Expats furious at Spanish residency nonsense

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Spain is getting ’tough’ on late applications as Spanish Residency rejections increase

Expats are getting seriously annoyed at the rising rate of rejections occurring during the post-Brexit Spanish residency application process. Recent statistics show 2,400 applications were rejected so far this year. The original deadline to apply and still be covered under the Withdrawal Agreement with the EU was December 31, 2020. Many expats were based in Spain at the end of the year but for some of them the time ran out. However, those who consider they are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement may still apply.

For those not covered by the agreement who are looking to make a fresh application for residency, the process must begin in England, through the Spanish Consulate. But according to Diego Echavarria, a legal expert speaking to  The Express, The Consulate is being very strict, “turning down a lot of applications for stupid reasons.” He says English citizens now have the entry requirements of other countries not in The EU, such as Asia or Africa, and these are “very tough to achieve.”

The residency deadline was widely reported in expat newspapers, especially in the Costa Del Sol region where Diego is based.  However, some Britons did not think the ramifications would be so big. If you can prove that you resided in the country before the deadline there is still an opportunity to apply, but the mountain of paperwork is more than some people can acquire.


Diego said some applications have been turned down for reasons he considers “nonsense”.

“We have cases that have been turned down for nonsense. We have been requested to show that the person had property here or was renting here and they have requested a copy of the letting contract and the supermarket bill etc. “But they didn’t believe the person was in Spain, so it was turned down. They’ve appealed and been rejected again.” 

He hopes the two countries can reach an agreement on residence permits so that Spain can welcome Britons fully again. 

He said: “Spain is a touristic country, it’s a big part of the economy. At the end of the day, the Brits are spending their pension here.”

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    • yah, you don’t understand what those words mean. Expat has nothing to do with being EU vs non-EU.

      Expats is a nice way to refer to rich immigrants who immigrated mostly for fun/adventure

      • For a Brit, “expat” is (1) a Brit regardless of income or wealth – applies to a junky in Goa, a retired British Rail conductor in Javea or the CEO of British Petroleum US… for as long as they are Brits (2) international managers from Western countries on a temporary secondment or retired in Monaco. A “migrant” is everyone else.

      • Someone who understand the hypocresy of brits when they are “expats” vs when you are an “inmigrant”, it is sad but for many of them it’s a slap of reality

  1. “He says English citizens now have the entry requirements of other countries not in The EU”

    Well, duh! The UK is not in the EU now – what are they complaining about?

  2. Are these people from the same UK that recently detained Italian au pairs in prison cells for several days before deporting them?

    They should be pleased Spain does not apply equal treatment.

  3. “At the end of the day, the Brits are spending their pension here.”

    Yeah right… In businesses owned by British,enjoying Spanish healthcare having never paid for it.

    • Your comment re healthcare is inaccurate. I paid NI for 47 years, and when I retired to Spain the British government provided me with a form S1, which assures the Spanish healthcare system that they will be reimbursed for my care.

      For me, at least 70% of my expenditure is with locally owned firms. It’s what I came here for. Can’t vouch for everyone else in this.

      Still, I have friends who have been living here “under the radar” for 15+ years, paying no tax, driving their UK registered cars, some without MOT, and now getting upset because they are not finding it easy to get residence.

  4. Bunch of hooligans lacking basic culture. Decent Brits holiday in the Cotswolds or Cornwall. It’s the white trash that, despite living abroad for years, didn’t even bother to pay taxes or learn the language.

  5. The thing with “expats” is that many pensioners wanted to live in Spain under the radar, to avoid paying taxes in neither UK or Spain, So no wonder they’re having a hard time trying to demonstrate they actually lived there.

    Also, many fail to understand that Spain has no problem welcoming pensioners that went legal since the very beginning.

    Who Spain is not welcoming is those that didn’t want to pay taxes, went under the radar, but also wanted to use spanish health care system and other public services. It’s mostly those the ones that are being rejected.

  6. If you are white anglosaxon you are expat. If you don’t you are inmigrant… how curious…

    PD: No, Spain does not survive either thanks to the pensions of english retirees or thanks to english low-cost tourists, that’s what you want to believe. Stop that nonsense

  7. No use crying over spilt milk. I can only hope that a lot of the people whose application has been turned down voted pro-Breixt. For the rest, I am really sorry you need to live with more than half of your citizens being short-sighted morons. Try and organize yourselves and maybe you can get into the EU again in due time. Would you like some cream on that humble pie?

  8. First of all, they are immigrants, not expats.

    Second, they are being treated as non-EU citizens because they are non-EU citizens. That’s what Brexit means, doesn’t it?

    Third, if they have been living in Spain and can prove it, their applications are being accepted. The cheaters, the ones who avoid paying taxes, are the ones being rejected. I’m sure that a Brexit voter, considering their ‘immigrants are coming to abuse our welfare state’ dialectics, can get on board with this, can’t they?

  9. This news is bad for the 16,141,241 (48.11%) people who voted remain. Some of those might be the ones suffering the consequences of the leave vote, like the bureaucratic struggles reported in this article. Some of those remain voters might be friendly retired folks rooted in Spain after years enjoying bearable weather. They do not deserve it. I despise some of the hatred comments towards British as whole. Do not get distracted with governments rhetoric. Do not get drawn to geopolitical fights that transcend individuals. Be more careful, for leave voters, stay and die in your island, for remain voters, I hope Spain continues being a friendly country for you.

  10. No son rentables los britanicos que viven en españa . la gran mayoria son ancianos que viven de chupar de nuestra sanidad. gastan demasiado. que se vayan a sus paises y vivan alli. vienen ancianos solamente. los Españoles que van a reino unido van a estudiar o trabajar de camareros para aprender el idioma y son muy muy jovenes y no van a sus hospitales. van a trabajar. yo me alegro de que se vayan.

  11. Well done EW for lifting a story from an utterly bias, pro BREXIT, far right-wing, fascist loving media source, The Express. Are you trying to enter the league of gutter press also? Keep going if so.

  12. If I rent an apartment in UK, and I pay in the supermarket with my VISA, do I own the right to stay in England forever? Of course not. Why do expats think they have that right in Spain?
    They can demostrate they lived in Spain for several years, and that helps, but it’s not definitive.

  13. 1.They are inmigrants
    2. Most of them ilegal inmigrants as they refused to apply the residence in Spain (even as EU you must submit after 3/6 months.
    3. They spend some mone in Spain, that is true. They waste our money in healthy care.
    4. UK is welcome to come back to UE, this time better with Euro and international metric system.

  14. British are terrible drivers, i am a cyclist and i really do not want them to drive anymore in my country unless they prove they can. I hope the goverment do something about this.

  15. Plenty of people here seem to be unaware that the British government pays the health care costs of British pensioners who reside in Spain. Brits who work in Spain pay via their taxes. Other Brits require private health insurance in order to gain residency (as even EU citizens do if they’re self-sufficient applicants).


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