Residence in Spain after Brexit
27 Aug 2020
The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31 January 2020 when the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement was approved. The agreement entered in force on 1 February opening a transitory period till 31 December 2020.
UK nationals do have the same rights as any other EU citizens during the transitory period, except the right of voting.
As of 31 December 2020, only UK nationals who are resident in Spain at the end of the transitory period will maintain the same rights in terms of residence, freedom of movement and Social Security. Those nationals moving to Spain after 1 January 2021 will be treated as resident of a third country, thus will be subject to the general immigration regime like US, Japan or Russia, as an example, unless otherwise is approved within the future relationship framework under negotiation (Britons won’t be allowed to stay more than 3 months out of a total of 6 in the Schengen territory, or they will have to apply for visas and residency authorizations to stay longer).
The withdrawal agreement is aimed to protect British nationals living in a EU country by the end of the transitory period, and vice versa. In order to benefit from the withdrawal agreement in Spain, and live here for more than 3 months as of 2021, UK nationals must register as residents with the Spanish authorities (Spanish government and local town hall -padrón-).
Any EU citizen living in Spain more than 90 days must apply for a certificate of EU resident, a green document certificate (A4 or credit card sized). This certificate will remain valid proof of residence and of rights under the Withdrawal Agreement after 31 December 2020 for those registered in Spain before 6 July 2020.
UK nationals registered as resident in Spain after 6 July 2020 must obtain a Foreign Identification Card (TIE in Spanish), that explicitly states that it has been issued to the holder under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement. Those holding already a green certificate can exchange it for the new TIE (highly recommendable).
The deadline to register with the Spanish authorities as resident and benefit from the rights under the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is 31 December 2020. Please note that takes some time to get the TIE card.