Monday, February 22

How can British second home owners spend more than 90 days in Spain after Brexit?

Some intend for their second home to eventually become their primary residence, often retiring to Spain, while others simply enjoy spending extended periods of time at their holiday home in Spain, but want to keep their primary home in the country. UK.

Well, for those people, the 90-day rule will go into effect once the Brexit transition period ends on December 31, 2021.

The rule, the same one that is already in force for all non-EU citizens who want to spend time in EU countries, states that they can spend 90 days out of 180 in the EU without the need to obtain visas or residency.

Therefore, people who currently like to spend long and relaxed summers in Spain, or who come here to avoid colder winters in the UK, will find that their plans are limited by Brexit.

This site has a more complete explanation of how the 90-day rule works, as well as a calculator to allow you to calculate your visits.

Some things to keep in mind are;

  • The rule allows 90 days out of 180, so in total in the course of a year you can spend 180 days in Spain, but not all at once.

  • The rule applies to the entire EU, so if you spend three full months in Spain, you can’t go to Paris for a week within the same 180-day period.

  • The clock only stops once you leave the EU and had to a non-EU country (which will be the UK as of December 31, 2021).

But are there ways around this to allow for longer trips?

Deal / lobbying

The 90-day rule is an EU rule, but it is still possible for Spain and the UK to reach a separate bilateral agreement here.

The UK applies the 180-day rule, in which people can spend 180 days a year in the country without a visa or residency and do not have to divide them into two blocks of 90 days. This has raised hopes that a similar agreement can be established for Spain.

While it could become a deal eventually, it is unlikely to be a priority for any of the governments ahad of trade deals and other contentious issues.


Assuming the 90-day rule applies, the way non-residents can spend more time here is likely to be by obtaining a visa.

If you are not a citizen of the EU, EEA or Switzerland (as those who only have UK passports will not be in 2021), you may need to obtain a long term visa (D Visa). You can check the visa requirements for your specific situation at EU immigration portal.

Or if you have €50000,000 to invest, you could be eligible for what is known as a “golden visa.”


If you really want to spend long periods in Spain, you may be considering taking residency in Spanish.

This is more than simply declaring that you live in Spain. To become a resident, you will need to apply for a residence permit, which comes with its own conditions, see more about them here.

However, you will also need to become a tax resident in Spain, which means filing annual tax returns with the Spanish Treasury, even if all your income comes from the UK or elsewhere, and registering with the Spanish healthcare system (which may not be free). These are some of the most commonly cited reasons for people choosing not to take up residence in Spain, but will now have to be weighed against the loss of European rights under Brexit.

You cannot be a resident of two countries at the same time, so if you become a Spanish resident, you have to give up your British residence, which has an impact on things like taxes and access to the NHS.

Hoping to go unnoticed?

Many Brits have gotten used to coming and going with minimal paperwork or checks, and without having to keep track of how many days have passed and where.

For non-EU citizens like Americans and Australians, France has earned a reputation for not being too fussy about the exact departure date of people who do not work or claim benefits in Spain, as long as it is quite close. It is also true that there will likely be an “adaptation period” for the new rules.

But passport controls are expected to tighten from the end of this year, especially as British citizens will no longer be able to use the EU / EEA / CH passport queue.

If you are caught for staying longer than your allotted 90 days, you may end up with a ‘stay over’ flag in your passport that may make it difficult to enter any other country, not just Spain, and you are likely to make any future attempts to obtaining visas or residency is much more difficult.

The UK government guide also states that starting next year you may also need to show a return ticket and show that you have enough money for your stay when traveling between the EU and the UK.

See the local Brexi section for more details and updates.


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