The United Kingdom is no longer a part of the European Union: the transition period has ended the Brexit has finally taken place. This will bring about a lot of changes both for British people currently living in Spain, as well as those wishing to visit the country in the short and the long term. Whilst the full details of the Brexit agreement have not been released, there have already been a lot of changes. To make this as simple as possible, here is a simple breakdown of everything we know that Brexit will change so far:
What Can Brits No Longer Do?
There are some things that we know British citizens will no longer be able to do when they travel in Spain (and elsewhere in the EU). These are:
- Brits can no longer move to Spain from the UK under the freedom of movement act or, if they are already living in Spain with a residency card, they can no longer move to another EU country under the same act.
- British citizens can no longer apply for Spanish residency under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement (as this withdrawal agreement period has now ended).
- Brits who are not Spanish residents can’t claim expenses on any properties they rent out.
- Exchange their British driving license for the Spanish one, without taking a Spanish driving test. The only exception to this rule is if you started the process of exchanging your license before the end of the transition period.
- Bring your pets to Europe using the EU Pet Passport Scheme.
Owning Property in Spain
One of the most important changes for UK citizens who own and let out property in Spain, but don’t live in the country themselves, is that they will see an incredible increase in the amount of tax they pay: in fact, this figure is set to almost triple. In brief, this is because as non-EU citizens, UK citizens will no longer be able to deduct expenses from their tax declarations. Those expenses include mortgage interest, insurance, IBI or community fees and British citizens who are Spanish property owners will also have to pay the full non-resident tax amount.
The good news for Spanish tourists and short-term visitors is that UK business visitors and tourists will still be able to travel to Spain (and elsewhere in the Schengen area) for stays of up to 90 days in every 180-day period. This means that, theoretically, British visitors could still spend up to just under half the year living in Spain, in two separate long trips.
If you do wish to stay in Spain for any longer than 90 days then you will be required to apply for a visa or a permit. The good news for part time Spanish residents (holiday home owners, for example) is that whilst the amount of time you’re able to spend in your property may be limited, your property rights won’t change.
Driving in Spain
As mentioned above, if you have not already changed your British driving license for a Spanish one then it is no longer valid for driving in Spain. If you have declared your intend to exchange your license, or started the process before the end of the Withdrawal Period, then you will only have six months left until your UK licence is no longer recognised for driving in Spain.
If you haven’t started to exchange your driving license and you are a resident in Spain who wishes to continue driving in Spain, then you will now need to pass a Spanish driving test to legally drive in Spain if you are a resident here.
Securing Health Insurance Coverage
If you have an EHIC card then this will be valid for use in the EU until it expires: this means that if your card is new, it could be used for up to the next five years. A new EHIC has been developed for those eligible under the Withdrawal Agreement to protect the existing healthcare rights of people living, working and studying in the EU prior to the end of the transition period. Once your EHIC card has expired, you can apply for GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card): this differs from the EHIC in that it will only be valid for countries within the European Union but not the other Schengen countries. Full details of the new reciprocal healthcare arrangements have yet to be confirmed, so we aren’t completely sure what it will entail, but it is good news that this kind of agreement is in place.
Travelling with Your Pets
If you’re entering the UK from the EU (ie travelling back to the UK from Spain) then there won’t be any changes to the documents needed when travelling with your pets. However, if you’re travelling from the UK to Spain then the rules have changed.
After Brexit, the UK will have Part 2 listed status under the EU Pet Travel Scheme: this means that people travelling from England, Wales or Scotland with both their pets and assistance dogs will need to follow new requirements in order to travel to Spain. Your pet will need a microchip, a certificate showing they have a rabies vaccination, a tapeworm treatment, and an animal health certificate too. Your pet will need a new animal health certificate every time they travel from the UK to the EU, so this will make travelling to the EU with your pets much more time consuming and complicated.
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