How long can I stay in Spain without needing a visa?

Lazazu Team

April 20, 2022

Many Brits choose to buy property in Spain with the intent to live or retire there, but as a result of Brexit, moving to Spain has become a more difficult choice. However, where there’s a will there’s a way, and with the right guidance and a good understanding of the rules, Spanish residency is within reach. 


Residency rules have changed since January 2021, after the Brexit deadline. Before this, the European Union Withdrawal Act was in place, where there was a transitional period during which UK citizens who had moved to Spain prior to January 1st, 2021 could register as a resident to get a special residence permit. Those who had been living there for five years or more would be given a long-term residence permit (valid for 10 years), and those yet to complete the five years could continue working towards and applying for the long-term permit. This residence permit ensures that all UK citizens and their dependents are able to continue enjoying the same rights as they did pre-Brexit. 


However, after Brexit and once the deadline of 1st January 2021 passed, the same rules began to apply for British citizens as for non-EU nationals. For anyone intending to spend 90 days or less in Spain over the course of six months, Brexit should not make any difference. But for those wishing to stay longer, they need to apply for Spanish residency in the same way non-EU nationals would.


How long can I stay in Spain without needing a visa?

Spain is within the “Schengen Area”, where non-EU passport holders from certain countries  (a list of about 60 including the UK) can stay for up to 90 days within a 180 day period without needing a visa. The 90 days in each 180 can be spread over as many visits as you like, essentially allowing you to spend nearly half the year in Spain if visits are divided up throughout the year.

A simple way to make this work for you is to consider co-ownership. Here at Lazazu, we ensure that our model also works for those who do not wish to apply for a visa by enabling them to buy shares of a home and match their capital with their usage. One share in a luxury home in Spain will give you 45 nights’ stay in a year, and two shares will amount to 90 nights. This is real ownership, not timeshare.


What type of visa will allow me to stay in Spain?

If you are staying for more than 90 in 180 days you will need a visa. There are three main types: 

Residence visa: allowing the holder to live in Spain without working – for those wishing to retire here they would be allowed to remain on a long-stay visa. For this, you will need to prove you can live there without working, by showing you have sufficient income from abroad. After five years of uninterrupted living in Spain, you can apply for permanent residency.

Residence and working visa: allowing the holder to live while working in Spain.

Student visa: allowing the holder to live in Spain while studying.


What other opportunities are there for Spanish residency?

Apart from the three visa types above, there are other ways of remaining in Spain beyond the 90 in 180 days. 

Long stay visa: For those wishing to retire here, they would be allowed to remain on a long-stay visa. For this, you will need to prove you can live there without working, with sufficient income from elsewhere.

Fast-track visa: In 2014, Spain introduced a fast track visa, which is for non-EU investors, entrepreneurs, highly qualified professionals and researchers who the Spanish government wishes to attract to the country. There are conditions to fulfil, but this could be an interesting path for many wishing to remain in Spain.

Choosing to be self-employed in Spain: In recent years the Spanish government has attempted to make it easier to start a business here. There is a newly launched “Entrepreneur visa” that is designed to encourage start-ups. What better place to work than from the comfort of your own second home? We call it a “workation”. At Lazazu we ensure that every one of our homes is well equipped with the facilities and technology needed to work seamlessly and efficiently.

Investor residency visa: There are several visa options for investors, including “golden visas” for people investing in a home or other substantial assets in Spain. Those who are able to prove they will be making significant investments in the country, or a significant socio-economic impact in the region, are able to qualify for investor residency status.


Residing in Spain has indeed become more complicated since Brexit, but no more appealing. The recent restrictions on British citizens shouldn’t be prohibitive if moving to Spain is something you wish to do. Armed with the right information, the correct paperwork, realistic expectations, and a bit of perseverance, there are many ways for Brits to spend time in the Spanish sunshine.


Discover more about Lazazu:

How Lazazu co-ownership works | Frequently asked questions about shared holiday homes | The benefits of fractional ownership | Browse Lazazu’s selection of second homes | The difference between timeshare and co-ownership