Brexit: Your holidays in the Canary Islands – Tips

Mar 1, 2021 | Lagares News

As from 1st January 2021, British nationals as third-country nationals (not a member of the European Union), must comply with the entry requirements in Spain as set out in the Schengen Borders Code, including the need to justify the purpose and conditions of the planned stay as well as have sufficient means of subsistence, both for the planned period of stay and the return.

Therefore, your holiday trip will be assured in the Canary Islands without the need of a visa, but with the need of your passport with a validity of at least six months and for it to be less than 10 years old.

As a matter of fact, this won’t be affecting most holidaymakers but maybe those planning on saying no to their winter blues back home: the 90-day limit will not restart just by taking a short trip to Marrakesh or coming back home for the weekend.

In order to make your journey easier, we have prepared the following tips for you to take care of before travelling to the Canaries.


Do I need a visa?

British citizens and their non-EU family members will be subject to all Spanish immigration rules for third-country nationals, meaning any privileges under EU freedom of movement will come to an end.

However, for those UK nationals and their family members who established the residence in other EU Member State before the end of the transition period in accordance with EU free movement law, these will maintain their free movements rights after 31st December 2020.

In compliance with EU Regulation 2018/1806 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 November 2018, British passport holders travelling to Schengen countries for holidays, business or to visit family do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days in a 180 day-period, provided the visit is not for gainful activity.

Now, business travel will slightly change. This includes activities such as travelling for meetings and conferences, providing services (even if it is a charity), and touring art or music. Should you need to assist a business meeting or conference, no visa will be needed. Nevertheless, there are some exceptions and you will need to apply for a visa when:

  • Staying longer than 90 days in a 180-day period
  • Transferring from the UK branch of a company to a branch in the Canaries (even if it’s for a short period of time)
  • Carrying out contracts to provide a service to a client in the Canaries where the employer has no presence.
  • Providing services as a self-employed person.


How long can I stay?

You will be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. This means you can still travel on your Easter holidays for a fortnight and come back again for the summer holidays for 2 months and a half (not bad).

Please note that the 90 days will start counting from the date of entry to any of the Schengen countries, including Spain.

Bear in mind that some countries have different rules (Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania), so if you choose to travel to any of them do not hesitate! Your remaining 90-day allowance for other EU countries will be left untouched.


I’m retired. Can I enjoy a longer period of time?

If you are retired or planning to retire soon, you may apply for a non lucrative visa for retirement in Spain. This allows you to reside without working or engaging in any lucrative activity. For this to be approved, you will need to proof that you have the financial means to support yourself and any accompanying family without the need to work.


How can I rent a car?

As from 1st January  2021, driving licenses issued in the UK will no longer benefit from mutual recognition under EU law. In Spain, valid and in force driving licenses issued by the British authorities will enable their owners to drive through the country for a period of six months, that is from 1st January until 30st June 2021. From this period onwards, the scheme established for permits issued by third countries shall apply in terms of current traffic regulations, unless the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom reach a bilateral agreement recognizing the validity of each other´s driving licenses.


Will I be covered by my health insurance?

You will be covered “as long as the United Kingdom acts reciprocally with Spanish citizens”. Until June 30th 2021, persons entitled to healthcare in the United Kingdom or Gibraltar by the relevant entities will receive healthcare from the Spanish National Health System.

Your EHIC (European Health Insurance card) will still be valid until it expires, as they will then turn to GHIC (UK Global Health Insurance Card). However, this will not cover all medical bills, meaning a travel insurance will still be needed.

In cases of temporary stay and scheduled treatments, a document accreditation of health coverage by the corresponding entities must be provided, which will be admitted by all health centers that make up the National Health System. The dispensing of prescriptions for extended medicinal products in the United Kingdom shall remain in force in the terms provided for in Royal Decree 1718/2010 of 17 December on a prescription and dispensing orders, provided that the United Kingdom acts in reciprocity.


What about mobile phone roaming charges?

The EU and the UK have agreed to co-operate on international mobile roaming. Having said this, please check with your current mobile provider to see if there are any extra charges applicable. EE, O2, Vodafone and Three have all confirmed they will not be establishing any roaming fees and a new law will come into place to protect you from data charged above £45 without you being aware of.


Can I still travel with my pet?

In relation to the possibility of traveling with pets, you will need the health authorities in Britain to issue an animal health certificate (AHC) in addition to the corresponding chip and vaccination card. The existing pet passport scheme will no longer be valid. It is recommended that you give yourself at least 1 month to arrange this paperwork and the relevant vaccinations.

Furthermore, pets will only be able to access Spain through the “authorized Entry Points”. In Canary Islands, these Entry Points are:

  • Gran Canaria Airport (Cargo Terminal. Highway GC-1, s/n, 35230, Las Palmas. Tlf- +34 928 99 91 73. Email: Timings: 8-20 h
  • Tenerife Port and North Airport (TFN): Port Inspection Center (CIP) [PIFS. Animal] Via Interior Cueva Bermeja, s/n. 38180-Dársenas Pesquera – SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE Tlf- +34 922 99 93 21/24/54. Email: Timings: 8-20 h
  • Tenerife South Airport (TFS): Edfo. Goods Terminal 38600-GRANADILLA (STA. CRUZ DE TENERIFE) (Aerop. Sur-Reina Sofia) Tlf: +34 922 99 93 21/24/54 and +34 922 99 92 38.

Eugenia Pérez
Partner. Business Department