Immigrate to Spain from UK

Updated on Saturday 17th April 2021

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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.

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 immigrate 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 a residence 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.

UK citizens moving 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.

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.

Moving 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.

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 immigrate 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 to immigrate 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 immigrate to Spain from the UK, do not hesitate to contact our lawyers.