Brexit: UK expat calls for changes to Spain's residency rules
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Since Brexit was finalised at the end of 2020, moving to Europe has become quite different for Britons. Though Spain has been a popular choice for those seeking sun, sea, and sand, new visa requirements have begun to cause concerns for those hoping to relocate overseas.
According to expatnetwork, Portugal could be the new destination to replace Spain.
Already a popular haunt for British expats, home to around 60,000 UK citizens, Portugal offers many of the same perks as Spain but might be the easier option in a post-Brexit landscape.
This is largely to do with new requirements, particularly for those who are hoping to relocate after retirement.
“In order to retire to countries in the EU, now that the UK is no longer a member, it is necessary first to apply for a visa,” explained an expert from expatnetwork.
“Those who are thinking about retiring to Spain or who plan to move there but do not intend to work there, can either choose a Golden Visa or the Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV).
“The Golden Visa requires you to invest €500,000 (approximately £433,551) in property and so is out of the reach of many British retirees.
“The NLV allows you to take up residence in Spain, provided you have sufficient funds to support yourself and you do not need to work there. “It is this requirement that is causing problems for many Britons.
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“You have to demonstrate an income of €33,893 (approximately £29,388) a year for a couple and €47,451 (£41,144) for a family of four.
“This requirement will rule out the option of retiring to Spain for many.
“Those who are retiring on a basic UK State pension, £9,339 in 2021, will not qualify.”
There is the option to look for a work permit, but this is likely not the route those hoping to retire into the sun are looking for.
“Younger families looking to move to Spain will generally have to look to get a work permit or a visa allowing them to set up a business, as they would have to demonstrate an income of €47,451 (approximately £41,144) from sources other than work to qualify for an NLV,” said the expert.
This is why Portugal is so enticing, according to expatnetwork.
“Portugal offers similar benefits with regard to climate, lifestyle, and low cost of living.
“Portugal has a similar visa to Spain’s NLV, the Passive Income Visa, which has a significantly lower annual income requirement – €11,970 (approximately £10,379) for a couple and €16,658 (approximately £14,444) for a family of four),” they explained.
“The visa also does not restrict you from working or setting up a business as the Spanish NLV does.
“The cost of property and the cost of living in Portugal is around 10 percent lower than in Spain and the icing on the cake is that you also have the potential benefit of the Non-Habitual Resident Scheme which will allow you to pay only 10 percent tax on a UK pension and no tax on some other sources of income.”
Overall the cost of living in Portugal averages out at nine percent lower than in Spain.
“Add to that the tax advantages and the fact that you can work in Portugal if you want to, and there is a clear case for considering retiring to Portugal instead of Spain if you only have limited income,” the expert concluded.
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