Will Britons Need a Visa For Short Visits to Spain?

Whether you’re thinking of living in Spain after Brexit or just visiting the country for a short break in the sun, it’s likely that you’ve wondered whether you’ll now need a visa to enter Spain after Brexit. Brexit has certainly added an extra level of complexity for Brits entering the EU, but that shouldn’t put you off booking your next trip to Spain. Here’s everything you need to know about the visa requirements for Britons visiting Spain:


Short-Term Visit Entry Requirements

Any short-term holidays or other visits to Spain will currently be put on hold: this is because of the current ban on any non-resident Britons entering Spain as a result of the coronavirus restrictions which ban non-EU nationals from travelling to Spain. Once these restrictions are lifted, however, there are two different eventualities which could play out on the question of visa and entry requirements for tourists, depending on the time you plan to visit:

  • Right now, Spain won’t require Britons to secure a visa to visit for short stays. The Spanish economy is hugely reliant on the tourism industry, and more than 18 million Britons visited Spain in 2019. As part of the Withdrawal Agreement, visa-free entry to the EU for British tourists was areed, and this is expected to continue for at least the next 12 months. Good news for Brits that are looking forward to their summer holidays!
  • By the end of 2022, however, Britons may have to apply for an ETIAS visa waiver before they enter Spain (and other EU countries). This is effectively a very simple online system (similar to the one in place for entry to the United States) allowing Britons to renew their visa waivers for the Schengen Area with minimal hassle and paperwork. This same process will apply to all non-EU countries that are currently exempt for Schengen visa. Whilst this process is very simple and straightforward, this would be another bureaucratic step in the route towards your holiday in the sun.

Both of these options would be subject to the rule that a British tourist can only stay in the EU for 90 out of each 180-day period. It’s also important to remember that these options are likely to be subject to future reciprocal tourism agreements with the UK: it is unlikely that Spain will turn its back on the British tourists and second homeowners on whom its economy relies.

Taking a Business Trip to Spain

For Britons who need to or wish to conduct business in Spain, it is not yet clear whether you need a visa to take a business trip to the country. This will be decided by future bilateral agreements between Spain and the UK, but it is likely any requirements will depend on all visits taking place under the maximum of 90 days period.

There is currently a Schengen short-stay business visa system for those non-EU nationals who require it, and it is likely that the UK will become a part of this scheme. Individuals would have to have an interview at the Spanish consulate of their country, show proof of financial means, fill in an application form and then pay between €35 to €80 in fees for their visa. As part of this process, you would also require a  letter of invitation from the company that you will be visiting, and that they intend to be doing business with.

Spending Longer than 90 Days in Spain

The freedom of movement agreement between the UK and the EU is over. If you were living in Spain before this period, it’s likely that you already have your residency secured. If you intend to spend longer than 90 days in Spain then you will now need a long-term visa, and you must apply for this in the UK and have your visa approved before you arrive in Spain. The type of visa you will need will depend on the reason that you are spending longer than 90 out of every 180 days in Spain:

Non-Lucrative Resident Visa. This is considered to be the best option for retirees, or any other applicants with financial means. An applicant must show they have €25,816 available for each year (€32,270 if it’s a couple), either in savings or pension funds, as well as comprehensive health insurance. If you apply for a non-lucrative resident visa then you cannot work when you’re in Spain.

Golden Visa. Hoping to move to Spain permanently? If you purchase Spanish property worth 500,000 euros or more (per applicant, so one million euros per couple) then you can fast track your visa application by applying for a golden visa.

Student Visa.  If you enroll in a Spanish higher education course then you can apply for a student visa. However this visa is only valid for the duration of your course , and you will also need to secure health insurance for the duration of your course, and prove that you have the financial means to support yourself during this period too. If you hope to achieve permanent residency one day, it’s important to note that each year as a student only constitutes half a year towards your residency requirements.

Entrepreneurship Visa. To be eligible for an entrepreneurship visa, you will need to invest at least €2 million in Spanish government bonds or buy at least €1 million in Spanish companies’ shares or bank deposits at Spanish financial institutions. If this kind of financial commitment is out of your reach, you could achieve an entrepreneurship visa if you start a business in Spain that creates jobs, makes a significant contribution, or has a socio-economic impact that benefits the greater good in Spain.

Work Visa. Gaining a work visa isn’t an easy option for the vast majority of applicants. In order for a work visa application to be accepted, you must be a highly-skilled employee whose skills are listed on the EU’s ‘Shortage occupation’ list. If there is a suitable EU candidate who can do the job instead then you cannot be accepted for a work visa.

Family Regrouping Visa. If you have an immediate family member who has a work or residency visa, and they have been in the country for more than one year, then you can apply for a family regrouping visa. This allows work visa applicants to bring financially dependent family members into Spain.

 Are you in the process of moving to Spain or applying for a Spanish residency visa? If you’re looking for estate agents in Southern Spain then why not get in touch? Our locally based property experts are a font of local knowledge, and are perfectly placed to help you find the home of your dreams.