[Updated on 8th January 2021]
So, you’ve decided to make the big decision and want to move to Fuerteventura. But where do you start and what needs to be done for you to become a legal resident?
On 31st December 2020, the transition period for the UK leaving the EU ended and, sadly, along with it the right to freedom of movement within the EU. This means the requirements for becoming a resident changed for all those moving after 1st January 2021.
At the moment there is no separate agreement between the British Government and the EU concerning movement of British Nationals within the Schengen area, which includes Spain, nor are there any plans arranged for negotiations on this matter. This means that from 1st January 2021, the current rules for nationals of third countries applies to British Citizens.
All British Citizens that are registered, or have at least applied to register, as a resident PRIOR to 31st December 2020, will have their rights to remain covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. Furthermore, up to June 2021, if you can prove that you were a resident of Spain prior to 1st January 2021 then you can apply for residency under the same conditions as an EU member and be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement.
Requirements of Residencia
Before you can apply, you need to ensure that you can meet both the health and financial requirements necessary.
Health insurance must be equal to, or better than, Spanish health service, with no exclusions, including pre-existing health conditions, and no excess. You are no longer able to register on the Spanish national health system with an S1. Should you be employed and contributing, once you have paid in enough contributions you will be allowed to register on the Spanish NHS.
Financial requirements are based on the Indicador Público de Renta de Efectos Múltiples (IPREM). This figure can change annually. For an individual applicant you multiply the figure by 400%, and 100% for each additional family member. For the first year you need to have proof for 1 year, but for the second year you will need to have proof for two years, then for your 4th year proof of one year again.
Step 1 – Visa
As from 1st January 2021, any UK National wishing to reside in Fuerteventura/Spain must first apply for a visa at the Spanish Embassy in the UK BEFORE coming over. Click here for details of which visa you will need to apply for, along with a current prices. Once you have your visa you then have 3 months to arrive in Fuerteventura and apply for your TIE. Click here for the cost of visas.
Step 2 – Padrón
The next step is to obtain your Empadronamiento (Padrón). This is obtained from the Ayuntamiento (town hall) of the municipalilty you will be living in. For this you will need proof of your address of residence here. If you are renting a property it will be your rental contract, showing a term of at least 3 months. If you already have your own property it will be your escritura.
Step 3 – TIE
Once you have your Padrón you can apply for a Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjeros (TIE). For the first step you must make an appointment at the Foreign Office in Puerto del Rosario. Their you will submit the necessary forms along with all the required paperwork. The second step will be done 2-3 months later at the Police Station. It is then that you will be required to have your fingerprints taken. Click for more details and links to necessary forms.
Requirements of Residence
For the first 5 years from your date of TIE, you must not go out of Spain for longer than 6 months in any 1 year period, and no more than 12 months in total. If you do, you could be in jeopardy of having your residencia revoked. If that happens it is very doubtful that you will be able to apply for it again.
When you renew your TIE after your first 5 years, it will be changed to permanente and you will be allowed to leave Spain for up to 5 years.
Step 4 – Driving License
Registered residents of Spain MUST change their British Driving Licence for a Spanish one. To do this you will be applying for a new Spanish Driving Licence, for which you must take a driving test, both practice and theory.
If you are bringing a car over that is registered in the UK, you have 3 months in which to register it in Fuerteventura. Other than that residents are not allowed to drive an English registered car.