Chris Goodacre, Upsticks
Chris Goodacre, Upsticks

Chris Goodacre helps people to arrange their residency in Spain, as well as handle car registrations and other painful aspects of Spanish bureaucracy on his clients’ behalf. While not actually based in Fuengirola, Chris is back and forth to the Fuengirola Police Station almost on a daily basis as so many of his clients choose to live in the area.

He’s also a fan of Fuengirola and regularly visits with the family on his days off, as well as for work. He comments, “I love the vibe of Fuengirola, it’s such a fantastic place just to walk down the street with such a mixed bag of nationalities and people who live there. The food is absolutely amazing with everything from top-class tapas to authentic fish and chips. 

The bio park is a personal favourite of my family and something I’d definitely recommend. We love eating out in Fuengirola, especially in La Galeria and in summer we like to rent one of the BBQ pitches or “barcos” from the townhall in the afternoon and eat with friends on the beach next to the castle. I’m yet to meet a client from Fuengirola who isn’t happy living there. It’s a great place to live and to visit.” 

Originally from Peterborough in the UK Chris used to be a forklift driver before he felt the pull of travel and adventure and decided to take the plunge with his best friend and try living in Spain. In 2000, aged just 21, inspired by the millennium buzz in the air he moved to Salou in Tarragona and has made Spain his home for the last 20 years. He moved to Andalucía in 2007 and has based his business Upsticks in Alhaurin de la Torre, within easy reach of both Fuengirola and Malaga to be able to be on the ground and push applications through as quickly as possible.

Post-Brexit, there are lots of doubts about whether UK nationals can become Spanish residents and how they deal with other elements of the new bureaucracy such as changing their driving licences, so we asked Chris to share his experience and expertise on these hot topics.

Have you done any UK residency applications since Brexit?

It’s an interesting time at the moment, with withdrawal agreement applications in progress for those who qualify and our first appointments with the embassy for visa applications coming up at the end of April. Obviously there’s still a lot of uncertainty at the moment, so I think a lot of people are waiting to see what will happen with the regulations and of course with COVID as well.

Is it still possible/easy to become a resident as UK nationals?

Yes it’s possible. As non-EU citizens have been becoming residents for a long time, the processes are in place, however I certainly wouldn’t say it was easy. You can apply for non-lucrative residency if you’re coming over to retire for example. Alternatively you can apply for a Golden Visa, if you are able to invest 500,000€ or more in a property or a business.

What happens if someone hasn’t asked to exchange their UK driving licence?

Unfortunately, if you haven’t applied to exchange your UK driving licence you will need to take a Spanish test. But as long as you applied to exchange it by the end of the year, it doesn’t matter if you didn’t get an appointment and the process is still ongoing. Most people in our industry expect that eventually the UK and Spain will come to an agreement to be able to exchange licences again in the future but at the moment it doesn’t seem on the roadmap.  

Are you finding that the appetite is still strong with foreigners of all nationalities wanting to become residents in Spain?

Yes, more than ever! The lifestyle and the weather is so great here and lockdown has actually made more people realise they want to live somewhere nicer. COVID has also accelerated the plans of many people who were planning to retire here as they realise that life is too short to wait and have the flexibility to work from home.   

Chris and his team offer a hassle-free service which removes the stress and uncertainty from the process of applying for residency, TIE, car registration, NIE and more. They advise what paperwork is needed in each individual’s situation, run a paperwork health check service and check all documents for errors. Visit www.upsticks.es to find out more or email chris@upsticks.es if you have any questions.