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Home > Legal & Financial > Brexit & Residence

Brexit & Residence

The UK officially left the EU on 31 January 2020 and the Brexit transition period ran until 31 December 2020. By the moment of writing this lines we do not know if it will end with an agreement – let us hope so –  or with a no deal but some general ideas must be known.  Leaving the European Union will affect most UK nationals to varying degrees, but those living in or owning property in Europe will have specific concerns about their future.

Spain has almost 300 thousand British residing in our borders who will be considered non-EU nationals and, as such, will require a new residence and work permit. Until now, the Brexit Agreement provides that, those British nationals with documented residence in Spain will have a transitional period to request a new residence and work permit, if applicable, and it would be necessary to comply with the recommendations of the European Commission on the possibility of granting special temporary residence permits until obtaining a permanent one. The Spanish Government approved a Contingency Plan to guarantee the rights of British residents in the event that an agreement is not reached, so that they can remain in Spain, which includes special consideration for British people who have had their residence permit for more than five years, and special measures. This also affects British employed workers, who must have their corresponding residence and work permit to continue working in Spain, however, said Contingency Plan prepared by the Spanish Government aims to guarantee the rights of British workers and mitigate in much of the possible adverse effects that a non-negotiated exit from the EU would have on the rights of British workers in Spain.

The Withdrawal Agreement has provided for the establishment of a transitional period until December 31, 2020. During the transitional period, the rights derived from the application of Union law will be maintained with the following exceptions:

  • Right to active and passive suffrage in elections to the European Parliament.
  • Right to active and passive suffrage in municipal elections. However, Spain and the United Kingdom have adopted a bilateral Agreement in relation to municipal elections, so that Spanish and British citizens may continue to enjoy active and passive suffrage in said elections, now under this bilateral Agreement.
  • Exercise of the Citizen Legislative initiative of the EU.

Once the transitional period has ended, on January 1, 2021, the Withdrawal Agreement provides that the rights to residence, work, studies and Social Security will be maintained, provided that you resided in Spain before that date.

After that period he concern of British citizens who have a legal relationship with Spain, and especially with the Mediterranean coast, is growing, both in the case of being residents, with businesses, others working for someone else or retired, as well as those who are non-residents but owners of homes that they use during vacation periods, or rent them, are at this moment until uncertain and will have to wait for the final legal and economic agreements to know how all this will affects them. However,

The rights of British citizens and their families who begin their legal residence in Spain after the transitional period will be those established by the Agreement that regulates the future relationship or, failing that, those established by the general immigration regime

The current registration certificates and EU citizen family cards available to British citizens and their relatives residing in Spain are in principal valid documents to prove legal residence in Spain, after the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU and benefit from the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement.  British citizens and their relatives residing in Spain can request a residence document with a uniform format (TIE), which will prove the status of their bearer as a beneficiary of the rights contemplated in the Withdrawal Agreement.

The Instruction of the General Directorate of Migrations and the General Directorate of the Police  from last July,  2 of 2020, determines the procedure for issuing the residence document provided for in article 18.4 of the Withdrawal Agreement. To request it, the interested person  must go to the immigration office of the province where you intend to reside or to the corresponding police station for filing the application or consult the web https://sede.administracionespublicas.gob.es/

If you have already obtained Spanish nationality, it will not be necessary to carry out any procedure.

In the next weeks we will know the final scenario.

Carlos Espinosa

Solicitor & Tax Adviser

+34 627 41 32 01