‘Difficult’ Nightmare for Britons in Spain as UK is not ‘seeking to negotiate’ 90 day rule

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Since Brexit, British citizens can only stay in the Schengen zone for 90 out of every 180 days. For some British expats in Spain, the rule has caused complications as they can no longer visit their holiday home for the winter.

The British Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott, has said that Britain is not “seeking to negotiate” a better agreement for British citizens.

He told Canarian Weekly: “The official position of the British Government is that is not something we are seeking to negotiate.

“However, it is something that is raised with me wherever I go in all parts of Spain where there are swallows, so it is something that I feel is my duty to raise with the Spanish authorities.”

‘Swallows’ are British citizens who used to visit Spain for the winter months and return to the UK in summer.

They are some of those most affected by the change in rules as they are limited to 90 day stays.

Elliott said: “This morning I spoke about it with Adeje, tomorrow I will talk about it with the Canarian Government, and it’s something I talk to the central Government in Madrid about on a regular basis.

“We believe that it is in everyone’s interest to be able to use those days more flexibly than the 90 that is in place, which is a Schengen rule and makes it more difficult for Spain to change.”

EU citizens are currently allowed to visit the UK for 180 days at a time despite the different rules for UK citizens.

Elliott continued: “I don’t think it’s going to go away as an issue, which is why I continue to reflect the feelings of British citizens I represent.

“To be honest what I see from the Spanish authorities is a real willingness to try and look at where we are now post Brexit, to find a way, within the new rules, to make freedom of movement for people as easy as possible.”

The Valencian Government which governs the popular expat areas of Alicante and Benidorm has called for the 90 day rule to be ditched.

The area’s economy is fairly reliant on British visitors and local officials would like Britons to be able to stay for six months.

During his visit to the Canary Islands, Eliott told the Canarian Weekly: “We hear all the time that people are selling their holiday homes in Spain, and here in the Canary Islands, as they feel it just isn’t worth having them anymore.”

He added: “That’s got to be of interest to the Spanish Government and their economy, so I think it’s important that the effects are properly understood and conveyed to them accordingly.”

Some British expats, particularly the elderly, have decided to sell their homes due to the complicated residency rules.

British expats can still obtain Spanish residency but may struggle to find evidence to prove they lived in Spain before the end of the transition period.

Where should you go on your next holiday?

Now that the world has opened up again it’s time to pack those suitcases and head off on a well-deserved adventure. Where should you be jetting off to? Take our quiz and find out.


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Hop across the pond and experience an array of cultures, climates, cuisines and more. You can leave the phrasebook at home and get truly immersed in everything that this sprawling nation has to offer, from the Grand Canyon to the Statue of Liberty


With some of the best food around and boasting the world’s most romantic city, France is a great choice if you’re in a hurry. Be in its glorious capital in just hours, grab a pain au chocolat and practice your language skills while wandering along the banks of the Seine


La dolce vita is calling! With its stunning views, fascinating history and world-famous Neapolitan pizza, Italy is a great choice, whether you’re after an adventure or want to dive into a big bowl of spaghetti


A little off the beaten track, Morocco boasts stunning architecture, winding street markets to get lost in, and beautiful landscapes. Soak up the sun in Marrakech or head to Chefchaouen for one of the most unique experiences a holiday-maker can have

The Caribbean

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When most people think ‘holiday’, sunshine and relaxation comes to mind – but a different kind of trip can be just as rewarding. Splash around in the Blue Lagoon and try your luck at catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights. This is definitely one for the bucket list.


India is well worth a visit if you have some time to spare. With an array of different cultures coexisting in this vast and vibrant nation, as well as gorgeous food to be enjoyed at every turn, you’ll find yourself immersed in the experience. Take a trip to the Taj Mahal for that jaw drop moment

Swiss Alps

If snow sports are your thing, then this mountainous region is perfect for you. Venture down the powdered slopes and warm your hands at the après-ski afterward. Perfect for a group of friends, a romantic trip, or even some time with the kids – if they can stand the cold!

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Elliott concluded: “There will be no change in the short term, but we will carry on working on it, so that hopefully there will be something in the future.”

As the 90 day rule extends to the whole Schengen zone, it may be difficult for Spain to negotiate its own agreement with the UK.

British tourists will need to make sure their passport is stamped on entering and leaving Spain.

Tourists without an exit stamp could face issues reentering the EU as officials may believe they have overstayed.

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