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Immigrate to Spain from UK

Immigrate to Spain from UK

Citizens from many countries are attracted to Spain and UK citizens make no exception. The relocation options, among which business and employment-related ones, along with the sunny weather, compared to that of the UK are some of the most important attraction points for those who decide to move to Spain.

If you are a UK citizen and are considering the idea of immigration to Spain, you should know that there are several formalities you need to comply with. Below, our lawyers present the main options for those who want to immigrate to Spain from the UK. You can rely on us if you want to apply for a residence permit in Spain.

 Quick Facts  
 Visa requirements for UK nationals


Special requirements after Brexit

Employment and residence permits must be obtained by those who do not have Spanish residence permits or EU Blue Cards

Relocation options

 Temporary residence permits for students, employees, businesspersons, golden visa, wealth visa,
non-lucrative visa
Temporary residence options Temporary work permit, non-lucrative visa
Permanent residence requirements Living in Spain based on temporary residence permits, family reunification
Access to investor/citizenship by investment visa


Timeframe for obtaining a residence permit (approx.)

6 to 8 months

Family reunification visa availability (YES/NO) YES
Investment visa requirements Investment value ranges between EUR 500,000 and EUR 2 million
(real estate, financial assets, bank deposits)
Permanent residence timeframe 5 years of uninterrupted stay
Citizenship requirements 10 years through naturalization
Possibility to acquire real estate (YES/NO) YES, through the Golden Visa, the minimum purchase value is EUR 500,000
Spain-UK double tax treaty (YES/NO) YES 
Immigration services (YES/NO) YES, support in applying for temporary, permanent residendce, citizenship
Post-immigration support (YES/NO) YES, document renewal services, support in registering with the local authorities
  Immigration process affected by Brexit (YES/NO)  Yes, British citizens who do not have EU residency must apply for Spanish residence permits.

 Relocation steps

– draft immigration papers,

– file for a residence permit,

– collect the residence visa from the Spanish Embassy

 Special conditions to respect in terms of short-term residency 


 Documents required for temporary residency

–  valid passport,

– application form,

– details on the reason for relocation,

– proof of self-sufficiency,

– valid health insurance

 Easiest ways to move to Spain from UK

Employment and business 

 Special requirements to secure a work contract (if any)

 No, there are no special requirements to meet when relocating through employment.

 Special requirements when moving to Spain as a dependent (if any)


  Possibility to retire to Spain as a British citizen (YES/NO)


 Retirement options (if any)

 The golden visa and the non-lucrative residence permit

  Support in visa refusal (YES/NO)  Yes, we offer support in case of visa denial.
 Support in renting/buying Spanish properties (YES/NO)

 Yes, our immigration lawyers in Spain can also help in such matters.

 Support in registering with local authorities (YES/NO)

 Yes, this is one of our most important services related to immigration to Spain.

 Documents for permanent residency

– application form,

– valid passport,

– valid residence permit,

– other relevant documents, as requested


 Tax benefits for British citizens (if any)

 There are no special tax benefits for British citizens.

 Why move to Spain as a British citizen

– access to EU residency,

– access to the EU healthcare system,

– great living conditions, possibility to travel to other EU countries visa free. 

No visa requirements for those who immigrate to Spain from the UK

The UK has left the European Union which has created some uncertainties for those who are in the process of moving to Spain from the UK. However, there are a few aspects to clarify and the first one is that British citizens who already live in Spain do not have to apply for any visa. This is also the case of those who will immigrate to Spain from the UK by the end of December 2020 thanks to the Withdrawal Agreement.

Our immigration lawyers in Spain can offer detailed information on the procedures to follow for those who plan to move here by the end of 2020. However,  the Spanish citizenship requirements have not changed.

The procedure of immigrating to Spain from the UK is also presented in the infographic below:

Immigrate to Spain from UK

Conditions for moving to Spain from the UK

The conditions under which a UK citizen can emigrate to Spain are the following:

  1. he or she has an employment offer or is self-employed and has arrangements in this sense in Spain;
  2. he or she has a business or plans to set up a business in Spain, thus being eligible for residency;
  3. he or she is a student and is enrolled with a Spanish educational institution;
  4. he or she has other family members living in Spain and is moving with them;
  5. he or she is a retired person and has the financial means of supporting him/herself and health insurance.

It is important to note that there is no requirement for applying for a residence permit if you plan to relocate to Spain from the UK under any of the circumstances above. However, you will need to complete other requirements, just like in the case of EU citizens.

If you plan on emigrating and applying for aresidence permit in Spain, our lawyers are at your disposal with complete assistance in registering with the local authorities, as well as with other services, such as housing support.

Because Spain is a member of the EU, foreign nationals who move there to work remotely are not subject to visa requirements. Non-EU citizens must, nevertheless, meet specific requirements in order to, for example, take part in the Spanish nomad visa program. You can apply with our assistance, and our immigration lawyers can go through all the terms in detail. In case you are searching for immigration services in another country, for example in Finland, our partner law firm can help you – LawyersFinland.com.

UK citizens relocating to Spain after Brexit

British citizens who do not have residence permits or who did not get to start the immigration procedures before Brexit will need to relocate to Spain under the usual route that applies to non-EU citizens. This means that they will need to apply for the desired residence permit just like other citizens. However, the procedure is not complicated and can be completed with the help of our immigration lawyers in Spain.

With respect to the employment visa, it should be noted that after Brexit, a new requirement was introduced for UK citizens immigrating to Spain. The condition is for the foreign employee to have a minimum of 2,000 euros per month entering his/her bank account. Our lawyers can provide more information on this requirement, as well as on the Spain family reunion visa processing time.

Types of visas under which British nationals can immigrate to Spain

After Brexit, citizens of the United Kingdom need to apply for the same visas applicable to other categories of immigrants from non-EU countries. The following are available for this purpose:

  • student visas who are available to UK students coming to complete their studies in Spain;
  • work visas for British nationals who want to relocate to Spain for employment purposes;
  • non-lucrative visas: for citizens in the UK who decide to retire to Spain;
  • family-reunification visas for those who have family members living in Spain and who can facilitate relocation here;
  • investment visas that are available for those who want to start their own companies in Spain.

Once the desired visa is selected, the applicant can contact our immigration law firm in Spain, provide the necessary details and start the relocation process.

Immigration based on employment to Spain

One of the easiest ways of immigrating to Spain from UK is through employment. The main advantage of this pathway is that it is secure and can be completed quite fast.

Immigration based on employment implies obtaining a short-term or long-term residence permit for Spain, however, British citizens who have EU Blue Cards can also use those if they want to move here. There are also special categories of work permit for certain professionals and seasonal workers, such as au pair, however, these are issued for limited periods of time and prolonging them will imply additional procedures.

In order to obtain a work and residence permit for Spain, a British citizen must first obtain an employment offer and a contract from a Spanish company. Then, the immigration procedure can begin. However, the Spanish labor market is one of the most flexible in Europe and English-speaking employees are welcome, especially in companies that work with foreign business partners.

Important aspects to consider about immigration by employment is that each type of work visa comes with specific requirements. Among these, seasonal workers must also wait for approval from the Ministry of Labor before signing the contract and beginning the relocation process.

In the case of long-term employment permits, residence cards are issued automatically which is one of the most important benefits of this type of relocation from UK to Spain.

Relocating to Spain from UK based on a residence permit can take quite long, between 6 and 8 months, which is why applicants should not be concerned if they do not the answers they await in a few weeks. However, with the help of an immigration lawyer, updates can be received periodically, which is why it is recommended to use such services.

Spanish residency by employment can also lead to citizenship by naturalization should a British citizen be interested in it.

Student visas for British citizens for Spain

Spain is one of the sunniest European countries, in opposition to Great Britain, which is why it attracts many young British citizens who come to study here and decide to relocate for good. As a matter of fact, Spain is one of the favorite immigration places for UK citizens.

The student visa is one of the most sought types of visas for young persons who come from the UK. Once enrolled in a Spanish superior education facility, obtaining a student visa is quite simple. The passport alongside the acceptance letter and sufficient funds to support oneself are sufficient to obtain a student visa and move here.

Moving to Spain from UK based on a student visa is quite simple even after Brexit and our immigration lawyers can help those interested in this option. It should be noted that student visas are issued for different periods of time, the minimum duration of stay being 3 months. However, it is more advantageous to obtain such a visa for at least 180 days as it comes with a Type-D residence permit which also enables a foreign student to work in Spain based on 20 hours per week schedule.

Student visas are also available for those enrolled in various training sessions. Also, it is possible to bring family members in Spain based on a student visa with a validity of more than 3 months. However, the best way to migrate to Spain from UK is through family reunification in the case of those who have close relatives established here.

How to relocate to Spain from UK based on family reunification

Just like other European countries, Spain allows foreign citizens, including British ones to bring family members here if they have lived here for at least one year. Also, the residence card holder must plan to stay here for at least one more year in order for other family members to follow them here.

British citizens can relocate to Spain based on family reunification if:

  • they have EU Blue Cards;
  • they have residence permits obtained in other EU states;
  • they come here for study or research purposes (even if they don’t have EU residency).

With respect to the relatives who can immigrate to Spain from UK based on family reunification, the following are eligible:

  • the spouses or partners of a Spanish resident;
  • dependent children with ages of less or at least 18 as long as they are unmarried;
  • grandchildren;
  • dependent parents with ages above 65.

Once arrived in Spain, the British citizen must register with the local police office in the city he or she will reside.

Moving to Spain from UK based on family reunification is not complicated, nor does it imply meeting special requirements. If you are a British citizen already established here and want to bring family members into the country, you can obtain the support of our lawyers.

Entrepreneurship as a way to migrate to Spain

British citizens who want to have their own small businesses in Spain in order to ensure a stable income can choose the entrepreneurship path. For this they can opt to be become sole traders or self-employed persons.

Becoming a sole trader or setting up a sole proprietorship implies registration with the tax authorities once the British citizen arrives in Spain. However, an important requirement is for the person to earn at least 24,000 euros per year.

Another option is to register as a self-employed person which also implies registration for taxation for economic activities. For this, the passport and the NIE number are required. The UK citizen will need to register as an independent professional or as a sole trader after which he or she will obtain the personal tax certificate.

As a sole trader or self-employed individual, a foreign citizen must contact the social security authority and register under the Special Regime for Autonomous Workers in order to pay the necessary contributions.

There is also the option of setting up a company under the Commercial Law for those interested in completing other activities at an advanced level and who want to hire employees.

No matter the choice one makes, our immigration lawyers in Spain are at the service of British citizens who want to relocate as entrepreneurs. We can handle the preparation of the immigration papers, but can also offer advice on the steps that need to be completed in order to register with various authorities.

The Spain Golden Visa program

One of the programs that are on the lips of many non-EU citizens is the Golden Visa program under which for a significant amount of money pledged as investment, a foreigner can obtain permanent residence and citizenship in Spain. The program can now be accessed by UK citizens who fulfill one of the following requirements:

  • they can invest 500,000 in a property in Spain;
  • they can invest 1 million euros in a bank deposit;
  • they can invest 1 million euros in company shares;
  • they can invest 2 million euros in Treasury bonds.

There are also other options under which British highly qualified citizens can move to Spain under the Golden Visa by joining companies that need their expertise or by starting their own companies in fields that bring benefits to the community the projects address.

The wealth visa is another option for UK citizens interested in retiring to Spain. This is one of the most suitable options for those who want to have a stress-free life in one of Europe’s most beautiful countries.

If you need guidance in making a decision on the type of visa suiting you the most, our immigration lawyers are at your service with information, examples, and details on the procedures you will go through for Spain immigration.

Do not hesitate to send us your inquiries in order to obtain the desired information.

Registration with the Central Register of Foreign Nationals

Those who immigrate to Spain from the UK and who plan on staying there for more than 3 months must register with the Central Register of Foreign Nationals. They have who options in this case:

  • to register with the local office of the Register in the province the UK citizens live;
  • to register with the local police station in the city they live, if there is no office of the Register.

The main documents to be presented are the passport (which must have a validity of at least 6 months) and Form number EX18 which must be filed in two copies. Apart from these, other documents must be presented depending on the status of UK citizens moving here.

One of the following statutes can be used:

  • that of workers for which the employment contract or paychecks is required as proof;
  • that of self-employed persons for which proof of registration with the Economic Activities Registrar is required;
  • that of retired persons for which proof of public health coverage must be presented;
  • that of students for which various documents are required, among which the letter of enrollment with a university or other form of education.

For non-employed persons who immigrate to Spain from the UK, proof of financial funds to support themselves and family members and health insurance coverage must be submitted.

We can also assist those interested in immigration to Spain from the USA. We can also support them in applying for Spanish citizenship.

Obtaining a NIE number in Spain

Another requirement for those who relocate to Spain from the UK is to obtain the NIE (national identification number) number. This will grant British citizens the possibility of buying properties in Spain. This will also allow them to register for taxation in Spain, thus being eligible for permanent residence and citizenship.

Our immigration lawyers in Spain can offer more information on how to move here from the UK and the formalities involved. We invite you to watch our video:

Statistics on British citizens in Spain

Foreign citizens who have plans of moving to Spain from the UK after Brexit and after the conditions of the Withdrawal Agreement end should know that the UK Government plans on concluding separate conventions with each country of the EU, Spain included.

With respect to the number of UK citizens living in Spain:

  • in 2019, there were 365,967 UK citizens officially registered in Spain;
  • compared to 2018, their number increased by 3% in 2019;
  • almost 50% of British immigrants live in the region of Alicante and Malaga;
  • in 2018 and 2019, the number of British citizens in Spain increased by 1 to 3%.

If you want to move to Spain from the UK, do not hesitate to contact our lawyers.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you are interested in Spanish citizenship. Long-term residency or investment are the main ways through which you can obtain it, however, for each there are particular requirements to comply with. Request the help of our immigration lawyers in Spain and enjoy living in one of Europe’s most beautiful countries.