If you are really determined to move to Spain and take advantage of all of the rights still available to EU citizens, there’s still time. But you should beware a few things to avoid disappointment.
If you are intending to spend more than three months in Spain you must register as a resident. This is down at your local town hall on the padrón municipal (census).
You must submit your residence application to the immigration office (Oficina de Extranjeros) in the province where you live. You can do this electronically (if you have a digital signature ‘firma digital’), in person by appointment at the immigration office or via a third-party representative (such as a legal company) who can submit your application, electronically or in person, on your behalf.
The online process set up in July is for Britons living in Spain to update their residency cards to the new biometric TIE (Tarjeta de Identificacion Extranjeros); and new applicants can apply for residency - including children.
We will go into more detail below but a key point is that even if you get your application submitted online before 31st December 2020, you will also need to prove that you are permanently settled in Spain. This does not mean just popping over for a few days to register with the padron and then flying back to the UK for a month.
You must show that you are spending money in Spain through your bank statements, suggests Alex Radford of My Lawyer in Spain. “We are seeing that people are being asked for supermarket shopping bills or utility bills to prove that they are living and not just visiting Spain,” he says. ‘If you can show this, there is no reason why you will not be successful in your application.”
He says that his office alone is seeing 10 applications per week, and that his colleagues will be processing these until mid December (before the festive break in Spain), although settled applicants do have until June 2021 to make the application.
If you are unable to prove that you have been settled in Spain at the point at which the Withdrawal Agreement ends (31st December) then you will have to apply for the same kind of visa as Americans and other non-EU citizens do - especially the Non-Lucrative Visa (which entails an annual income of around €25,000) or the Golden Visa (residency with a property investment of at least €500,000).
For those still keen to move to Spain and enjoy EU rights, the online residency process is three-step:
- Your representative submits your residency applications online with all the documents required for approval by the foreigner ́s office. But you have to be in Spain at the time of submission.
- Within 30 days of the date of approval of your residency application you have to apply for the new TIE card, by appointment only. This has to be done in person at the local police station (CNP) because fingerprinting and a recent photo is required (and take your passport).
- They will advise when the card will be ready for collection (this varies across Spain; usually within a month) by appointment.
The documents required include proof of permanent address, registration with the padron, electric and water bills in your name(s) and also local bank accounts with living expenses going in. You can be renting a property long-term, rather than owning a home.
Evidence of financial self-sufficiency is needed: this varies from town to town, but is generally between €6,000 and €9,000. Check local requirements. You will also need a NIE (Tax) number and proof of private healthcare cover (if under 65).
If you are over 65 you will need an S1 but be aware that if you request this in the UK you will be de-registered from access to UK healthcare so you need to think about your timings to ensure you are always covered.
For more information on the process, go to the UK government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/residency-requirements-in-spain