Spain Pushes EU to Relax 90-Day Limit

Impact on British Second-Home Owners

Border control, weher Schengen 90-day rule causes problems

A while ago Maurice e-mailed a link to an article in the Spanish press indicating that there might be light at the end of the tunnel for those trapped by the Schengen 90-day rule. At the end of last year, it appeared that Spain was pushing the European Union to scrap the 90-day rule for non-British residents.

A by-product of this initiative, if successful, could be to make life easier for Brits owning holiday homes in Portugal including Madeira – if you wish to stay in Portugal for more than 90 days without the need to leave the country or the Schengen Zone,  a Residency Permit is required.

At the same time, the Spanish Government was also looking at ways to allow Spain-based companies to contract British seasonal workers. Workers who are not from EU countries, such as Britain, need to obtain a Work Visa to be able to live and work in the EU, including Spain.

This has reportedly caused significant problems for companies in the Spanish resorts in particular, from bars and restaurants to travel firms – before Brexit they would recruit from a large pool of British seasonal workers. At the moment companies have to find English-speaking workers within the expat community, who are local residents and therefore can work without a paper mountain.

The Schengen 90-day Rule

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The 90-day limit refers to the maximum cumulative duration of your stay within any 180 days. It does not require you to stay continuously for the full 90-days. This means that you can stay for a few days, then leave the Schengen area and enter again, as long as you don’t overstay 90-days within a 180-day period.

Once you’ve used up your quota of 90 days, you cannot return to Schengen until 90 more days have passed. For example, if you enter Portugal on January 1st and spend 90 days in the country in the period prior to the end of March, you cannot return until at least the beginning of July (or the very end of June, technically). Likewise, if you used your 90 days off-and-on prior to the end of September, you would not be able to return until the beginning of January

The Senate and National Assembly in Paris have voted to ease the impact of Brexit on British second-home owners after pressure from French politicians who have large numbers of UK-owned properties in their constituencies. The plan is automatically to grant long-stay visas to British property owners

The big question is will Spain, which has made it clear that it would like to lift the restrictions on British second home-owners, follow suit? According to Simon Calder in the Independent and other travel experts have been reporting, the plan is to automatically grant long-stay visas to British property owners.

This would allow them to spend as much of the year as they wish in France – and not count towards the 90-day limit in the rest of the Schengen Area. It remains to be seen if Spain, and possibly Portugal will follow suit.

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25 thoughts on “Spain Pushes EU to Relax 90-Day Limit”

  1. We voted out, these are the consequences of it, can’t turn clock back, but this shows that it’s not only UK that is economically suffering its EU as well. However you look at it,EU is a closed shop,as been since its inseption,but only when it suites itself, trade with places like China exists for its tat products etc
    There are lots of countries that you have to have visas for, you just get them and get on with it. Our borders are like a sieve and have been for years and not through issues with EU nationals but our own stupidity of giving our tax paid benefits away to anyone applying ( unless you happen to be British and homeless,at which point you have to have a ” fixed abode” !! For definition of homeless,look up HOMELESS it means NO FIXED ABODE)
    We are fighting a loosing battle, our services are not just stretched to breaking point,they have snapped, our taxes are breaking us and are not making a return on what we are paying into.
    As a country,we are a bust flush and it ain’t going to get any better anytime soon, this situation existed long before we voted out of EU.

    Because we stay for long periods of time in Madeira, at passport control they stare at our passports for ages,ask questions like ” do you own a property here” yes,more staring at passport, you can’t work out, the 90/180 rule without feeding some form of calculator and dates,it’s not possible, that’s why stamps are needed,for future in depth analysis, ie if you need to prove you haven’t broken the 90/180 rule, they have been working on a system to automatically do this since Brexit,why since Brexit, these 90/180 rules have been in place for countries outside EU for ever, why has it suddenly become a need since Brexit? It hasn’t, its part of the frustration policy for UK exiting the club!!
    I don’t expect too many thumbs up for these comments, but that’s part of the issue, we bury our heads in the sand and whip ourselves till we draw blood, it’s always our own fault.

    • I agree that the U.K. started going downhill before Brexit. Austerity policies since 2010 have totally done for this country. The sad thing is that people fell for the line that the problems caused by austerity were all the fault of the EU and that leaving would solve many, if not all of the UK’s problems.

      As for the 90/180 rule, yes it has been in place since long before brexit, however, being the EUs nearest neighbours, and having been in the EU for many years and used to the freedoms that gave, many more brits than other third country nationals regularly travel to, stay and/or own property in the EU, so there are greater numbers for the EU to deal with on a regular basis.

      And before you ask, no, I’ve not checked the official statistics, but it seems a reasonable assumption.

  2. Well this fast track gates that everyone would like to have will be a bit difficult to happen since there is certain days of arrival in Madeira when there is more influx of passengers arriving or even going out like everyone around where been in Madeira they know very well that about this this way will be impossible have a fast track gate at all . In relation to 90 days limit be extend I think it is a good idea many British people have second homes in the EU and would like to stay more time but the UK in charge of this negotiations with EU should negotiated better like many other things

  3. Those who want want to stay longer than the usual 90 days of holidays and basically live here in the community should apply for residency and contribute to the community by paying tax (NHR still available) and social security.

  4. RH I’ve drawn this alignment for some years, now, have residency and you stay as long as you want, but then it reverses 90/180;day max in UK ! People want their cake and eat it, I even know of people who are resident in Madeira and have family collect free prescriptions in UK and send it to them in Madeira and are now complaining because they are being charged import duty on it,I kid you not!
    My advice to all, is just adjust and get on with your life,its not going to change anytime soon. Look at the cards in your hand,and play them accordingly or waste your time,energy and even life trying to change it.
    We struggled at first,but have adjusted to two months at each end,through the year.

  5. Next visit to Madeira 18 March but I can’t stand for long time in lengthy queues. Do I need to order a wheelchair or can I request assistance if faced with a long queue?

  6. Anna, long wait or not, you will enjoy your stay. We arrived yesterday and were on our way to Funchal within 30 minutes of landing. Forgive the pun, flew through passport control. Then had to wait for the luggage. A lot of the waiting is when aircraft arrive early, we were 35 minutes before time, by the time we had disembarked another flight had landed. Their luggage was on the carousel five minutes after ours. Ask for assistance but don’t forget you’re on holiday, what’s the rush?


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