Attention: not having Spanish permanent residency could make a difference

Brexit Spanish residency card

This article is about Spanish permanent residency and Brexit. Before you start reading:

Or perhaps you would like to know more about:

The 2022 definitive Spain visa guide and types of Spanish visas for non-European Union citizens

Spanish residency for non-European Union citizens married/family members of European Union citizens

Are you ready to become a citizen of Spain? Please read my article Spanish citizenship

If you are from the United Kingdom, then this article is for you :-)


NOTE: This is an old article from September 2018, when the UK was still in the transition to moving out of the EU… but you are free to read it :-)

Everybody is speaking about it.


Hard Brexit.

Soft Brexit.

Lots of confusion.

Contradictory information.

One day you hear one thing, next day you hear something totally different.

Time passes.

Brexit is closer and closer.

What can you do to protect yourself?

Let me explain.


The three UK main scenarios for Spanish permanent residency

Something is going to change after Brexit. Things will not stay the same after all the emotion and reaction generated by the referendum.

The questions is: what will change?

Well, nobody knows (neither the amateurs, nor the anonymous, nor the experts).

It’s still a total mystery.

But what I do know as an expert relocation adviser is that there are three main scenarios for British citizens in Spain.

  1. Those who have not applied yet for their Spanish residency card.
  2. Those who have had Spanish residency for less than 5 years
  3. Those who have had Spanish residency for more than 5 years

In my opinion, only two groups could get affected by Brexit: Group 1 and Group 3.

Those within Group 1 could find themselves having to apply as non-EU citizens, as I’ll explain in a moment.

Those within Group 3 could benefit by the fact of having lived in Spain for more than 5 years, as they’d be classified as permanent residents when Brexit comes, as I’ll explain in a moment too.

Spanish residency card

(No matter what you hear or read: Brexit is unpredictable)


What should you do to get Spanish permanent residency?

In two words: take action.

By taking action I mean:

  1. Apply for your Spanish residency before Brexit, if you haven’t done so.
  2. Obtain the “permanent status” if you’ve got the A4 Spanish residency sheet or the green card version, but only if you’ve had Spanish residency for more than 5 years. The new card will say: “residente comunitario permanente en España desde (date)”.


Why should you do it?

As mentioned before, because:

“Nobody knows what sort of outcome Brexit will bring”

The worst case scenario could be that the United Kingdom becomes a non-EU country like the USA. Therefore a visa would be needed, which would require:

  • Proof of income (much higher than for EU citizens)
  • Private health insurance
  • Criminal records
  • Healthcare in Spain
  • Official Translations
  • Waiting until the Spanish embassy/consulate in the UK made a final decision on it (perhaps one or two months).

At the moment British pensioners can obtain their Spanish permanent residency through the S1 form. Also, with the S1 form, you can get registered at the local health centre for any ongoing treatments.

If the UK becomes a completely non-EU country this will mean taking out private health insurance. No choice. It would have to be done during the visa stage (one of the visas could be the Spanish non-lucrative visa), and, unless there are any bilateral agreements, the private plan would not be compatible with the Spanish public scheme.

Thinking radically negative, in a possible scenario of complete non-EU citizenship, you would have to renew your Spanish residency card over a set number of years until you obtain your Spanish permanent residency.

This is why it’s so important to reapply for your Spanish residency card if you’ve been living in Spain for more than 5 years; just because you would already have your Spanish permanent residency. No more non-EU renewals.

In short, this is the way to cover your back against the unexpected events Brexit will bring.

Spanish permanent residency

(If you take action now, there will be nothing to fear after Brexit)


Still waiting?

We have a problem.

To apply for both your Spanish residency the first time or to reapply and get Spanish permanent residency there is an appointment system.

The appointment system has a huge delay. As Brexit gets closer the delay may grow, so your appointment could be given for after Brexit… not a good choice since we’re aware that Brexit is totally unpredictable.

Now is the right time to go ahead and to protect yourself.

Make the appointment now, and plan how you would like to do it afterwards.


How can I help you?

I’m a living legend in the Spanish residency process, click here to read the “Hall of Happy Clients” :-)

There are countless websites talking about Spanish permanent residency, some of them full of misleading information (no one seems to know the difference between the NIE number  and the Spanish residency card), some of them from travel bloggers hoping to make some cash, some of them from aspiring amateur relocation advisers.

I can guarantee none of them has spent so much petrol as I’ve done helping thousands of foreigners in Spain since 2010.

If you have not got your Spanish residency card yet, I will guide you through the whole process so that you can have your card before Brexit.

If you’ve been living in Spain for more than 5 years having Spanish residency, but have not changed the A4 sheet or card to “permanent” status, I will assist you so that you can protect yourself against whatever Brexit brings up.


Are you ready to move to Spain?

You are either from an EU or non-EU country… and chances are you don’t know where to start.

But, good news, we are relocation specialists :-)

Here is the starting point.

Please click / tap on the image below:

online session


Coverage areas

Alicante Province

Costa Blanca: These are my usual in-person coverage areas in Costa Blanca Spain,  Altea,  Calpe, Orihuela Costa, GuardamarJavea, Moraira, Alicante, La Marina, Denia, Pilar de la Horadada, Benidorm, El Campello, Santa Pola, and, of course, Torrevieja; as well as other towns near Alicante.

Inland Alicante province: OrihuelaElche, Pinoso, Almoradi, Alcoy, Orba, Rojales, Crevillente, Los Montesinos, San Miguel de Salinas, Benijofar, Algorfa,

Murcia Province

Costa Cálida: including Costa Calida SpainSan Pedro del PinatarLos Alcazares, Santiago de la  Rivera, , San Javier, MazarronAguilas.

Cities and towns in Murcia province: 

CartagenaYecla, Sucina, Totana, Alhama, Molina de Segura, Fortuna, Murcia city.

Other areas in Spain

I have collaborators almost everywhere all over Spain, so no worries, I can assist you anywhere you are in Spain, in cities such as: Zaragoza, Vitoria, Bilbao, Albacete, Almería, Logroño, Avila, Badajoz, Caceres, Majorca, Zamora, Barcelona, Burgos, Oviedo, Cadiz, Santander, Castellon, Pontevedra, Ciudad Real, Cordoba, Cuenca, Gerona, Granada, Guadalajara, San Sebastian, Huelva, Huesca, Jaen, Navarra, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Gijon, Leon, Lleida, Lugo, Madrid, Malaga, Orense, Palencia, Salamanca, Segovia, Sevilla, Soria, Tarragona, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Teruel, Toledo, Valencia, Valladolid.

Credit image: Jesper Sehested


  1. Simon says

    We only have EU green card for 2 years but we had our NIE and property over 5 years

    Any chance we can apply for PR

    We live MAGAlA

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Simon,

      The permanent status can only be obtained after being for at least 5 years on Spanish residency.

      I hope this helps.

  2. Roy Davies says

    Hello David,

    In a scenario where people don’t have and aren’t even applying for their residency but they own a house and live here in Spain
    What are the possible outcomes for them after the end of this year 2020.
    I myself have been resident since 2016 and as soon as I have been here for five years I will be applying for a permanent residency.

    Regards Roy

    • David Ruiz says

      Hi Roy,

      Nobody knows yet, everything is up in the air. Sorry I can’t say much more :-(