Living in Spain Brexit

If you’re currently living in Spain, you may be feeling a bit worried about what Brexit will mean for you. There isn’t long left now as the Withdrawal Agreement deadline is 31st December 2020.

Below we’ve listed some things you need to know about living in Spain after Brexit if you’re already a resident…

(If you haven’t yet made the move to Spain, check out our article on moving to Spain after Brexit here.)

Non-residents in Spain

First of all, it’s probably worth mentioning that if you’re not already an official resident of Spain, then from January 1st you will only be allowed to spend 90 days in Spain in any 180 day period. This is a blow for many people who own a property in Spain and have spent 6 months in Spain and 6 months in the UK previously. If you want to spend longer than 90 days at a time in Spain or live in Spain permanently after Brexit you will have to become a resident.

Staying in Spain

As long as you’re a legal resident of Spain on 31st December 2020, you have the right to continue to live and work in Spain post-Brexit and your rights will be protected for as long as you remain resident in Spain.

Driving in Spain

To be able to drive in Spain after 1st January 2021, you must exchange your UK driving license for a Spanish one before 31st December 2020. If you exchange you license after 1st January 2021 you’ll have to take a driving test in Spain. Once you have your Spanish driving license it will be accepted in the UK for short visits.


If you live in Spain you need to have at least 6 months on your passport if you plan to travel outside the country at any point. This includes returning to the UK for a short visit or holidaying elsewhere in Europe. So if you have less than 6 months on your passport at the moment it’s worth applying to renew it now or you won’t be able to travel abroad after 1st January 2021. I recently renewed my passport online and received my new one in Spain within 3 weeks, so it’s really easy to do.


Spain has one of the best healthcare systems in the world, and expats in Spain are lucky that they can use the system. After Brexit, legal residents paying social security will still have access to free healthcare. Residents not paying into the social security system will continue to need private health insurance to access healthcare in Spain. Residents who have a registered S1 form (pensioners) will have the same rights to access healthcare from 1st January 2021 if they’re receiving a UK State Pension.

Health insurance for non lucrative visa Spain


If you moved your pets from the UK to Spain with you, you would have had to get them an EU passport in order to travel. If you plan to take your pet back to the UK, whether visiting or returning permanently, you must travel using approved routes and will need to have one of the following documents:

  • an EU pet passport (issued in the EU or in the UK before 1st January 2021)
  • the AHC issued in the UK used to travel to the EU (which you can use up to 4 months after issue)
  • a UK pet health certificate

Paying tax

The UK has a double taxation agreement with Spain which means that you won’t pay tax on the same income in both countries. These double taxation arrangements for Brits living in Spain will not change after 1st January 2021.

As a Spanish resident, you must declare all income to the Spanish authorities, no matter which country it comes from.


As a Spanish resident you can vote and stand in local elections as long as you:

  • register on the Padrón in your town
  • formally declare your intention to vote and register on the local electoral roll
  • confirm your padrón status every 2 to 5 years to remain registered and be able to vote

However, you cannot vote in general or regional elections in Spain or in European Parliamentary elections.

You may be able to vote in some UK elections if you are registered as an overseas voter.


It’s been reported in the news that some UK banks will no longer allow people living overseas to have an account without a UK address. This will vary from bank to bank, though all account holders should be notified in advance of accounts being closed. If you’re not sure if your account will be affected it’s worth getting in touch with your bank.

The good news is that if you’re a legal resident of Spain by the end of 2020, then living in Spain after Brexit shouldn’t be that different.

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Living in Spain after Brexit | Our Spanish Adventures