Residency For British Citizens in Spain and the 3/6 Month Confusion

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Posted and filed under Newsletters, Paperwork (NIE, Residencia, Padron), Taxes in Spain.

Residency For British Citizens in Spain and the 3/6 Month Confusion

From time to time we have clients say to us that on many websites it says after 3 months you must get residency, and on others that after 6 months you are legally resident.

This causes a great deal of confusion to those intending to move to Spain (especially prior to Brexit) and wanting to get their paperwork in order.

More information about How to Get the Spanish RESIDENCE PERMIT.

Are you struggling to find genuine, honest, English- speaking legal help in Pilar de la Horadada, Mil Palmeras, Los Alcazares, Torre Pacheco or similar areas?  If so we can help!  Don’t sign anything before talking to us and give you our legal advice. We come to you in an hour!   Nicola works closely with the expat community here in the Orihuela Costa and surrounding areas. her areas of work are NIEs, Residencia, Wills and any Traffic matters.

Residency For British Citizens in Spain and the 3/6 Month Confusion

 

Spanish Residency

The first issue is that if you are are planning to reside in Spain more than 3 months then you should apply to be resident, to have the right to reside in Spain. This link explains more:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/residency-requirements-in-spain

You will see in this link above that there were changes to the residency regulations in July 2012 and the Spanish government introduced new residency requirements for all EU citizens, including British nationals.

Under the new rules, EU citizens applying for residency in Spain are required to produce evidence of sufficient financial means to support themselves (and dependants). Applicants may also be asked for proof of private healthcare insurance. We can help you with all the information on how to become a Resident (contact Gema for any doubts on this). Then you have the right to reside in Spain, but that is different to being a tax resident of Spain.

So the FIRST STAGE if you are going to live in Spain: you apply for Spanish residency. Then when you start getting benefits as a Resident.
Do you need to pay taxes in Spain, or not? This is the SECOND STAGE.

 

Tax Residency

The 6 months comes in as if you live less than half a year in Spain you usually do not need to pay resident taxes in Spain, but if you live more than 183 days a year you do, even if your business is in the UK (with some exceptions).

If you follow your way through this link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-spain , go down to TAX, then click on “If you leave the UK to live abroad“, there you will see “You must tell the HMRC if you are leaving the UK to live abroad permanently.

You don’t need to tell HMRC if you’re leaving the UK for holidays or business trips.

Many clients have queries about how they will be taxed as a Spanish Resident, about the double-taxation treaty between Spain and Britain and about if they can avoid having to pay taxes in Spain. You will find many of the answers in this tax section that you need.
https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/work/taxes/income-taxes-abroad/index_en.htm

In most cases, they cannot.

If someone is living in Spain, then they are deemed a tax resident and have to pay taxes to that country, just the same as in other countries. Everyone knows someone who lives in Spain but still pays their taxes in the UK. There may be a reason for that, for example, UK rental income is taxed in the UK, but the person is still liable for Spanish taxes on this and may have to declare it, which is where the double taxation treaty comes into play.

Tax is a specialist subject and people should ensure that they know the facts before making major life changes. Now more and more information is being shared between countries and you should make sure you understand your tax residency status (sometimes people may spend less than 183 days or half a year living in Spain but because their family are based in Spain, may still be liable for Spanish taxes).

Is it a Choice?

But the main facts you should remember are:

  • It is not a choice where you pay taxes: after 3 months living in Spain you need to apply for the right to reside there.
  • If you are going to be living in Spain more than 183 days per year (6 months) then you need to talk to someone about tax residency.

Please remember and do not forget to advise your friends and family that Spanish Solutions can help with obtaining Residencias and with Taxes.

50 Comments

  • Linda Van

    On March 8 my nephew left Spain to visit England. Is he allowed to stay 183 days from his return to Spain? Would he be allowed to visit the UK for a week and then return to Spain until his 183 days are up or would he be
    refused entry entry after his visit?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Linda,

      Thank you for your enquiry,

      As Spain and the UK are part of the EU we are allowed to move freely between the countries without any time restrictions or visas but this may change after Brexit, we hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Linda Van

    Thank you for your answer. Another question, please, would an Irish citizen with an Irish passport be restricted to move in and out of Spain after Brexit?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Morning Linda,

      We would think not as Ireland will still remain as part of the EU, it is only the UK and anyone with a UK Passport who will be affected, we hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Cath Stewart

    For the avoidance of doubt is the 3 month period cumulative or does it mean being in Spain in excess of 3 months continuously?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Cath,

      The 3 months period for residencia would be 3 months continuously, we hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Sheila

    We have been staying in our apartment in Spain for six months, we are now returning to the uk.
    Is there a certain amount of time we have to spend in the uk before we can return to Spain for another six months?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Afternoon Sheila,

      As the UK is still part of the EU, you can move freely between each country with no time limit, this may change after the Brexit.

      According to Spanish law, if you stay most of the year here in Spain, you should become a Spanish resident, we hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Jo Amos

    I have a house in mallorca. We currently use it 180 days per year. Can I become Spanish resident and continue to pay my taxes in the UK?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Jo,

      If you stay in Mallorca for 180 days continually and that is your main place of stay, you should apply for Residencia.In regards to the tax, you should pay your taxes to the country where you reside. We hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Roy Swaby

    I am caring for an elderly resident in Spain, how long can I remain here before having to get residency. I understand it to be 183 days, cumulative,
    If I go back to the UK how long would I have to remain there, to ‘restart’ the 183 day rule

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Roy,

      If you are in Spain more than you are the UK, you should apply for residencia here in Spain. We would not be able to confirm how long you would have to stay in the Uk in order to restart the 183 days again, we are sorry.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • DANIEL TREMBATH

    Can I work with only my British passport, whilst I wait for my NIE appointment, who’s is one month.

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Daniel,

      Legally, no you can not work without an NIE.

      Your NIE is your tax identification number, like the National Insurance number you would get from the UK. When you obtain your NIE it is registered at the Social Security and your taxes are paid. Working without the NIE, your employer will not pay any of your taxes which will mean you will not have any medical cover, we hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Jane

    A young relative of mine (Uk national)with is being sent by her uk-based company to work in Madrid for 5 months- does she need to apply for residency after 3 months. Should she apply before she leaves the uk or can she apply after 3 months in Spain? Is she only covered for medical treatment using her EHIC for the first 3 months- the information varies from site to site?
    Thank you, Jane

    • Ian C.

      Hello Jane,
      You are not alone with this confusion about residency for British people in Spain.

      Really your relatives´ employer should take care of all of this.
      Within the next five months, assuming Brexit has happened, nobody can tell you what the rules are. I am sure EHIC will cover her for that period, but we cannot say for 100% certain. A no deal Brexit could mess things up for a while. If he/she is only here temporarily for work, there is currently no need to get residency. I assume they will continue to be paid in the UK? Please send us any questions you have closer to the time, but keep an eye on Brexit rules!

      Amanda actually wrote a blog about residency for British people.
      https://www.spanishsolutions.net/blog/newsletters/residency-for-british-citizens-in-spain-and-the-3-6-month-confusion/

      Hope this helps. You relative will have a great time in Madrid- Beautiful city!

      Ian

  • Sylvia

    I have been residing in the UK for 20 years but i have a spanish passport. I am self employed and I stay 5 months in Spain every year, consecutively. I want to continue doing the same after Brexit… Will my passport allow me to stay in Spain those 5 months without a Visa or will I have to request one every year?

    • Ian C.

      Hello Sylvia, Really we do not know for sure what the rules will be after Brexit. Please follow us on Facebook and as soon as things appear to be clearer, we ́ll let our client know…. have you safeguard yourself from Brexit in terms of health care, donation of property, wills etc?
      There are big changes coming for British people in Spain and you should be as prepared as possible. Please download our Brexit guide (from our home page) and for now- please do not worry. In our opinion, it’s all going to be just fine after Brexit!!!

  • J..Pendleton.

    I am a British citizen going back to the UK after living here and have a permanent resident card. I’m now going live permanently in the UK , what do I do about my permanent resident Jcard ..

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Afternoon Mrs Pendleton,

      When you leave Spain you must visit your local town hall to surrender your Residencia and de-register from the Padron, this has to be done in person, we hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Jill Haddon

    Hi there
    30 years ago I had a residenca because I lived in Lanzarote for 3 years. Will it still be valid now after all this time?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Jill,

      It would be best to visit your local town hall with your residencia, the next time you are in Spain. The town hall can then check your residencia status. The town halls are know to issue letters requesting you visit and sign a register to confirm you are still live in Spain, if you do not attend the town hall, they can remove you as resident, we hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Paul Hardy

    Hello, We have owned a house in Spain since 2014 and both have NIE numbers to allow payment of non-residents tax. I have recently been made redundant and don’t plan to work again. I have 3 years before I can draw my pension and will be living off investments. My partner is still working and will be for the next few years, as she’s younger than me. I’d like to apply for residency, but not fiscal residency, to provide some protection of my right to residency in our Spanish house after Brexit. My question is whether I can apply when next in Spain without having been in the country for 3 months? Also, could my partner apply in the same way.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Cheers,

    Paul

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Paul,

      You can only become resident here in Spain if this is your fixed abode, this is your main place of stay. When you apply for your residencia you have to provide evidence that you stay here. When you are resident here in Spain you should also pay your taxes here,we hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Mike Powell

    Good evening. We are planning to go to Tenerife to rent a property for 6 months in October, returning to Britain for 2 weeks at Christmas. Unless Brexit changes the situation, do we require any further documentation other than our British passports?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Mike,

      At this stage you would only need your Passport and E111 card which will give you health cover in emergencies, we hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • eddie

    came to spain in 2005. Had residencia when i arrived . This year i needed to change my driving liscence to spanish but couldnt find my residencia.Went to get a new one but got refused because my savings was not enough and my nomina was too low.been wroking for a company for 8 years and took all relevant documentaion showing taxes paid by employer etc . Basically told me to drive on uk license just come off the books or leave country after 90 days. Any ideas please ?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Eddie,

      That is correct, when you loose your Residencia and have to apply for a new one they base the application on your current situation. It may be worth while asking your employer if they can increase your hours for a duration to allow your social security contributions to meet the requirements of a person working, you have to be working a minimum of 25 hours a week to apply for residencia as employed. You can request your Vida laboral after 30 days and then apply for your new residencia,we hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Joanne L

    My partner has a number of properties in the UK that he rents out. These properties all have mortgages on them. How would his tax be affected if he became a resident? Previously he´s been advised to stay as a non resident by his solicitor and a local tax advisor but he does live here permanently. Can you shed any light? Thank you

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Jo,

      We understand, It would be best to have a consultation with a Fiscal Advisor here in Spain, to get the correct information before making any decisions, you should be paying your taxes in the country where you live. We have emailed you directly for some further information.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Lynn Green

    I have a house in Spain and was non resident. I worked in private boarding schools in UK so accomodation was provided to enable me to work as I lived and worked in the school. March this year I resigned and took residency in Spain, and all paperwork is changed. I will complete non resident tax form this year and resident tax form next year.

    I paid tax in UK utill March 2019

    Even though i am resident in Spain, am I still allowed to work in England for 180 days a year as long as i pay taxes to Spain.

    I am sure there are many prople who reside in Spain but also work in UK. My home is in Spain and I dont have any property in the UK, but may want to take short contract work in UK if allowed. please advise

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Lynn,

      Yes of course you can take a contract of work with the UK, you will declare this when you do your Renta (residents tax return) next year, We hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • John Stubbs

    I have a holiday home in Mallorca which we visit for a maximum of 4 months a year spread over the year. After brexit how is the 3 months in any 6 months calculated? I assume that the use of the word “any” implies that it is a rolling calculation but I have been told that once you have used your 90 days you cannot return for 90 days, this doesn’t seem logical as you may not use 90 days in the first 180 day period. Hope this makes sense.

    • Ian C.

      Good Evening John,

      The 6 months will be a continual 6 months. The information being rolled, out especially from the UK authorities, is all very much hear say at this stage, The Foreign office here in Spain have gave no information on what will happen after Brexit, as soon as we have any update we will let you know via our news letter.

      Regards,
      Ian

  • Valerie Lorimer

    I have been asked by the bank for my deceased mother’s residencia number. Can you please advise where I obtain this? Thank you.

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Valerie,

      We are sorry to hear about your Mum.

      The residencia number will be your Mums NIE, this will be on an NIE certificate (a White certificate) or a residencia card or certificate (green card or certificate).

      Can we ask if you have a Solicitor dealing with your Mothers estate please, if so they will be able to give this to you. If you have no Solicitor, please feel free to email us any documents you feel may be the NIE or residencia and we can confirm this for you.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Mervyn

    How does someone get a green card (residency). They have been here for 15 years, been working and with health card.

    They never got the green certificate when they first arrived but now need it as the bank have closed their account until they provide one.

    As they were here (and resident) before 2012, do they still have to prove sufficient income?

  • David

    If I live in Mallorca for 14 days, return to England for 5-7days and repeat this 7 times in the same year would I be able to secure residency in Spain having lived more than 90 days in Mallorca in 1 year?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning David,

      To apply for residencia, Spain has to be your fixed abode, where you spend most of the year and where your home is. When you apply for residencia the Foreign office will ask for evidence that you live here in Spain, they will ask for 3 months bank statemenets showing that you pay rent or a mortage, utility bills, food ect. We hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Andrew

    Hi, I am glad I found your website, my question is I work 60 hours per week in the UK from may to September, 5 months, I am employed so am taxed on my income, I have no UK rented or mortgaged property as I am supplied wit1h accommodation with my job so no real permanent UK address, I am now looking at staying at my partners family villa in Olivia from September to April but won’t be working while I’m there just wanting a more relaxed way of life, as it is a long holiday what would I legally have to in respect of residency and taxes, as I don’t want to work only have time off do or can I apply for residence alone if needed thank you.

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Andrew,

      If you intend to stay in Spain most of the year you should become resident and when you are resident in Spain you should submit your tax return here regardless of where you work, we hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Will Sheeran

    Hi, I will be spending more than 183 days in Spain. However, as I have family and property in the UK and will be working there for more than 40 days, I will be considered a UK resident for tax purposes. To which country should I be paying taxes?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Will,

      If you are in Spain more than 183 days of the year you should paying your taxes here in Spain and applying for residencia as this is where you spend most of your time.

      If you pay tax to the Uk in your salary this will be taken in to account when calculating your Spanish tax return. It would be best to speak with a Fiscal Advisor who will discuss this in more detail. We have an excellent fiscal advisor with indepth knowledge of the Spanish tax system, who would be happy to help.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Jesse

    Hello. I’m looking at moving to Spain in the coming months. I will be working outside of Spain, and residing there for less than 183 days per year. How is it easiest to apply for residency as a Canadian? Also is the 183 days per calendar year? Thank you.

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Morning Jesse,

      As Canada is not part of the EU, it will be more difficult to obtain your Spanish residencia, there are more requirments and paperwork needed. When you enter Spain it will be on a 3 month tourist visa. It would be best to contact the Spanish consulate to obtain information on the residencia and also the Visa prior to your visit, we hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Adam

    Hi Nicola,
    If I worked in Spain from September 2019 until the middle of June 2020, would I be considered a tax resident? As it would be less than 183 days in 2019 and 2020 although the contract would be 9 months continously.

    Thank you very much :)
    Adam

    • Nicola Ryan

      Good Afternoon Adam,

      Yes, you would be considered tax resident as you will have been in Spain for over the 183 days continually, we hope this helps.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Mervyn

    With regard to your response (july 15, 2019 at 12:54) I thought the 183 days were per calendar year and not (necessarily) contiguous.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Hi Mervyn. You are corrrect, I think we were having a moment. It is per year, not continuous, it is more than 183 days throughout the year.

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