Brexit Update

British nationals are encouraged to register as residents with their nearest National Police station or provincial Oficina de Extranjería (where applicable) and receive their green credit-card-sized (or A4) certificates if they have not already done so.

The European Union has granted an extension to the UK’s leaving date until 31st January 2020 to give time for the British parliament to ratify an agreed Withdrawal Agreement with the EU. For the moment, Britain is fully in the EU and all rights and obligations for British citizens still fully apply. It is important to stress that if the UK leaves the EU on 31st January there is a legal implementation/transition period until 31st December 2020 when, although the UK is officially outside the EU, everything stays the same for UK nationals resident in Spain, including those newly arriving by the 31st December, and visitors from the UK.

The good news is that this Withdrawal Agreement, when signed by the EU and the UK, guarantees that the rights (and obligations) of UK nationals already legally resident in Spain by 31st December 2020 will be preserved indefinitely. This includes your long-term residency, healthcare, work, pensions, benefits etc.

(On the other hand, rights for British visitors/holidaymakers/non residents, including length of stay, driving on holiday and emergency healthcare, will be negotiated with the EU after the Withdrawal Agreement has been ratified).

The EU-citizen residency certificates (green A4 pieces of paper or credit-card sized green cards) will be valid after the Brexit date and beyond the subsequent transition period, according to the Spanish authorities,  and can be used to verify UK citizens’  guaranteed rights  in Spain. It is expected that Britons resident in Spain who hold these will have the option to swap them to another document, with their photo so more practical to use, sometime after Brexit (a special UK-resident-rights version of the Foreigner Identification Card – “Tarjeta de Identificacion de Extranjero” or “TIE“, which is currently the type of card given to non-EU citizens).  Details of this process are not yet available (as at early January) from the Spanish authorities but the rules of the Withdrawal Agreement are that it must be straightforward to do and that people are given enough time. There should be no anxiety as the green cards/pieces of paper will still be valid after Brexit and for a minimum of six months after the end of the 31st December 2020 transition period (i.e. up to 30th June 2021 and very possibly for longer than that). If you haven’t already done so, sign up to the UK government’s Living in Spain website and email alerts will be sent to you when and if this information is updated or changed.

More details on the agreement with the EU and what it would entail for UK nationals living in Spain or coming to live in Spain by 31st December are on this UK government link

Official government websites with the latest news

There is  a special British government web page specific to those living in Spain. You can also sign up for alerts to be sent to your email as the news changes. . 

The Spanish government will provide more information in English on contingency plans for Britons living in Spain during Brexit  on this link  (scroll down page) 

The British government maintains an information page on the latest overall news about the process to leave the EU which can be seen by on clicking here

There is also a recommended useful British Embassy Madrid Facebook page to like

The most important piece of news for British nationals who are resident in Spain at the moment is that nothing has changed with regards to their rights and obligations while in Spain. UK nationals have exactly the same entitlements in all areas as before the vote to leave the EU.

This includes healthcare, employment, residency and all other areas of life in Spain. Nothing has changed.

Ensure you are officially registered in Spain: If you are living in Spain already, British Government advice is to ensure that you have registered as an official resident in Spain to ensure your rights are best protected after Brexit whatever happens (the small green card or A4 sheet certificate). This process may take several weeks so plan early.

You can find out about this process here

(If you find you cannot get an appointment as a likely Brexit date approaches, the advice is to keep trying very regularly as more appointments can be made available. In addition keep evidence you are resident in Spain, including registering on the town hall census/padron and keep copies of utility bills, for example).

Note: You have a right if you wish to, after being in Spain more than five years, to apply for the card to be reissued as permanent (marked Residente Permanente), although this is not a legal requirement nor obligatory.

For the moment Britain is still fully part of the European Union (EU) and a British national who is resident in Spain has the same rights and obligations in all areas as they always have done.

Useful links

The following independent groups can also provide additional information and support:

Last Updated: 4th January 2020