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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I'm English, retired but not of pensionable age and currently spending my 5th winter in Spain. I intend continuing to spend over 6 months or more here annually and do not own property anywhere but I am financially self-sufficient. I do currently have my British plated car with me SO do I return to the UK in the Spring (yes I am aware of the new 90 day limit post-Brexit) and return via application for the non-lucrative visa route with a view to residencia eligibility 5 years down the line (after 2 renewals). I have the finances to cover this but do not intend buying property here (or indeed anywhere) but I would aim to rent somewhere long-term
OR do I find somewhere to rent now and start the application process for residency employing the services of a gestor and/or lawyer. I am currently learning Spanish but am in no way proficient enough for officialdom. I do see my long-term future here (the 183 day proof of residency required for visa renewal would not be a problem) as I feel far happier and more settled here but my gut instinct at this moment is to return to England later this year, ditch the Brit-plated car and tie up any loose ends (not that I can think of any) and apply to the Spanish consulate at the appropriate time for return later this year (all being well Covid-wise). I know that the dust is still settling post-Brexit (I know that pre-Brexit this may have been an easier decision but that time has gone, no point dwelling on it). I have done quite a bit of research into the procedures involved (and yes it has made my head hurt!) and my initial impression is that maybe the visa route would be more appropriate for me at this time?????Any thoughts/advice would be gratefully received
 

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As you say you have two options.
Either 90 day tourist stays or residency. Residency will require a Visa and proof of income at set levels plus healthcare. There is not any other way. It doesnt matter when you do the process as the transition period has ended. However, your main problem will be your licence as you will need to take a Spanish driving test to be allowed to drive in Spain as a resident and will need to speak good Spanish to achieve that.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Many thanks for your response, I appreciate any guidance wading through red tape/bureaucracy.As I understand it at least I have 5 years to perfect my Spanish via the non-lucrative visa route before a Spanish test would be necessary as during this time I take it that I would still be allowed to drive on my UK licence as I would not be officially resident? I am aware that any visa application has to done in the UK but I did think that alternatively I may be able to start my residency application (without a visa, during my allotted 90 days starting 1st Jan) during this stay prior to returning to the UK as I thought that there may be a non-visa route still available as a non-EU member state/3rd nation which just requires more documentation, I take it this is a misunderstanding on my part?
 

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Either I am a bit confused or you are!. Not sure what you mean by 5 year period before resident? You have to acquire residency within 90 days. After 5 years you have permanent residency rights. That's it. To become a Spanish national you need 10 years, pass a language and a cultural test. You can not drive in Spain on a UK licence if resident but neither can you change it now. You will have to do a Spanish test
You can do the theory in English and it might be possible to do the practical with an English speaking examiner but that depends where you live. You may need to do some more research into all this.
 

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Either I am a bit confused or you are!. Not sure what you mean by 5 year period before resident? You have to acquire residency within 90 days. After 5 years you have permanent residency rights. That's it. To become a Spanish national you need 10 years, pass a language and a cultural test. You can not drive in Spain on a UK licence if resident but neither can you change it now. You will have to do a Spanish test
You can do the theory in English and it might be possible to do the practical with an English speaking examiner but that depends where you live. You may need to do some more research into all this.
...and the driving test has to be taken within six months of arrival.
 

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You can only drive for 6 months on your UK licence after becoming Spanish resident. Police is very strict about it, and checking documents is quite common.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
As I see it then in future all those currently non-resident Brits wishing to spend winters in Spain (over 90 days that is) will have to get the visa AND apply for residency (within 90 days of arrival in Spain) and as they cannot renew that visa the following year (specifically here talking about the non-lucrative variety) unless they can prove that they have spent MORE than 183 days in Spain during that initial year then motor-homers/caravan owners etc will surely be stymied after next winter if they don't apply for residency as they would be deemed ineligible for another visa for the following winter (unless you are allowed to just continually repeat the initial more convoluted procedure which has to done in the UK whereas the renewal (for a further 2 years) occurs in Spain. Presumably they would also have to take a Spanish driving test in order to continue driving lawfully as having to prove stays of over 183 days for renewal of the visa means exceeding the time-limit for driving on a UK licence. That is how I have interpreted the new situation and think it will come as a huge shock to those affected who do not intend to apply for residency which effectively those who over-winter here should all have been doing by the letter of the law as it stood anyway (even as EU members) but presumably got away with it as it is not really enforced.
Sorry, I'll go now, slowly losing the will to live!
But thanks again, I'll duel with the Spanish consulate later this year all being well unless I emigrate to the moon!
 

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As I see it then in future all those currently non-resident Brits wishing to spend winters in Spain (over 90 days that is) will have to get the visa AND apply for residency (within 90 days of arrival in Spain) and as they cannot renew that visa the following year (specifically here talking about the non-lucrative variety) unless they can prove that they have spent MORE than 183 days in Spain during that initial year then motor-homers/caravan owners etc will surely be stymied after next winter if they don't apply for residency as they would be deemed ineligible for another visa for the following winter (unless you are allowed to just continually repeat the initial more convoluted procedure which has to done in the UK whereas the renewal (for a further 2 years) occurs in Spain. Presumably they would also have to take a Spanish driving test in order to continue driving lawfully as having to prove stays of over 183 days for renewal of the visa means exceeding the time-limit for driving on a UK licence. That is how I have interpreted the new situation and think it will come as a huge shock to those affected who do not intend to apply for residency which effectively those who over-winter here should all have been doing by the letter of the law as it stood anyway (even as EU members) but presumably got away with it as it is not really enforced.
Sorry, I'll go now, slowly losing the will to live!
But thanks again, I'll duel with the Spanish consulate later this year all being well unless I emigrate to the moon!
Whilst I understand your resentment about the situation all this has been made clear over the last 4 years. The UK voted to leave the EU. People tried to point our that such a move would lead to some disadvantages but often their voices were silenced by slogans like " Project Fear " etc. Now that the protocols of being 3rd country citizens are becoming clear people seem to be suggesting that it isn't fair. However these are the rules and they have been apparent for along time. You can holiday in Spain for 90 days every 180. If you want to stay longer you need to be a resident based on your 3rd country status. This means acquiring a visa by meeting certain income ranges, healthcare etc. Similarly you can not be a resident and drive without having a Spanish licence and relinquishing your UK one. The UK applies similar protocols on immigrants wishing to reside in UK and most Brits are quite happy thinking foreigners wishing to live in UK are made to jump through a number of hoops to recieve the honour of living in their country. That is the world we have voted for and I am afraid that is how we will all have to live.
 

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Whilst I understand your resentment about the situation all this has been made clear over the last 4 years. The UK voted to leave the EU. People tried to point our that such a move would lead to some disadvantages but often their voices were silenced by slogans like " Project Fear " etc. Now that the protocols of being 3rd country citizens are becoming clear people seem to be suggesting that it isn't fair. However these are the rules and they have been apparent for along time. You can holiday in Spain for 90 days every 180. If you want to stay longer you need to be a resident based on your 3rd country status. This means acquiring a visa by meeting certain income ranges, healthcare etc. Similarly you can not be a resident and drive without having a Spanish licence and relinquishing your UK one. The UK applies similar protocols on immigrants wishing to reside in UK and most Brits are quite happy thinking foreigners wishing to live in UK are made to jump through a number of hoops to recieve the honour of living in their country. That is the world we have voted for and I am afraid that is how we will all have to live.
Well said! I saw a news article a few days ago and the headline was something like "countless brits must flee Spain after the shock news that we are not in the EU" (well, it wasn´t quite like that but along the lines and basically it has made the news that people are unhappy with the situation).

As you say, for the last 4 years the situation has been made clear and to be completely honest, the Spanish authorities (and the EU in general) have given far more to the brits that are resident than was thought at times during those 4 years (no questions asked right to simply swap residency card, guaranteed continuation of healthcare to those who have it and so on). For those of us already here the Spanish have ensured that the process to remain was simple and to be honest, with almost no beurocracy or red tape.

I still cannot understand why so many brits who already were in Spain a) left things to the last minute, b) still have done nothing, or c) are now complaining that they had no time, there is a backlog etc. The EU have done more for expats than the UK and the limitations in place are, after all, a direct reflection on the negotiations and the red lines introduced by the UK. Remember that a lot of people voted for brexit on the "end freedom of movement" line (most probably completely ignorant to the fact that this means for the brits too! Ww could have had Norway, we could have had many other options but the UK refused all those avenues, not the EU!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Resentment is a tad strong to sum up my feelings, sad (and often confused!) would be more accurate. However I do resent Brexit and all that it entails but like you said, it's what was voted for and yes we have had 4 years to prepare however personally I was not in a position to take things further prior to this time having family dementia care responsibilities back in the UK shared with my sisters (they did winters whilst I had a break for 4 months or more in the sun) however now having lost mum and deciding that life in Spain is a far better option than staying in the United Kingdoom (and gloom) I am merely trying to wade through the new procedures so was simply requiring clarification. It is all still very raw.
I too have seen recent articles with the arrogant stance of 'How dare they' regarding curtailment of 'rights for Brits' but those media outlets are playing to the people still under the misguided illusion that we continue to command an Empire and can therefore ride roughshod over all and sundry because we are English! PLEASE do not put me into this category of Little Englander as I call them. Believe me I have met many in their motorhomes etc who voted to leave and I was partly musing on the irony of their future situation in my previous post.
I have never even considered actually settling anywhere other than England until recently and having taken early retirement to become mum's main carer I never envisaged that 5 years down the line I would not only be in a position to and also so eager to re-locate so I was merely asking for my best way forward to achieve this in the current situation that I find myself. I hope this clarifies my position and again thank you for the advice, it is all quite bewildering for someone 'new' to the process aside from the added constrictions post Brexit (and not in a resentful way! but an enquiring way!!!!)
Thanks again (I think!)
 

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To move forward you need to find out exactly what would be needed to acquire the new residency for UK nationals. It basically boils down to money. If you have either proof of an income of approx 30,000 a year or maybe a Spanish bank account with at least that amount , private healthcare, and an address you should acquire a years Visa. You will then need to do the same a year later. Unfortunately if you I intend to drive you will need to pass the Spanish driving test. Those I am afraid the rules and you are right that it will come as a shock to many as whilst money might give you residency you cant buy a driving licence and that will come down to actually having to do something difficult. I suppose Brits should consider themselves lucky, immigrants to UK have to have learned English. At least you dont face that challenge
 

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Resentment is a tad strong to sum up my feelings, sad (and often confused!) would be more accurate. However I do resent Brexit and all that it entails but like you said, it's what was voted for and yes we have had 4 years to prepare however personally I was not in a position to take things further prior to this time having family dementia care responsibilities back in the UK shared with my sisters (they did winters whilst I had a break for 4 months or more in the sun) however now having lost mum and deciding that life in Spain is a far better option than staying in the United Kingdoom (and gloom) I am merely trying to wade through the new procedures so was simply requiring clarification. It is all still very raw.
I too have seen recent articles with the arrogant stance of 'How dare they' regarding curtailment of 'rights for Brits' but those media outlets are playing to the people still under the misguided illusion that we continue to command an Empire and can therefore ride roughshod over all and sundry because we are English! PLEASE do not put me into this category of Little Englander as I call them. Believe me I have met many in their motorhomes etc who voted to leave and I was partly musing on the irony of their future situation in my previous post.
I have never even considered actually settling anywhere other than England until recently and having taken early retirement to become mum's main carer I never envisaged that 5 years down the line I would not only be in a position to and also so eager to re-locate so I was merely asking for my best way forward to achieve this in the current situation that I find myself. I hope this clarifies my position and again thank you for the advice, it is all quite bewildering for someone 'new' to the process aside from the added constrictions post Brexit (and not in a resentful way! but an enquiring way!!!!)
Thanks again (I think!)
Just to be clear, most of my rant was about those who are already here, unregistered and now complaining about brexit (many of whom maybe even voted for it)!
 
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