With the end of the Brexit transition period less than three months away, now is the time to register yourself with the Spanish authorities if you have not already done so.
Unfortunately, many have struggled to get an appointment at their local extranjeria office and are rightly concerned that they won’t be able to get their TIE residency card in time.
With that comes the worry that you may even be deemed a non-resident or worst still, some kind of ‘illegal immigrant’.
So the question that many of us are asking is, “How do I prove that I have been resident in Spain prior to December 31?”.
Your rights will be protected under the withdrawal agreement
For many months, the Spanish government and the UK Embassy have continued to assure British nationals that as long as you are officially resident in Spain prior to December 31, your rights to live and work here will be protected under the negotiated withdrawal agreement.
All you have to do is make sure you can present the correct documentation (if required) to prove that you were resident prior to the deadline.
Existing residency documents remain valid
Below we will hopefully put your mind at rest and clarify just what you need in order to satisfy the Spanish authorities that you were resident in Spain prior to December 31.
First, we need to confirm something about existing, older style residency certificates.
Although the new residence document takes the form of a biometric TIE card, the existing green residency A4 certificate and other style residency permits will all remain valid and will demonstrate to the Spanish authorities your legal residency status and your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.
If you do have an older style residency document, there is no current obligation to exchange this for the new biometric TIE residency card, although you may want to do this eventually.
This has been clarified along with your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement on many occasions by the UK Ambassador Hugh Elliott and his team in recent updates, Q & A’s and videos via Facebook.
In a recent video Mr Elliott reiterated, “If you are unable to complete the registration process before the 1st of January, you will still be protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, as long as you were legally resident in Spain before the end of 2020.
“So we recommend you have documentation in place, like your padron certificate that demonstrates that”.
Further information including the video from Mr Eliott can be seen at the link below. Make sure you view that story after you have completed reading this one.
How to prove your residency if you have not got an appointment
If you have been unable to secure an appointment at your nearest extranjeria foreigner’s office, the Embassy recommends that you have as much documentation in place that proves you met the requirements and were resident in Spain prior to December 31.
The more of the documents you have below, the safer you will be.
Padron certificate - Each municipality in Spain will keep a record of local citizens which can be used for government funding. The more people who are registered, the more funding your local municipality will receive. This is known as the ‘Padron Municipal de Habitantes’ or simply ‘Padron’.
You apply to be added to this at your local town hall (Ayuntamiento). Once you have registered you will be given a ‘Certificado de Empadronamiento’. This can then be used for many legal procedures such as getting your children into school, getting married, applying for residency and much more.
Rental agreement - If you are renting in Spain, you should have proof of this in the form of a signed and dated rental agreement.
Utility bills - If you are living here in Spain, you should have a water or electricity bill. These will also help to show you have been residing in the country prior to December 31.
Work contract or social security - Likewise, if you are employed in Spain, you should have a contract to prove as much. If you are self-employed you should have registered with the Agencia Tributaria tax office and registered as self-employed autonomo with the Regimen Especial de Trabajadores Autónomos (RETA).
You should have also filed your taxes, paid your monthly social security payments and completed other business-related documentation. These will all help to confirm your presence in Spain.
Health care registration - If you have registered for state healthcare, you would have done so via the local INSS office and have the relevant documentation.
For many people, proof of private health insurance cover is also a strict requirement to obtain your TIE residency certificate.
The UK Embassy in Spain has also recommended that if you have been unsuccessful in getting an appointment, to take a screenshot of your attempts online and show that none were available.
In this article, we’ve clarified that your rights to live and work in Spain will be maintained under the Withdrawal Agreement as long as you have been legally resident in Spain prior to the December 31 deadline.
You now know that existing residency documents including the green A4 certificate will continue to be valid from 2021 and beyond with no current obligation to upgrade these to the new TIE card.
You have also learnt about the recommendations from the UK Embassy and which documentation you should have available in order to demonstrate that you are resident in Spain.
If you do as much of the above as possible, you should have no problem in proving to the authorities that you have been resident in Spain prior to December 31.
You can read more about the residency process here.