Spain calls for the removal of the 90-day visit ban for British visitors
Property News

Spain calls for the removal of the 90-day visit ban for British visitors

Spain, advocates for the abolition of the post-Brexit 90-day visit limit, acknowledging its detrimental impact on the economy.

Brits with second homes in Spain may soon enjoy extended stays beyond the 90-day cap, prompting Spain to actively lobby the EU for a transformative change. The current law restricts Britons to spending only 90 out of every 180 days in their holiday homes, requiring a long-stay visa for prolonged stays. The Spanish government, realising the urgency of the matter, recognises the necessity of collaborative efforts with the EU to alleviate this limitation, echoing the sentiments expressed by France in their recent Senate amendment.

Hector Gomez, Spain's acting Minister of Tourism, openly acknowledges the negative consequences of the 90-day rule on British travellers and their impact on the Spanish economy. In a recent statement, Gomez expressed Spain's interest in persuading the EU to work towards an exception, emphasising that the ultimate solution lies in collaborative efforts.

The developments in Spain follow in the footsteps of France, where the Senate successfully voted through an amendment to the immigration law, granting automatic long-stay visas to British second homeowners. Andrew Hesselden, Campaign Director and founder of '180 Days in Spain,' lauds the French senators for recognising the injustice faced by British part-year residents since Brexit. He remains hopeful for a parallel recognition in Spain, echoing the sentiments of campaign members.

Hector Gomez's confirmation of an "important meeting" at the Foreign Office with Jennifer Anderson, the UK's Director of Consular Affairs and Crisis, is a recent sign of progress in Spain. The discussions centred around issues pertinent to the stays of British tourists in Spain, with a focus on collaboration projects for future seasons. This dialogue is believed to have included deliberations on the 90-day cap, reflecting a proactive approach to finding a resolution.

With nearly twice as many British visitors as German ones did the previous year, Spain is the largest and most lucrative market for UK tourism. According to data from Spain's National Institute of Statistics (INE), two million people travelled to Spain from the UK in the previous year, constituting 23.8% of the total number of visitors.

However, the existing Schengen Area rules for non-EU citizens, including those from the UK, impose a maximum stay of 90 days out of every 180 days under the visa-free regime. Violating these rules, whether intentionally or unintentionally, could lead to severe penalties in Spain, including fines of up to €10,000 and potential jail terms. Deportation and entry bans are also on the table, making post-Brexit restrictions a source of considerable concern for thousands of Brits with properties across Spain and France.

In France, Martine Berthet, a French senator representing the Savoie in the southern Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, has actively pursued a change to the rules. According to The Daily Telegraph, complaints from Britons who own vacation homes in the area describe the current system as convoluted, challenging, and full of pitfalls.

Berthet emphasises that the existing rules hinder Britons from contributing to France's economy and predicts a rise in vacant properties in popular tourist regions due to these restrictions. Despite challenges, she notes warming ties between France and the UK following a recent royal visit, highlighting the significance by pointing out that King Charles reserved his only official speech for the French Senate.

The proposed amendment to the law still faces the hurdle of debate in France's National Assembly, the country's lower house. Notably, it encounters opposition from Emmanuel Macron's government, adding a layer of complexity to the legislative process.

In conclusion, the evolving landscape of post-Brexit travel regulations for Brits with holiday homes in Spain and France reflects a dynamic interplay between national and EU-level considerations. The collaborative efforts between Spain and France, coupled with advocacy from affected individuals and campaigns, illustrate the nuanced challenges and potential solutions in this evolving scenario. As these discussions progress, the outcomes will not only impact the stay durations of British tourists but also hold broader implications for the economic ties and property landscapes of these popular European destinations.

Our industry stories

Latest market trends, investments, and property developments in the Iberian Peninsula