Spain wants to scrap the 90/180-day rule for all Brits

  • Canarian Weekly
  • 14-11-2023
  • National
  • Photo Credit: Stock Image
Spain wants to scrap the 90/180-day rule for all Brits

Spain has renewed interest in lobbying to have the 90/180 day scrapped after successfully dropping its post-Brexit visa requirements for British touring performers in a win for the UK music industry, and now it appears that it will go all the way and ask to scrap the 90-day ruling for all UK citizens coming to Spain, including the Canary Islands.

For those who own second homes in Spain, it has made life extremely complicated since Brexit, and as the UK is the country’s largest and most important tourist market, the Spanish government is set to ask the EU to lift the rule that limits British tourists to 90-day visits.

They have admitted that the restriction works against the country’s interests and the acting Minister of Tourism, Hector Gomez, has had a meeting about this with the UK’s Director of Consular Affairs and Crisis, Jennifer Anderson, at the Foreign Office.

“Unfortunately, the rule is not something Spain has established by itself or can get rid of,” he said. “It is in our interest to lobby and convince the EU that we can try to work an exception with them. But the solution must come from them."

Under the Schengen Area rules of stay for third-country citizens, non-EU citizens, including those from the UK, entering the territory under the visa-free regime can only stay for a maximum of 90 days, for every 180 days.

Those who overstay this period, intentionally or unintentionally, may face penalties, including deportation and entry bans, which the Spanish government made clear in January, and this new post-Brexit situation is proving a nightmare for thousands of Brits who own properties across Spain.

France changes rules for British 2nd homeowners:
The French Senate has approved a bill amendment this week granting automatic long-stay visa rights to British second-home owners in France “without the need for any formalities”. This amendment is part of France’s immigration bill and will proceed to the Assemblée Nationale for debate in December.

The amendment recognises the unique situation of British ‘part year’ residents who own properties, many of whom did not vote for Brexit and who find themselves in this situation through no fault of their own, and aims to simplify or even eliminate the visa process by allowing for easier and extended stays for those owning a second home in France.

If approved by the French National Assembly, it would mean that second homeowners in France who get this automatic right to a visa (which seems to amount to a visa exemption), would only have to worry about the 90/180-day problem when visiting Schengen Countries other than France.

This would mean that British part-year residents in France, just like their full-year resident compatriots in France, would be free once again to take holidays to other Schengen countries because they would still have the full complement of 90-in-180 days under the Schengen Visa Waiver available to use. At present, people in this position are blocked from visiting other EU countries even as tourists if they’ve run out of days.

This is potentially good news for Spain in light of their renewed interest in solving the 90/180-day problem for Brits. However, it has yet to be seen if they will take the opportunity to move this idea on during the remaining time of its Presidency of the Council of the European Union.