The Brexit Countdown has Started - Now What?

Theresa May’s letter has been delivered and like it or not the UK is on the way out of Europe with still no clarity as to what the status of British ex-pats living in other European countries actually is.  Can they stay?  Should they be making plans to sell up and leave?  Should they hastily acquire Irish citizenship in the hope that they will avoid the full impact of Brexit? Should they think about applying for Spanish/German/Italian etc. citizenship?  The numbers of British ex-pats living in Europe varies depending on which newspaper or news report you see, however, suffice it to say there are quite a few.

Spain has the largest community of British ex-pats, exceeding even Ireland, according to the latest British Government statistics.  The vast majority of whom are over 65 years old; many have absolutely no connection in the UK at all having left 20 or 30 years ago.  They now feel that they face an uncertain future and nobody can reassure them that it will be otherwise.  Whilst there is some thinking time before the axe falls, in practical and commercial terms there may not be much as people think.  As there is likely to be a clamour for alternative citizenship, wherever it may be, (and this has started already with applications for Irish citizenship soaring), it is quite possible that certain countries, in the face of a steep increase in applications arising from individuals without any strong family connection, may decide to vary the qualifying requirements or costs or both to hold back the tide. 

Should the decision be to apply for Spanish citizenship there are, as with any application, a variety of provisions to fulfil before a foreign national is considered for citizenship.

For those people who are considering returning to the UK, they should seek independent legal advice in order to ascertain that when leaving the country  they have to ensured that all their affairs are dealt with and there are no loose ends to come back to haunt them.  The lawyers at Giambrone can assist with:

  • The various tax implications both Spanish and UK
  • Property sale
  • Any related cross-border matters

There is no easy answer as at the moment, we are largely guessing at what the true implications may be.  Property owned by ex-pats may lose value as more and more houses come on to the market coupled with the fact that it will be a buyers’ market and they (the buyers) will be well aware that the vendors will not want to drag their feet and may try pushing the price down even further.  Or the position of the citizens of all countries involved changes if they are given categorical assurances by Europe that their position is safe and they can continue as before.


Giambrone can assist with all aspects of the financial and tax implications, resolution of commercial investments as well as assisting with the sale of the property.  For more information please contact     020 7183 9482