Diligent research by a reader establishes that Brits (and other non-EU nationals) with EU spouses are not bound by the 90/180 day rule, and can live in Spain without having to get a visa – something that has not been widely reported in the British press.
“I’ve been trying to find out from varied sources over the last few months whether being an UK citizen married to an Irish citizen I was exempt from the EU 90/180 day rule,” explains reader John by email. “I had been led to believe the only way was through residency.”
Thanks to John’s research we know that if your spouse is an EU citizen you don’t have to worry about the 90/180 day rule travelling in the Schengen area, and you can stay in Spain as long as you like with your spouse, so long as you meet other requirements. Brexit is not a barrier if you are married to an EU citizen.
“I hope the reply below from the Europe Direct Contact Centre will be useful for British or other third-country citizens, married or in a partnership with E.U. citizens, who wish to escape this rule without taking out residency,” explains John. Another reader commented “I reckon an article on the subject would be interesting because there are a lot of people in that situation and do not recall anything in the national press which covers it.”
So here’s what the Europe Direct Contact Centre has to say about the rights Brits married to EU citizens to travel and live in Spain and other EU member states. Thanks to the reader ‘John Boy’ for the information.
Thank you for contacting the Europe Direct Contact Centre.
A citizen of the UK does in principle not require a visa to travel for a short stay of no more than 90 days within any 180-day period in the Schengen area.
The fact that you reside with your Irish wife in the UK is, on its own, not sufficient to waive the limits of the 90/180-days rule if you intend to travel on your own to a Schengen Member State.
However, if your wife is travelling with you to a Schengen country, or joins you in a Schengen country, the 90/180 days limitation does not apply. Accordingly, any stays in the Schengen area together with her will not be taken into account when you travel again on your own. Please be aware, however, that in this case you might need to have documentation to show on when you were travelling with her and when you were not.
If you wish to remain in Spain with your wife for more than 3 months, you may both need to register. You can find information on the necessary procedures here.
Please note that as Ireland is not part of the Schengen area and because your wife is Irish citizen, this does not apply if you wish to travel together to Ireland. For information on the Common Travel Area between Ireland and the UK, please see here.
We hope you find this information useful. Please contact us again if you have other questions about the European Union, its activities or institutions.