With the UK’s Brexit deadline extended until 31st October 2019, Liz Rowlinson asks what is happening in Spain
Last year Britons were the biggest buyers in Spain, 17% of the market to foreign investors. The numbers of Britons buying increased by 12% between 2017 and 2018, according to the Spanish Land Registry.
Nothing has changed as far as the buying process goes.
“If you wish to buy, crack on and buy,” says Alex Radford, a British-born lawyer at My Lawyer in Spain in Marbella. “But be mindful of medical care that may be required and who will pay for it and how to access the healthcare system. Private medical insurance is available if state access is withdrawn.”
The Spanish authorities have indicated that those who are already resident in Spain will not lose access. On 1 March 2019, Spain approved a royal decree to adopt contingency measures in the event that the UK leaves the European Union without a deal.
This is the second initiative from the Spanish government in the Brexit arena, having signed off on a treaty in February with the UK permitting British residents in Spain to vote in and stand as candidates in the local elections on 26 May 2019.
“The Royal Decree covers the rights of British citizens in Spain, residency, frontier workers, recognition of professional qualifications, rules relating to access and maintenance of British workers employed by the Spanish state, access to social security, healthcare and education, judicial co-operation, exchange of information, driving licences, transport of merchandise and transport of bus travellers,” explains Mr Radford.
“The Royal Decree will come into force automatically in the event of a no deal, but will be suspended if the UK do not reciprocate with similar rights to Spanish citizens living in the UK.”
What does this mean for Britons living in Spain?
If you live in Spain for more than 183 days a year, you have a legal obligation to apply for Spanish residency and submit a tax return on worldwide assets and income the year after you become a resident. Holding a Spanish residency card will permit British nationals to travel freely throughout Spain.
“Currently non-EU nationals holding a Spanish residency identity card can travel freely around Europe. If a British person had not become a resident before the UK’s exit from the EU and remained in Spain, then their continued residency will be at the discretion of the Spanish authorities. Hence the advice, if you live in Spain, is to become a Spanish resident,” says Mr Radford.
In Spain, property-purchase costs are no different for EU/non-EU buyers. The latter can take advantage of the “golden visa” scheme, where automatic residency is given with the purchase of a property or several properties to the value of €500,000 – another option for the future should we exit the EU.
Edited (to remove poor syntax) from A Place in the Sun newsletter 2 May 2019