You can vote and stand in local elections. To do so, you must:

  • register on the municipal register where you live (padrón municipal)

  • formally declare your intention to vote and register on the local electoral roll

  • confirm your padrón status every 2 to 5 years to remain registered and be able to vote

You can go to your local town hall and check your padrón status and the municipal electoral roll at any time.

You cannot vote in general or regional elections in Spain or European Parliamentary elections.

You may be able to vote in some UK elections. You can:

Births, deaths and getting married

If your child is born in Spain, you will need to register the birth abroad.

If someone dies in Spain you can:

Find out how you can get married abroad.

Find out about notarial and documentary services for British nationals in Spain.

Accommodation and buying property

Read guidance on how to buy or let property in Spain.


If you have a pet passport issued by Spain or another EU member state, you can use it to travel with your pet to Great Britain and elsewhere in the EU.

A GB-issued EU pet passport is not valid for travel to the EU or Northern Ireland. You should speak to your vet before you travel to get the necessary pet travel documents and ensure you’re compliant with the EU Pet Travel Regulations.

Read guidance on:

Check the rules of the country you’re travelling to for any additional restrictions or requirements before you travel.


You can dial the European emergency number on 112 or:

  • 091 for police

  • 061 for health emergencies

  • 080 for firefighters

  • 092 for local police

If you’re the victim of crime, have been arrested, or are affected by a crisis abroad, contact your nearest British embassy or consulate.

Returning to the UK

Tell the UK and Spanish authorities if you are returning to the UK permanently. To help prove you are now living in the UK, you must deregister with your:

  • local town hall (padrón)

  • the Spanish National Police (Residencia)

  • your local health centre

Check if your tax status will change if you return to the UK.

If you get UK State Pension or benefits payments, you must tell the International Pension Centre and the Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social.

If you get healthcare in Spain through the S1 form, you must contact the Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 (0)191 218 1999 or Seguridad Social to make sure your S1 is cancelled at the right time.

Read the guidance on returning to the UK permanently which includes information on, amongst other things, tax, access to services and bringing family members.


Please note this information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Spanish authorities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) nor Benidorm Seriously is not liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Comments (1)

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Magnificent website. Plenty of helpful info here.
I'm sending it to several pals

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