The French Senate has voted to grant British homeowners an automatic right to a long-stay visa, signaling a potential shift in policies impacting Brits with holiday homes in European countries.
Spain has now joined the call to eliminate the post-Brexit 90-day visit limit, acknowledging its detrimental effects on the economy.
Currently, under the law, British citizens are allowed to stay in their holiday homes for only 90 out of every 180 days. To extend their stay, they are required to apply for a long-stay visa, which can last up to six months.
The Spanish government recognizes the negative impact of the rule, stating that it is not a regulation Spain can independently establish or eliminate. Hector Gomez, the acting Minister of Tourism, emphasized the importance of lobbying the EU to work out an exception. However, Gomez highlighted that the solution must come from the EU.
France's Senate voted in favor of an amendment to immigration law, providing British second homeowners an automatic right to a long-stay visa. This move follows claims that UK tourists have been "punished by Brexit."
Andrew Hesselden, Campaign Director of '180 Days in Spain,' expressed delight over French senators recognizing the injustice faced by British part-year residents. He remains hopeful for similar recognition in Spain.
Recent developments suggest progress in Spain, with Gomez confirming a crucial meeting with the UK's Director of Consular Affairs and Crisis, Jennifer Anderson, at the Foreign Office. Discussions involved issues related to the stays of British tourists in Spain, including the 90-day limit.
Spain's reliance on tourism, especially from the UK, adds significance to the potential changes. Spain's National Institute of Statistics (INE) reported that two million people traveled from the UK to Spain last year, constituting 23.8% of the total visitors.
Under Schengen Area rules, non-EU citizens, including those from the UK, can stay for a maximum of 90 days out of every 180 days. Overstaying may result in penalties, including fines up to €10,000 and jail terms.
The post-Brexit restrictions have posed challenges for Brits with properties in Spain and France. France's Senate has proposed changes to address complaints from British homeowners, but the amendment still requires approval from France's National Assembly, facing opposition from Emmanuel Macron's government. Photo by G.M Kowalewska, Wikimedia commons.