11 Mar, 2024 @ 16:26
1 min read

‘I’m an EU citizen travelling to Spain for more than 90 days – can my British or US spouse stay with me?’

EU flag taken down from Valencia area town hall in Spain over Israel's revenge Gaza attacks 'sanctioned' by European Commission
Image by Ralph from Pixabay

THE 90 in 180 day rule has had travellers scratching their heads since it began being properly enforced against Brits after Brexit.

It basically states that Britons are now ‘third country’ visitors, meaning that much like holidaymakers from the US or any country outside of the EU, they can only visit the Schengen Area for up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

But what happens if a British or US citizen is married to an EU citizen, and they want to travel or move to the continent together? Is it possible?

The short answer is yes. However, as a third-country visitor, you will need to apply for residence card from the country you are visiting.

With an EU-resident spouse, the path to residency in Spain is quite simple. Image by Ralph from Pixabay

Fortunately, you can enter Spain without a visa, and once there the process is quite simple. 

As a UK citizen, you can enter Spain with your EU-spouse on the standard tourist visa, under which you can stay and travel within the EU for 90-days within a 180-day-period. 

But if you intend to stay in Spain with your spouse for longer than three months, you’ll need to apply for a residence card before your three-month tourist allowance has elapsed. 

Should your EU-spouse die or leave the EU, your residencey will not be affected. 

And once you have your residence card you’re automatically on track for permanent residency, which you can apply for after five years of continuous legal residence. 

So, how do you get a residence card? 

With your EU-spouse, the process is substantially simpler than for singles and non-EU couples. 

Once in Spain, you must register yourself with the local municipal council in your city of residence, a list of which and their locations can be found here.

After registering, you can apply for a residency card, which requires that you prove a few things

Either you or your EU-spouse must show they are either working, self-employed, or have adequate resources to support themselves and their family while in Spain, such that they won’t need to burden Spain’s welfare system.

Additionally, you or your EU-spouse must have healthcare coverage in Spain that’s as comprehensive as what the Spanish public system offers.

In the case that your EU-spouse is retired, they must only show that they have enough income to support their family without income support.

Required documents to prove the above conditions include legalised proof of your marriage to an EU citizen, proof of financial dependence on your spouse, proof that your EU-spouse is either working, self employed or has enough money to support themselves and their family while in Spain, and proof of health insurance. 


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