Thousands of British Expats to Receive New Residency Status

July 8th, 2020

Starting Monday 6th of July 2020, the Directorate General of Migration and the National Police will issue -upon application- a new residency card and, with it, a new residency status for British expats specifically created pursuant to the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement (Part Two), published jointly by the EU and the UK on the 14th of November 2018.

This new residency sits in between the standard EU-citizens and the non-EU citizens status, and will have its own terms and conditions, in particular in respect to duration of the residency cards (and notably the introduction of a photo on the card).

These are the most important points to consider:

  • UK nationals residents in Spain prior to the 31st of December 2020 will have the rights to residency, freedom of movement and Social Security as recognized in the Withdrawal Agreement. Applicants for residency after this end date may have others, either those recognized in a future agreement between the EU and the UK or, by default, those recognized by existing Spanish laws and those that may be approved.
  • UK nationals (and their family members) will not have to apply for a new status but will be entitled to receive a card that confirms their status as beneficiaries of the rights contained in the Withdrawal Agreement.
  • The Instruction refers to various “statuses” and procedures:
    • Applicants who have been residents for a period above 5 years and do have a permanent residency certificate, will submit their applications at the Police Station, receiving a permanent 10-year residency card.
    • Applicants who have been residents for a period above 5 years but do NOT have a permanent residency certificate, will submit their applications at the Police Station, receiving a permanent 10-year residency card.
    • Applicants who have been residents for a period under 5 years but do have a residency certificate, will submit their applications at the Police Station, receiving a “temporary” 5-year residency card.
    • Applicants who do not have a residency certificate will submit their applications initially at the Foreigners Office and once approved, they will need to request the issuance of their 5-year validity cards at the Police Station.
  • UK nationals arriving in Spain after the end date of the transition period (31st of December 2020), will have 3 months to apply for residency. Where not, the authorities reserve their right to grant extra time to submit the application.
  • Temporary or extended absences from Spain will not affect the rights under the residency cards.

Finally, further to the end of the transition period, Spanish authorities may request that British citizens apply for residency under the various options granted to any non-EU does (non-lucrative residency permits, self-employed work authorization and residency permit etc.).

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