For British residents and their family members that are currently registered in Spain, or those British Citizens that register from the 6th of July 2020 until the end of the transition period, that is to say, until the 31st of December 2020.
The Directorate General of Migration, together with the Directorate General of Spanish Police, have adopted an important and awaited decision that regulates and defines the procedure for issuing the Residency Document for British Citizens in Spain (pursuant to Art 18.4 of the UK withdrawal agreement from the European Union).
On the 31st of January 2020, The United Kingdom formally left the European Union, and in the Withdrawal Agreement setting out the arrangements for an orderly exit, a Transition Period was established that will last until the 31st of December 2020.
During the transition period, it was established that British citizens shall maintain their rights to freedom of movement in Spain until the 31st of December 2020.
Therefore, those British citizens whom have already exercised their right to reside and/or work in Spain prior to the 31st of December 2020, shall have exactly the same rights (freedom of movement, residency, health care, employment…) after the finalization of the transition period.
However, those British citizens arriving in Spain after the 31st of December 2020, shall be considered third country nationals (Non-EU citizens) and will be governed by the general regulations on immigration currently in force in Spain, without prejudice to possible future agreements between the EU, Spain and the UK regulating this status.
Regarding the documentation to be provided to British citizens as proof of legal residency, Spain has opted for the provisions provided for under Art 18.4 of the withdrawal agreement. Consequently, British citizens residing in Spain will NOT be required to apply for new residence status, neither will they have to undergo a new procedure of presenting documentation. The Spanish authorities shall issue a new Residency Document that will substitute the EU Citizen Registration Certificate. This new Residency Document shall include a statement expressly accrediting the beneficiary status of the British Citizen.
The Procedure to obtain the new Residency Document for British citizens
The procedure for obtaining this residency document is determined by the following:
- British citizens holding the Registration Certificate, either temporary or permanent; for this scenario obtaining the Residency Document will require one step, that step being to appear before the competent Police Authorities, whom will issue the certificate on payment of the established fees
- British citizens not holding a Registration Certificate, whether due to not having requested it previously, or due to having arrived in Spain during the period between the 6th of July and that of the end of the transition period, the 31st of December; for this scenario obtaining this Residency Document will require two steps. Firstly, to appear before the Immigration Office whom will grant, where appropriate, the Residency Document, and secondly, before the competent Police Authorities, whom will issue the certificate on payment of the established fees
The agreement does NOT require physical presence in Spain when the transitional period comes to an end.
The Residency Document can already be requested on a voluntary basis (as from the 6th of July) during the transition period. Therefore, requests for EU Citizen Registration Certificates made during this period will already be handled as requests for the new Residency Document.
At MSG Legal as experienced lawyers with expertise in the field of Immigration Law, accustomed to processing residency permits for British citizens, we are at your disposal to resolve any doubts or answer any questions you may have regarding the interpretation of, or the procedure for requesting this new Residency Document, given that depending on your current status in Spain (Temporary, Permanent, New request…), the procedure to follow will vary together with the supporting documents necessary for your request.
Please note the information provided in this article is of general interest only and is not to be construed or intended as substitute for professional legal advice.