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Residence of the British nationals in Spain after 31 January 2020

January 29, 2020

So Brexit is finally taking place at midnight CET (11pm on Greenwich) this Friday 31 January 2020, after the European Parliament sang an emotional Auld Lang Syne to the UK.

The Withdrawal Agreement establishes a transitional period until 31 December 2020 (with an option for further extension agreed before 1 July 2020). During this term the UK and EU need to negotiate the terms of the new relationship.

What will happen to your residence as a British citizen in Spain now?

The Withdrawal Agreement validated by the European Parliament today leaves it clear:

  • If you have a valid EU Residency Certificate(the so-called “Green card”) you will maintain your status, as well as your family members with the valid EU Family Member Residence Permit. At the end of the transitional period (so far 31 December 2020) you can obtain a Spanish Residence Card (TIE)under the special procedure set for British nationals that will confirm your status as a beneficiary of the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement.
  • If you haven’t got the EU Residency Certificate yet, until the end of the transitional period you will have the possibility to obtain a Spanish Residence Document in the Immigration Office of the province of your residence, under the special procedure set for British nationals. With such Residence Document you will get a Spanish Residence Card (TIE). You will need to book an appointment in your local Immigration Office. Your family members will qualify for a residence permit under this special procedure, with the same rules that applied for EU family members up until now.
  • After the end of the transitional period new arriving UK nationals will need to abide by the general Immigration regulations (i.e. there will be no difference between, say a USA citizen and a Brit), unless both countries reach a special bilateral agreement.

Family members and children

The Withdrawal Agreement also protects the rights of family members (current spouses and registered partners, parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren and a person in an existing durable relationship) that are not yet living in Spain, to join the British nationals residing in Spain in the future. 

Children will be protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, wherever they are born before or after the UK’s withdrawal, or whether they are born inside or outside Spain. The only exception foreseen concerns children born after the UK’s withdrawal and for which a parent not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement has sole custody under the applicable family law. 

The Withdrawal Agreement does not require your physical presencein Spain at the end of the transition period – temporary absences that do not affect the right of residence and longer absences that do not affect the right of permanent residence are accepted. 

Spanish citizens in UK after Brexit

If you are a Spanish citizen living in the UK, you will need to register under the “EU Settlement Scheme” before 30 June 2021, however you need to have been living in the UK before the end of the transitional period (so far 31 December 2020).

The Spanish Embassy in London open “Ventanilla Única Brexit” to assist Spanish in this procedure. Their web explains very clearly what you need to do and what documents are necessary.

Over 3 million EU citizens live in the UK, and over 1 million UK nationals live in EU countries.


Anna Klevtsova

Anna holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law, and is a Certified Lawyer with the Bar Association of Barcelona. With more than 20 years of legal practice in International Law, Anna specialises in business set-up, investment transactions, and immigration strategies.

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