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Brexit Removals to Spain Two Years On | Moving Abroad

Brexit Removals to Spain Two Years On | Moving Abroad

If you are moving to Spain, you have options. While the UK government hadn't outlined any concrete plans for Brexit, two years on, it's looking increasingly likely that the transition period to allow British citizens will continue. This means that many ex-pats are still deciding whether or not they should move to Spain after Brexit.

Moving to Spain

Spain is famed for its sunny weather, charming landmarks and scenery, delectable cuisine, and diverse culture. For British ex-pats, these are just some of the many reasons that make Spain an appealing country to move to. As of 2020, it is estimated that there were over 360,000 UK nationals who were living in Spain.

Because of the benefits that individuals can get by moving there, Spain remains in UK expats’ list of top five destinations for moving. However, with Brexit, moving abroad, such as countries in Europe, is made more challenging today. If you are looking to move to Spain from the UK, here are some of the things to expect.

Do I Need a Visa for Spain After Brexit?

Among the most common questions asked by those looking to move to Spain is: “Can I move to Spain from the UK after Brexit?” The answer to this is a resounding yes.

So will you need a visa to travel to Spain? If your length of travel does not exceed 3 months, then you will not have to acquire a visa. However, British citizens will have to acquire an ETIAS visa waiver instead of a visa. ETIAS is said to launch by the end of 2022. Meanwhile, if your length of travel exceeds 90 days, you will be required to obtain a visa.

Will I Have to Pay Customs Charges After Brexit?

Any goods moving in and out of the country will be subject to customs checks. For customers, this can mean delays in shipment, particularly if it involves outstanding taxes or paperwork that is missing or contains inaccurate information. To avoid delays, ensure that all taxes are paid, your paperwork is complete, and you have a proper inventory.


Under the Withdrawal Agreement, those who have been living in Spain before January 1, 2021, possess residence rights.

  • Have lived for less than 5 years: You keep your residence rights if you live in Spain for at least 6 months within 12 months.
  • Have lived in Spain for 5 years: You can apply for permanent residency.

Applying for Permanent Residency

There are two ways to obtain permanent residency in Spain:

Getting a long-term residence permit

To obtain a long-term residence permit in Spain, you must meet one of the requirements for qualification. This includes residing legally and continuously in the country for 5 years. The long-term residence permit enables you to live and work in Spain indefinitely. Some of the requirements you may need are a completed application form, valid passport, criminal record certificate, and proof of residence.

Applying for Spanish citizenship

You can apply for Spanish citizenship provided that you have been residing legally and continuously in Spain for 10 years. Spanish citizenship will allow you to freely move within the EU. However, note that dual citizenship is not possible if you apply for Spanish citizenship. Here are some of the documents you may be required to submit: passport and NIE, birth certificate, criminal record certificate, and proof of legal residence.

Travelling to Spain for Work

You will need a visa if you will be travelling to Spain for short-term or long-term permit-exempt work. Types of work that necessitate a visa but won’t require permits include researchers and scientists, journalist correspondents, artists and performers, faculty members, and more.

Meanwhile, you must apply for work and residence permits along with a visa if you will be:

Transferring to a UK-based company’s Spain branch

You will need either of the following permits: EU ICT or ICT work and residence permit. Both are valid for 2 years, but they are extendable for another 2 years depending on your job role. Both also allow you to bring your family members as dependents.

Employed under a company in Spain

You will need any of the following permits: highly qualified specialist, temporary work and residence, or EU blue card.

Investing in or founding a company in Spain

You must apply for a work permit in the form of a residency visa for entrepreneurs and business activities.

Providing services to a client in Spain

Obtain an ICT work and residence permit that specifically allows you to provide cross-border services.

Working in Spain as a Self-Employed Individual

Qualified individuals must obtain the necessary permit to work in Spain as self-employed. They must also meet the necessary conditions for self-employed work, such as being able to financially support themselves and submitting proof that at least one Spanish company has enlisted their services.

A self-employed work permit is valid for a year. However, you may be able to extend it for an additional 5 years. After residing legally for 1 year in Spain, you will be able to bring your family members with you as dependents.

Travelling to Spain as a Student

If you are planning to stay and study in Spain for more than 6 months, you must obtain a foreign identity card within 30 days of entering the country. Requirements include having adequate financial means and health insurance. Students with this type of visa are allowed employment, typically up to 20 hours each week, provided that their work is aligned with what they are studying.

Driving in Spain

If you’re taking up residence in Spain, you have to exchange your UK driving license with a Spanish license. If you’ve been living in Spain before January 1, 2021, but did not register with the Direccion General de Trafico to exchange your license, you will need to take a driving test—both theory and practical.

Bringing your vehicle to Spain, and staying long-term entails registering it with the authorities and paying some taxes.

Moving to Spain with Your Pet

To move to Spain with your pet, you need to comply with all the requirements, including presenting a health certificate and proof of vaccination against rabies.

For many, moving house post-Brexit seems a daunting process. At Cotswold, we aim to make post-Brexit removals,/ stress-free as much as possible for you. Learn more about how we can help you move your valuables to Spain by contacting us today.

Cotswold Carriers is a family run business, based in Oxfordshire, with over 40 years’ experience in domestic and commercial removals – both in the UK and Europe. As a member of the British Association of Removers (BAR) you can feel confident that when you employ any of our removal services, you are using a reputable, professional and financially protected company. All BAR Members are also monitored by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute. Contact us today for a free, no obligation quote.

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