Can Brits Stay in Spain Longer Than 90 Days?

Written by Mat Marsden

Mathew works in the news team and has been living in Spain since 2005

January 10, 2024

Can Brits Stay in Spain Longer Than 90 Days?

With its sunny weather, rich culture, and beautiful beaches, Spain has been a popular destination for Brits seeking to live or spend an extended period of time abroad. However, since the United Kingdom left the European Union, there have been several changes to the rules and regulations regarding UK citizens’ stays in Spain. In this article, we’ll discuss whether Brits can stay in Spain longer than 90 days and explore the different options available.

The 90-Day Rule

Prior to Brexit, UK citizens could enjoy freedom of movement within the European Union, allowing them to live, work, or study in Spain for an unlimited period of time without the need for visas or specific permits. However, following Brexit, the 90-day rule has been implemented for UK citizens visiting European countries, including Spain.

Under this rule, British citizens are now allowed to stay in Spain, or any other Schengen area country, for a maximum of 90 days within every 180-day period. This rule applies to both tourists and those wishing to stay long-term.

The Schengen Area and the 90/180-Day Rule

The Schengen Area is a group of 26 European countries that have abolished passport control at their mutual borders. These countries have implemented a common visa policy, which includes the 90/180-day rule. The rule states that non-Schengen citizens, including UK citizens, can only stay in the Schengen Area for a total of 90 days within any given 180-day period.

The 180-day period is a rolling window, meaning it continuously moves forward. This allows visitors to calculate their stay, taking into account any previous visits to other Schengen countries within the past six months. Once the 180-day period is complete, another period of 180 days begins.

Staying Longer Than 90 Days

If a British citizen wishes to stay in Spain for longer than the 90-day limit in any 180-day period, they have a few options:

Residency (Residencia)

Obtaining residency in Spain is one solution for those who wish to stay longer than 90 days. There are different types of residency permits available, depending on the purpose and duration of the stay:

  1. Non-Lucrative Residency: This type of residency is intended for individuals who can prove they have sufficient financial means to support themselves without the need to work in Spain.
  2. Golden Visa: This option is available for those who invest a significant amount of money in real estate or business ventures in Spain.
  3. Employment Residency: If a British citizen secures a job offer in Spain, the employer can assist in obtaining a work permit, which allows for longer-term stay.

Each type of residency permit has specific requirements and procedures, which can vary. It’s essential to consult with Spanish authorities or seek professional advice to ensure compliance with the necessary regulations.

Temporary Residency for Students

Students wishing to study in Spain for a duration exceeding 90 days can also apply for a student visa or residence permit. This allows them to live and study in the country for the duration of their program.

Renewing and Extending Visas

For those who do not qualify for residency permits, there may be options to renew or extend their visas beyond the initial 90-day limit. However, these cases are typically more exceptional and require valid reasons such as medical treatment, family reunification, or special circumstances.

It’s crucial to be aware of the rules and regulations regarding visa renewals and extensions, as overstaying can result in penalties, fines, or even bans from returning to Spain or other Schengen countries in the future.


While the 90-day rule may limit the length of stay for UK citizens in Spain, there are pathways to staying longer for those who meet certain requirements. Obtaining residency, obtaining a student visa, or exploring visa renewal or extension options are potential avenues to explore.

It’s crucial for Brits planning an extended stay in Spain to thoroughly research and understand the legal requirements and to seek professional guidance when necessary. Compliance with immigration regulations is essential to ensure a smooth and enjoyable stay in Spain.

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