Expats in Spain ‘should be aware’ of one ‘little known’ Brexit rule – ‘another barrier’

Expats in Spain ‘should be aware' of one ‘little known’ Brexit rule - ‘another barrier’

Spain is one of the most popular destinations for British expats. Britons may be looking at properties in Spain and only take into account the location, price and investment value of their would-be assets.

There is one rule British expats should be aware of, said Patrick Gilligan, Press Manager and Copywriter at

He told “An interesting thing is, there’s a certain rule in Spain where you may need a military permit to be able to buy property there.”

While the rule applies to “some municipalities only”, Britons may not realise they will need permission to buy lands from the Ministry of Defence.

Patrick said: “UK citizens, because they’re out of the EU, do now need to get a military permit from the Spanish Ministry of Defence.

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“This is in order to be able to buy a property in certain areas, and it costs a lot and takes a while to go through.”

Newspaper Local Spain wrote: “It’s an administrative process that requires certain paperwork including a criminal record check to take place before a purchase can be made.

“A process which is supposed to take two to four months to be completed but often takes double that time.”

The military permit is a “little-known Spanish law now being enforced with British people buying property in Spain”, said Judicare Group.


First introduced by Franco in March 1975, it may mean a long and costly process for Britons looking to buy in Spain.

The law was first for any non-Spanish person, but when Spain joined the EU, all EU citizens were exempt.

Now the UK is out of the EU, however, the rule applies to Britons again.

Patrick said: “It comes back to Franco, but now we’re out the EU, that’s something Britons should be aware of.

“And real estate agents, which we partner a lot with at Privalgo, are worried as it’s another barrier for British expats coming over to Spain, which is a big industry for them.”

The law stops “too many foreigners” buying in “areas of the country which are strategically important to the military”, according to Judicare.

The problem with this law is that it gets complicated, with some municipalities concerned while others aren’t.

Last summer, Alicante province removed the need for the military permit in its municipalities of Torrevieja, Orihuela,Pilar de la Horadada and San Miguel de Salinas.

Newspaper Local Spain said: “Spain’s Ministry of Defence published an order addressed to Spain’s General Directorate of Infrastructures allowing them to cancel the requirement of a military authorisation for non-EU property buyers in an area that’s particularly popular with foreign buyers: Alicante province.”

However, even in Alicante province, non-EU buyers will still need to apply for a military permit for non-urban land.

The law doesn’t just apply to areas around military bases, but anywhere deemed “strategic”.

The law impacts over 1,500 municipalities, including the Balearics and Canaries, the borders with France and Portugal, the areas close to Gibraltar, Cadiz, the Galician coast and the Costa Blanca.

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