The UK has finally left the European Union. And it has done so with an agreement that will certainly affect you. No matter if you are a UK citizen or the relative of one, your legal status in Spain is about to change.
That is why, in this article, we gathered all the latest news and some recommendation in regards to what will happen to UK citizens in Spain after Brexit. You may want to take action as fast as possible, so keep on reading!
Basically, Brexit is the process related to the UK exiting the European Union.
As we are talking about relationships that were previously regulated under the Europea Union regime but now won’t anymore, it involves the implementation of new laws. And, especially, negotiations and new treatments between the EU countries and the UK.
After months and months of negotiations after the final decision, the UK finally left the European Union on the 31st of January.
And, the most important thing, it has done so with an agreement.
What is the Brexit agreement about?
The exit agreement has been ratified by both the UK and the European Union. Even though the UK is finally out, this agreement establishes a transitory period that goes from the 1st of February until the 31st of December.
During those 11 months, Spain will negotiate with the UK the specifics of the new conditions and relations between both parties: for example what will happen in regards to immigration.
During that time, both UK citizens and their non-EU relatives will keep the same rights they had before. Nevertheless, their residency cards will be different.
Will UK citizens keep their residency status in Spain?
As we have mentioned, until the 31st of December, both UK citizens who registered in Spain and all non-EU citizens who got their family member of an EU citizen visa through them will keep their residency card along with the rights that it grants.
So the European regime still prevails.
Nevertheless, they will be granted a special type of TIE that regulates their situation while keeping the same rights they possess now.
Nevertheless, once the 11 negotiation months come to an end, we still don’t know what will happen to them.
The exact conditions in regards to immigration, study, work, social security and health rights are still to be set.
Residency for UK citizens after the 1st of January 2021
During the negotiation period, two different conclusions can be reached.
First of all, Spain (and the rest of the EU countries) and the UK can reach a special type of agreement that can’t be compared to any other treatment with a non-EU country.
But the most logic result is that the UK and Spain will agree on having a relationship similar to the one the Spanish territory has with Canada or the US. Individuals will be able to travel within countries as tourists without the need to get a tourist visa, but with the limitation of 90 days maximum per semester.
This would be a reciprocal relationship. So at the very moment in which one of the two countries starts requesting tourist visas, the other would start to do the same.
Furthermore, in order to live over 3 months in Spain, any UK citizen will need to request a valid residence permit: the EU registry certificate wouldn’t be an option anymore.
They will need to start considering other options like the non-lucrative visa, the golden visa or a regular work permit. Now with a more complex list of requirements.
Important advice: If you haven't yet, register as a resident in Spain NOW
Let’s take the case of a retired London citizen. He wants to start living in Spain, so he decides to do it as soon as possible to avoid any possible future hassle.
The only thing he has to do is to register in the country and get his UE registry certificate. The main requirements is demonstrating €600 per month, something that is well covered with his pension.
But now imagine he misses the deadline and does not register in Spain until 2021. As the transitory period has come to an end, the EU registry certificate is not valid. He must request a non-lucrative visa, requiring € 2,200 per month, being his pension not enough. Thus, he has to stay in the UK.
As you can see, you should hurry up and register in Spain before the 31st of December to avoid losing the easiness in the legal application that any European Union citizen faces.
Registering in Spain as a UK citizen
If you are a United Kingdom citizen who is not yet registered in Spain, our advice is that you do it as soon as possible.
Specially because until the end of the year, you have it really simple.
In this section, we will explore the exact steps you should follow to get your EU registry certificate:
- The first step is flying to Spain and registering your address in the city hall.
- Then you will need to go to your closest police office and register as a resident.
- The first requirement you must meet is demonstrating your economic independence. For that, you can bring a job contract, the inscription to the self-employed regime, or enough money in your bank account in case you are not working.
- The second and last requirement is having a private or public health insurance contract. In case you are working, your monthly contributions to social security will be enough, as you are entitled to the Spanish public healthcare system. In case you are not working, having a private one is compulsory.
- Finally, you will need to pay the corresponding fee (which is about € 12). And you will get your UE registry certificate.
Permanent EU Card
After 5 years with the EU card, you can obtain the permanent UE registry, which is valid forever.
Of course, is you have been in the country for that amount of time, we highly recommend you to switch to the long-run one as soon as possible.
Over 10 years in Spain? Get Spanish citizenship
Up till now, British individuals did not find it really useful to obtain Spanish citizenship. Especially because inside the EU, they had all the same benefits.
Nevertheless, now with Brexit, Spanish nationality gains more interest.
We don’t exactly know what will happen to UK citizens in Spain after Brexit once the transitory period is over, but having citizenship may be the safest option.
That is why, if you have lived in the country for over 10 years, we recommend you to apply for it.
But bear in mind that you’ll need to renounce to your current UK nationality to get the Spanish one.
Getting your Family Member of an EU citizen card
Nevertheless, there is another group of people who are not from the UK but who can experience the consequences of Brexit while living in Spain.
We are talking about the relatives of UK citizens, who can get their residency card as an EU relative easily in the Spanish territory through them.
This situation applies to:
- Those married to a UK citizen.
- Those who have registered a civil partnership (pareja de hecho) with a British citizen.
- Those who have a child together.
Again, our recommendation is that all of you who are under any of the prior situations go to the immigration office as soon as possible and get your EU relative card.
You will get a residence permit that grants you the right to live and work in Spain for 5 years. And that is something that after 2021 you won’t be able to get.
Legal advice for Brexit immigration consequences
As you can see, the current situation requires you to take action now and try to regularize your situation before it’s too late.
More information can be found in the government’s website. But if you have any other doubts and need personalized legal assistance from our expert lawyer team, do not hesitate to reach out to us.
We work with UK citizens on a daily basis, so we really understand you!