Should Spain fight the 90/180 rule?

UK passports checked on arrival in Schengen countries Credit: Wavebreak Media

British tourists are still outnumbering other nations in the number visiting Spain and also in those either owning or wishing to own holiday homes.

Spain needs holiday makers but the influx of foreign money in areas such as the Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol is slowly seeing a decline in British visitors and property investors who can find other areas to consider such as Cyprus.

The 90/180 day rule enforced in the Schengen area for Non-EU residents means that those Brits with second homes in Spain can only spend three months out of every six in Spain which is particularly galling for those who want to spend the cold winter months over here rather than in the UK.

There is a double penalty because if they have properties in managed communities, they are having to pay community charges for 12 months when they can only make use of their facilities for six months of the year.

There is now a very active Facebook Group 180 Days in Spain which is lobbying hard for the right for British passport holders to spend a continuous six months out of 12 each year in Spain as well as the right to visit other Schengen nations over and above the Spanish limit.

With Spain holding the EU Presidency for the period July to December 2023, this was an ideal time for the Spanish Government to lobby the European Commission for dispensation to allow British passport holders to spend more time in the country, but with the ongoing lack of any party taking control of the Government, this ideal opportunity has been lost.

Whilst pro and anti-Brexit supporters argue about the rights and wrongs of the decision made in the 2016 Referendum, there is no question that because of Brexit the right of free and unimpeded entry into the Schengen area was lost.

A recent article in the Mallorca Daily Bulletin suggests that Spain is still intending to request the European commission for dispensation for British Travellers to sidestep the rules, but when one considers how many years Spain, Britain and Gibraltar have been in discussion about free movement in and out the Rock (and this was supposedly a ‘done deal’ before Britain left the European Union at midnight on January 31, 2020) any change is unlikely to happen soon.

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Written by

John Smith

Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica. Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene. Currently he is acting as Editorial Consultant for the paper helping to shape its future development. Share your story with us by emailing, by calling +34 951 38 61 61 or by messaging our Facebook page


    • r. welbourn

      30 October 2023 • 08:28

      will the snowbirds be taking the WFA whilst spending the winter months in Spain.? A benefit denied to resident pensioners

    • Rosie

      30 October 2023 • 09:53

      They cannot change that rule.
      It’s a common rule for all the Schengen states, since there are no borders, any exception could travel to the other Schengen countries unchallenged.
      It will not happen, Brexit means Brexit.

    • Johm

      30 October 2023 • 10:46

      Why should Brits get special treatment. Spain shoukd try dnd attract more visitors from within the EU

    • Robert Faraday

      30 October 2023 • 10:49

      The rule is not exclusive to the UK.

    • Ordinary Joe

      30 October 2023 • 16:06

      All ‘Clubs’ have Rules.
      Unless you are Boris, when you make it up as you go along!
      Hence that 90 day Rule.
      The Article mentions the attractiveness of Cyprus compared to Spain regarding the 90 day Rule.
      The 90 Day Rule only applies in EU countries who are Schengen Members.
      Bulgaria, Cyprus, Ireland and Romania are EU Members, but are not Schengen area Members.
      However, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania are legally committed to join Schengen in the near future!

      Ireland has a recognised ‘historic pre-EU deal’ with Britain called The Common Travel Area. explains this: –
      “Under the CTA, British and Irish citizens can move freely and reside in either jurisdiction and enjoy associated rights and privileges, including the right to work, study and vote in certain elections, as well as to access social welfare benefits and health services.”

      Meanwhile Schengen Travel is being reviewed because of the phenomenon of mass illegal migration into southern Europe.
      That review is not expected to impact the 90 Day Rule, as its also an anti-terrorist Security Measure designed to ‘filter’ visitors present in the EU.
      It also prevents non-EU citizens from illegally working in the EU while ‘on vacation’.

    • Brian cole

      30 October 2023 • 17:16

      I think 90 day rule should be axed I am a full time resedent in Spain

    • Renato Besomi

      30 October 2023 • 23:47

      It is the same rule for everybody not only the Brits! If you want to stay longer you need a visa.

    • Sir Joe Soap

      01 November 2023 • 19:37

      So why are EU citizens allowed 180 days in the UK. Idiot May cave in

    Comments are closed.