UK Government Brexit update
Official information for British people moving to or living in Spain, including guidance on EU Exit.
3:54pm, 16 April 2019: EU Exit update: Added in new information on EU Exit in pensions, passports, healthcare and returning to the UK section.
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You will need to tell the UK government offices that deal with your benefits, pension and tax if you are moving or retiring abroad.
If you retire in Spain, you can claim:
Your UK State Pension or new UK State Pension
Your Spanish and UK State Pension from the Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social if you worked in Spain
Pensions from working in other EU countries
If you get a Life Certificate form in the post, you must fill it in promptly otherwise your payments may be suspended.
Pensions after the UK leaves the EU
The UK government will continue to pay the UK State Pension to those eligible after the UK leaves the EU. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you can read our guidance on pensions. The UK government will uprate your UK State Pension for the fiscal year 2019/2020 in any scenario.
If the UK leaves the EU with a deal and 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 the end of the implementation period.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the Spanish government has proposed that they will take into account periods of work in the UK before the UK leaves the EU when calculating your Spanish pension. We will update this guidance when there is a formal agreement on this.
Passports and travel after the UK leaves the EU
If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, nothing will change until the end of 2020. In this time you can continue to travel freely in the Schengen area with your UK passport. What happens after 2020 will form the next part of negotiations.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, new travel rules will apply. You should have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).
If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.
You should check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip. You’ll need to renew your passport before travelling if you do not have enough time left on it.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK nationals will not need visas for short stays elsewhere in the EU. You will be able to stay up to 90 days in another EU country, within a 180-day period. You should retain evidence of travel (eg train and plane tickets), in case these are requested by national authorities. If you hold a residence permit from an EU member state, you will be able to transit through other EU member states to reach your country of residence. We will update this guidance as more information becomes available.
You need to make sure you are correctly registered for healthcare as a resident in Spain. You can read the NHS’s guidance on who is able to access healthcare in Spain and how to register..
If you are resident in Spain, you should not be using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from the UK to access healthcare in Spain.
If you live in Spain and receive an exportable UK pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit, you may currently be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.
If you are entitled to an S1, you are also entitled to apply for a UK issued EHIC but note:
you may use an EHIC to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland
the EHIC covers treatment that is medically necessary until your planned return home
an EHIC is not a replacement for comprehensive travel insurance
for more information you can read our travel advice pages and advice on foreign travel insurance
If you are not an S1 holder, but are registered for public healthcare in Spain in another way and are travelling outside of Spain, you should apply for a Tarjeta Sanitaria Europea (TSE) online (in Spanish), or go to your nearest social security office (Insitituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social).
You should also buy comprehensive travel insurance to cover anything not covered by your TSE, EHIC or for travel to countries outside the EU.
You can read the NHS guidance on healthcare and studying abroad.
You can also find an English-speaking doctor in Spain.
Healthcare after the UK leaves the EU
If the UK leaves the EU with a deal and you are resident in Spain, your current rights on access to healthcare in Spain will remain the same as long as you remain a resident in Spain.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, your access to healthcare may change. You should ensure you are correctly registered for healthcare and, if in any doubt, consult with your regional healthcare authority. You can read the Spanish government’s guidance on access to Spanish healthcare and EU Exit.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the Spanish Royal Decree states that if you are currently registered for healthcare in Spain as a resident, you will be able to continue to access healthcare until at least the end of 2020. This is provided the UK makes the same agreement for Spanish nationals in the UK. We will update this guidance when there is a formal agreement between the UK and Spain about this.
Should UK nationals face changes in their circumstance and wish to return to the UK, they will have an entitlement to NHS services as soon as they take up ordinary residence in the UK.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal your Spanish TSE may not be valid for use in the UK. If you are an S1 holder your UK-issued EHIC may not be valid for travel to other European member states. In either case, you should ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance.
You should read the NHS guidance on healthcare for UK nationals in Spain and how it may change after the UK leaves the EU.
Returning to the UK
Read our guidance on:
returning to live in the UK in the case of no-deal
bringing your family to the UK
access to higher education, 19+ further education and apprenticeship funding
importing vehicles back to the UK
bringing your pet back to the UK
checking your tax status after returning to the UK
Check if your tax status will change if you return to the UK.
Tell the UK and Spanish authorities if you are returning to the UK permanently. To help prove you are now living in the UK, you should deregister with your:
local town hall (padrón)
the Spanish National Police (Residencia)
your local health centre
If you get UK State Pension or benefits payments, you must tell the International Pension Centre and the Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social.
If you get healthcare in Spain through the S1 form, you must contact the Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 (0)191 218 1999 or Seguridad Social to make sure your S1 is cancelled at the right time.
This information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Spanish authorities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is not liable for any inaccuracies in this information.