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I'm british: What if there is a deal?

Relevant information for British nationals in Spain

Brexit. Citizen's rights - Residence.

The Withdrawal Agreement will only apply to British nationals and members of their families who are legally residing in Spain on 30 December 2020 (end of the transitional period). The existence of a transitional period effectively extends the exit date, at least in this area of citizens' rights, from 30 March 2019 to 31 December 2020.

British citizens and their family members who wish to reside in Spain after that date must comply with the provisions governing the "future mobility scheme". This scheme has not yet been negotiated, albeit a Political Statement subscribed to that effect.

With the existence of a deadline, 31 December 2020, the registration of British residents in Spain before the end of the transitional period becomes all the more important. This may lead to different legal situations depending on when they start their residence in Spain (before or after that date).

The Government of Spain will not require British nationals currently residing in Spain to undergo a new documentation process before the end of the transitional period, the same will apply to members of their families. However, they should already be in possession of a registration certificate (or a family member card of a European Union citizen, in the case of family members) documenting their current status.

Work is under way under article 18.4 of the draft Withdrawal Agreement, on a document to state that it has been issued in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement. This document shall have a standard format ("Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero", TIE type) in which this shall be recorded. This document can be applied for during the transitional period, although a plan will be designed to avoid massive applications being submitted at the same time.

All British nationals and their family members will be well advised to have a TIE format document stating that they are beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement.

And so,

  • If you are a British national resident in Spain before 30 March 2019: the residence certificate will be a valid document proving your legal status in Spain. You may, however, in accordance with article 18.4, apply for the document in a standard format (TIE) which states that it has been issued in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement.
  • If you are a national of a third-country, family member of a British citizen, resident in Spain before 30 March 2019: the family member card of a citizen of the European Union will be a valid document proving your legal status in Spain. You may, however, in accordance with article 18.4, request the document in a standard format (TIE).
  • If you are a British national arriving in Spain during the transitional period: a document in a standard format (TIE) will be issued automatically, stating that it has been issued in accordance with the withdrawal agreement. The same requirements as for obtaining a certificate of registration will apply.
  • If you are a national of a third-country, a family member of a British citizen, arriving in Spain during the transitional period: you will be issued automatically with a family card of a citizen of the European Union stating that it has been issued in accordance with the withdrawal agreement. The same requirements as for obtaining a family card appertaining a European Union citizen will apply.
  • If you are a British national who has already acquired Spanish nationality: you do not need to do anything.

The European Commission has produced a document with the frequently asked questions and their answers (FAQs) centred on the rights of citizens of the European Union and of the United Kingdom after Brexit in the event of no-deal. For further information you are advised to consult the document.

Please note that in Spain the registration with the Central Registry for Foreign Nationals of all citizens of the European Union, including British nationals, if they intend to reside in Spain for longer than three months for is strongly advised.

A formal application must be submitted within three months from the date of entry into Spain. A registration certificate will then be issued with immediate effect stating the identity, nationality and address, as well as the identification number (NIE), and the date of registration.

Since it is yet unknown whether there will be a deal and as this process rests on the decision of the United Kingdom, it is important to remember that, in any event, once the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union becomes effective, being in possession of a valid registration certificate will guarantee the recognition of your rights as a resident in Spain. In the event of a deal, this certificate will prove your status as a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement. In the event of a no-deal, this document will allow you to continue living in Spain and help you obtain the documents required by the general immigration regulations.

If you do not yet have such registration certificate as a citizen of the European Union, it is strongly reccomended to request, before the withdrawal date (30 March 2019), an appointment for accessing the “EU Certificates” procedure at the specific Police stations in your province. Note: Please bear in mind that not all the police stations may have availability for setting such appointments before the withdrawal date.

In case you cannot obtain such certificate before the withdrawal date, you will be able to accede to the new "Procedure for the documentation of nationals of the United Kingdom", as long as you can certify, among other elements, your resident status in Spain before the withdrawal date (for example, with your municipality registration certificate).