Dual residency and hogwash

Raymundo LarraĆ­n Nesbitt, August, 11. 2020

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By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Lawyer - Abogado
11th of August 2020


Speaking with colleagues this week on residency, the topic on dual residency came up. It would seem some financial advisers, with vested interests, are peddling the idea that UK nationals can attain the best of both worlds: dual residency.

The idea behind this is that you should sign up for Spanish residency, before the end of the Brexit Transition period, and at the same time you would continue to live and pay taxes in the United Kingdom as normal. It's the best of both worlds, as in theory you only pay tax in the UK but you override all the pesky post-Brexit passport and immigration controls into the Union.

Unfortunately, back in the real world, things don’t work out like this. Although in theory admin residency and tax residency are two separate legal concepts, in practice they go hand in hand; when you apply for Spanish (admin) residency you eventually become a Spanish tax resident, whether you want it or not. You will be taxed on your worldwide income and assets, including those in the UK.

What few people realize is that Spanish Immigration Authorities proactively monitor all successful applicants, meaning they ensure applicants continue to meet the conditions even after they have been granted residency. The implication of this is that if you file for Spanish residency, and then fly back to the UK and resume your life there, your residency permit in Spain may be withdrawn. If you no longer meet the conditions for residency and are found wanting, they will strip it off from you.

Anyone who thinks they can land a Spanish residency and then march off back to the UK and continue about their lives there as if nothing had changed is being delusional.

Bottom line, if you don’t fancy becoming tax resident in Spain, don’t sign up for Spanish residency. Attaining residency implies you live in Spain all year round, not just when it's convenient for you. And the tax implication of living in Spain all year round is that you are now regarded as tax resident.

You can’t always get what you want (well, unless you're Mick Jagger).


LNA has a 100% track record attaining Spanish residency.


At LNA we assist UK nationals to apply for Spanish residency for the first time, or renewals, for a very competitive fee. You will be assigned an in-house specialist to deal with your matter. Call or email us free of compromise. We only deal with residency permits on the Costa del Sol (Malaga province).

Larraín Nesbitt Abogados, small on fees, big on service.

Larraín Nesbitt Abogados is a law firm specialized in residency, taxation, conveyancing, inheritance, and litigation. We will be very pleased to discuss your matter with you. You can contact us by e-mail at info@larrainnesbitt.com, by telephone on (+34) 952 19 22 88 or by completing our contact form.

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