An Update for UK Nationals 

From 1st January 2021, UK Nationals have been able to spend 90 days out of every 180 within the Schengen area for tourism or other specific purposes, such as business meetings, without needing a visa. Any stays beyond the 90 days will be dependent on Spain’s visa and immigration rules and any UK Nationals who would like to discuss extending their stay should contact their local extranjería office or call 060.

All foreign nationals intending to stay in Spain for longer than three months have always been obliged to register for residency – whatever their nationality. Therefore if you arrived in Spain before 1st January 2021, you must take steps to become resident if you consider your home to be here. Otherwise, you should be arranging to return to the UK. If you are trying to become resident and are in the process of registering or appealing against your application having been rejected, the 90-day rule does not apply to you.

HMA Hugh Elliott said: “The Spanish Government has been clear that it will take a pragmatic approach to anyone who is stuck in Spain due to circumstances beyond their control, so I don’t want people to be overly worried. However, if people do not intend to become resident in Spain and see the UK as their base, we do expect them to take steps to return to the UK as soon as they can.”

The Spanish Government has no plans to deport British citizens who have made Spain their home and, for this reason, Spain has been one of the first EU countries to establish a documentation procedure under the Withdrawal Agreement, which consists of a declaratory system to apply for the new residence permit (TIE). We remind British citizens that, although there is no time limit, it is important to make this application as soon as possible as, among other things, it will facilitate the administrative processing and the crossing of the external borders of the European Union.

If you are in the UK and considering travelling to Spain, or are in Spain and have friends or family wanting to visit, you should be aware of the continuing travel restrictions on both leaving the UK and entering Spain. UK Nationals must make sure that they meet both the requirements to leave the UK and those to enter Spain, bearing in mind that they are not the same.

Entry to Spain will only be granted to those passengers who can demonstrate that their journey is essential, as well as to those who are already legally resident in Spain. Entering merely to visit, even if you have a second home here, is not a justified reason for entry. You may be questioned on arrival by Spanish border authorities to ensure you meet the entry requirements and they will only grant entry if they are satisfied that your journey to Spain is essential and they reserve the right to deny passage. Ultimately, the decision on whether to grant entry into Spain is made by Spanish border officials as set out in our Travel Advice.

For the latest information and links to the restrictions on leaving the UK and entering Spain, we advise people to visit our Travel Advice page on and sign up for alerts, so that they are notified of any changes:

UK Government Extends Support For Vulnerable UK Nationals Applying For Residency In Spain

  • Additional £1 million of funding for charities and voluntary organisations across Europe to support vulnerable UK Nationals applying for residency, bringing the total to £4 million.
  • Since March 2020, eight organisations have reached 350,000 vulnerable individuals using the UK Nationals Support Fund.
  • Age in Spain, Babelia and IOM continue to support UK Nationals in Spain.

The UK Government is extending support for potentially at-risk groups including pensioners, disabled people and those with language difficulties who live in Europe, by continuing the activity of the UK Nationals Support Fund (UKNSF) and supplementing it with an additional £1 million.

UKNSF provides funds to eight organisations to support UK Nationals who need assistance with their residency applications. These organisation operate in 11 EU Member States and Norway and since the launch of the Fund in March 2020, have provided practical support for UK Nationals who need assistance with the process of applying/registering for residency in 12 European countries, following the end of the Transition Period. This funding is in addition to £3 million announced by the Foreign Secretary in March 2020. Figures just published by the Observatorio Permanente de la Inmigracion show that as of 31st December 2020 there were 381,448 UK Nationals holding a valid residency certificate or card in Spain.

British Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott, said: “I am delighted that more funding has been provided to Age in Spain, Babeliaand IOM through the UK Nationals Support Fund. These organisations provide vital support to UK Nationals who need additional help with their residency application in Spain, so I urge any UK Nationals who are struggling with the process to contact them for help.”

UK Nationals should visit the Living in Spain Guide at to check what action they may need to take.

The International Organisation for Migration (Andalusia, Castilla la Mancha, Castilla León, Ceuta, Extremadura, Madrid, Melilla and Murcia)

·       IOM Spain website

·       Email:

·       Helplines: Andalusia, Ceuta, Melilla: +34 650 339 754, Madrid, Castilla la Mancha, Castilla León, Extremadura: +34 699 581 855, Murcia: +34 648 642 543, all available Mon-Thurs, 3.30pm-5pm