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  • Writer's pictureNeal Ball

Brexit - What changed?

Updated: Jul 5, 2021

Quite a lot really - However, it doesn't affect our thoughts about living here in Spain.

There are several things that have changed, I suppose it's like anything, if you want to buck the system, these changes will be annoying. But if you are determined to follow the rules (you are after all in someone else's country), then to be honest you have nothing to worry about.

The 90/180 Schengen rule:

This is EU wide and means that someone from outside the EU can not stay within the EU / Schengen borders for any more than 90 days in 180.

If you are intent on buying a holiday home, this won't worry you at all.

However, it does affect the so called Swallows, who used to migrate to Spain for the winter, staying for 6 or 8 months before going back to the UK for the Summer. From January 2021 you wont be able to do this.

There are various stories circulating about a number of people being deported due to staying beyond the 90 days. However, I do not have any evidence that anyone has been deported ....yet!

It might be a different matter when you next present yourself at passport control and they tell you "No Señor"

The Military Fly-zone (Updated 5th July 2021):

If you live under or close to a military flying area, this change is probably the most inconvenient.

This is a Spanish law that dates from the 1970's and the time of Franco, for some reason it was not applicable all the time we were part of the EU.

Updated 5th July: This rule has now been scrapped. (I'm not sure if it still applies to buyers outside of the EU and the UK)


Possibly the most contentious issue around Brexit.

In a nutshell, it simply means you can live in Spain and come and go as you please.

By applying for your Residencia, you are not giving up your UK rights, you will still:

  • Be able to vote in the UK (Postal votes); this is about to be changed. In future you will be able to vote for as long as you want to exercise the right. (Previously it was a maximum of 15 years).

  • Be able to hold a UK passport.

However, you will need to change your UK driving licence for a Spanish / EU one.

Your solicitor or a Gestor will be able to start the application process for you. It takes a couple of months or so and you end up with a biometric TIE card, that includes your photo and fingerprints.

Initially its valid for 5 years after which it is renewed every 10 years.

The UK government website has very useful information about Residencia:

Border controls:

It looks as if all the delays at the borders have now been resolved and goods are now flowing again.

Details correct at 1st June 2021. As ever, things can change very quickly, so check with your solicitor. Or of course, send me a message via the contact form and I will find out where we are today for you.

Neal 1st June 2021

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