There are sets of ground rules to pay attention to while traveling to Spain as a UK citizen. Most of these rules were set to ensure the safety of the country, its residents, and travelers.
Mainly, there are measures taken against the violation of community rights to preserve peace within the country. It is essential to be aware of general legislative regulations regarding travelers, and special arrangements for Brits in Spain after Brexit.
The Brexit process began in 2016. Since then, there have been question marks in minds about how the changes would affect the travels of UK citizens within Europe.
We must say, there are a whole bunch of changes that bear upon UK citizens. It is good to be familiar with the liabilities and requirements beforehand. We’ve listed all UK citizens need to know while traveling to Spain.
Getting Ready for the Journey: Things to Pay Attention Before Travelling to Spain
UK citizens are free to enter Spanish territory without needing a visa for up to 90 days in 180 days. This rule has been set under the visa-free travel arrangement made with EU after the Brexit.
However, they still might need to meet certain requirements. All UK citizens are now subject to a selection of tourist rules in Spain. These are also the rules that third-world countries are obligated to follow. Spanish authorities may require proof of identification, financial means to cover the trip’s expenses, travel insurance, and more.
First things first. Each UK national is required to have a valid passport as a main travel document for identification. It is essential to have your passport present with you at all times.
Secondly, authorities may request a statement that declares the reason for the short stays. This could be a business trip, a short-term educational program, or just a quick holiday. For a business trip to Spain, you may need to submit an invitation from a company or an authority.
Thirdly, UK citizens may need to provide detailed information about the plan of their trip. One of these documents is flight tickets, including the return ticket to their homeland.
The other essential document is the declaration of the place where to accommodate during their stay. These could be a confirmed and pre-paid hotel reservation, or Airbnb receipts that show the length of the stay. If you are planning to stay at a relative’s or a friend’s house in Spain, you may need to acquire an invitation letter from the host.
Last but not least, the proof of having enough financial means for the purposed stay must be submitted. Possessing sufficient financial resources for a trip to Spain is essential for all nationals. The average expense for each individual in 2023 is 100 € per day. But surely, it is always best to present a bit more than the lowest amount.
Will There Be a Border Control for UK Citizens?
Yes, the passports of all travelers must be stamped on the borders. After preparing all documents, UK citizens must get through a procedural check at the Spanish territory on the travel date. This procedure is the result of the Brexit transition. As of January 1st, 2021, all UK nationals are treated as third-country nationals while traveling Europe.
How Long UK Citizens Can Stay in Spain?
For now, the presence of UK nationals in Spain is limited with a maximum of 90 days in 6 months. After Brexit, the main question in minds was “Do Brits need a visa for Spain?”. No, they won’t, however, they can stay only 90 days without needing a visa.
To expand their stay over 90 days, UK citizens need a temporary residence permit or a Golden Visa to live in Spain.
The 90-day presence in Spain rules for tourists has more impact on the UK nationals visiting the country for touristic purposes. Investors who are looking for an opportunity to buy a holiday home in Spain have an advantageous position over them with Spain’s investor immigration program called Golden Visa.
Spanish Golden Visa can be extended up to five years of residency. It allows property investors to get a long-term residency for five more years. At the end of 10 years residency period, Brits in Spain can get a permanent residency.
Driving in Spain as a UK national
Driving licenses issued by the UK government are valid for 6 months in Spain, from March 16th, 2023. The 6 months is calculated from the time the license holder enters to country.
However, if you are a British citizen residing in Spain, the 6-month period begins from the date the residence permit is issued. After 6 months, the UK-issued driving license will expire. British expats in Spain need to obtain a Spanish driving license after 6 months from their residency.
UK or Gibraltar residents in Spain can exchange their driving license for a Spain-issued one without taking a theoretical and practical test from March 16, 2023.
The Spanish road system and general rules have different characteristics from the United Kingdom. It can be useful to get to know the essentials of driving in Spain. You can take a look at our “Driving in Spain: Rules that You Need to Know” blog for a comprehensive guide for driving in Spain as an expat.
Healthcare in Spain for UK Nationals
Emergency treatment is provided to every national visiting Spain in hospitals, including UK citizens. However, it is always good to take precautions for all circumstances and have valid insurance with appropriate healthcare coverage.
A European Health Insurance Card and UK Global Health Insurance Card is a must-have for Brits traveling to Spain. These will cover state-offered healthcare for UK citizens, the same treatments that a Spanish citizen can get. A UK citizen without EHIC or GHIC will pay the full expenses of all healthcare services that were provided.
Prescribed medicines are not free for UK nationals. However, British tourists in Spain can get a reduction in the prices of medicines with their EHIC and GHIC.
Keep in mind that in extreme situations or certain health conditions, the expenses won’t be covered. Having travel insurance with comprehensive healthcare coverage can be useful at this point.
As for British residents in Spain, registration is a requirement to get a healthcare service. Basic treatments provided by the Spanish national health system will also be free-from-expense for Brits living in Spain. Private insurance is necessary for more comprehensive treatments.
All the detailed information about the healthcare system for UK nationals in Spain is given on the official page of the UK Government.
Prohibited Acts in Spain: What to Avoid?
There are some prohibited behaviors such as non-smoking areas, alcohol limits, and measures against rowdy acts. Both foreigners and Spaniards are subject to these bans by laws in Spain. These measures were taken just to create a hassle-free living environment to live in for everyone.
The first one might surprise you, but there is a dress code in certain areas of Spain. In certain areas like Majorca or Barcelona wearing bikinis or walking topless off the beach is considered a finable offense. It can cost you up to €300.
It is free to walk with a bikini on the beach, or with only swim shorts. However, it is frowned upon and subject to a high amount of fine to walk without a shirt on streets of the city center.
In metropolitan cities, drinking alcohol in the street can also cost an arm and a leg. Spain bans getting wasted on the street. It is subject to on-the-spot fines of up to €600.
In some cases combined with a harmful act can cost even way more. Even some all-inclusive venues limit alcohol amounts to 6 glasses as a safety precaution to prevent rowdy acts for others.
Smoking in an enclosed public area, or a public transportation is prohibited in Spain. The rule also applies to smoking in healthcare institutions, schools, training centers, and outdoor kids’ playgrounds.
You may want to pay attention to “No Smoking” signs on the beaches of stunning Costa del Sol or other Spanish Costas, either. There is a no-smoking rule on certain beaches, just to avoid pollution on the breathtaking sandy beaches of Spain.
Which Number to Dial In Case of an Emergency
In an emergency state, you should dial 112, the same as in the United Kingdom.
While having the best time of your life in Spain, you still may encounter unexpected issues. All Spanish authorities such as police stations, health institutions, and fire stations are operated from a single center.
Looking For Something More to Discover?
It will make your trips to Spain way easier to have all the information and tips beforehand. Learn how to make your trip an unforgettable one and spend your days as a true Spaniard. Take a look at our blog page and browse our area guide for more information.