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How can I as a British national become a resident of Spain?

As we highlighted in our other article, can British holiday home owners still live part time in Spain, there are a limitation on your stay in Spain of 90 days within a 180 period as a non-resident. So how can the British become residents and enjoy Spain unlimited? You need to apply to become a resident.

If you already lived in Spain before Brexit (up to 31.12.2020) it was and still is very easy to become a Spanish resident. The Spanish government have introduced a new residency document for UK nationals who are protected by what is called a “Withdrawal Agreement” between the EU and the UK. This new document is a non-EU special residency permit called a “Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero” (TIE). Your NIE will be replaced by the TIE, the process is managed by the same office as issues the NIE (local police). Most people had someone to assist them getting the NIE (a Gestoria for example), contact this person/company and they will get you get your TIE.


  • Application form EX20
  • Valid passport + copy of it. In addition, we recommend that you also include a document that proves your entry into Spain in the last 3 months (for example a copy of your flight ticket).
  • Certificate of registration from your town hall (“empardronamiento”), which must be less than 3 months old.
  • Sufficient economic means; which can be demonstrated by an employment contract, self-employed registration, or a current bank account with sufficient balance (for one person this would be € 5600).
  • Certificate from your insurance company accrediting your status as the holder of a health insurance contract equivalent to the Spanish Social Security offerings, with no shortages or co-payments. Retired British citizens with S1 insurance will be covered for health care, but a translated copy must be sent.
What happens if you start the process to get your residency from January 2021 onwards because you have not lived in Spain before?

There are several options depending on if you will work, study or live in Spain as retired. We will describe the process to apply for a non-lucrative visa, which you as retired would need, this visa will also work for you if you have business activities outside Spain, for example in the UK.

The non-lucrative residence residency visa is granted to non-EU citizens who have enough economic means to stay in the country without working. As that is also true for the applicant’s relatives, as you can also bring your family with you.

This permit will allow you to say in Spain for one year after entering the Spanish territory, as we are talking about an initial residence authorization. Then, you will be able to renew it every 2 years (that is the length of the renewal), until you get the permanent residency (after 5 years in the country).

One of its main characteristics is that it does not allow you to carry out any type of economic or professional activity in Spain. In other words, you cannot work for any company operating in the country. It has a non-profit nature. Although you will not be able to work, you will be able to invest.

Even if you cannot work in Spain, you will be allowed to work with/in other countries. In other words, this is an ideal visa for all those foreigners who wish to keep their business or activities in their country of origin (or in any other country other than Spain); but still living and residing regularly in the Spanish territory.

Document required:

  • A valid passport
  • Proof of legal residence in Spain (such as a mortgage, property deed or rental contract)
  • Criminal record certificate issued by the authorities in your home country;
  • Medical certificate (certificado medico)
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Marriage certificate, divorce certificate, or other proof of your current marital status

As always in Spain, it might be beneficial to ask a Gestoria or Attorney to assist you with the application process.

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