Living in Spain after Brexit:
what UK citizens need to know

One of the most common questions we get is regarding the consequences for UK nationals living in Spain following Brexit. The good news is that the Spanish government has created a special process for British citizens and their families during the period leading up to Brexit. 

UK citizens have until December 31, 2020 to follow a special process get a can now register for the new Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjaro (TIE) while still maintaining their legal status. As your immigration lawyer in Spain, Avalanding is ready to guide you through the steps for UK citizens to get their Spanish residence documentation in order.

One of the most common questions we get is regarding the consequences for UK nationals living in Spain following Brexit. The good news is that the Spanish government has created a special process for British citizens and their families during the period leading up to Brexit. 

UK citizens have until December 31, 2020 to follow a special process get a can now register for the new Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjaro (TIE) while still maintaining their legal status. As your immigration lawyer in Spain, Avalanding is ready to guide you through the steps for UK citizens to get their Spanish residence documentation in order.

By answering just a couple of simple questions we can provide you with an instant quote.

To avoid legal problems UK citizens who want to reside in Spain need to move quickly and take advantage of the current transition procedure which is only available until the end of 2020 when the Brexit transition period concludes. Spain’s cabinet approved legislation for an estimated 400,000 Brits living in Spain remain in place if the UK ultimately leaves the EU without a deal. And under a reciprocity agreement, 180,000 Spanish citizens would remain in the UK.

During this period UK citizens can easily change their legal status as residents without having to follow the general – and complex – residence formalities that non-Europeans need to follow in Spain. Maintaining your residency in Spain will allow you to take advantage of all the benefits of jobs for UK citizens in Spain as the permit will allow you to work in Spain should you decide to do so.

With Avalanding helping you, the validity of the status of British citizens as legal residents in Spain need not be affected as the UK leaves the EU.

Whether you are British and live in Spain with a green card; or you wanted to move to Spain and get residency in the immediate future, Avalanding has compiled essential information for you.

Contents

British citizens in Spain and the new residency card

The simplified procedure and new type of residency card applies to three different groups of UK citizens:

  • British citizens with a green card (the EU resident’s certificate)
  • Family members of British citizens with the green EU card
  • UK citizens and/or their family members who want to start living in Spain but are not yet in the country


The first two groups have obtained their current residency green card following a process that is in line with simplified European migration while the third group would like to register for Spanish residency before the process will become more difficult corresponding with what people from non-EU countries have to go through.

British citizens, and family of British citizens, who have the old residency document (Green Card) will have to change their current cards before December 31.

In these 3 cases at the time of application at the police station, you must provide the following documentation:

  • Valid and current passport (original and fotocopy of the data page)
  • Empadronamiento:  a document of registration from the Town Hall, no older than three months
  • 1 photo
  • Proof of payment of the fee (model 790, code 012)
  • Application form – EX 23
  • EU citizen’s registration certificate (original and fotocopy)

Those British citizens that are not currently in Spain must start the process as soon as possible and can still obtain the residency card even if they are not yet in Spain – this is a slightly more involved process – but the requirements are simpler than those of what people seeking residency from non-EU countries.

British citizens and their legal status in Spain after Brexit

Until December 31 the European Union rules will still apply to UK citizens and their relatives. From January 1 2021 the general Spanish immigration rules will apply as they do for non-EU residency seekers,

They will then be subject to the same immigration legislation as those from, for example, Russia, China, or the United States. This makes things much more difficult to regularize their situation in Spain resulting in extra legal requirements, longer procedures, application from the country of origin and not from Spain.

That’s why we recommend that you start as soon as possible so as not to miss the deadline and modifying your current card for the new special permit; or by applying for the EU residency in Spain.

Significant work has been carried out within the framework of the withdrawal agreement and you can find information here on how to prepare on the official Spanish Brexit website

Avalanding is well versed in managing immigration process and are ready to assist you in navigating your residency. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your specific case and see how we can help.

Brexit: How to get your new residency permit

Depending on your current status in Spain the steps that you need to follow will vary.

Your status: A British citizen with a temporary Spanish (EU) residency certificate

These are citizens from the United Kingdom who are already living in Spain and have residency documents. Before December 31 you will need to compete the paperwork and get an appointment at the national police office located in the area corresponding to their registered address. At that appointment your application will be processed, you will submit proof of payment of the card processing fee and photos and in just a few weeks you can pick up your new Residency card.

Your status: A British citizen with a permanent Spanish (EU) residency certificate

If you currently have a permanent residency certificate you have been in Spain for a minimum of 5 years but will also need to apply for the new card as outlined above – the good news is that it will be valid for 10 years.

Your status: A British citizen in Spain over 5 years but without a permanent Spanish residency certificate

If you have been residing in Spain for over 5 years but have never gotten around to getting your permanent Spanish residency certificate and are still using your temporary certificate – don’t worry, there is a solution for you with a small modification from the procedure outlined previously.  The only difference is that you will need to prove that you have been living in Spain for more than 5 years.

Your status: A British citizen that has never obtained the Spanish (EU) residency card/certificate

This case applies to people who have not yet started to live in Spain but how would like to start the procedure now during the withdrawal period to take advantage of a simpler process while there is still time.

Initially you will need to start at the foreigner’s office in person with an appointment or online – Avalanding can assist you if you do not have a digital certificate. If you meet all the requirements you will be issued a permit to reside in Spain. These requirements are the same as for any European citizen who needs to demonstrate sufficient economic means and medical insurance coverage.

In several weeks your new card will be ready and you need to make an appointment with the police to get the new residence card.

Your status: You are a relative of a British citizen and have a Family member card

The family member of an EU citizen card is a residence permit granted to European Union citizen relatives. Specifically, it was created for spouses (civil partner or husband/wife), children and parents of a European citizen resident in Spain.

The advantage of the this EU family member visa is that it is granted for a 5 year period of residence and provides the holder with the ability to legally work in Spain. This initial 5-year card is also known as the temporary EU residence card.

The change from the current community card as a family member of an EU citizen to the new special post-Brexit card can be done after setting up an appointment at the police station.

Brexit: How long will it take to get the new TIE card?

Once you have had your appointment at the national police office, submitted the required material for your special Brexit residence permit it will take on average 3 -4 weeks for you to obtain it (you need to make another appointment to collect it).

Our BREXIT team

Alexandra Sabaté

Cristina Vásquez

Marianela Clinaz

Arturo Padilla