Spain wants to scrap the 90-day limit and allow long-term stays for UK visitors, according to property and real estate firm Lucas Fox.
The company said that the Spanish government plans on asking the EU to get rid of the 90-day rule that prevents UK residents from visiting the country for longer periods, as they accounted for 20% of the country’s tourists before Brexit.
Visitors from non-EU countries are only allowed to stay in the Schengen area for a period of 90 days every six months without a visa, blocking travellers from the possibility of staying indefinitely.
Fernando Valdés, Spanish tourism secretary, told UK newspaper INews: “The restriction against tourists from the UK works against Spain’s interests. Spain is set to ask the EU to exempt British tourists from the current rule.
“The rule is not something Spain established itself, so we can’t get rid of it ourselves. We can help to work on an exception, but the solution must come from European authorities.”
Impact of change
Mohammad Butt, Barcelona office director of Lucas Fox, said: “Many Brits that own property in Spain do not have residency and the 90-day restriction forbids them from staying for longer periods.
“Before Brexit, second homeowners without Spanish residency were used to spending six months at a time at their homes in Spain, as they enjoyed some winter sun. But with the 90-day rule now being enforced more strictly by the Spanish authorities, such lengthy stays in Spain are no longer possible without residency.
“The 90-day rule applies across the EU, but if an individual wants to spend more than 90 days out of 180 days in the EU, they will need to apply for some form of visa. The easiest way is to purchase a property and acquire a golden visa.
“Over the last 12 months, we have seen a steep rise in UK investors buying property in Spain, with 56% of sales completed for a primary residence, while 10% were for second homes, and the remaining 34% were investments including golden visas’.”