BREXIT – Q&A for UK Nationals and Family Members regarding Residency in Spain
We understand many clients have concerns and questions regarding their residency status in Spain pre- and post-Brexit.
So we have compiled a helpful Question and Answer article to inform you of procedures and rights on living in Spain.
BEFORE THE DATE OF WITHDRAWAL
1. I live in Spain but have never registered as a Spanish resident, should I register before the withdrawal date?
Yes. If you do not have a residency certificate as an EU citizen in Spain (the Green Certificate), issued by the Central Register of Foreign Nationals (Registro Central de Extranjeros), you must book an appointment to obtain one as soon as possible.
2. Where should I get the appointment?
At a police station (policia nacional) where there is a Foreigners Department (extranjeria). You will need to check for the police station closest to you that offers this service.
3. Can I obtain it through the Internet?
You can book a residency appointment online for some police stations, but not all offer appointments via the internet, so if your local station is not listed you will need to contact them directly. You can try to call, but more often than not, they will not pick up. We recommend that you visit the police station and book the appointment directly.
AFTER THE DATE OF WITHDRAWAL
With a Withdrawal Agreement
4. What will my situation be if I am already a resident in Spain?
During the transition: the Brexit transition period will last until at least the 31st December 2020, during this time if you are a UK National and resident in Spain you will keep your EU rights, as will any family members who are non-EU members. With two exceptions:
- you will not have the right to vote and stand in elections to the European Parliament
- you will not have the right to use the EU Citizens Initiative.
Once the transition period ends, the Withdrawal Agreement stipulates that your rights of residence, work, study and social security will be maintained.
Green cards obtained before the end of the transition period will subsequently serve to accredit legal residence in Spain and benefit from the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement.
For this reason, during the transition period, you may request the issue of a Foreigner Identity Card that explicitly mentions your condition as a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement. This will facilitate both administrative procedures and any crossing of the external EU border.
This European Commission document, includes questions and answers on who benefits from the Withdrawal Agreement and what their rights are.
5. Will UK nationals who are resident in Spain have to obtain a work permit to continue their professional activity in Spain?
No. The Withdrawal Agreement protects the rights of EU citizens and British nationals, as well as their respective family members, to continue living, working or studying as they do now and under the same basic conditions as under EU law. You may, therefore, continue to work as now without any additional permit.
6. Do family members of a UK national who are nationals of non-EU countries and resident in Spain have a special status?
Family members will maintain their status of family members of an EU citizen during the transition period and after it.
7. What if I arrive in Spain during the transition period–after Brexit and before 31st December 2020?
During that period, you must directly request the residence document (Green certificate) at the office for foreign residents (Oficina de Extranjería) in the province where you live.
After the necessary checks by the Spanish administration, you will obtain a Foreigner Identity Card, explicitly maintaining your condition as beneficiary under the Withdrawal Agreement.
8. What about those UK citizens who will commence their legal residence in Spain after the transition period?
In this case you will have those rights established by the Withdrawal Agreement regulating future relations. In case no rights are stipulated, the situation will be governed by the general arrangements governing foreign residents in Spain.
Without a Withdrawal Agreement
9. What will my situation be if I am already a resident in Spain?
Spanish Government has provided for a period of 21 months from the date of the UK’s withdrawal without an agreement for whose UK nationals (and family members) who have been a resident in Spain since before the withdrawal to obtain the new documentation (Foreigner Identity Card – TIE) that provides proof of your residence in Spain.
Your residence will continue to be legal for 21 months allowing you this period to obtain the necessary documents.
Registration certificates (the Green Certificate) and the cards of family members of an EU citizen will serve as proof of legal residence in Spain for a period of 21 months after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU without an agreement and until they obtain the TIE. This document will be definitive proof of your residence in Spain.
10. Where can I apply for a TIE after the UK’s withdrawal without an agreement?
At Police Stations. You will receive your TIE within three months of presenting your application.
11. What will happen after the UK’s withdrawal without an agreement if I reside in Spain but don’t have a registration certificate? Will I be able to continue to reside in Spain?
Yes. If you have been living in Spain without a residency card before the withdrawal, you must apply for your Foreigner Identity Card (TIE) within the 21 month transition period. This document will be definitive proof of your residence in Spain.
12. Obtention of the TIE
What is the process for applying for a TIE?
1. An application form needs to be presented by either you or your representative at your local (provincial) migration office. If you have an electronic signature you can make the application online.
Among other requirements, you must prove that you were a resident in Spain before the withdrawal date. Means of proof are:
- Residency certificate
- Padron (empadronamiento) Certificate
- Rental contract
- Title deeds (escritura) of proof of ownership of a property
- Employment contract
- Enrolment at a study centre
2. Once the authorisation has been granted, you must request the TIE at the corresponding police station. This procedure must be done in person.
How long does it take to get a TIE?
Authorisation is granted within three months from application. After this, you must apply for the TIE within a month from notification.
Do the documents need to be originals?
Yes, documents must be original.
If you apply for the authorisation online (this procedure will be available for people who do not have a registration certificate) you must submit copies of these documents.
Any official documents required, such as birth and marriage certificates, must be translated and notarised.
Do I have to provide proof of income?
- If you do not have a registration certificate
- You do not engage in a professional employment activity in Spain.
Do I have to submit a criminal record certificate?
You do not have to submit a criminal record certificate, but the authorities may check this information.
Can I keep working or studying in Spain while I obtain the new documentation?
Yes. Provided that you are a resident in Spain before the withdrawal date, your residency during the 21 month period will continue to be legal, and you may therefore continue to work and study in Spain.
What will happen if an application is rejected? What are the deadlines for appealing the decision?
If your application is rejected, you must file an administrative appeal. The decision itself will indicate the procedures for filing an appeal, the deadlines and where you must file it. After this administrative examination you may take judicial action.
13. I have been a resident in Spain for more than five years. Will I be eligible for long-term residence if there is a no-deal withdrawal?
Yes, provided that you meet the eligibility requirements. See Article 5 of Royal Decree-Law 5/2019 of 1 March. You should take into account the following:
- If you already have a permanent residency certificate (green certificate), obtaining the TIE will be handled by the police authorities.
- If you did not have the registration certificate, or the registration certificate is of a temporary in nature, you will need to follow a different procedure; the application needs to be presented at the foreign nationals office before completing the application with the police authorities.
In both cases your passport must be valid.
14. What documents do I need to cross borders within the Schengen Area?
You must have a valid British passport and the document proving your status as resident in Spain (TIE).
Within the period of 21 months from withdrawal, the provisional document (e.g. residency certificate or family member’s card) will allow you to cross borders within the EU: Work is being done with the Commission to extend the provisional documents.
15. What documents will I need to move to another EU Member State for a period of more than three months?
You must obtain the documentation that proves your residence in Spain as a third-country national (TIE). However, this documentation only authorises you to reside and work in Spain. If you want to do so in another Member State, you will have to request the corresponding authorisation in that Member State under the requirements for each case in the legislation of said country.
16. What is my situation if I arrive in Spain after the withdrawal date? What do I have to do?
From the day following the withdrawal date, UK nationals will have the condition of third-country nationals and the general arrangements for foreigners in Spain will be applicable to them.
17. Will UK nationals have to obtain a work permit to continue their professional activity in Spain?
They must request the documentation corresponding to their new condition as third-country national within 21 months from the withdrawal date. During this period their residence in Spain is legal and they may engage in their professional activity. In any event, once they obtain the Foreigner Identity Card it will definitively accredit their residence and employment status in Spain.
18. Do family members of a UK national who are nationals of a non-European country and resident in Spain have a special status?
Family members must obtain the documentation corresponding to their new condition as Non-European family members within 21 months of the withdrawal date.
If they already hold a residency card, they must apply to have it replaced by a Foreigner Identity Card ( TIE) at the corresponding police authorities.
If they do not have a residency card as a family member of an EU citizen, they must apply for both the residency and work permit, at the office for foreign residents where they reside. This application will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and if it is accepted, they may then apply for the Foreigner Identity Card.
NOTE: The validity period of this temporary residency and work permit will be linked to the validity of the residency and work permit of the family member who holds UK nationality.
19. How long will a UK national be allowed to leave Spain for without losing the long-term resident status?
You may leave for a maximum period of 12 consecutive months.
You must take into account that at the time when your status becomes one of a long-term residency, a check will be made to verify that time residing in Spain has been continuous. This is not affected by absence from Spain, in the terms provided for by the law on foreign nationals.
20. How long will non-EU family members of a UK national be allowed to leave Spain for without losing their resident status?
They may leave for a maximum period of 12 consecutive months.
You must take into account that at the time when your status becomes one of a long-term resident, a check will be made to verify that your residence has been continuous. This is not affected by absence from Spain in the terms provided for by the law on foreign nationals.
21. I am a UK national and reside in Spain. Can I travel to another Member State?
To travel to another Member State of the Schengen Area, you must have a valid passport and the document proving your residency in Spain (TIE).
If you want to travel to an EU Member State that does not belong to the Schengen Area, you must also take into account whether the EU country requires a visa.
NOTE: The European Commission has presented a proposal to waive visa requirements for UK nationals for stays of less than three months, provided that European citizens receive reciprocal treatment for entry to the UK. This proposal is in the legislative procedure phase for adoption by the Council of the Union and the European Parliament.
22. I am a UK national resident in Spain who wishes to study at university in another Member State. What do I have to do?
To study at a university in another Member State you must apply for the corresponding permit in accordance with the national law of the corresponding Member State.
Take into account that the residency permit arranged by Spain under Royal Decree Law 5/2019 does not allow you to move to study in a university in other Member State.
If you participate in an EU or multilateral programme that includes mobility measures, or measures that are covered by an agreement between two or more higher education institutions, it may be a good idea to request an authorisation study associated with such an agreement under Article 44 of Royal Decree 557/2011 of 20 April, approving the Regulation on Foreign Residents with respect to the right to movement within the EU for study purposes.