With the end of the withdrawal period on 31 December 2020 a new process was introduced for UK nationals looking to stay in Spain for long periods of time. The new rules were no suprise as with any other non-EU country the relationship with the U.K. was going to be adjusted.
However, this year has seen a number of challenges. No one foresaw just how many people would be applying for Non-Lucrative and golden visas. New processes had to be implemented by the Spanish authorities and staff trained. You have one country asking for paperwork it feels is justified to satisfy the criteria to stay in their country whilst UK nationals have then had to find documentation that meets that criteria from their own country and in some cases that has meant requests to doctors, for example, that have never been made before.
This has inevitably resulted in interpretation of the legislation and also changes and revisions as time has gone on. This fluidity can cause frustration but is an understable part of a new process. The acceptance of suitable health insurance policies has been no exception and we have seen a number of changes of what is an acceptable health insurance policy and what is not over the last few months.
For UK nationals the Spanish consulate offices in the UK are the easy targets to blame for what appears to be a change but in fact the law has remained the same. The only chnage is it is being more correctly implemented that previously but there remain other aspects that are in the legislation but are not currently insisted on at the time of writing.
Part of the criticism could be aimed at the health insurance companies themselves. They, like all of us were aware that the rules would change after the withdrawal agreement period expired. Whilst the majoirty of their business is domestic, and from other EU national, health insurance for visa applications must make up a small but financially interesting percentage of their business. One would like to think the insurance companies were in talks with the governemnt officials and vice versa.
If they were discussing the process with the authorities then the companies appear to have been slow to react. Many health insurance companies in Spain have ruled themsleves out, of the UK market at least, by not adjusting their renewal dates. Many well-respected companies no longer meet the criteria set out by the legislation governing non-lucrative visas and golden visas.
Albeit far fewer in number, there are health insurance companies in Spain that will meet criteria required by the Spanish consulates in the UK. However, if the authorities decide to review the legislation and apply it strictly then that number could further reduce if these companies do not decide to lobby the authorities or change their products to meet the legislation.
Rest assured there are still products available and we are on top of the changes and will continue to adapt accordingly.
Whilst it is frustrating it is also understandable.