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48 comments If you want to live in Spain long term or even permanently, you will need to apply for either permanent residence or become a Spanish citizen.
After you have lived in Spain for five years you can apply for permanent residence and after 10 years you can apply for Spanish nationality, although exemptions exist that allow certain people to apply sooner, for example, if you are married to a Spaniard or the child of a Spanish parent.
Applying for permanent residence in Spain Once you have legally lived in Spain for five uninterrupted years, non-EU nationals can apply for an 'EU long-term residence permit'.
A long-term residence permit allows you to stay in Spain indefinitely working or otherwise, under the same conditions as Spanish citizens.
Holding an EU long-term permanent residence permit allows you to stay on as a resident in Spain while retaining your own nationality and passport.
As a Spanish permanent resident you will get most of the same benefits enjoyed by Spanish citizens as long as you fulfil certain conditions, such as being able to support yourself financially.
Both Spanish citizenship and permanent residency allow you to stay living in Spain, but some differences exist between the two.
Should you choose Spanish permanent residency or Spanish citizenship?
British expats who already live in Spain might consider applying for Spanish citizenship if they meet the necessary criteria to main EU access.
You can move around the EU for limited periods, and longer with permission.
If you become a Spanish citizen, however, you will need to give up your original nationality and passport, unless you qualify for an exemption (see below).
However, this also means surrending their British citizenship.
British expats may also be asked in future to apply for a Blue Card, an approved EU-wide work permit that allows high-skilled, non-EU citizens to work and live in Spain and other EU countries.You have to prove that you have adequate financial resources to provide for you and your family (if applicable) – such as pension, scholarship or salary – and proof of public or private health insurance with a company authorised to operate in Spain.