Brexit and residency in Spain for UK citizens

Filed under : Civil Law

Following the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the procedure, requirements and documentation for UK nationals wanting to register as residents of Spain will change at the end of 2020. For those people who are already resident in Spain and who hold the green card or certificate confirming their registration as an EU citizen resident in Spain will have to apply to change this.

The Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union provides for a transition period until 31 December 2020, which may be extended. During the transition period your rights under EU Law will be maintained. This includes the right to move to and legally reside in Spain.

The Spanish government website La Moncloa advises the following that once the transition period ends, the Withdrawal Agreement stipulates that your rights of residence, work, study and social security will be maintained.

Registration certificates (the green certificate) and ID cards of family members of the EU citizen obtained before the end of the transition period will subsequently serve to accredit their legal residence in Spain and benefit from the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement. However, the Spanish government is working together with the European Commission to have a Foreign Identity Card that explicitly mentions your condition as beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement. The procedure for processing this card will be completed soon.

If you are not yet registered as a resident but arrive to live in Spain before 31st December the Withdrawal Agreement will apply, and therefore your rights will be derived from the application of EU law. Before the Foreign Identity Card  (TIE) is available you should apply for the  green registration card or certificate. We can assist with this by making an application to the National Police.

Having a certificate of registration in force before 31st December 2020 is a guarantee of your rights as a resident in Spain. 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.

If you are living in Spain or intend to move here before the end of 2020 and you have never registered as a resident (the green certificate or card) you should do so now. We can help you with the application.

If you are a UK national already registered as resident on the register of EU citizens and have the green certificate or card, you will have to apply for the Foreign Identity Card  (TIE). Spain is currently working with the European Union in respect of the format of this card which may be the same or similar to the card already issued to non-EU nationals who are resident in Spain.

We will be keeping a close eye on the situation and will advise our clients of the procedure as soon as it has been announced. If you would like to register on our mailing list so that you are notified , please click this link

Jonathan Sutton is a dual qualified English solicitor and abogado registered with the College of Lawyers in with the international law firm of De Cotta Law which has offices in Mijas Costa, Nerja , Coín and Tenerife.

Jon can be contacted on (0034) 951315161 or by e-mail [email protected]

 For the Canary Islands contact Vera Liprandi on [email protected] or call 922 719 520