Article published on July 31, 2023.
Second home owners in France report difficulty with the EU’s 90/180 day rule, but in Spain there are even fewer options, says an activist for those who spend part of the year in the country.
There is no six-month temporary visa option, said Andrew Hesselden, founder of the Facebook group. 180 Days in Spain.
Read more: The EU 90/180 day rule: how does it work?
What are the options for second home owners in Spain?
Non-EU citizens without residency cards (including post-Brexit Britons) are limited to the standard EU Schengen area rule of no more than 90 days in any consecutive 180-day period, looking backwards, or applying for full residency visas or for ‘golden visas’.
The latter are for people who have invested at least half a million euros per person in Spanish properties, who, according to Hesselden, are free to come and go as long as they spend at least two days a year in Spain.
“The alternative (aimed at those who intend to move to Spain as full-time residents) is a ‘non-profit visa’ that takes up to eight months to be approved and I have heard that for this you have to hand over your passport. time while they think about it,” he said.
He added that, for the latter, Spain charges 516 pounds.
He said he understands this is due to the high charges the UK charges Spaniards, adding to a standard rate of around €180.
“Then the visa is issued and after arriving in Spain you have to go through a process to convert it into a residence card.”
“Spain could eliminate the 90-day rule for the British”
Last year, Spain’s then tourism minister said he supported scrapping the 90-day rule for Brits.
He planned to put pressure on the EU to achieve this, saying the solution had to come from there.
Hesselden, 45, an independent communications consultant, said he understands that the Balearic and Canary Islands and the Valencia region have told the Spanish government that they want Britons to be exempt from the 90-day rule.
He lives partly in the UK and partly in Spain, and disagrees that a solution should come from the EU, which he said largely leaves immigration matters in the hands of individual states.
He’s mainly just stepping in to say that states should allow visitors from certain countries to come visa-free under the 90/180-day rule, he said.
For example, in Portugal it is relatively easy for visitors of many nationalities who have a short-term visitor visa exemption, such as Americans and British, to apply in the country to extend their 90 days for another 90 days, while This is not the case. case of Spain or France.
“Brexit is unique and needs a unique solution”
Hesselden’s group is pushing for Britons in Spain to be treated the same as Spaniards in the UK, which has a national immigration rule allowing EU citizens and other “visa exemption” visitors to stay. up to six months in a row.
He argues that this could be done unilaterally or through bilateral agreements with the UK, without giving more time in the wider Schengen area.
He believes this is fair because of the consequences of Brexit for Britons whose lives involve spending part of the year in the EU.
“It’s a unique, unique situation and you need a unique way to approach it,” he said.
“Before Brexit, if a Briton had a house in Spain he could use it freely, without having to worry about a business trip he had to make to Germany next week, or a ski trip he had planned for next February in Switzerland. “
‘We spent 47 years in the EU and bought properties with those rights’
Several non-EU states already have their old bilateral agreements with France, including sections on visiting rights.
For example, a 1949 US-French agreement giving Americans the right to stay three months could, in theory, be used to expand the standard Schengen area to “90 days.”
However, Americans do not usually attempt to use it and it is not mentioned in travel recommendations from the United States to France.
“But they live on the other side of the world and, for them, a trip to Europe is a big pre-planned project, and they haven’t spent 47 years as EU members and bought property on the basis of those rights.”
“Post-Brexit mobility rights could have been maintained”
Hesselden, whose job requires frequent travel to the EU, said the Brexit vote never indicated what type of Brexit was being voted on and that better ‘mobility rights’ to visit and work could have been maintained.
It was then Prime Minister Theresa May who imposed a hard Brexit from the beginning.
Our archives show that she explicitly ruled out a ‘Norwegian’ (EEA) or ‘Swiss’ Brexit as early as autumn 2016, when she also said controlling immigration was a priority for the UK.
This was later reflected in the two Brexit agreements, which protected the residency rights of those who had moved to the UK or EU to live full-time before Brexit.
Otherwise, it largely left other Brits and EU citizens subject to basic EU or national immigration laws, both when moving full-time and when traveling for work or other temporary stays.
In early 2018, as negotiations began, The connection reported on how British second home owners would likely face the EU’s standard “90 day rule” dating back to the 2006 Schengen Borders Code.
It is estimated that there are 800,000 British-owned homes in Spain, compared to 187,000 residence cards with Withdrawal Agreements issued (according to the latest joint UK/EU report). committee ensure the rights of citizens), which suggests that the majority of owners spend only part of the year in Spain.
Edit (August 2, 2023): We have made several small edits to clarify parts of this article as it was originally published. Furthermore, wRegarding the types of Spanish visas, we highlight that Spain has launched a ‘digital nomad’ visa this summer, aimed at third-country nationals who want to live in the country and work remotely for a company abroad. – a type of visa option that does not exist in France.