Spain: Expert explains ‘repercussions’ for British expats
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Spain has issued a full list of documentation that British nationals must present in order to prove their residency and ultimately stay in the country. Prior to Brexit, which came into force at the beginning of 2021, UK nationals could live and move freely throughout the European Union (EU).
Now, many countries are issuing their own rules on acquiring residency.
Britons who were legally residing in Spain prior to January 1, 2021, must apply for residence status via the withdrawal agreement.
Newcomers to Spain will also be required to apply for a permit or visa, though this often requires proof of funds or income.
In line with the post-Brexit changes, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has updated its travel advice to outline the specific forms of permit or visas British expats will need.
“The Spanish Government has published a list of documentation that UK nationals who were legally residing in Spain before January 1 2021, and as such are beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement, can use to prove their residence status when entering Spain while entry restrictions remain in place,” explains the FCDO.
“You will be required to present any one of the following documents to prove your residence status.
“A residence card issued under Article 18.4 of the Withdrawal Agreement (the TIE) – ‘la tarjeta de identidad de extranjero (TIE)’.
“A temporary or permanent EU residence certificate (green certificate) – ‘el certificado de registro de ciudadano de la Unión’ (tarjeta verde).
” AResidence card as a family member of an EU citizen – ‘la tarjeta de familiar de ciudadano de la Unión’.
‘The receipt of application to exchange an EU residence certificate (green certificate) or residence card as a family member of an EU citizen for the new TIE (residence card issued under Article 18.4 of the Withdrawal Agreement) – ‘el resguardo de expedición de la tarjeta de identidad de extranjero (TIE) o de la tarjeta de familiar de ciudadano de la Unión’.
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“Confirmation of the positive outcome of your residence application from the Immigration Office – ‘la resolución favorable de reconocimiento como beneficiario del Acuerdo de Retirada emitida por la Oficina de Extranjería competente.”
The full list of requirements has also been “communicated to airlines and other operators” to ensure all those travelling to Spain have the correct documentation before departure.
“Spanish border authorities will only grant entry if they are satisfied that you meet the entry requirements and reserve the right to deny passage,” the FCDO warned.
Since the new residency rules came into force, expats have spoken out about their struggle to remain in Spain.
Those hoping to move to Spain, meanwhile, could also face major roadblocks.
According to expatnetwork, this is particularly true for retirees.
“Those who are thinking about retiring to Spain or who plan to move there but do not intend to work there, can either choose a Golden Visa or the Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV),” explained an expatnetwork spokesperson.
“The Golden Visa requires you to invest €500,000 (approximately £433,551) in property and so is out of the reach of many British retirees.
“The NLV allows you to take up residence in Spain, provided you have sufficient funds to support yourself and you do not need to work there.
“It is this requirement that is causing problems for many Britons.
“You have to demonstrate an income of €33,893 (approximately £29,388) a year for a couple and €47,451 (£41,144) for a family of four.
“This requirement will rule out the option of retiring to Spain for many.
“Those who are retiring on a basic UK State pension, £9,339 in 2021, will not qualify.”
The other alternative is to opt for a work permit.
“Younger families looking to move to Spain will generally have to look to get a work permit or a visa allowing them to set up a business, as they would have to demonstrate an income of €47,451 (approximately £41,144) from sources other than work to qualify for an NLV,” said the expert.
Meanwhile, Benidorm-based expat Tony Harrison, previously told Express.co.uk the new visa requirements were causing “major issues” for overseas Britons.
“To be granted a TIE card which has been introduced post-Brexit for all UK nationals seeking permanent residency in Spain you have to meet a certain criterion which for many is impossible,” Mr Harrison said.
“You either have to have proven monthly income, a certain amount in the bank.
“My wife had to show she had €7,000 for three months.
“You also have to show evidence of a 20-hour contract and private health insurance in some cases.
“Most of these were impossible for most and many are now looking to return to the UK.”
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