Healthplan Spain



Updated: 19/02/2021

Brexit finally happened on 31st January 2020. This means that it is important that UK expats living in Spain keep themselves informed on the latest news and updates coming from the British and Spanish governments, as well as from the European Union.

Both the UK and Spanish governments have previously signalled that they are committed to working together in order to protect the rights of British citizens living in Spain and the rights of Spanish nationals living in the UK.

Both governments have suggested that access to each countries respective healthcare systems and legal residency would be maintained after Brexit.

This page will be updated as and when there are any announcements or any significant changes in regards to the topics below. Please bookmark and share with your friends and family.

Here you will find a brief overview of the most important areas for British expats living in Spain both prior to and after the UK exits the EU. We also outline the most essential things for you to do prior to the Brexit deadline to ensure that you are seen as legally resident here in Spain.

It is important to note that although the Brexit deadline was the 31st January 2020, The Withdrawal Agreement provides a transition period until the 31st of December 2020. The transition period will allow all parties more time to get everything finalised, iron out any issues that may arise and negotiate any future trade deals.


[19/02/2021] - British Nationals In Spain Offered Alternatives To Prove Residency -

[29/12/2020] - Gibraltar’s Border With Spain Still In Doubt Despite Brexit Breakthrough

[22/12/2020] - Boris Johnson Rules Out Brexit Extension

[16/12/2020] - BREXIT: EU President Says 'Narrow Path' Is There But Fishing Still A Major Hurdle

[15/12/2020] - Travellers To Spain From The UK Warned To Carry Proof Of Residency

[14/12/2020] - PET TRAVEL: UK Granted 'Part 2 Listed' Status By EU

[10/12/2020] - Brexit Negotiations Stall As 'Large Gaps Remain' -

[19/11/2020] - What Changes For Brits Travelling To The EU After December 31?

[17/11/2020] - BREXIT: Spain Launches New Process For Brits To Exchange Driving Licences

[16/11/2020] - BREXIT: UK Will Prosper Says PM As Time Runs Out To Avoid No-Deal

[28/10/2020] - What ‘Swallows’ And Second Homeowners In Spain Need To Know About Travel Post-Brexit -

[16/10/2020] - Boris Johnson Warns UK To Get Ready For No-Deal Brexit -

[13/10/2020] - What Brits In Spain Must Do Before December 31 -

[07/10/2020] - BREXIT: How To Prove You Are Resident In Spain -

[23/09/2020] - UK Ambassador Reassures Brits Living In Spain -

[21/09/2020] - Brits In Spain Could Lose UK Bank Accounts Under No-Deal Brexit -

[17/09/2020] - Spain Wants Gibraltar To Join The Schengen Zone -

[07/09/2020] - Brexit Agreement Must Be Reached By October 15 Warns Boris Johnson -

[12/08/2020] - Number Of UK Citizens Moving To The EU At 10-Year High Study Reveals -

[11/08/2020] - British Embassy Clarifies Minimum Income For Residency In Spain -

[20/07/2020] - UK Launches Campaign To Ensure Brits Can Stay In EU After Brexit -

[17/07/2020] - Pet Owners Warned Of Four-Month Delay When Travelling Between UK And EU -

[08/07/2020] - Hopes Of Brexit Deal As EU Appears To Compromise On Fishing Rights -

[01/07/2020] - British Embassy Makes Statement On Residency Appointments -

[30/06/2020] - Brexit Negotiations Begin In Brussels -

[23/06/2020] - British Embassy Updates British Citizens Over Residency Rights -

[10/06/2020] - Britain Will Not Extend The Brexit Transition Period -

[10/06/2020] - UK Drivers Given 7-Month Photocard Licence Extension

[28/05/2020] Brexit: Remainers Call For Two Year Extension To Transition Period

[27/05/2020] UK Claims Victory In Brexit Battle For Fishing Rights

[12/05/2020] EU Could Lock Britain In With New Laws If Brexit Transition Is Extended

[17/04/2020] UK Threatens WTO Terms As Brexit Trade Talks Stall

[30/03/2020] EU-UK Brexit Meeting To Take Place Via Video Link

[26/03/2020] EU Expects Johnson To Extend Brexit Deadline As Coronavirus Halts Trade Talks -

[30/01/2020] Brits In Spain Will Continue To Receive State Pension Increases

[29/01/2020] British Embassy Seeks to Assure Brits in Spain Post Brexit

[15/01/2020] British Expats Issued With Brexit Warning By Ambassador Hugh Elliott -

[10/01/2020] BREXIT: MPs Approve Final Withdrawal Bill -

[20/12/2019] MPs Back Boris Johnson’s Deal To Leave EU By 31 January

[16/12/2019] Brits In Spain: Brexit Is Coming - Are You Prepared?

[30/10/2019] UK General Election Called For December

[28/10/2019] EU Agrees Brexit ‘Flextension’ To January 31 -

[17/10/2019] BREAKING: Brexit Deal Agreed Between UK And EU

[16/10/2019] Issues Still Remain With Potential Brexit Agreement

[03/10/2019] Boris Lays Out New Brexit Plan Warning It's His Deal or No-Deal

[26/09/2019] Brits Registered In Spain Jumps 10% As Brexit Looms

[24/09/2019] Supreme Court Rules Suspension Of Parliament Was Unlawful

[11/09/2019] Scottish Courts Rule Parliament Suspension Unlawful

[09/09/2019] Queen Gives Royal Assent To Prevent No-Deal Brexit

[05/09/2019] Johnson Calls For Election As MP's Block No-Deal Brexit

[02/09/2019] British Expats To Receive £200 Brexit Pensions Boost By Text

[28/8/2019] BREXIT: Boris Johnson Asks Queen To Suspend Parliament -

[20/8/2019] Operation Yellowhammer Leak: The Most Likely Scenario Of A No-Deal Brexit

[23/7/2019] Bojo Wins Race To Be New PM

[18/06/2019] Leadership Battle: Where Do Candidates Stand On Brexit?

[14/6/2019] Boris On Course To Be PM After First Round Of Votes

[13/6/2019] Boris Johnson Not Aiming For A No-Deal Brexit

[29/5/2019] Boris Johnson To Appear In Court Over £350M Brexit 'Lies'

[28/5/2019] Hunt Warns Against 'Suicidal' No-Deal Brexit

[25/5/2019] May Quits As UK Prime Minister Jeopardising Brexit Deal

[21/5/2019] May Seeks Approval From Cabinet For Her 'Bold' New Offer

[17/05/2019] Brexit Cross-Party Talks End Without A Deal

[15/05/2019] MPs To Vote On Withdrawal Agreement For Fourth Time

[14/05/2019] Theresa May Under Pressure To Abandon Talks With Labour -

[29/04/2019] Cross-Party Talks Resume As Polls Suggest Tory Backlash

[12/04/2019] UK Warned To Not Waste Time As Brexit Is Extended To 31st October

[10/04/2019] Tusk Recommends 12 Month Brexit Delay

[09/04/2019] Brexiteers Seek To Oust May With No Confidence Vote

[08/04/2019] Brexit Talks Continue As Customs Union Most Likely Outcome

[05/04/2019] May Requests Further Extension To 30th June

[04/04/2019] Cross-Party Talks Continue As MPs Attempt To Block No-Deal

[01/04/2019] MPs Vote Again Tonight To Break Brexit Deadlock -

[28/03/2019] Indicative Votes Fail To Unite MPs In Brexit Chaos -

[22/03/2019] EU Agrees To Short Brexit Delay

[21/03/2019] EU Will Allow Brexit Delay IF MPs Agree To May's Deal

[20/03/2019] Theresa May Will Not Seek A Long Delay To Brexit

[19/03/2019] Third Brexit Vote Blocked By House Of Commons Speaker

[15/03/2019] British MPs Vote To Delay Brexit -

[14/03/2019] No 10 Will Give MPs Free Vote To Extend Article 50 Today -

[13/03/2019] Deal or No-Deal: MPs To Vote After May Crushing -

[05/03/2019] Spain Guarantees Expat Rights For No-Deal Brexit

[27/02/2019] Spanish PM announces decree to deal with a “disorderly” Brexit -

[27/02/2019] EU Confirms Brits Will Retain Social Security Rights If No-Deal Brexit


Under current Spanish law, you must register with the government if you intend to stay in Spain for longer than 3 months in any one period.

If you are registered as a resident in Spain prior to the 31st of December 2020, there is nothing you will need to do at this time.

There will be a transition period up until the 31st of December 2020. During this time your rights under EU law will be maintained.

If you currently hold a registration certificate or ID card, these are valid for proving that you are legally resident in Spain following the UK’s withdrawal on the 31st January 2020 and as such you will benefit from the rights specified under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Now the transition period has begun, those who were resident in Spain prior to the 31st of December 2020, will need to request a definitive residence document which will be a foreigners identity card or ‘third-country’ ID card commonly referred to as a TIE (Tarjeta de Identificación de Extranjeros). These will need to be obtained by the end of 2020 and will replace the existing A4 green residency certificates and cards.

If you arrive in Spain from July 6, 2020 and the end of the transition period, a TIE card will be issued to you directly.

The TIE will be a biometric card and will prove your eligibility to benefit from the rights included under the Withdrawal Agreement. The card will also mean your status will be that of a legally resident ‘third-country’ national.

You may exchange your green residency certificate (Green A4 certificate or credit card size) for the new TIE card, however, this is not a requirement. Both documents will demonstrate to the Spanish authorities your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

If you have Spanish nationality, there is nothing that you will need to do.

If you are currently living in Spain and have not yet registered as an EU citizen here, you should do so NOW. Please see the section further below on ‘What you should do prior to Brexit’.

Further info on getting permanent residency in Spain including a simple three-step process can be seen at our page below.


Spanish law currently states that you must exchange your UK driving licence within 2 years of becoming legally resident in Spain.

On November 16, 2020, the Spanish traffic authorities launched a new process for British nationals living in Spain to exchange their UK driving licence for a Spanish/EU version.

Further information can be found here.

The current fee to exchange your licence is €24.10. You will also need to take a basic fitness and aptitude test via one of the official driver medical centres (Centro de Reconocimiento de Conductores Autorizado) You can see a video of the process from via YouTube here

If your UK driving licence is lost or stolen within the two year period before you have exchanged it, you will need to contact the DVLA in the UK who will issue you with a ‘certificate of entitlement’ in Spanish.

You can use this as proof of your eligibility to drive in Spain and will also enable you to apply for a Spanish licence. The DVLA will NOT issue you with a new UK driving licence if you are resident in Spain.

You can see the official information from Spain’s DGT traffic department in English here.

It has now been confirmed by the British Embassy in Spain that the previous advice that drivers had to apply to exchange their licence by 31 January 2020, was only relevant if the UK left the EU without a deal.

The Embassy has since said that anyone resident in Spain will have until the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020 to exchange them.

However, due to the pandemic, many people are struggling to make an appointment with the DGT. The British and Spanish authorities are aware of the situation and are currently working on a solution.

There are rumours that you will be able to register your intention by December 25 to exchange your licence. You will then be able to make an appointment in the new year to do the exchange once appointments become available.

It is not clear what will happen after the grace period, but it may then mean that those who have NOT previously exchanged their licences would need to take driving lessons AND sit a Spanish driving test. Not only would this be quite stressful for the majority of Brits, it would also be expensive as Spanish law dictates that you must sit at least 20 hours of lessons prior to taking the test.

You would also need to pay the application fee. It is estimated that it could cost around £1,800, so it is well worth renewing your UK driving licence in good time prior to Brexit.

[10/06/2020] - UK driving licence holders in Spain have now been granted a 7-month extension to renew their licence photocards by the DVLA.

If you are resident in Spain and your photocard expires between February 1, 2020, and August 31, 2020, it will now be automatically extended for 7-months.

See the following article for further details.


Under current European Union Law, both UK citizens in Spain and Spanish citizens in the UK have the right to free healthcare under the healthcare legislation established in those countries.

If you receive an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit in Spain, you can apply for an S1 certificate, which will allow you and your dependents to access public healthcare in Spain.

If you currently have an S1 or EHIC (For those travelling to Spain) you will continue to be covered up until the end of 2020 and mirrors the offer that the British government has made to Spanish nationals living in the UK.

If you pay into the Spanish social security system and have a health card (Tarjeta Sanitaria) you are currently entitled to healthcare in Spain.

If you are moving to Spain, do not qualify for an S1 card and will not be employed here and paying into the social security system, you will need to prove to the Spanish authorities that you will not be a financial burden to the state.

One of the requirements is to obtain private health insurance cover. You will also need to prove sufficient income for you and your family. This also applies to students studying in Spain. Official information can be found here.

UK exits the EU with a deal - Holders of a health card will retain their rights and will be dependent on any specific bilateral agreements that are adopted between the United Kingdom and Spain.

UK exits the EU with a no-deal - If you have a Health Card (Tarjeta Sanitaria) issued by the Spanish National Health System, it is because you meet legally established criteria under Spanish law to be eligible for that card. Your individual situation will not change because the United Kingdom is no longer a member of the EU.


Now the UK has left the EU, UK nationals will no longer be permitted to vote in European elections.

However, the UK and Spanish governments recently signed a bilateral treaty meaning that UK citizens will be able to vote and/or stand in local elections regardless as to whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal. Further reading here

UK nationals in Spain can still vote in UK Parliament Elections but will need to register as an overseas voter. More info here

Currently, you may only register and vote in UK Parliament elections if you have previously lived in the UK within the last 15 years.


The outcome of Brexit will not affect your right to hold a UK passport and to renew it while living in Spain.

For further information on how to renew your UK passport from Spain, please see our article at

From January 1, 2021, those who live in the UK and wish to travel into Spain and other parts of the EU will need to have a minimum of 6 months validity remaining on their passports on the date that they travel into the Schengen area.

If you renew your passport early, you will have any outstanding time added to the 10 year validity period.

However, any extra months added, do NOT count towards the six months validity.

The UK Government has a handy passport checker that you can use to check the validity of your passport which you can see at the following page.

The six months validity does NOT apply to those who are officially resident in Spain.

If you are officially resident in Spain and travelling outside of Spain to the UK or within the EU you advised by the British Embassy to carry your TIE residencia card with you to provide proof that you are resident and not a Swallow.


The UK currently has a double-taxation agreement with Spain, which ensures that you do not pay tax on the same income in both countries.

When the UK leaves the European Union by the 31st January 2020, regardless as to whether there is a deal or no-deal the double taxation arrangements with Spain will NOT change.

This means that if you are resident in Spain, you will be taxed in Spain only on your worldwide income, regardless as to the country the income was derived. Those who are classed as non-resident will only pay tax on income that arises in Spain for example, capital gains tax, I.B.I and Imputed Income Tax/Rental property taxes. More on those below.

Spain also has an additional requirement for residents, which is known as the annual declaration of overseas assets (Modelo 720).

This only applies to those who have foreign assets over €50,000. Further info can be found at


Regardless as to whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal, you will still be able to receive your UK pension if living in Spain.

If you last worked in Spain, you will need to apply for your pension via the Spanish social security system or INSS (Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad) Further details here.

If you have not worked in Spain, you can contact the IPS (International Pension Centre) in the UK to apply for it.

If you are living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020 you will get your UK State Pension uprated every year for as long as you continue to live there. This will happen even if you start claiming your pension on or after 1 January 2021, as long as you meet the qualifying conditions explained in the new State Pension guidance.

If you are living in Spain by 31 December 2020, you will be able to count future social security contributions towards meeting the qualifying conditions for your UK State Pension.

If you work and pay social security contributions in Spain, you will still be able to add your UK social security contributions towards your Spanish pension. This will happen even if you claim your pension after 31 December 2020.

Other benefits such as child benefit and disability benefits will also continue to be paid to those living in Spain.

Further official guidance on pensions and benefits can be found here


Up until December 31, 2020, the rules on travel will not change.

It has now been confirmed that the UK has now been granted 'Part 2 Listed' status, meaning that the process for UK citizens to travel into the EU will be a lot easier than first believed.

As a result of the EU voting for the UK and its crown dependencies to be characterised as listed, pet owners will now only need to apply for an AHC (Animal Health Certificate) prior to travel. The existing EU pet passports for those living in the UK will no longer be valid.

Existing EU pet passports issued prior to January 1, 2020, will be valid for those who reside in the EU and will be valid for travel to the UK.

The new AHC certificates will last for up to 4 months from the issue date for onward travel within the EU member states.

Further details can be found via our article here.

You can view the latest information via the UK government site here.


If you are already resident in Spain you will need to make sure that the Spanish authorities are aware of this. By doing so, there can be no ambiguity once we reach the end of the transition period on the 31st of December 2020.

The following advice is not only our own, but is also the advice of the British Embassy here in Spain and the British government.

  • Make sure you have your NIE number - If you intend to live in Spain, buy a property or do any form of business here you will need an NIE number. You can find more details about NIE and how to get one here
  • Register as Resident in Spain - If you intend to spend more than 90 days in Spain, you will need to register as an EU citizen in Spain. You can do this by registering yourself and any family members at your local police station’s foreigners department. Remember that if you have been resident in Spain for 5 years or more you can register as a permanent resident also or “Residente comunitario con carácter permanente”. Info from Citizens Advice Spain here. You can find your nearest foreigners department here You can also read further information including links to relevant forms at our other page at 
  • Register on the Padrón or municipal roll at your local town hall - This is another important step in letting the authorities know that you are officially resident here in Spain. If you are not registered, go to your local town hall or ayuntamiento and ask about “Certificado de Empadronamiento”. Further details on how to register on the padrón, what it is and how to register can be found here
  • Exchange your Driving Licence - If you are resident in Spain, you MUST exchange your British licence for a Spanish one within two years of arrival. If there is a no-deal, under their contingency plans (Ley 5/2019), Spain has said that expats will now have until 31st of December 2020 to exchange their UK licence for a Spanish one. However, recent guidance from the British Embassy in Spain suggests that expats will soon be able to register their intention before December 31 to exchange their licence. They will then be able to book an appointment in the New Year once appointments become available. 
  • Register your Property - If you own a property in Spain, make sure the property is registered in your name at the Property Registry. If unsure you can request a ‘Nota Simple’ from the Property Registry, which should show your name as the registered owner. Further details here

It's important that you get the ball rolling as soon as possible and not to leave anything to chance. 

The Spanish government has now given its assurances to British expats living in Spain that they will give them a ‘grace period’ in order to complete any residency requirements and get their documentation in order.

The grace period will end on the 31st of December 2020. This should give British nationals resident in Spain sufficient time in which to get their affairs in order.

We have read countless comments on social media from expats who seem to think that the above is “just scaremongering”. Although we would definitely agree that the press has been circulating a ton of ‘fake news’ recently in regards to Brits living in the EU, it’s a FACT that if you are a resident in Spain, you will need to make sure that the Spanish authorities are aware of this and that you have registered in all the right places as outlined above.

Why leave these things to chance?

If you are genuinely resident here and are not trying to avoid paying taxes or flout the law in some way, there can be no reason why you wouldn’t want to make sure you are legally registered wherever you need to be.

There are many gestors and companies who can help you to obtain all of the above for a small fee. In the long run, it will help you to avoid any sleepless nights.

For more details and information from both the UK and Spanish governments, please see the following two websites.

UK Government Official Guidelines - 
Spanish Government Official Guidelines -