Your essential guide to living in Spain

Your essential guide to living in Spain.

09-02-2021UK Embassy Madrid

Do you still have concerns and questions about living in Spain and what your citizen rights are?

Here is a useful guide that covers the following:

Living and working

If you were legally living in Spain before 1 January 2021, your right to remain living and
working here is protected. You do not need a work visa and you have the right to be treated on an equal basis to Spanish nationals when applying for jobs. You have the right to be joined by close family members on the basis of EU rules, as long as your family relationship existed by 31 December 2020. If you have a green certificate, this remains valid proof of both your residency and other rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. However, the Spanish government recommends you exchange it for a TIE.

Healthcare guide


If you were legally living in Spain before 1 January 2021, the way you access healthcare will not change. If you are working here, you are entitled to state healthcare and a Spanish issued TSE (EHIC) which you can use for short stays when travelling to the UK and within Europe. UK state pensioners (S1 form holders) will continue to access healthcare in the same way. S1 holders are entitled to a UK EHIC for use when travelling in Europe - apply at If you are not working and do not claim a state pension, there are alternative ways to access healthcare in Spain. Remember that if you are a resident in Spain, you should not be using a UK issued EHIC to access healthcare here, unless you are a posted worker or a student


If you are resident in Spain and have not exchanged your UK licence for a Spanish one, your valid UK licence will continue to be recognised in Spain until 30 June 2021. If you were resident in Spain before 1 January 2021 and registered your details with the DGT (Spanish Traffic Authority) before 30 December 2020, you must make an appointment with the DGT to complete the exchange of your UK licence by 30 June 2021.


UK nationals who were legally resident in Spain before 1 January 2021 will be able to continue to access Spanish university. If you need to have your non- Spanish education and professional qualifications recognised in Spain you can apply for this, known as ‘homologación’.


If you were legally living in Spain before 1 January 2021, you can vote and mstand in local elections in Spain, when you have been resident for 3 years. Once you are registered on the padrón, you will need to re-confirm your registration on the electoral roll for every local election.


If you were legally living in Spain before 1 January 2021, you will be able to travel to other countries within the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days in a rolling 180-day period. Ensure you carry your residency document (green certificate or TIE) with you when you travel. As a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement, when you travel outside Spain within the EU, you will not need any additional months of validity on your passport, but it must be valid for your whole trip. From 1 January 2021, pet passports issued in Spain or another EU member state continue to be valid for travel to Great Britain and the EU, but those with UK pet passports will need to update their documentation.


If you were legally living in Spain before 1 January 2021, your UK state pension will continue to be uprated every year for as long as you remain resident in Spain. This applies now and when you come to claim it in the future, as long as you meet the qualifying conditions. If you have worked and paid contributions in Spain, declare all periods of work in the UK, Spain and any other member state when applying for a pension or benefit. They could all count towards your final entitlement.


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Steve / Hace 8 months

Trev - Yes I am... I was about to buy a car as well in Spain but wasn't sure on driving license regs so have held off.


Trev / Hace 8 months

If you live 5/6 months in Mallorca and 6/7 months in the UK and have the residency certificate (needed to stay more than 90 days in every 180). What should you do re drivers licence. It makes no sense to exchange for a Spanish one if you are in the UK slightly more than in Spain. Is anyone else in this position?