Is it necessary to carry out a procedure to regularize their situation in Spain?
On January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom left the European Union and, with it, endless questions about the consequences that this will entail, not only for residents of the European Union in the United Kingdom, but also for those British who reside in our country.
Although, the departure from the United Kingdom took place on January 31, the European Union and the United Kingdom have signed a “Withdrawal Agreement” under which a transitional period has been agreed that extends the effective departure from the United Kingdom, at less in the field of citizens’ rights, until December 31, 2020.
Notwithstanding, these changes lead us to ask ourselves numerous questions regarding residence permits in Spain, do British citizens have the right to continue residing in Spain? Is it necessary to perform any kind of action or procedure to regularize their situation?
British citizens who have been granted residence in Spain prior the leaving of United Kingdom from the European Union shall continue to maintain their resident status.
Notwithstanding, if it shall be mandatory to make some changes with respect to their identification document before July 31, 2021:
- In the case of British citizens who have been residing in Spain for less than five years under the regime of citizens of the European Union, the general immigration regime shall be applied and must be documented in Spain as residents.
To do this, they must replace their green residence card with the corresponding Foreigner Identity Card (TIE). This card shall have a duration equal to the one remaining to complete the five-year period. So, if the citizen obtained his card in January 2017, their new TIE shall be valid until January 2022.
After this period of five years, the permanent residence card may be requested, in accordance with the procedure established in the immigration law for this purpose.
- British citizens who have resided for more than 5 years, in addition, to be able to apply for permanent residence through the channels established by law, they must obtain their foreign identity card (TIE).
In this case, a path shall be enabled so that they can access to the new procedure established for this purpose, provided that they can prove, among other elements, their status of residents in Spain on the date of withdrawal (for example, through their census certificate).
These citizens shall have a deadline (until July 31, 2020) to request the corresponding residence authorization. In this case, their residence shall remain legal until that date, although they cannot prove it until they are granted with the corresponding residence authorization.
In any case, at the time of requesting the identity card, it is mandatory to demonstrate from what date they are living in Spain (i.e. census certificate, rental agreement, etc.).
Therefore, while British citizens who have residency shall be provided with the TIE automatically, those who do not have legal residence must prove that they lived in Spain before Brexit and must request, in a first step, the residence and, once granted, request the corresponding Foreigner Identity Card.
But what about those citizens who cannot prove that they resided in Spain before Brexit or those who propose to change their residence to Spain after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union?
In this case, these citizens shall be considered citizens of third countries to the European Union and, therefore, the laws of the general immigration regime shall be applied, without any privilege.
In this regard, it is important to bear in mind that they may remain in Spain for a period of 90 days within a period of 180 days and if, after that period of 90 days, they continue in Spain, they will be considered irregular.
Therefore, although, despite the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union, a lot of measures have been established to guarantee the rights of citizens, once the transitional period has be ended, the system for obtaining residence shall not be so simple and flexible as it has been before, being mandatory to meet the different requirements required by law according to the type of residence requested.