The British exit from the EU on January the 31st seems like a lifetime ago, as the events of recent months have been so tumultuous. But Brexit hasn’t gone away, just disappeared from view, and the uncertainty it creates still affects us in many ways, both big and small.
British residents in Spain, in particular, must be wondering what their rights will be when the UK’s definitive break with Europe comes at the end of the transition period, which happens when 2020 draws to a close. In this case, we have good news for you.
From July 6th onwards, all United Kingdom nationals, their family members, and any other resident in Spain, can request a residence document, called an Expat/Foreigner Identity Card (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero in Spanish, or TIE for short) which explicitly sets their status as beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement of the United Kingdom from the European Union (article 18.4) that entered into force on February 1st, and means the implementation of the European Union law in terms of free movement with applicable specifications. Therefore, there will be no obligation for them to request a new residence status, or even undergoing a new evaluation process, with all the consequences that entails.
In the case of those whose right of residence starts after the end of the transitional period, the deadline for submitting the residence card application will be three months from the moment they arrived, or birth took place. Once this period expires, immigration officials will evaluate the circumstances, and the reasons why the deadline was missed, with a view to giving an additional period to the person concerned in order to re-apply.
The format of this residency document will be the same as the residence permit for third country nationals, and it will be valid for 5 to 10 years. After that, the document will be renewed automatically every ten years, with different requirements depending on the starting temporary or permanent status.
It is also important to bear in mind that the above mentioned Withdrawal Agreement does not demand a physical presence in Spain at the time when the transitional period ends, so in this sense, temporary absences must be accepted, as well as longer absences not affecting the right to a permanent residence.
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