The British Embassy recently held a live Facebook session discussing the latest developments in regards to residency for UK nationals living in Spain.
The session was chaired by British Consul, Sarah-Jane Morris with the help of Consular Advisor Lorna Geddie along with representatives of the three support organisations for UK nationals in Spain, Babelia, IoM (International Organisation for Migration) and Age in Spain.
Their aim was to address the most burning questions that British nationals currently have on the residency process.
Below we highlight the most common questions during the session and the official guidance from Sarah-Jane and the three contributors.
Q. What is the current validity of the green EU residency certificates?
Lorna Geddie from the British Embassy said that there still seemed to be some confusion over the validity of both the green A4 size residency certificate and the credit card size document now the UK has left the EU.
However, Lorna clarified that both are still valid and demonstrate your legal residence in Spain.
The Spanish government do recommend that if you still have one of these documents that you should replace it with the new more durable, TIE card, however, this is not a strict requirement at this time.
Q. The residency application process for many seems to be very slow at the moment with many people still not having been notified about their appointment. What is going on with residency applications?
Lorna once again said that even though you may not have been given an appointment date yet and that it was causing frustration for many, you are once again assured that if you were resident in Spain up until the end of the year, your rights are protected under the Withdrawal Agreement.
This is regardless of whether your application has been processed or whether or not you have received an appointment date.
Lorna advises people to be patient and to make sure they have all their documents ready to go. She also advised to keep checking for an appointment as more staff are being put in place to deal with the backlog of applications.
Q. I was living in Spain and visited the UK at the end of 2020 but hadn’t started or completed my residency application. What can I do?
Lorna said that despite the current restrictions that are in place to prevent people from coming into Spain, this does not apply to those who are legally resident or Spanish nationals.
If you have the A4 green residency certificate or older-style credit card document these will both demonstrate that you are resident in Spain and are permitted to enter the country. However, you should check with the airline you are travelling with prior to booking your flights to ascertain whether the documentation you have is sufficient.
Further info from the Spanish government can be found on the page below.
The Spanish authorities are yet to confirm whether any other form of documentation will be sufficient to prove that you are resident.
You are also advised to check the official UK travel to Spain page where you may also sign-up for email notifications about any changes.
The Spanish government has also published a PDF document on Brexit for UK nationals in Spain titled “Questions for UK nationals and their family members residing in Spain” which can be viewed at the following link.
Q. I am a holder of the existing A4 green residency document. What is the procedure to exchange this document for the new TIE residency card?
The Spanish authorities have published an in-depth guide to obtaining your TIE card which can be found at the following page.
Q. Why are residency applications in the Murcia region taking so long with some people having to wait 12 weeks or more for an appointment?
Alicia Garate from IoM said that the regional authorities were aware that Murcia has been a particularly challenging region for those looking to gain residency. However, there is no average time and that it was important to be patient.
The main thing is to make sure that your application is in the process, but try to be patient.
Q. Is it possible to start the residency process from the UK due to the current travel difficulties?
Kirsten Garry of Babelia said that being able to do that would very much depend on which documentation you had in place prior to leaving Spain.
If you would like clarification on that, Kirsten advises you to contact Babelia to find out your options.
Q. I submitted my application at the end of December and I am worried about what will happen if I exceed the 90-day rule on staying in Spain before I hear whether my application has been successful.
Marc from Age In Spain, said that while you are waiting for the resolution you may stay in Spain beyond the 90 days and that you have nothing to worry about.
Q. I currently reside in the Canary Islands, am a holder of an A4 green certificate and will be relocating to the mainland. What documents will I need?
As you are a legitimate resident, your A4 document will be sufficient, although you may want to change the address you will need to do this at the police station, providing an updated padron certificate with the new address.
Q. I have residency and my wife wants to join me from the UK. My wife has an NIE and wants to apply for her TIE. Is this possible?
It will depend on the NIE number she has. If she only has the NIE she will need to go through the process to apply for the TIE. However, this will not be a problem as her husband already has residency and as such she and any dependents are entitled to join him.
One of the rights under the withdrawal agreement is the right of ‘family unification’. This includes the partner, spouse, children and dependent parents or grandparents.
Q. How long did I need to be in Spain before applying for residency? Was it three or six months?
Marc Garcia Palma from Age In Spain said there was no minimum period. Now you will have two possibilities, you will either come under the Withdrawal Agreement or you will not.
If you were living in Spain before the end of 2020, your rights will be protected under the Withdrawal Agreement and you can apply right away. You will need to provide proof that you were resident in the form of school inscription documents, padron, business or employment-related documents etc.
You may contact Age In Spain if you need any further help with this.
Q. My first and second applications were rejected with no specific reasons given. How can I legally stay in Spain while my appeal is being processed?
Alicia Garate from IoM said that you may live in Spain while your application or appeal are being processed.
Sometimes, applications can be rejected if documentation is missing.
Q. Do you need to prove your income when switching between the green A4 residency certificate and the TIE in Malaga?
No, you do not need to. You can just update your residency document to the TIE.
You will just need to provide an updated padron document.
Q. Is there a time limit on applying for residency if you were legally resident in Spain prior to December 31, 2020?
Lorna Geddie from the British Embassy said, no, there is no deadline in applying for residency if you are a first-time applicant and you can prove that you were resident in Spain.
However, if you were to wait too long, they cannot refuse to process your application but may impose a sanction or fine as a result.
Q. I have been resident in Spain for five years but my new TIE shows “temporal” and not “permanente”, is this correct and what are the implications?
Lorna said this doesn’t sound correct. If you have been in Spain for 5 years it should say “permanente”. You would need to challenge this with the police station and request a new card. They should then update your card which would be valid for 10 years.
There is no real difference between “temporal” and “permanente”, your rights are the same. Although being a permanent resident means you would not need to prove your income or healthcare requirements.
There are other benefits of having “permanente” on your TIE such as flight discounts or access to healthcare etc.
Another key difference is that if you have been in Spain for less than five years (Temporal), you can only leave Spain for up to 6 months in any 12 month period and maintain your residency status.
With “permanente”, where you have been resident for more than 5 years, you may leave Spain for up to 5 consecutive years and still maintain your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.
Q. My TIE application was rejected as my employment contract did not contain enough hours. Can you get a TIE if you are self-employed?
Yes, you can but will need to provide sufficient financial means.
When you have an employment contract it will usually need to be for 40 hours per week which will mean you will earn enough.
The self-employed will need to prove their income including 3 months of bank statements.
Q. What are the implications of having the incorrect wording on my TIE? For example “A family member of an EU citizen”.
Unfortunately, there was an error in batches of cards that were sent out around September 2020.
You would need to go back to your police station and request that the card is updated. In the meantime, your TIE card will remain valid.
Q. I was registered on the padron. Does this mean I am legally resident in Spain?
Unfortunately not. You will need to be registered with the Spanish authorities and be on the central register of foreigners to be classed as legally resident and therefore benefit from the rights provided by the Withdrawal Agreement.
Please remember that even though your application may not have been processed yet, or you may not have received an appointment with the immigration authorities, your rights of legal residency are protected under the Withdrawal Agreement.
All you have to do is demonstrate that you were resident in Spain prior to the transition period ending on December 31, 2020, using the correct documentation.
Please be sure to check out the guides from both the UK and Spanish governments below.
You can watch the full 1-hour video at the following link.