Getting Spanish Residency for British Expats on the Costa Blanca Post Brexit

Getting Spanish residency for British Expats on the Costa Blanca post Brexit has become quite a process as the rights that you used to have as European citizens have now disappeared.  You will have to apply as any other non EU citizens do.  There are three stages to the process and we will explain them in detail below.  You first need to get a Visa from the Spanish government then a TIE residence card and finally an empadronamiento certificate from your local town hall.

Sounds simple doesn’t it?  Well as with all things administration in Spain, it can be a nightmare to understand and do.  Rest assured below we will explain it to you in full with instructions and tips but as always if you would prefer to sit back and relax while professionals take care of everything for you, you can always hire a relocation expert and they will do just that. (get expert advice now) 

Step 1 – The Different Spanish Visas for British Expats on the Costa Blanca Post Brexit

For the most part the available visas and the system for residency on the Costa Blanca has always been there and been relatively the same.  The shock for most British Expats is that they have never had to deal with it as European citizens.  

As mentioned above, the first stage to acquiring residency on the Costa Blanca is to get a visa.  Almost all these visas must be applied for beforehand at the Spanish Consulate/Embassy in your home country and come with a host of requirements.  Read below to find out which one may be right for you.

If you would like advice from a relocation expert then please click here and we would be happy to help. (get expert advice now)

Student Visa

This visa is for anybody wishing to study in Spain for a period longer than 90 days.  There are two ways to apply for this type of visa.  At the consulate/embassy before your trip in person or within the first 60 days of entering the country as a tourist.

Keep in mind that this visa will be valid as long as your studies take.  It can be renewed should you continue studying and can be renewed in Spain.

You will need to provide proof of your acceptance to the study program that is a minimum of 20 hours per week, criminal record check legally translated into Spanish and a bank statement showing a minimum of €10,000 in the bank.

This is also the right visa to apply for if you are in an au pair program or coming to the Costa Blanca to be an au pair. 

Non-Lucrative (passive income) Residence Visa

If you would like to move to the Costa Blanca and become a resident but you don’t want to work because you have passive income or you want to retire then this is the perfect visa for you.  It has some different requirements but if you meet them then you can certainly come and take advantage of life on the Costa Blanca.

There are really only two requirements for this visa.  You must have private medical insurance that is valid in the entire country of Spain and you must show financial means by way of a bank statement of at least €25,000 which is 400% of the IPREM.

A registered S1 form can also be used as medical insurance for this type of visa.

The application for this visa must be made at the consulate/embassy in your country of origin in person.

Golden Investment Visa

This visa can be quite attractive to some as its most popular requirement is the purchase of a property with a minimum purchase price of €500,000.  The key factor here is that the purchase must be unencumbered, meaning that no financing can be involved.  The purchase must be derived from funds at your disposal personally.  

If you are a couple purchasing the property then one of you gets an investor visa and the other would apply as a family member of the investor, same as any of your children would, as family members.

There are two other more rare ways to obtain this investor visa.  You could invest a minimum of €1,000,000 into shares of a Spanish company or invest into a business project in Spain that contributes scientifically or technologically to the country.   

The application for this visa must be made at the consulate/embassy in your country of origin in person.

Employment Visa

This visa can be applied if you are in possession of what is called a regular job offer and not that of a highly qualified worker (see below).  The main issue with this visa is that it is very hard to have it approved by the government as most jobs will be denied because there is no shortage of people in that sector.  In other words if it is reasonable to assume that a current Spanish resident could do the job they will not grant your visa.

In reality the first step here is to receive a valid job offer from an employer willing to hire you and then they would have to start the paperwork and undertake the responsibility of getting it initially approved.  As you can imagine, this can be quite difficult to accomplish if the role is easily filled by a Spanish resident.

Entrepreneur Visa

According to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain this visa will be granted to

"Foreigners moving to Spain to carry out the procedures necessary to undertake an innovative, entrepreneurial activity of particular economic interest to Spain."

If you have the above you will also be required to have received a favourable letter from the Directorate-General for International Trade and Investments on your project.  The most important factor they will consider but not the only one is the creation of jobs in Spain.  Also, sufficient financial means has to be demonstrated that allows you to sustain yourself and fund the venture in question.

Visa for Highly Qualified Workers and Inter Company Transfers

To apply for this visa you must hold a job in a high level position, usually a management role or have a valid job offer for the same.  The criteria is usually at a minimum salary of €45,000 per year.

The other way to obtain a visa like this is through an inter company or group of companies transfer.  So, if you are working for a company in the UK who have offices on the Costa Blanca in Spain then you can transfer there and do so with this type of visa.

The good thing about this visa is that you can enter Spain as a tourist and apply for the visa from inside the country and have no delay in starting your employment.

Self-Employed Visa

This particular visa is for anyone aged 16 years or older and is obtained in two stages.  You must first get an initial residence and self employed work permit.  In order to get this initial permit you must supply the government with: 

  1. A list of any permits and/or licences required for the operation of the business and attach all the applications of said permits/licences.
  2. Should the business require any certifications of qualification these must be submitted and legally translated into Spanish.
  3. A comprehensive business plan is to be submitted in the Spanish language detailing the nature of the business, the expected investment(s) and how many jobs will be created and over what period of time.
  4. Proof of sufficient financial means to carry out the business plan detailed above or evidence that financing is in place to do the same.

Once you have this residence and self employed work permit and the business is up and running you may apply for a self employed work visa that is more permanent.

Family Reunification Visa

You are entitled to this type of visa if you are the spouse, child or parent of a current Spanish resident and have been for a minimum of a year.  Keep in mind that although all 3 types of people above can be reunited there are several different requirements..


  • To have access to this visa children must be under the age of 18.
  • A birth certificate officially and legally translated to Spanish is required.
  • You must show proof that you have been financially supporting the children over the past years.
  • Grandchildren cannot be reunited through this type of visa.

Spouse or Civil Partner

  • Official marriages or civil partnerships will be accepted and a marriage certificate or civil partnership registration will be required.
  • Demonstrating that it is not a convenient couple with the intention of acquiring Spanish residency is crucial.

Father or Mother or In Laws

  • This type of reunification can be quite difficult as the requirement burden is quite strenuous.
  • It is very important to be able to show money transfers to the parent to demonstrate financial dependency.
  • The parents must obtain private Spanish health insurance prior to the application.
  • Financial means for your parents to support themselves or for you to support them is required.
  • Birth certificates showing the parental match to you is required.

This really is a visa where the assistance of a relocation expert would be advantageous as there are many little loopholes available to you and the process can be altogether confusing to get into by yourself.

Researcher Visa

This visa is a very specialised one and allows for you to reside in Spain for a period of 2 years for research purposes whether at a public or private institution.  You may bring your spouse/civil partner with you as well your children.

If this seems like the right visa for you then it is best to get in contact with us directly and we can explain the detailed process to you.

Internship Visa

This again is a very specialised visa for specific people.  According to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain this visa will be granted to:

"Visa for foreigners who have obtained a university degree in the past two years or who are pursuing studies that will lead to their obtaining a university degree in Spain or abroad, and who are participating in an internship programme in Spain (through the signature of an internship agreement or of a trainee contract) with the purpose of improving their knowledge, their skills and their experience in a professional environment." 

If this seems like the right visa for you then it is best to get in contact with us directly and we can explain the detailed process to you.

Step 2 – The TIE Residence Card for British Expats Post Brexit on the Costa Blanca

Now that you have been given your visa and have been granted permission to come and live on the Costa Blanca you will need to get yourself a TIE card which will in turn give you your NIE number.  These things make you officially a tax resident in Spain.  

The TIE card stands for Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero which quite simply gives you the legal right to reside in Spain.  Remember a visa is similar but it affords you the legal right to enter Spain and remain there with the purpose of acquiring residency. 

The NIE number stands for Numero de Identidad Extranjero and can be held by residents and non residents alike.  It does not give you the right to residency, only serves as an identifier for you.  It will appear in many places including your driver’s licence and the above mentioned TIE card.

So, for the purposes of this article we will discuss the TIE really because that’s what gives you residency.  Luckily applying for it gives you the NIE number at the same time.

To apply for your TIE card you can either apply in person at the immigration office that is local to you, which is usually located in the nearest Policia Nacional station or through electronic means.  Now you cannot just turn up and apply, you must make an appointment.  Once you have your appointment you need to turn up with all the required documentation and forms or you will be turned away and have to make another appointment.  A good way to avoid this kind of hassle is to contract the services of a relocation expert and they can take care of all the administration for you.  (get expert advice now) The documents and forms required are as follows:

  1. Two copies of the completed and signed EX-17 form
  2. Valid passport containing the visa issued to you giving you the right to enter Spain and acquire residency
  3. One passport size photo with a white background
  4. Administrative payment form completed and payment made

After you attend that appointment and they accept your application you will be given a second appointment to attend the same office again where they will take your fingerprints and you will receive your plastic TIE residency card.

Step 3 – "El Padron" Certificado Empadronamiento for British Expats Post Brexit on the Costa Blanca

Now that you have your visa, your TIE card and your NIE number you are a resident right?  Not so fast, there is one last step that needs to be taken at a local level to truly make you a Spanish resident on the Costa Blanca.  You need the certificado de empadronamiento or as the Spanish say "El Padron".

Once you have El Padron you will be able to get a health card and GP, register your children for school, get a new driving licence, switch your UK licence to a Spanish one and a apply for a pensioner’s card.

To apply for El Padron you have to attend (again with an appointment) your local town hall and present:

  1. Completed and signed form
  2. Photo identification
  3. House rental agreement or property deed if you are an owner
  4. TIE card to prove your Spanish residency on the Costa Blanca
  5. Water or electric bill to backup the rental contract or deed

You should be given the certificado de empadronamiento the same day at that appointment.

In Conclusion

Congratulations, you can now officially call yourself a Spanish resident of the Costa blanca.  The process is long and sometimes infuriating but once you’re in the system things run very smoothly on the Costa Blanca.

Remember you can always get more advice and expertise through a relocation expert.  Fill in the form below and a relocation expert will be in touch shortly.

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