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Post-Brexit, what rights do British people have to live in Spain?

residing in spain

Following the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union on January 1, 2021, the Withdrawal Agreement regulates the rights of British citizens and family members to live permanently in Spain.

UK nationals who were registered as residents of Spain before the end of 2020 are classed as beneficiaries of the agreement and retain the same rights they have enjoyed (and remain subject to the same restrictions)in Spain to date. These include the right to live, work, study and be eligible for social security (including healthcare, unemployment, incapacity, social care assistance and subsidies, pensions, and other benefits). However, residency of Spain does not confer rights to free movement in the EU, other than for short stays in Schengen Area countries. Beyond 90 days, the legislation of each member state applies.

British people who wish to move to Spain on a permanent basis after the start of 2021, however, are considered citizens of a third country and required to apply for a residence permit in accordance with Spanish law if they intend to spend more than 90 days in any 180-day period in the country. As a tourist, you no longer have the right to live, work, study or use the national health system and other benefits while in Spain.

The advantages of applying for a Foreign Identity Card or TIE

While there’s no obligation for UK residents to replace their existing registration certificates with new documents, the Spanish authorities recommend British citizens in the country apply for a Foreign Identity Card (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero or TIE in Spanish). The TIE not only serves as a legal form of photo ID but also contains biometric information that makes dealing with the administration in Spain and traveling in the EU easier.

Depending on how long you’ve lived in the country, you may be registered as either a permanent or temporary resident. If you were in the country for at least five consecutive years prior to the end of 2020, you are eligible for a TIE that is valid for 10 years, while those registered as temporary residents who have not yet spent five years in Spain will be granted a TIE for five years.

What you can do if you’re resident, but have not already registered

If you’re a UK citizen who was already living in Spain but did not register within the mandatory three-month period that concluded on March 31, 2021, you’ll need to provide documents to demonstrate residency before January 1, 2021, to apply for a TIE and ensure your rights are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement. This can include property deeds or a rental contract, employment contract or proof of self-employment status, enrolment in education, and, if you’re not working, private health insurance and sufficient economic resources.

To consult the official information in English from Spain’s Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations, you can visit: where you will find a downloadable guide that answers questions in detail:

By Adam Neale | Property News | April 15th, 2021

Post-Brexit, what rights do British people have to live in Spain?

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