Healthplan Spain


Spanish woman waving flag BREXIT DEADLINE: What Brits In Spain Must Do Before December 31 Expat Tips

There are now just 79 days left before the transition period comes to an end and the whole Brexit debacle draws to a close.

With this in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to do a recap of where we are in the process and what Brits living in Spain need to do prior to the December 31 deadline.

Where We Are

As it stands, the Brexit transition period will come to an end on December 31 following over three and half years of uncertainty.

At this moment in time, negotiators from the UK and the EU are working to thrash out a trade deal.

The deadline to extend the transition period has now expired which means the two sides either come to an agreement by the end of the year, or the UK will leave with a no-deal and trade under WTO rules from January 2021.

Residency Applications

If you are a British national living in Spain before December 31, 2020, you will need to apply for a residency permit if you haven’t already done so.

Under the negotiated Withdrawal Agreement, anyone who is registered and has legal residency status in Spain will be able to continue to live and work here indefinitely once the transition period ends.

If you are already registered and have one of the existing green A4 residency certificates or older style permits, these will be enough to demonstrate to the Spanish authorities that you are legally resident in Spain. There is no requirement to change these at this time.

From July 2020, the biometric card called a TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero) will be issued for new residency applicants.

You can find out all you need to know about how to get your residency in Spain by visiting our page below which includes an easy to follow 3 Step Process.

When applying for Spanish residency, you will need to prove that you are permanently resident in Spain.

We recently published an article explaining how to do this and the documentation you can use at the following page.

Driving Licences

If you are a British national in Spain and hold a UK driving licence, you will need to exchange this for a Spanish one by December 31, 2020.

You can do that via the official DGT page here.

However, due to the pandemic, many are struggling to make an appointment to do this. The British and Spanish authorities are aware of the situation and are currently working on a solution.

There are rumours that you will be able to register your intention by December 25 to exchange your licence. You will then be able to make an appointment in the new year to do the exchange once appointments become available.

** If you do not exchange your licence, you will need to sit a Spanish driving test and theory exam.


If you are currently claiming a UK state pension in Spain, you can continue to do so after December 31. The pension will also be permanently uprated on a yearly basis using the Triple Lock.

This means that the amount you receive will rise each year in line with the highest average earnings, prices (measured by inflation) or by 2.5%.

For those who move to Spain after the transition period ends on December 31, there are currently no guarantees that pensions will be uprated.

The UK state pension age has now been increased to 66 for both men and women, with the maximum you can receive currently set at £175.20 per week. You can read more about this at our following page.

If you are living in Spain but have not yet reached retirement age, you can still claim your pension in Spain when the time comes. If you have worked in Spain during this time, you will need to apply for your pension here. Your contributions both in Spain and the UK will then be used to determine the amount you receive.

If you have not worked in Spain you can claim your pension via the following official URL.

If you will be claiming your pension in Spain (if you will be/have worked here), you can use the following link for further details.

Bank Accounts

With a number of UK banks recently contacting Brits living in Spain advising that their accounts will be closed in 2021, this has rightly caused some concern among the expat community.

Most of us in Spain will already have a Spanish bank account. If you do not have one, now would be a good time to open one.

If you are unsure as to whether your existing UK account will be subject to change, you are advised to contact them to clarify this.

The British Embassy recently confirmed that pension payments can be sent to your Spanish bank account if required. More information on that can be seen via their video here.

EU Pet Passports

It isn’t just our own travel arrangements that will be impacted by Brexit, our furry friends will be as well.

The current EU Pet Passport Scheme will no longer apply to the UK. The process will be a little more complicated and may mean making arrangements up to four months prior to travel.

Further information can be found at our page here.

Official guidance from the UK’s Living in Spain page can be found here.

Passports and Travel

Between now and December 31, 2020, nothing will change in terms of travel rules. You will be able to continue to travel unrestricted within the Schengen area or elsewhere within the EU.

From January 1, 2021, you will need to make sure that your passport has at least 6 months validity remaining to travel within the EU (not including Ireland).

If you need to renew your passport, you can do so via the UK government website here.

Further guidance can be found via the official Living in Spain page here.