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Third Country Nationals in Spain – Stay/Visit or Residency

Information for UK nationals in the event that the UK leaves the EU. And for all others from ‘third countries’, to prepare for a visit or emigration.

In a no-deal scenario, what is my situation if I arrive in Spain after the withdrawal date? What do I have to do?

Note: the following information is NOT for those already residing in Spain since before the withdrawal date.

From the day following the withdrawal date, UK nationals will have the condition of third-country nationals and the general arrangements for foreigners in Spain will be applicable to them. They may not request the application of the provisions of Royal Decree-Law 5/2019, as the scope of application is limited to those who were residents before the withdrawal date.

Meaning, that to be able to reside and/or work in Spain, you will need to follow the same rules as any other national from a ´third country´, as outlined in the Foreigners Law (FL), and the Foreigners Reglament (FR). The same will be true in the case that there is a deal/Withdrawal Agreement with a transition period, once that has ended.

The FL makes a distinction between ‘estancia‘ (short stay, up to 3 months with or without a visa) and ‘residencia’  (stays longer than 3 months, with visa for residency and/or work).


In general, most third-country nationals, besides a valid travel document (ID card or passport), need a visa to enter one of the EU countries. The EU voted to waiver visas for UK nationals who wish to travel to the EU. Depending on reciprocity.


Also exempt from visas are those that have a valid Spanish residency permit TIE, or a ´larga duración´ (long term) visa issued by another EU country.

Minors travelling with ID card, need to carry a document that accredits permission from a parent.

You should have at least 6 months left on your passport from your date of arrival. This applies to adult and child passports.
If you renewed a 10 year adult passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your new passport’s expiry date, making it valid for more than 10 years. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months that should be remaining for travel to most countries in Europe.
The new rules will apply to passports issued by the UK, Gibraltar, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey.

You can remain in Schengen territory for max. 90 days in any period of 180 days.

Visa or Period of Stay Extension.

When applying for a visa extension, you must show that due to force major or for humanitarian reasons or for serious personal reasons it is not possible for you to leave the territory of Member States before the expiry of your visa or the authorised period of stay.

As a rule, the visa can only be extended if you have stayed less than 90 days the Schengen area, in the course of the past 180 days, and if your current visa is not expired.
You can be asked to provide proof of sufficient means to support you during your stay (90 euros/day with a minimum of 810 euros or equivalent in other currency).

If on a tourist or private visit, you can be asked to provide proof of lodgings, travel itinerary in case of an organised trip, or in case of a visit where you stay with friends, a ‘carta de invitación’ (Invitation letter),  and a return ticket.

We recommend those with holiday homes here, to carry a copia simple (simple copy) of the title deeds as proof of lodgings.

If you come on a business visit, you can be asked to provide any of the following: an invitation from the company or authority you will be visiting for the purpose of a meeting, convention etc.  Accreditation of the existence of commercial, industrial relations.  Entry tickets for congresses, conventions, ferias etc.  Any other documentation like invitations, entry tickets, reservations or programmes, when possible with the name of the inviting organisation, indicating the duration and purpose of your stay.

If you come to study or to receive training, you can be asked to provide proof of admission at the relevant education facility to take part in educational courses, either theory or practice, or a certificate related to a course you have taken.


For all residency authorisations, to remain in Spain for periods larger than 90 days, you will need to apply for a visa from the Spanish Consulates abroad, and once in Spain, apply for your foreigners ID, the TIE card.

All residency authorisations will be issued for a limited period of time, initially, and need to be renewed when they expire. At the renewal, depending on the kind of residency/work authorisation you applied for originally, you will need to meet several requisites, some the same as initially, but special value will be attributed to the effort you’ve made to integrate. Your knowledge of various aspects of living and working in Spain will be valued, e.g. with regards to the Spanish Constitution and Statutes, the values of the EU, human rights, democracy, tolerance, equality between men and women, and naturally, knowledge of the official language(s) of your region.

To accredit integration you will need to provide a positive report from the Autonomous Region you reside in, certifying your assistance at educational courses relevant to the above mentioned subjects.


‘Residencia larga duración’ is the equivalent of ‘permanent residency’  for EU nationals, with the difference that the authorisation to reside will be issued without expiration date once you have resided for a minimum of 5 years and meet the further requisites, but that every 5 years you will need to renew your residency card TIE.

Please note: The information provided is based upon our understanding of current legislation. It is not legal advice but is provided freely to enable you to be properly informed. We recommend that if you are considering taking action, you should seek professional advice.

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