UPDATED 2nd April 2021
RESIDENCIA IN TENERIFE
CONTENTS OF THIS PAGE:
- UPDATES ON RESIDENCY STATUS & NEW APPLICATIONS BY UK CITIZENS / BREXIT (everything on this page that UK Nationals need to know has been written in GREEN for ease of reference.Other EU Residents should follow the BLACK text )
- UPDATES ON APPLICATION PROCEDURES GENERALLY FOLLOWING THE COVID19 PANDEMIC
- What is Spanish Residency / Residencia?
- Spanish Residency Card (Plus link to BREXIT update)
- Application for Residency (normal)
- Financial Requirements to obtain Residency
- Obtaining a Replacement Residency Card
- Permanent Residency rights after 5 years
- Application for Permanent Residency
- Financial/fiscal Residency in Spain
- Spanish Residency Applications for Non-EU Citizens
- UPDATES ON RESIDENCY STATUS & NEW APPLICATIONS BY UK CITIZENS / BREXIT (everything on this page that UK Nationals need to know has been written in GREEN for ease of reference.Other EU Residents should follow the BLACK text )
Can UK Nationals still apply for Residencia in Tenerife/Spain?
The theoretical answer is YES, although as of 1st April 2021 the situation appears to be getting a lot more complicated.
Short Stays up to 90 days
UK passport holders can still visit the EU Shengen zone countries (which includes Tenerife/Spain) for up to 90 days in any 180 day period. In other words, the first day you arrive in any EU country in 2021 triggers a new 180 day period, during which you can stay any combination of 90 days you choose in any combination of EU countries that you choose. After that 180 day period expires, the very next time you step foot in any EU country, it triggers a new 180 day period, in which you can stay a further combination of 90 days in any EU countries. No residency or visa application is required to enjoy the said 90 day windows. You simply need a valid UK passport with more than 6 months validity remaining.
Requirements for stays exceeding 90 days
From 1st January 2021 to 31st March 2021 Spain continued to accept residencia applications from UK nationals under the old EU resident rules, provided they could prove they were living in Spain prior to the expiry of the EU/UK Withdrawal Agreement on 31st December 2020.
However, new arrivals to Spain in 2021 (or anybody who couldn’t prove they were living here before 31st December 2020) are now required since 1st January 2021 to apply for a Visa at the Spanish Consulate in their home country BEFORE moving to Spain. We discuss this in greater detail below.
However, according to sources connected to the Spanish National Police ‘Extranjeros’ department, the police are now threatening to refuse new applications from UK Nationals who can prove they were living in Spain prior to 31st December 2020 but for whatever reason had failed to file an application beforehand.
The problem appears to be caused by a blanket assumption on the part of the National Police that anyone who was living in Spain prior to 31st December 2020 and who doesn’t get around to filing their residency application by 31st March 2021 must therefore be in Spain illegally (because they have now overstayed the new 90 day limit since 1st January 2021).
We believe that any blanket refusal by the police to accept a residencia application purely on the ‘assumption’ of overstaying the 90 days would be an illegal refusal, particularly without investigating the circumstances behind the late application.
For instance, many applicants have been affected by the Covid pandemic. Some have been unable to fly back to Tenerife due to lockdowns abroad, or due to having their planned flight cancelled, or being unable to get their passport renewed. Others have been self-isolating during the past few weeks, either due to testing positive for Covid-19, or due to fear of going to public places until they have received the vaccine. Some have only just managed to fly back to Tenerife after being stuck in the UK, whereby they clearly haven’t exceeded their 90 day limit yet! Others who were living here prior to 31 December 2020 but who flew to the UK to visit family or for business have been trapped there ever since, and may not be able to return to Tenerife until May at the earliest. In our opinion, many of the above are legally entitled to still apply for their residencia under the old rules.
Meanwhile, anyone still wishing to apply under the old rules is strongly recommended to get their application filed AS SOON AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE, in the hope that the police will now see reason and grant a further short extension in light of problems caused by the current pandemic.
For those still applying under the old rules, you may need to produce evidence that you were living here in late 2020. This could include a valid rental contract in force as of December 2020 (plus recent rent payment receipts), OR a water/electric bill for late 2020 in your personal name for your address in Tenerife, OR debit/credit card statements showing personal residential activity in Tenerife prior to 31st December 2020 (e.g. supermarket visits, restaurant/cafe purchases, petrol station fill-ups etc etc). If you do believe you still qualify to apply under last year’s rules, then you will need to make 2 applications:
- Application Form EX20 (application for residencia approval)
- Then within a month of receiving a stamped approval, complete Application form EX23 to obtain the T.I.E. card.
We have set out the Application Forms and Procedures further down this page.
What if I cannot prove I was living in Tenerife/Spain before 31st December 2021, or if I am a new 2021 applicant/arrival?
For those that were not living here (and cannot prove they were living here) in late 2020, you are no longer eligible to apply for residencia under last year’s Withdrawal Agreement rules for UK nationals.
Instead, you will now need to apply for a Visa followed by a residency application under the standard Third Country rules that already apply to all other non-EU applicants. That application must be made via the Spanish Consulate in your home country before you travel and cannot be made whilst in Tenerife/Spain.
WARNING: There is the strong possibility that Spain is about to grant UK nationals a new special status at an early stage (e.g. similar to that granted to Norway and Switzerland). So any UK Nationals considering making a Spanish visa application which isn’t urgent, should perhaps hold on and see if the rules change in the coming weeks or months, rather than immediately jumping through hoops to apply for a third country visa via the Spanish Consulate in London or Edinburgh. We have set out information on applying for a Spanish Visa below.
What if I already obtained (or filed an application for) Spanish residency before 31st December 2021? Where do I now stand with my rights to live and work in Spain?
Well the good news is that anybody who applied for / or obtained Spanish residencia before 31st December 2020 (whether via the historical ID card, the A4 green paper, the more recent green paper credit card size, or the new TIE card), your rights to live in Spain are now automatically protected under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and you do not have to do anything else.
However, for those holding one of the older forms of residencia, you can VOLUNTARILY choose to upgrade to the new-style T.I.E. Residency Card (a plastic card containing a photo etc, similar to the identity card for Spanish nationals, see example photo below). If you have already held your Spanish residency for more than 5 years, you that new TIE card will automatically carry “Permanent” status, and will require renewing after 10 years. Whilst those who have held Spanish residency for less than 5 years will automatically gain “Temporary” status and will need to renew their TIE card after holding it for 5 years.
For existing residents wishing to voluntarily upgrade to the new T.I.E. card, the procedure is set out further below under “Obtaining a replacement Residency Card – Written in GREEN text”. Or for those holding an old green residencia, they can simply choose to keep their old green card or A4 paper, as their residency rights are already fully protected and guaranteed.
The new TIE residencia Application Procedure for UK Nationals (plus other relevant information) is also set out further down the page. Simply scroll down and look for the sections of GREEN text.
How does the ’90 days in each 180 day period’ rule work?
UK visitors to Spain from 1st January 2021 onwards will still be allowed to stay for up to 90 days in any 180 day period without applying for residencia, simply by using their UK passport. This arrangement was expressly agreed and announced between the UK and all 27 EU countries on 31st December 2020 after last-minute negotiations. So you only need to apply for residencia if you are planning to come to Spain for longer than 90 days in any 180 day period (e.g. a winter ‘swallow’).
The 180 days starts from the date of your first arrival after 1st January 2021 (or from that date if you were already here). For example, if you arrive on 1st January 2021, you are entitled to automatically stay until 29th March 2021 without applying for basic residency. You would then be excluded for the remainder of that 180 day period, namely until 29th June 2021. You could then return for another 90 days from 30th June 202`. Alternatively, the 90 days may be made up of separate visits during the same 180 day period (e.g. three visits of 30 days).
So to stay longer than 90 days, you need to apply for basic T.I.E. residency.
If I apply for the TIE card residency, does that make me tax resident in Spain? What is the difference between ‘residency’ and ‘tax residency’?
Some people are scared that registering for Spanish residencia (i.e. having a Green A4 certificate, Green Credit Card Sized card, or new T.I.E. card) will somehow make them tax resident in Spain. They need not worry. A TIE residencia application does NOT make you tax resident in Spain, nor does it affect your existing TAX RESIDENT status UNTIL you spend more than 6 months and a day in Spain in any calendar year in Spain, or unless your centre of interests (e.g. your business headquarters and main family home) happens to be in Spain.
Otherwise, you will remain TAX RESIDENT in your home country and you will be treated as non-resident in Spain for tax purposes. Holding a green or TIE residencia card simply indicates your intention (and grants you the right) to stay in Spain for more than 90 days. It does nothing more than that and it is entirely separate to the tax residency rules.
For those doubting the above information and wishing to double-check the Spanish tax residency rules, we would recommend that you read the following information published on Price Waterhouse Coopers website (the largest firm of Chartered Accountants worldwide):
UPDATES ON APPLICATION PROCEDURES FOR EU APPLICANTS FOLLOWING CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
ONLINE RESIDENCIA APPLICATIONS FOR APPOINTMENTS (APPLY HERE) ARE NOW BACK UP AND RUNNING AFTER THE CORONAVIRUS SHUTDOWN. HOWEVER, APPOINTMENT AVAILABILITY IS RUNNING AT REDUCED CAPACITY DUE TO CORONAVIRUS PROTOCOLS AND STAFFING ISSUES.
What is Spanish Residency / Residencia?
Much confusion reigns over what Spanish Residency actually means and what is required to obtain it. Below, we will explain ‘residency’ and the distinct concept of fiscal/financial residency.
First and foremost, the legal definition of ‘residency’ in Spain is simple. If you stay in Spain for more than 182 days in any calendar year, then you are deemed a ‘resident’ by the authorities. It’s that simple. However, whether a particular person is ‘recorded’ and known to the authorities as being a resident in Spain is an entirely different matter.
The truth is that there is a minority of foreigners living in Spain who pretty much refuse to put their name to anything official and quite happily float through life living ‘in the black’. Their reasons for doing so vary almost as much as their colourful pasts. Whilst most discover fairly quickly that they need at least an NIE number to survive in Spain, a large number never take the next step and apply for residency.
However, the reality for most law-abiding people who make the decision to come and live permanently in Tenerife is that at some early stage they will apply for residency (colloquially referred to by locals and expats as ‘Residencia’).
The rules governing residencia for European Union citizens are set out in Royal Decree 240/2007.
Under Article 6, stays of less than 3 months in duration are considered touristic as opposed to residential. For such individuals, a valid EU passport is all that is required to enter the country and stay for up to 3 months.
Under Article 7, EU citizens who wish to stay for more than 3 months shall be entitled to do so, provided they have obtained their NIE number and then proceed to register in the Central Register of Foreigners by applying for a Residency Certificate. So technically, this means that you are supposed to apply for Residency in Spain if you plan to stay for more than 3 months, even if you plan to leave before completing the ‘6 months and one day’ legal definition of residency.
After obtaining an NIE number but BEFORE applying for Residencia, applicants must first also obtain a ‘Certificado de Empadronamiento‘. This is to prove you are actually living in Spain by the point you apply for Residencia. (click here for details). Once obtained, you can then apply for your Residencia Card.
IMPORTANT: Once you have registered and obtained your Spanish Residency Card as an EU citizen (but NOT UK Nationals), provided you continue living in Spain, your Residencia DOES NOT EXPIRE, nor does it ever require renewing, despite certain official sources or websites claiming otherwise. However, if you leave Spain for more than 12 consecutive months, then your Residencia is technically revoked. So, provided you are able to continue to support yourself and any dependents financially, you can continue to reside in Spain indefinitely on the standard green Residencia Card.
For UK Nationals following Brexit, the new TIE residencia cards will expire after 5 years (unless you have already had ‘permanent’ residence status for over 5 years (see below). However, any renewal should be little more than a rubber-stamping formality with a small fee.
Some people confuse this standard Residencia with ‘Permanent Residencia’, which is an entirely different status requiring a different application (essentially solidifying your right to reside in Spain forever regardless of your circumstances). We discuss Permanent Residency (and tax residency) separately below.
Below (top) is an example of the latest credit-card-sized green card, whilst below (middle) is an example of the old green A4 certificate. Below (bottom) is the new Residencia Card specifically for UK Nationals applying after 6th July 2020.
In years gone by, the residency document was a plastic credit-card-type card, which was then replaced by an A4 sheet of green paper, which was then replaced with green credit-card-size piece of reinforced paper, which is the type still being issued for EU residents today. Anyone with the old A4 certificate can apply to swap it for the new small green card. However, UK Nationals applying for a replacement card will now automatically get the new plastic T.I.E. “Permiso de Residencia” photocard shown above.
Many people take the flimsy paper green card to their local photocopy shop to get it laminated for protection, despite the fact that legally, the document should not be altered or enhanced in any way. However, we have yet to see any business or authority refuse to accept a laminated card. Although in Tenerife, anything is possible!
Application Procedure for Residency for EU Nationals (and UK Nationals living in Spain before 31st December 2020) – Later arrivals requiring a Spanish Visa please see further down the page
EU Citizens must first download, print and complete form EX18, which can be found HERE.
UK Nationals must instead download, print and complete form EX20 HERE.
Both EU Nationals and UK Nationals must also complete Payment Form 790, which you can fill in online HERE and print off or download directly. You must then print it off and take the completed Form 790 at a bank to pay a fee of €12,00 in advance of the appointment at the Police Station. Not all banks accept cash payment against these forms. However, we understand that most La Caixa Bank branches do accept them.
When applying for the residency card it is no longer possible to simply turn up and queue on any given morning. To do the above Residency application at the Police Station, you must now apply ONLINE for an appointment in advance. The official web-page for requesting appointments can be found HERE
At the Police Station Appointment, you need to bring:
- Completed Application Form EX18 (or Form EX20 for UK Nationals)
- Modelo 790 Form stamped with the €12.00 payment made at the bank
- Original and a photocopy of your passport
- Original and a photocopy of your NIE certificate
- Original and a photocopy of your Empadronamiento Certificate.
- 1 Passport sized Photo (same photo requirements as for passports)
- Evidence of financial eligibility (see info below)
- Evidence of access to state medical care or private medical insurance (see info below)
Financial Requirements necessary to apply for Residencia for EU Residents (and for UK Nationals who can prove they were already living in Spain before 31st December 2020 but who failed to file their residency application in time)
You must prove that you will not become a financial drain on the state by satisfying at least ONE of the following 4 conditions:
- You are employed or self-employed in Spain;
- You have sufficient resources to support yourself AND any dependents that intend to accompany you (which must be at least the Spanish minimum wage);
- You are enrolled as a student in a recognised educational establishment AND have private medical insurance covering all risks AND have sufficient resources to support yourself and any dependents.
- You are a relative (from anywhere in the world) joining or accompanying an EU citizen who complies with one of the requirements at 1 – 3 above.
- You are retired in Spain.
Proving any of the above criteria by production of the relevant documentation or evidence should fairly self-explanatory. Any document not in Spanish must be officially translated in order to be accepted by the police here.
Specific rules apply where an EU citizen initially complies with the above but who’s circumstances change (e.g. finishing a study course, losing one’s job, or going off on extended sickness leave), but in many such cases there are ways to maintain one’s residential status provided you cooperate with the authorities.
If you do not have a job contract or pension income etc), the standard requirement to prove financial means is to show that you have in excess of 5,300€ Euros (per adult applicant) in a Spanish bank account.This requires ordering a special bank ‘balance certificate’ from your bank, not simply showing a bank statement.
If relying on this €5,300 ‘Sufficient Resources’ category, you must also show that you have private medical insurance in Spain to cover you and all of your dependents, because you are unlikely to have access to Spanish state healthcare. If producing evidence of private medical insurance, you must bring the original policy document PLUS proof of latest payment under the policy.
If working or retired, you can instead show that you have an income or pension(s) equal to or greater than the Spanish state pension.
Any documents you produce as evidence of your above financial status that are not in Spanish MUST be officially translated. Furthermore, documents originating outside Spain may also need to be Legalised/Apostilled in the country of the document’s origin for international use. For UK documents, you can check if your document(s) needs to be legalised HERE. If so, you can proceed to apply directly on the same website, pay the fee and then post the document to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for stamping with the apostille and returning. You can select for your document(s) to be couriered worldwide for a small additional fee.
If your document is not on the list of documents capable of being legalised, then an official translation should be sufficient in Spain.
AFTER you have received the apostilled document (or if the document cannot be apostilled/legalised), you must THEN get it officially translated. A list of Official Translators in the Canary Islands can be found HERE (scroll down for Tenerife translators). Alternatively, do an online search as there are other official translators in Tenerife not featuring in this list.
Obtaining a replacement Residency Card (EU Nationals, but NOT UK Nationals)
For anyone needing to replace their residency card (e.g. lost, damaged, stolen, change of address, upgrading from an old A4 certificate etc) then simply follow the same procedure as with initial residency using Forms EX18 and Modelo 790 with bank payment, plus supporting documentation, but instead tick “Duplicado” (duplicate) in the box in form EX18.
If you are unable to produce the old certificate/card, (e.g. lost or stolen cards/certificates), the police may first require you to fill in a Police Report explaining the circumstances behind the lost or stolen card. You can do this at the Police Station, or you can also now file a Police Report by telephone. See HERE for how to do this. They have English speaking operators available from 9.00am to 9.00pm every day of the week.
UK NATIONALS already holding residencia in Spain – Swapping your existing residencia card for a voluntary T.I.E. card
You must again apply for an appointment online HERE.
- choose your province
- then select ‘Trámites Cuerpo Nacional de Policia’
- then select ‘Policía Exp tarjeta asociada al Acuerdo de retirada ciudadanos británicos y sus familiares’
You must attend this appointment at the police station in person (not online, nor via Power of Attorney) with the following documentation:
- completed application form EX23
- proof you have paid the fee (via form ‘modelo 790, code 012’ – choose option ‘certificado de registro de residente comunitario’)
- passport type photograph (you must ensure this meets the Spanish administration’s requirements)
Certain police stations may also require you to provide photocopies of official documents such as your passport at your appointment, so it is advisable to bring photocopies as well as original documents.
Then, once the TIE card is ready for collection, you will need to return to the police station YOURSELF (not using your Power of Attorney) with your valid passport to collect the TIE card. Guru understands there is no time limit for such collection, so the next time you come to Tenerife should be ok.
Permanent Residency rights after 5 years in Spain
As explained above, the basic green A4 sheets or small green Residencia Cards for EU nationals (including those issued to UK Nationals BEFORE 6th July 2020) DO NOT EXPIRE, NOR DO THEY REQUIRE RENEWAL, NOR DO THEY NEED HANDING BACK IF YOU LEAVE SPAIN. Confused residents have previously read on the National Police Website (‘Sede Electronico’) that the certificates expire after 5 years in accordance with Article 7 of Royal Decree 240/2007. However, there is NOTHING in Article 7 that refers to the certificate expiring. For those wishing to check for themselves, you can access the text for Article 7 yourself HERE and put it through Google Translate.
In any event, after having resided in Spain for 5 years and having complied with certain requirements, Spain offers a VOLUNTARY procedure to apply for ‘Permanent Residency’.
Given that the basic Residencia does not expire, many people ask whether there is any point in applying for Permanent Residency. Indeed, the vast majority of foreigners resident in Spain never actually apply for it. The application may however serve as a stepping-stone for those wishing to obtain full Spanish nationality and a Spanish passport. Also, in the unlikely event that the EU were to impose any residency restrictions on UK nationals following Brexit, this application could provide a way to stay in Spain permanently.
For UK Nationals, there is no longer any need to actively apply for “Permanent Residency” after 5 years of basic residency. This is because unlike with the old green cards, the new plastic TIE cards have a 5 expiry date. So when you later go to renew an initial TIE card upon its 5 year expiry, the police will note that you then automatically qualify for Permanent Residency status, and hence will automatically renew your plastic TIE card as a ‘permanent’ one (i.e. which doesn’t expire).
Application for Permanent Residency – EU Nationals (but NOT UK Nationals)
The application for Permanent Residency is made to the same police station(s) where ordinary residency is granted.
You must show evidence that you have been living in Spain for at least 5 years plus additional information/documentation. This will include:
1. Your original residency certificate/card obtained upon your original arrival;
2. Evidence that you have lived continuously in Spain in the intervening period (e.g. rental contract(s), employment wage slips, utility bills, bank statements etc)
3. Evidence that you have been working, looking for work, self-employed, studying, self-sufficient etc
4. Evidence that you have sufficient income or funds to support yourself and any dependents.
5. Evidence that you qualify for public healthcare, or that you have a private medical insurance covering Spain.
You may also be asked to obtain a Criminal Records certificate from your home Country, details of any marriage or divorce, or certain medical certificates, depending on your personal history and circumstances in Spain.
Once you have satisfied the above requirements, you should be issued with a Permanent Residency card without undue delay. The card looks almost identical to the standard green Residency Card, but has different wording to reflect that you are now a Permanent Resident. This card then allows you to live and work indefinitely in Spain and to enjoy state benefits where applicable. You can also generally move between other EU member states and stay in any given state for up to 3 months without obtaining additional paperwork.
Financial/ Tax Residency Applicable to UK Nationals AND other EU Nationals
Regardless of whether you have basic Residency or full Permanent Residency, you are legally required to take certain additional steps to inform relevant parties that you are now in fact resident. These include your bank, your employer and of course, the Spanish tax office (Agencia Tributaria).
The test for financial/fiscal residency in Spain is simply that you spend more than 183 days in Spain in any given tax year (January – December), or that your centre of main interests is in Spain (e.g. your business headquarters and family home).
A fair percentage of foreigners living in Spain (who may already hold the basic green Residencia card or even a Permanent Residency card) still fail to comply with one or more of the fiscal/tax requirements. Whilst there are downsides to being fiscally resident in Spain (e.g. Spain will want to tax you on your worldwide earnings), there are various advantages, e.g:
- Resident bank accounts attract lower fees than non-resident accounts.
- Residents routinely receive more generous mortgage deals on better terms.
- Residents are not charged ‘notional income tax’ on their principal residence in Spain (Non-residents are taxed on a notional 2% income on each property even if they don’t actually rent it out!)
- Residents can make lifetime gifts or leave assets in Tenerife under their Will to first line descendants with a 99.9% reduction on Gift Tax or Inheritance Tax.
- Residents can sell a property in Spain without the buyer having to deduct 3% retention on account of your potential Capital Gains Tax liability
- Residents over 65 who have lived in a property for 3 years don’t have to pay any Capital Gains Tax when they sell, regardless of the profit.
- Residents may offset the costs of purchasing a new home against any capital gains applicable on selling their old home.
- New Residents may import a vehicle and various other personal effects within 12 months of arrival without paying the usual Customs Import Tax (subject to conditions).
As stated above, the potential disadvantage of being fiscally resident is that Spain will tax you on your worldwide income. However, this may not be a disadvantage to everyone. Many countries have higher income tax rates than Spain, but in Spain the higher-rate tax calculation kicks in at a lower amount than in most countries. Also, many countries have double-taxation treaties, meaning that if you have to pay tax in a foreign country, your country of residence (i.e. Spain) will give you a credit for that overseas tax paid, meaning that you don’t pay twice.
An additional disadvantage with being fiscally resident in Spain is that since 2013 residents are required to declare all assets held in other countries where those assets (or group of assets within one type) are worth in excess of €50,000 Euros. The relevant form for making the declaration is Form 720. Penalties for non-disclosure can be severe. The form can be completed online HERE if you have an electronic NIE / DNI or alternatively a ‘Cl@ve’ PIN.
Failure to correctly register your true residential status can technically result in a fine of €300. However, TENERIFE GURU has not heard of any case where this fine has been levied. We also suspect that €300 is not an effective deterrent for those with more to gain financially by avoiding Spanish residency.
The requirement to file a Resident Tax Return depends on your personal circumstances and applies regardless of whether you have yet applied for basic or permanent residency. If you spend more than 183 days in Spain in any calendar year, or have your centre of economic or vital interests in Spain, then you will be considered a resident for tax purposes. Thereafter, if you also earn greater than €22,000 income from any source in the relevant tax year (salary, dividends, business income etc), then you are required to file a Residents Tax Return.
Those actual residents who don’t file a ‘residents’ tax return are liable to late filing penalties plus interest on any tax payable. The taxman can go back up to 4 tax years in respect of false or non-declarations and unpaid tax. In addition, those who fail to register for tax-residency at all may be excluded from certain resident’s exemption schemes (e.g. a 99.9% inheritance tax reduction on assets they leave in the Canary Islands upon death).
Contrary to popular belief in some quarters, non residents in Spain must also file a non-resident tax return if they own any property in Spain, or earn more than €22,000 per annum from all of their Spanish based income.
For most foreigners who own a property in Tenerife but don’t earn any significant income here, they are simply required to complete and file a basic tax return (Modelo 210). Under this form, the taxman charges standard income tax upon a notional income of 2% per annum on any property held by a non-resident, even if the property is not rented and generates no actual income. This rule was introduced many years ago in response to the vast majority of non-resident owners renting out their properties but failing to declare the income. It is quite unfair on honest owners who don’t actually rent out, but that is the current law. Hence, the owner of a small apartment will typically pay a few hundred Euros per annum in respect of this tax.
Those non-residents who do rent out their property and who generate more than 2% income per annum are required to file a more detailed tax return, depending on the individual circumstances.
Due to the greater complexity (and cost) involved in filing a more detailed return, it appears that many non-residents just file the basic Modelo 210 and take their chances that they won’t get caught. Naturally, Tenerife Guru could never endorse such a brazen approach! The taxman is also stepping up checks to try to catch those renting out their property for a substantial part of the year. Such checks now include reviewing electricity and water usage for the property. Where such usage exceeds the deemed average use for 6 months per year (i.e. more than 50% of a typical permanent resident’s bill), further investigations may be conducted.
Spanish Residency Applications for Non-EU Citizens (Which now includes Spanish VISA applications for UK Nationals applying after 1st January 2021 until further notice)
Non European Union citizens (which now includes UK Nationals applying after 1st January 2021) wishing to apply for residency in Spain must first apply for a Residency Visa (Visado de Residencia) via the Spanish Consulate in their home country before travelling to Spain. The Visa cannot be applied for once you arrive in Spain.
There are 7 different types of visa, including retirees, investors, executives of a multi-national company, participants in a sporting or cultural activity etc.
For UK nationals seeking a Visa, but who are not planning to work in Spain, the option is a ‘Non Lucrative’ Visa, whereby you must show an income of at least €2,259.60 a month (plus €564.90 for each family dependent). The full list of available Visa types, including criteria and details of how to apply, can be viewed at the very bottom of the following article HERE
To apply and submit the applicable form and supporting documentation, you will need to set up an online account via the following link HERE
Spain generally imposes requirements to prove sufficient income to support the applicant and any dependents. Additional requirements include, but are not limited to, a criminal records certificate, a medical certificate, a financial reference (e.g. from a rental landlord or bank) and evidence that you have arrangements in place to transfer necessary funds to Spain (e.g. already having set up a bank account in Spain plus e.g. a direct debit to that account from your home bank, if your regular income comes from overseas).
Non EU residents can also obtain a 2 year residence permit by investing a minimum of €500,000 Euros in Spanish property. However, if this is for a husband and wife, the investment must be €500,000 per person. The 2 year permit can be renewed provided that the minimum investment in Spanish property continues (even if you have changed properties).
Alternatively, investors can also acquire a similar permit by investing 2 million Euros in Spanish Bonds, or 1 million Euros in a Spanish company.
As stated above, whilst these rules now technically apply to UK nationals wishing to obtain residencia in Spain from 1st January 2021 onwards, it is VERY LIKELY that the UK and Spain will reach an agreement in the coming weeks or months to introduce simpler criteria for residency applications from UK Nationals wishing to live in Spain. However, if such an agreement is reached, it is hard to predict whether the criteria will be similar to, or more onerous than the previous rules applicable up to 31st December 2020