Registry Entries

The withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) extinguishes the possibility of applying Regulation 2016/1191, which came into force on 16 February 2019, under which certain documents relating to marital status, residency and civil partnerships are exempt from the obligation to be apostilled or legalisation. Hence, registry entries will be governed from 1 January 2021 by The Hague Convention of 5 October 1961, abolishing the requirement of legalisation.

May documents relating to the civil status of British nationals still be registered in the Spanish Civil Register?

Yes. Pursuant to Article 1 regarding Article 15 of the Civil Register Act of 8 June 1957, the Civil Register seeks to register documents affecting the civil status of people that take place in Spain, affect Spaniards or foreigners, and those that take place abroad but affect Spaniards.

Regarding Companies Register Matters

Those matters relating to public registers that do not fall under EU jurisdiction, with the exception of those instruments of the company acquis (Directives and Regulations on company law, which instrumentally affect registry publications).

Following the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, the former becomes a third country and will be treated as such, and may not thus benefit from EU law (annual accounts, reporting and company mobility).

Regarding Property Registers

The requirements for access to the Property Registers, their functioning and the effects of making entries or not are governed by Spanish law; accordingly, in this field the existence of the Withdrawal Agreement has no effects thereon.

As regards mortgages, these are only affected by Directive 93/13/EEC on abusive clauses in contracts entered into with consumers which, as an EU Directive, applies in Spain and hence the jurisdictional situation does not vary.

The law covers the situation of the property, and hence British consumers will continue to benefit from the European protection system on consumer affairs.

Regarding Notary Documents

Notary documents do not fall under the jurisdiction of EU law, but domestic law. The recognition and enforcement of certain notary documents included in some Regulations on Civil Justice are an exception to this general rule (child support, financial obligations and inheritances).

Law 29/2015, of 30 July, on international legal cooperation in civil matters applies to the determination of when a British notary document may be accepted in Spain as it complies with the functional and material equivalence requirements.

In the absence of EU law, The Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 on the law applicable to testamentary dispositions will apply to this matter.

Regarding Nationality Matters

Nationality is covered by EU law in some cases (for example, for the professio iuris in wills), but is n

ot governed by EU law. Accordingly, the withdrawal of the UK from the EU does not affect the acquisition, conservation (and as the case may be, the loss) of Spanish nationality, except regarding the obligation for the legalisation of the documents that must be presented.

Acquisition and loss of nationality

Can Spanish nationality be lost if British nationality is acquired?

Pursuant to Article 24.1 of the Spanish Civil Code, those people who are emancipated lose their Spanish nationality if they habitually live abroad, voluntarily acquire another nationality or exclusively use the foreign nationality attributed thereto prior to becoming emancipated.

This loss of nationality will take place after the lapse of three years from the acquisition of foreign nationality or from the time of emancipation, respectively.

However, interested parties may avoid the loss of Spanish nationality if, within the deadline indicated, they declare their interest in conserving Spanish nationality to the Civil Registrar. They may consult this on the web page of the Spanish Consulate in London, Edinburgh or Manchester.

Hence, the following should conserve this:

•Those of legal age who acquire British nationality. They should undergo this conservation formality within a period of three years as from the acquisition of the new nationality at the consulate that corresponds to their place of residence in the UK.

•The children of Spaniards that are born and reside abroad and whose father or mother has also been born abroad. They should undergo the conservation formality of Spanish nationality before reaching the age of 21 at the consulate that corresponds to their place of residence.

May a British national acquire Spanish nationality?

Yes. British nationals, like other foreign citizens may acquire Spanish nationality through any of the channels provided for in Spanish legislation by complying with the requirements indicated for each channel.

At any event, it should be noted that there is no privileged treatment for EU citizens in access to Spanish nationality.

Non official translation

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