Residency for British citizens in Spain as of January 1, 2021

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On January 1 this year, the Withdrawal Agreement between the EU and UK came to an end and with it, the automatic freedom of movement for British nationals in Spain. However, you can still apply for residency under the terms of Withdrawal Agreement in some circumstances. This article outlines what they are  and what you need to do.

British Citizens Who Arrived in Spain Before December 31, 2020

If you were living in Spain before the end of 2020, you are entitled to residency under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement as follows:

Holders of the TIE

If you already have the TIE (residence permit card – tarjeta de identidad de extranjero), you do not need to do anything because you are officially resident in Spain.

Beneficiary of a TIE holder or EU family card

If you are British and do not have a personal TIE card, but you are a beneficiary (spouse, child or dependent) of a TIE holder or EU family residence card, you are entitled to residency in Spain.

You should, however, apply for your own TIE because the card offers more guarantees. This is because the TIE specifically states that you are resident under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement.

Read the official document – download the European Commission pdf on citizens’ rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

No residence permit but living in Spain before December 31, 2020

If you were living in Spain before the end of last year, but didn’t apply for an official residence permit, you can still get a TIE. You will, however, have to prove that you were resident.

Examples of proof of residence in Spain include:

  • Rental contract.
  • Registration certificate.
  • Local council registration (empadronamiento).

British Citizens Who Arrived in Spain from January 1, 2021

In general, you are not a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement if you arrive in Spain from the beginning of this year. Under Spanish law, you are classed as third-country nationals and must follow the appropriate residency requirements and application process. This includes applying for a visa before you come to Spain.

However, there are some exceptions and some British nationals are classed as beneficiaries of the Agreement even if they arrive in Spain this year. They are those who have:

Family tie with a beneficiary of the Agreement

If you can prove a family tie with a British national who is a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement, you may request residency in Spain. You must complete your application for your TIE within three months of your arrival in Spain.

This also applies to children born from January 1, 2021 onwards.

Classification as a border worker

If you live in one state and work in another, you are classed as a border worker. As long as you continue to meet this definition, you are a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement.

Border workers in Spain are not obliged to apply for official status but may do so if they wish.

Find out more about residency in Spain.

Service Delivery Workers

In general, employees of UK companies who deliver services in Spain are not considered beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement. However, there are some exceptions.

Workers posted to Spain by UK company

If you work for a UK company and have held a posting in Spain since before December 31, 2021, you may be entitled to continue to live and work in Spain without the need for a residence and work permit. You will allowed to do so provided that the UK grants similar status to Spanish workers posted in the UK by a Spanish company prior to the end of 2021.

This condition of reciprocity is subject to possible changes in the law.

Extended contract for workers posted to Spain by UK company before 2021

If your service contract to work for the UK company in Spain is extended, you will need to apply for residence and work permits. However, you or your company will not have to fulfill the usual requirements regarding the employment situation in Spain.

Workers posted to Spain by UK company after 2020

If your service contract includes a posting to Spain for a UK company after January 1, 2021, you must obtain the appropriate visa before arrival and then get a residence permit in Spain.

Consultation is currently underway regarding the provision of social security for this group.

British national working for an EU company posted to Spain

If you are a British national who works for a company established in the EU with a service contract in Spain, the EU Directive 96/17 regarding the freedom of movement continues to apply to your situation. You therefore do not need to apply for residence and work permits.

The Importance of Up-to-date Information

Brexit has only recently happened and as a result, many aspects of reciprocity between Spain and the UK are still unresolved. Residence permits are also subject to change. It’s therefore vital to have correct and up-to-date information so that you know what the legal requirements are and how to fulfill them.

If you’re currently living in Spain or thinking of moving to Spain, get in touch with our expert immigration team. Their vast experience in residence permits will ensure you make the right application quickly and easily.

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