THE response from readers to Sunday’s interview with Andrew Hesselden who has started a ‘180 days in Spain’ campaign to challenge the new limit on how many days British residents can spend in the EU have highlighted a host of problems. The vast majority are extremely angry and worried about the implications.
One reader posted that he has been forced to close a business he has been running in Mallorca for the past 15 years and lay off all the staff. Others are worried about how the 90 day rule will affect the movements of family members who regularly pop over while Gucci Shaw, who has lived in Santa Ponsa for the past 14 years and whose second son was born in Mallorca is stuck in an emotional dilemma.
Having only just been discharged from hospital following major surgery, apart from not being able to return to work, she is having to look after her 15 and 13 years olds on her own because her partner, whose name is on the rental contract of their apartment and covers most of the rent, is unable to return to the island.
“He has been stuck in the UK since Christmas and, at the moment, because of Covid, is unable to come over and then, when he can, he will be restricted to a maximum of 90 days. Even his car is still stuck here.” Under the Schengen Area rules of stay for third-country citizens, non-EU citizens entering the territory under the visa-free regime can stay for a maximum of 90 days, for every 180 days.
But, in the meantime Gucci is potentially having to decided between her children’s’ education or her partner of four years.
“He runs a successful business in the UK and would normally commute between Santa Ponsa the UK. But, he is no longer going to be able to do that and he’s paying rent on an apartment he can’t use and couldn’t even come out to be with me in hospital. I was on my own for three days.
“And, I dread to think about having to move to the UK. I don’t know how my kids would react to the education system and life in general. They’ve got all their friends here, obviously speak fluent Castellano and Catalan, not to mention English which is their mother tongue but they hardly ever write it, so it could be a serious problem for them, not to mention me.
“I’ve been in touch with various authorities but there is no way round this. We’re at a stage in our lives when we don’t want to get married again and, for business reasons, my partner does not want to become a resident in Mallorca, and I know I’m not the only Briton here in Mallorca who has been caught by the 90 day trap.
“I know there are visas but it’s such a complicated process, not to mention expensive,” she added.
Other readers have commented on the lack of income Mallorca will lose due to British home or yacht owners spending less time on the island - not to mention would be investors thinking twice.
British Embassy statement:
The Bulletin asked the Embassy in Madrid for a statement on the 90 day issue.
The 90/180 day rule applies to any UK nationals who are visiting Spain for leisure purposes since 1 January 2021. Any stays beyond the 90 days in any 180-day period will be dependent on the applicable visas and immigration rules for Spain. This may require applying for a visa and/or permit.
The FCDO is not able to comment on Spanish immigration policy. We would therefore advise UK nationals to direct any queries to the relevant Spanish authority. If you are currently in Spain, you should direct queries on possible extensions to your length of stay to your local ‘extranjería’ office, details of which can be found here:
Anyone who was living in Spain before 1 January 2021, but does not yet have their residency documentation, should take steps to register as soon as possible.
For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/residency-requirements-in-spain