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REGISTRY ENTRIES

This matter only affects European law in relation to Regulation 2016/1131, which will enter into force on 16 February 2019, whereby certain acts relating to marital status, residence and common-law relationships will be exempted from the requirements for legalisation. Hence if there is no agreement, The Hague Convention of 6 October 1961, on Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, will be fully applicable.

Will events relating to the marital status of British citizens continue to be subject to registration in the Spanish Civil Register?

Yes. Pursuant to Article 1, in relation to Article 15 of the Civil Register Act, of 8 June 1957, the Civil Register seeks to record events affecting the marital status of individuals that take place in Spain, whether Spaniards or foreigners, and those that occur abroad affecting Spaniards.

IN RELATION TO COMPANIES REGISTER MATTERS

Those matters relating to public registers do not fall under the jurisdiction of the European Union, except those instruments of company acquis (Directive and Regulations on company law, which instrumentally affect public registration).

Hence, the United Kingdom will be treated as a third country, if no agreement is reached, and will not benefit from EU legislation (annual accounts, reporting, mobility of companies).

IN RELATION TO THE PROPERTY REGISTER

The requirements for access to property/land registers, their functioning and the effects of registration or not are governed by Spanish law, so whether or not there is a Withdrawal Agreement, nothing will be affected.

As regards mortgages, these will only be affected by the Directive on Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts (93/13/CEE) which, since it is an EU Directive, is applicable in Spain, and hence, the jurisdictional situation will not vary.

The rule is the law on property whereby British consumers will continue to benefit from the system of European consumer protection.

IN RELATION TO NOTARY DOCUMENTS

Notary acts do not fall under the jurisdiction of EU legislation, but of national law. An exception to this is the recognition and execution of certain notary documents included in some Regulations on Civil Justice (food, pecuniary obligations, inheritances).

If there is no agreement, the Spanish Law on International Legal Cooperation (Law 29/2015) will apply to determine when a British notary document can be accepted in Spain as it complies with the requirements of functional and material equivalence.

Due to a lack of European legislation on testamentary dispositions, The Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 on the Conflicts of Laws Relating to the Form of Testamentary Disposition will be applicable.

IN RELATION TO NATIONALITY

Nationality comes under the consideration of EU legislation in certain matters (e.g. for professio iuris in wills), but is not governed by EU law. That is why, regardless of whether there is an agreement or not, the acquisition, or maintenance (or should it be established, the loss) of Spanish nationality is governed by Spanish law.

Acquisition and loss of nationality

Can I lose Spanish nationality if I acquire British nationality?

Pursuant to Article 24.1 of the Civil Code, those emancipated who, habitually residing abroad, voluntarily acquire another nationality or exclusively use any foreign nationality that may have been attributed thereto prior to emancipation, lose Spanish nationality. This loss will take place after the period of three years from the acquisition of foreign nationality or emancipation, respectively.

However, interested parties may avoid this loss if, within the period indicated, they declare their intention to maintain their Spanish nationality to the corresponding party at the Civil Register. Should you wish to do so, you can consult the details on the web page of the Spanish Consulate in London or Edinburgh.

Hence, the following persons should maintain this:

  • Those of legal age who acquire British nationality. They should go through the procedure of maintaining this for a period of three years from the acquisition of the new nationality in the consulate that corresponds thereto according to their place of residence in the United Kingdom.
  • The offspring of Spaniards who were born abroad and whose mother or father was also born abroad. The procedure to maintain their Spanish nationality should be completed before reaching the age of 21 at the consulate that corresponds thereto according to their place of residence.

Can British citizens acquire Spanish nationality?

Yes. British citizens, like other foreign citizens, can acquire Spanish nationality by any means provided for by Spanish law, by fulfilling the requirements established for each channel.

At any event, it should be highlighted that that no priority treatment exists for EU citizens in acquiring Spanish nationality.

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