EU-Family Regrouping (Marriage Visa)

Raymundo LarraĆ­n Nesbitt, March, 1. 2021

Lawyer Raymundo Larrain explains to us one of four ways to legally bypass the pesky 90/180-day rule that now affects all UK nationals post-Brexit.

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By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
Director of Larraín Nesbitt Lawyers
1st of March 2021


The 90-day rule

Post-Brexit, all UK nationals are subject to the 90/180 rule, both in Spain and in the Union. Basically, this means you cannot stay in Spain (or the Union) for more than 90 days within every rolling 6-month period. This has become a real nuisance for Britons who own property in Spain (or Europe), or who simply like to spend long periods of time enjoying its gorgeous weather.

I keep getting asked, almost every day, how to bypass the 90/180 rule. There are in fact four legal ways, and in this article, I will be covering the fourth one.

I’m going to keep this article short & simple, avoiding unnecessary legalities.

Who is this service for?

It’s intended for families or couples that have been separated, in and out of the EU. It seeks to reunite them in an expedite manner within the EU. So, although this type of visa is popularly dubbed as ‘marriage visa,’ it would be rather more appropriate to refer to it as ‘family visa’, as its scope goes well beyond a married couple. It ought to be understood in broader terms, as in family reunion. But yes, ‘marriage visa’ certainly does have more of a ring to it, I get it.

EU-Family Reunification

All those UK nationals married to a partner who hold a passport of a member state of the Union, may apply for this residency permit.

The catch is that the EU national must already reside, or plan to reside, in the Union.

As Great Britain is after all a nation of nations, we all have commingled blood. It is not uncommon for Britons to trace back in their family tree some distant Irish relative. If one of the partners secures an Irish passport, for example, this would automatically qualify them both for a EU-family regrouping. The Republic of Ireland remains a member state of the Union. This would allow a British couple to formally attain a Spanish residency permit, allowing them to neatly circumvent the 90/180-day pesky limitation. They would no longer be subject to this rule, being able to come and go as they please from Spain.

However, if both partners have no real intention of relocating their residency over to the Union (i.e. because they both wish to remain UK residents), this permit is not an option.


One of the core requirements (for couples) is that they need to be lawfully married (not separated). An updated marriage certificate needs to be produced, as part of the application procedure. This is why it's popularly known as a 'marriage visa.'


  • Married.
  • One of them is an EU national, or has attained permanent residency in Spain.
  • Both need to relocate & live in Spain.


Advantages over other residency options


The advantages offered by EU family reunification compared to the other three residency options are countless; in fact, so much so, that in my opinion it even beats a Golden Visa hands down, which is widely regarded as the golden standard (excuse the pun).


  • Unlike a Golden Visa, you are not required to make a large investment in Spain. In fact, you are not required to make any investment in Spain!
  • Unlike a non-lucrative visa, this permit allows its holders to work in Spain, either as self-employed or employed.
  • Unlike a lucrative visa, you are not expected to make circa 30,000 euros a year. In fact, it has attached no minimum annual income requirements!
  • It allows you unlimited access & stay to Spain, not being constrained by the 90/180 rule.
  • Moreover, it allows you unfettered access to Spain and the Union (27 countries). The time spent in Spain does not count towards the EUs 90/180 rule. This is most interesting to businesspeople, as they can smartly combine time periods to (over)stay in the EU effectively overriding the 90/180 rule, on business trips and such.
  • Same-sex marriages are accepted.
  • Because of the intrinsic nature of reuniting separated families, the procedure is actually fast-tracked compared to other residency alternatives, as uniting separated families is an admin priority. In plain English, you attain it much faster than following the other three options.
  • Legal fees for this residency service are in fact lower than the other three alternatives.
  • By its own nature, it is meant to be a fast-tracked procedure, meaning you are required to submit much less paperwork to comply. In other words, it greatly streamlines the residency procedure cutting through all the red tape. Additionally, it also cuts down in expenses on sworn translations, apostilles and all assorted legalia. Every penny counts.


  • You actually need to relocate and live in Spain.
  • You actually do need to get married. Eh well, nothing is perfect.


Tax residency

As always, administrative residency and tax residency are two separate legal concepts. The fact that you apply for a residency permit, does not make you tax resident in Spain.

However, that said, both concepts do go hand in hand, and eventually overlap; if you live all year round in Spain, you will eventually become tax resident in Spain.


An EU family regrouping is one of four legal ways to bypass the pesky 90/180-day rule that now applies to all UK nationals in a post-Brexit world.

If you are considering this route, it is advisable you take legal advice beforehand on how this option may impact you taxwise.

An EU family regrouping is as good as it gets; it’s a win-win and has no strings attached (well, other than the getting married part).


“Life is short, but marriage is long... so drink up, and it will make it go a hell of a lot faster.” Quote from the movie “Rumour Has It…”


LNA has a 100% track record attaining Spanish residency

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

At Larrain Nesbitt Abogados, we have assisted hundreds of EU and non-EU nationals to successfully attain a Spanish residency permit.

Interested? Come and speak to Larraín Nesbitt Abogados’ friendly staff who will be pleased to guide you through the different residency options, choosing the one that appeals to you most. Your family’s success is only one call away: (+34) 952 19 22 88.


Residency services available from LNA


Golden Visa related articles


Article also published at Spanish Property Insight: EU-family regrouping

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