UK nationals residing in Spain must bear in mind that on February 1, 2020, after 47 years, the UK officially ceased to be a Member State of the EU.

The Withdrawal Agreement of 17 October 2019 established the conditions for the UK to leave the EU. It offers legal security once the EU treaties and law cease to apply to the UK.

It also establishes a transition period, which lasts, in theory, up to December 2020 during which time the UK will continue to be bound by EU structures and standards.

The Agreement protects and guarantees the rights of citizens of both parties ( UK and EU) , among which are:

  • The right to residency. Citizens from each party that reside in the other will be entitled to continue living in the same conditions and to acquire permanent residency after a continued legal residency for five years.
  • The right to work, both as a salaried employee or on a self-employed basis, and the recognition of their professional qualifications.
  • The right to medical care, pensions and other benefits deriving from the Social Security system.

The Withdrawal Agreement also protects family members to enjoy rights under EU law.

In short, UK nationals and their families residing in Spain may continue to live, work or study as they currently do, essentially under the same conditions as they did with EU law.

In the light of the above, Martí & Associats recommend that if you are a UK national and are residing or intend to reside in Spain before December 31, 2020, you should register as a resident as soon as possible, if you have still not done so.

Register as a resident

If you are a community citizen who wishes to reside in Spain for longer than three months, then you must apply in person at your local Police Station to register in the Central Registry of Foreign Nationals.

You must submit your application within the first three months of your date of entry into Spain. The Spanish authorities will issue you with a registration certificate with your personal data, foreigners` identity number and date of registration (N.I.E. Green Card).

Once you have legally resided in Spain for a continuous period of five years, you can request a Permanent Residence document to be issued to you.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.