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The Withdrawal Agreement establishes a transition period from the withdrawal date to 31 December 2020.

All UK nationals and their family members who are third-country nationals resident in Spain before the end of the transition period will maintain in perpetuity their rights arising from the application of EU Law (except for the right to vote in or stand for elections to the European Parliament and the exercise of the EU Citizen's Initiative).

The Withdrawal Agreement offers two possibilities for dealing with the documentation process: (1) Establish a procedure by which the above residents and their family members must apply for a new residence permit in the host nation (Article 18.1); (2) Not initiate this procedure and issue a residence document that expressly identifies citizens as beneficiaries of the Agreement (Article 18.4).

Spain has opted for the second option, by which on 4 July an Instruction was published, signed jointly by the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration (through the Directorate-General for Migration) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (through the Directorate-General for the Police). The Instruction is also available in English.

This new procedure has been in operation since 6 July 2020. It distinguishes between those who already had an EU citizen's registration certificate or family card and those who did not have them for a variety of reasons.

It is not mandatory to apply for the new residence document, but it is important to remember that you must have a registration certificate (or family card of a Union citizen, in the case of family members) that documents your situation.

The registration certificates and residence cards for family members of EU citizens will therefore certify their legal residence in Spain in the future, allowing them to benefit from the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement. However, obtaining this residence document, which complies with a model established at a European level and which expressly mentions the holder's status as beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement, is very useful, as it is a physical card that includes biometric elements that will allow many administrative procedures to be carried out, including crossing foreign borders within the European Union.

For those who arrive in Spain after 6 July, a procedure has been designed for issuing residence documents under the Withdrawal Agreement during the transition period. This avoids duplication of applications for certification of the registration of a Union citizen and the residence document. Once this procedure is operational (6 July), applications for registration certificates or residence cards for family members of EU citizens presented by the beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement will be processed as applications for residence documents pursuant to Article 18.4 of the Agreement.

People who arrive after the conclusion of the transition period, i.e. after 1 January 2021, and who are not covered by it, will be subject to the general rules governing foreign nationals, unless conditions for mobility are established under the framework of the agreement on future relations being negotiated between the UK and the EU.

For more information, see the FAQ on how BREXIT affects the situation of UK nationals resident in Spain and their family members. Also available in English by clicking here.

The following European Commission document also provides more information on who benefits from the Withdrawal Agreement and what their rights are.

For more information on this procedure, and on the documents you must submit, see the pages of the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Updated on 4 August, 2020

Non official translation