Moving to the UK from Spain

Relocating from Spain to the UK

If you are a Spanish national who is thinking of relocating to the UK in the near future, this guide will explain everything that you need to know. Here we set out the main legal requirements for Spanish people moving to the UK after ‘Brexit’, how the cost of living in the UK compares to Spain, a checklist for those relocating to the UK from Spain, and why you should move to the UK as a Spanish citizen.

Moving from Spain to the UK after Brexit

At the end of 2020, the UK formally left the European Union, ending the free movement of people between it and the EU. EU citizens who were already residents of the UK before 31st December 2020 were able to (and still can apply to) settle here through the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).

If you are a Spanish national who was not living in the UK before 11pm GMT on the 31st December 2020, you will need a visa to live, work, study, or join your family members in the UK. All of that said, it is still quite straightforward to move to the UK as a Spanish national if you understand the various immigration routes available, including the self-sponsorship route (see below for more details). This is where the advice and support of an expert in UK immigration law can be invaluable in making the whole process easy and efficient.

Moving to the UK from Spain benefits

The UK offers many advantages for nationals of Spain who wish to relocate here, including a robust and dynamic economy, plenty of exciting job and business opportunities, a rich history and culture, and stunning villages, mountains, hills, lakes, and countryside. The UK is also world-renowned for its excellent education system, including universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, St Andrews, and University College London (UCL). We also have excellent transport links to mainland Europe by ferry, train, and plane.

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The exact legal requirements that you and your immediate family members will need to meet will depend on the type of visa you are applying for. The most popular visas for Spanish nationals are as follows:

Skilled Worker visa legal requirements

Purpose: Allows Spanish nationals to work in the UK for up to 5 years for a sponsoring British employer

Applicants must:

  • Have a job offer from an approved UK employer with a valid sponsor licence
  • Meet the minimum salary requirements. Currently, applicants require a salary of £38,700 per year or the ‘going rate’ for the type of work they will be doing. A lower threshold applies for those with a PhD, a job on the immigration salary list, or who are a new entrant to the job market.
  • Meet the English language requirements.

UK Student visa legal requirements

Purpose: Allows Spanish nationals to study in the UK with an approved educational provider.

Applicants must:

  • Be age 16 or over
  • Have been offered a place on a course by a licensed education provider
  • Have enough money to support yourself and pay for their course
  • Be able to speak, read, write and understand English to the required standard

UK Innovator Founder visa legal requirements

Purpose: Allows experienced business people and entrepreneurs to set up a new, unique, viable, and scalable business in the UK.

Applicants must:

  • Have a business idea that has been endorsed by an approved body in the UK.
  • Be 18 years or older
  • Meet the English language requirements
  • Have enough savings to support themselves while getting their business off the ground.

This route provides a much-accelerated route to permanent settlement in the UK of just 3 years (rather than the normal 5 years for most visa types).

This is just a small selection of the UK visa routes available to citizens of Spain. An experienced immigration Solicitor in the UK can further assess your situation and that of your partner and children and recommend the best and most efficient immigration route for your needs and future goals.

How to set up your finances in the UK?

We generally recommend that anyone moving to the UK waits until they arrive to set up a new bank account here. The bank will want proof of your identity and your permanent UK address. You will also need to apply for a national insurance (NI) number after you have arrived but before you start working in the UK. Tax could not be easier in the UK because employers will simply deduct any tax that you owe from your salary and pay this directly to HM Revenue & Customs through the UK’s ‘Pay As You Earn’ (PAYE) system.

Get in touch with our immigration experts for help with your move to the UK from Spain

What is the cost of living in the UK?

According to the cost of living website Numbeo, overall consumer prices in the UK are around 35% higher than in Spain when rent is taken into account. Salaries are, however, often higher in the UK, especially in highly skilled occupations.

Emigrating to the UK from Spain - Checklist

  • Speak to an immigration Solicitor in the UK to fully understand your immigration options and those of your dependants.
  • Secure a job offer and Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) from an approved UK employer before applying for a work visa
  • Prepare a budget including your likely income and living costs in the UK
  • Research where you would like to live in the UK. There are many beautiful villages and towns in the UK that provide easy access to London or another large city.
  • Calculate your moving costs to immigrate to the UK from Spain. Take into account the cost of transport, removal costs, rent deposit, etc.
  • Carry out some research on the schools in the area where you would like to live and speak to them to see if they have places available.
  • Speak to any Spanish people that you know who live in the UK to get their advice.
  • EU / UK Driving licence - According to the rules, if you are younger than 67 when you become a resident of the UK, you can drive on your EU licence until you are 70. If you are 67 or older when you become a resident, you can drive on your EU licence for 3 years after that point.

What is a Self-Sponsored Route?

Self-Sponsorship is a new and innovative immigration route that enables Spanish nationals to move to the UK with their family members without the need for a job. Using this route, applicants establish their own business in the UK (we will show you how) and work for themselves. As a Spanish national who is self-sponsored, you will later qualify for permanent settlement and, after a further 12 months, British citizenship.

Emigrating to the UK as a non-Spanish national

Non-Spanish nationals who wish to move to the UK also require a visa. We can recommend the ideal immigration route based on your nationality, connections to the UK, and plans for life in the UK. To discuss the immigration routes open to you as a non-Spanish national, please speak to one of our friendly and helpful immigration Solicitors in the UK.

Joining UK Family Members as a Non-Spanish National

Non-Spanish nationals who wish to join family members in the UK (i.e. partner, spouse, parent or child) will need to apply for a UK family visa. To qualify, your family member must be a British national, a person with permanent settlement, an EU/EEA national who started living in the UK before 1st January 2021, or a person with refugee status in the UK.

After five years on a family visa, you can apply for permanent settlement and British citizenship one year later.

FAQ’s

Why are people moving back to the UK from Spain?

Many people have moved from Spain to the UK in recent years. This includes British ex-pats following Brexit, as well as Spanish nationals who have struggled to find well-paid employment. Others have moved to the UK to be with family members there.

Moving from Spain to the UK requirements

Please see the legal requirements for moving from Spain to the UK above.

What are the 7 biggest mistakes when moving to the UK from Spain?

  1. Not considering the weather!
  2. Not understanding the visa options and legal obligations of each
  3. Not creating a realistic financial budget
  4. Not integrating with British people
  5. Underestimating the cost of transport in the UK
  6. Not embracing all that the UK has to offer
  7. Not researching where to live – the UK has such a wide diversity of villages, towns and cities with options for everyone.

Can a Spanish citizen live in the UK?

Yes, however, Spanish citizens and their family members require a visa to live in the UK. Please see the visa options explained above.

Can Spanish citizens work in the UK after Brexit?

Absolutely, but they will require a job offer from a sponsoring employer and a work visa.

Applying for a UK visa from Spain

Spanish nationals can apply for a UK visa online through the UK Home Office website. You will need to complete the application form, pay any required fees, and submit any documents required to support your case. You will also need to meet the requirements for the type of visa you are applying for. An immigration Solicitor in the UK can handle this process for you.

UK entry requirements from Spain

Please see the legal requirements for moving from Spain to the UK above.

Can I apply online for a UK visa from Spain?

Yes, Spanish nationals can apply for a UK visa online through the UK Home Office website

Requirements for moving to Spain after Brexit

Please see the legal requirements for moving from Spain to the UK following Brexit above.

How long can a Spanish citizen stay in the UK?

This will depend on the type of visa held. Work visas typically last for 5 years, after which holders can apply for permanent settlement and citizenship a year later.

Is living in Spain cheaper than the UK?

Please see the cost of living section above.

Is Spain a better place to live than the UK?

This really depends on your personal circumstances and preferences. If you are looking for an excellent career or business opportunities, the UK may be a better place to live. On the other hand, if you need a constant supply of sunshine, Spain is the place to be.

Why are British ex-pats leaving Spain?

Since Brexit and the ending of UK/EU free movement, UK nationals are restricted to the number of days (90 days) they can live each year. Others are returning for work opportunities or to be with family members.

A Y & J Solicitors is a specialist immigration law firm with extensive experience with all types of visa applications. We have an in-depth understanding of immigration law and are professional and results-focused. For assistance with your visa application or any other UK immigration law concerns, please contact us on +44 20 7404 7933 or at contact us today. We’re here to help!

Moving From Spain to the UK

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Moving From Spain to the UK

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