It’s a big step but one that many of you are keen to make. Samuel DeMalfort of Lifestyle Group provides a simple guide.
Planning before taking up Spanish residency
Whether you were making the move anyway or are one of the many who have brought forward plans to beat the Brexit deadline, one thing is certain, it’s essential to be prepared and informed when taking up Spanish residency.
Spanish residency is not just a green paper card, and you should make sure you fully understand all the differences your new residency status will bring with it and to plan accordingly.
There are often things that need to be finalised in the UK before formally taking up residence in Spain, and the single biggest mistake we find people make is failing to plan for the change.
Some examples of things that people often overlook, that you might want to think about are:
• Access to healthcare for you, and if applicable family members
• Entitlements such as benefits or tax breaks that you currently enjoy which you may lose
• How the Spanish tax regime differs from the UK and what tax you will have to pay
If you are unsure about anything, we recommend you get a consult with a firm that specialises in taking people through the process of changing residency from the UK to Spain.
Obtaining a Spanish Residency Certificate
To obtain Spanish residency you will need:
• To have a residential address in Spain a valid passport or other international ID documents
• Proof of healthcare entitlement/provision
• Proof of income/financial means completed EX18 application form
The National Police handle residency applications. To begin your application, you first need to make an appointment at the relevant National Police station in your area. The process of arranging an appointment varies from town to town. With some it’s possible to book online, others you can book by telephone, however with some you have to go in to make your appointment in person.
You submit an application form along with your identification, copies of it, and your proof documents.
Payslips or pension statements along with bank statements, can be used to prove income, or you can obtain a bank certificate from your Spanish bank account, to show that you have at least the minimum required amount of funds, to support yourself, and anyone else, included in your application.
If you are working in Spain you will be paying social security, so this will confirm your access to healthcare. Otherwise, you’ll need a copy of your medical insurance policy, or if you are a pensioner using the reciprocal healthcare agreement, letters to confirm this arrangement.
Providing your application is accepted, you’ll usually be given your residency card there and then, on the day of your appointment.
Will I be able to take up Spanish residency after Brexit?
It is clear that the UK and the EU27 are committed to maintaining existing residency rights for Brits residing in other EU countries, and EU nationals residing in the EU. However, on what terms remains to be seen. One of the biggest concerns for UK nationals in Spain is what might happen to existing reciprocal arrangements, such as that which gives UK pensioners access to state healthcare in Spain.
Apart from this, some other key areas where Brexit could bring changes to Spanish residency as we know it are:
• Working, pension and welfare rights
• Rates of taxation
• Ease and cost of travel to or from the UK
Until Brexit actually happens, rights and requirements relating to Spanish residency remain unchanged and are quite clear. Thus, if you are from the UK and considering taking up Spanish residency, you might want to take advantage of this, and do so whilst everything is known. Given the sharp increase since the referendum in UK nationals taking up Spanish residency, it would seem that many have realised this, as both people moving to Spain and those who’ve already been living here, but who haven’t yet registered as residents in Spain, move to do everything they can to secure their status in Spain.