Post-Brexit Deadline – What it Means for British Nationals in Spain

British nationals in Spain

We have recently passed an important post-Brexit deadline. March 31st signaled the end of the first 90-day period with the UK outside the EU. It carries significant implications for British nationals in Spain, particularly those who are not resident but are used to spending long periods of time in Spain.

In this blog post, we look at what’s next for British nationals in Spain now that the first post-Brexit 90-day period is over.

The Significance of 90 Days

March 31st marked the end of the first 90 days since the UK officially left the EU. As a result, any British nationals in Spain since January 1st without a resident permit should now have left the country.

Why? Since the UK no longer forms part of the EU, the British are now third country nationals in the EU. For practical effects, this means you cannot stay in the Schengen area for more than 90 days within 180 days without a visa.

Find out more about short-stay visas in Spain.

What should I do if I’m still here?

You may qualify for Spanish residency. If you do, you should start your application process as soon as possible.

Read about residency for British nationals in Spain after January 1st 2021.

If you leave Spain, you may be registered as having overstayed the 90-day period by Spanish immigration. This could make it difficult for you to return and/or mean you have to pay a fine. In the worst-case scenario, you could face deportation and/or a ban from the Schengen area.

Note that Spanish immigration authorities are stamping British passports when you leave Spain.

Changes in the 90-day Rule

90-day rule may well be relaxed in the future to cater for British nationals who have property in Spain and wish to spend the winter in the country. However, for the moment, the fact remains that non-EU nationals including British citizens cannot spend more than 90 days within a 6-month period in Spain without obtaining a visa or a residency permit.

Did you know? The 90-day period applies to the time you spend in all countries in the Schengen area, not just Spain. So, for example if you travel to Spain by car through France, the 90-day period starts when you enter France.

Need a long-stay visa to come to Spain? Read about your options.

New Entry to Spain Requirements

On January 1st this year, the EU launched its European Travel Information and Authorization System, known by the easier acronym, ETIAS. Like the ESTA in the US, the ETIAS is designed to give the EU information about who is entering its member states.

In practical terms, it means that non-EU citizens including British will have to apply for authorization to enter Spain. It will involve an online application in which you provide information about yourself and the reasons for your visit.

The adaptation of border controls to the ETIAS will take time. As a result, the implementation of the system will take several months and not be compulsory until at least November 2023.

Changes for Property Owners

The good news about Brexit is that it hasn’t changed the rights of British property owners in Spain. There are, however, two caveats:

Higher taxes on rental income – British nationals who are non-residents and let property in Spain are now subject to a higher rate. Find out what this is.

Possible military permission – non-EU nationals who wish to buy property in certain parts of Spain require military permission. Find out which areas are affected and how to apply.

Your Next Step

If you are living in Spain and have not yet applied for Spanish residency, don’t leave it a day longer. Get in touch with our expert legal team now.

6 thoughts on “Post-Brexit Deadline – What it Means for British Nationals in Spain”

  1. Hi Maria,
    We are currently in Alicante, I am getting ready to book my flight back to United Kingdom for the end of my allowed 90 day period, the flight I am looking at for 30 August will clash with getting a PCR test as it’s on a Sunday , I can get one on 2 September which will take me into 92 days in Spain. Do you think I will get into trouble for exceeding my stay by two days .
    Thanks in advance for any information
    Kindest regards.


      There will be no problem about him exceeding the two days but it is important that he brings his health documents and PCR to justify this in the borders, just in case

  2. Please can you tell me when the clock starts on the 180 days – is it when I first travel into the Schengen area or is it preset – eg 1st January?

  3. Hi, I’m a British citizen and want to know what I can do to stay in Spain past the 90 days. Could I apply for the short term visa as I didn’t need one when first travelling ?

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