Spain is a popular destination for British tourists, 18 million UK passport holders visited the country in 2019. Spain is also a top choice for British property investors who would like to own a holiday home in the sun.
Brexit has raised several questions about how the rights of British property owners will change from January 2021.
This article explains the key considerations for UK nationals considering buying a property in Spain and information for existing homeowners, including:
- Buying and owning a property in Spain after Brexit
- Renting out a home in Spain from 2021
- Entry requirements for British passport holders as non-EU citizens
Can I buy a house in Spain after Brexit?
Foreigners can buy a property in Spain regardless of their nationality. British buyers should not face added difficulties buying a house in Spain after the UK leaves the EU. Spanish law regarding the purchase of property does not differentiate between EU and non-EU citizens.
In fact, the Spanish property market relies on foreign buyers in many areas of the country and international buyers are welcomed.
Figures from the third quarter of the 2020 Property Registry show that just over 11% of all purchases were made by foreign buyers. Of these, UK citizens made up the greatest proportion: 1.48% of all Spanish property transactions.
These figures do show a slight decrease compared with the first quarter however this can be attributed to the coronavirus travel restrictions rather than Brexit.
Getting a mortgage in Spain as a UK citizen
Non-Spanish residents are usually able to get a mortgage on a property in Spain provided they can prove they have a good credit score.
After Brexit, the amount a UK buyer can borrow may decrease from a maximum of 70% to 60 or 65%, in line with other non-EU nations. This, however, is yet to be clarified.
Will I be able to let my property in Spain after Brexit?
British landlords will still be able to rent out their property after Brexit. EU and non-EU in Spain can freely let properties to holidaymakers and on a long-term basis.
It is likely that tax on rental income will rise from 19% (the amount paid by EU citizens) to around 24% (the amount paid by non-EU citizens).
How long will I be able to stay in my Spanish home after Brexit?
The biggest change that British property owners will experience from January 1st 2021 is the amount of time they can stay in their Spanish holiday home each year.
As non-EU citizens, UK passport holders without a residency permit will be subject to the 90/180 rule. This means that British nationals will be able to spend a maximum of 90 days in the Schengen Area per 180-day period; a total of 6 months during the year.
It is important to bear in mind that this 90 day-limit applies to the entire common travel zone, not just Spain.
Overstaying the 90-day Schengen Area limit
Visitors who overstay this limit will face repercussions. Depending on the EU nation and how long the individual has stayed beyond the 90-day limit they may be subject to:
- Difficulties returning to Spain in the future
UK nationals who wish to spend more than 6 months of the year in Spain should seek guidance from their nearest Spanish embassy or consulate to find out which type of permit they require.
ETIAS for staying in Spain after Brexit
Although British passport holders will not require a visa to travel to their property in Spain, they will soon require an ETIAS visa waiver.
By the end of 2022, the EU will launch the European Travel Information and Authorisation System for non-EU citizens. Once it is up and running, visa-exempt foreigners from outside the European Union, including UK nationals, will need a visa waiver to cross the external Schengen border.
ETIAS is being introduced to boost security across the Schengen Area. Non-Europeans will be screened before reaching Europe to ensure they do not pose a threat to the public. Although British homeowners will be subject to this requirement they will also benefit from the additional safety measures.
The ETIAS application process is fully online and requires just a few personal details and passport information. Once approved the permit is linked to the electronically linked to the British passport.
ETIAS is valid for 3 years, or until the passport expires, and can be used for multiple trips to Europe within the 90 per 180-day limit.
With the ETIAS visa waiver, foreigners will be able to travel to Spain plus any of the other 25 nations in the Schengen area: there are no internal borders in the common travel zone.