So Brexit came… and now what?

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Mª Eugenia Blasco Rodellar

After nearly three years of extensions and negotiations, B-Day came at last: the United Kingdom left the European Union on January 31st 2020. But what will happen to the UK citizens living in Spain or those planning to live in Spain shortly?

Firstly, we would like to reassure them: there is a transitional period until December 31st 2020 during which UK citizens will maintain their right to reside in Spain. We will distinguish between the various situations:

Citizens residing in Spain before 31/01/2020:

  • If they can accredit their residence in Spain for over 5 years, they can automatically apply for long-term residence.
  • If they have resided in Spain for under 5 years, they can apply for “authorisation for temporary residence and employment as a UK national” by accrediting that they have financial resources.
  • This can occur even when they have not previously processed their registration in the Register of Community Citizens Resident in Spain and, therefore, they do not have a document called “EU Certificate”, which is a small green card without a photo that includes their NIE (foreigner identity number), and provided that they can accredit their residence in Spain through other means such as their municipal registration (empadronamiento) or a job.

Citizens coming to Spain between 01/02/2020 and 31/12/2020:

  • They will maintain their right to apply for residence with the previously existing conditions but they will receive a new type of document, a Foreigner Identity Card that includes the inscription “Authorisation for temporary residence and employment as a UK national”.
  • They must justify their financial resources and medical insurance or accredit their employment or self-employment.
  • From then on, they can also apply for the various residence authorisations envisaged in the regulations for non-EU citizens if they deem them more advantageous, such as the Golden Visa, the residence for qualified professionals and the non-lucrative residence.

New types of residence after 31/12/2020:

  • They will depend on the future agreements between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
  • There may be agreements similar to those with the member countries of the European Economic Area.
  • In any case, it is safe to say that they will be able to apply for the residence authorisations that exist at present for non-EU citizens.

Workers relocated temporarily in Spain who maintain their employment contracts in the United Kingdom and vice versa:

  • During the transition period, i.e. until 31/12/2020, unless another type of agreement is adopted, they will be able to maintain their situation until the end of the period envisaged for their relocation.
  • Once the period ends, we will have to see what agreements will be reached and, if none are reached, they will have to pay their contributions to the Spanish Social Security to continue carrying out their employment activity in Spain.

The Immigration offices have already set up specific appointments for UK citizens but only practice will tell us what specific documentation is needed and how long the process will take. In any case, AGM Abogados will be able to assist you with any changes you need to make in your permit or if you come to Spain after 31 January 2020.

If you have any doubts or you want more information, please contact us here

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