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Instructions authorising British nationals to reside and work in Spain in case of a no-deal Brexit

Friday 22 March 2019

Although the date initially planned for the UK's withdrawal was 29 March, the European Council and the UK yesterday agreed to extend this date to 22 May (if next week the British Parliament ratifies the Withdrawal Agreement of November 2018 between the European Union and the British Government) or until 12 April (if the Withdrawal Agreement is not ratified by the British Parliament, in which case the UK must indicate what steps it intends to take).

These instructions implement provisions of Royal Decree-Law 5/2019 of 1 March, which adopted contingency measures with respect to the withdrawal of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union without the agreement specified in Article 50 of the Treaty of European Union.

The Instructions approved on Friday by the Council of Ministers will only be applicable if there is a no-deal withdrawal by the UK from the EU. They will be applicable starting from the date of the no-deal withdrawal.

The right to reside and work

Spain is the EU Member State in which most UK nationals live, with more than 300,000 registered residents.

By approving these Instructions, the Government guarantees the right to reside and work in Spain for those citizens and their families who enjoyed freedom of residence and of movement within the EU. This will be done by an ad-hoc procedure to document UK nationals and their family members who are resident in Spain before the date of the no-deal withdrawal as citizens of third countries.

Simplifying documentation procedures

The Instructions establish a period of 21 months, as of the no-deal withdrawal date, to request the automatic replacement of the current certificates of registration as EU citizens or of the family member card of a citizen certified by the Foreigner Identity Card (Spanish acronym: TIE). During this transition period both the EU registration certificates and family member cards will be valid documents for proving the holder's legal residence in our country.

For UK nationals and their family members who do not have a registration certificate or family member card, a procedure has been introduced authorising residence and work, conditional on application for the TIE. The eligibility requirements to be demonstrated by those who were resident in Spain before the date of the UK's no-deal withdrawal will be very straightforward and similar to those currently required of EU nationals.

In addition, authorisation for long-term residence is made easier for British citizens and their family members who have resided legally and continuously in Spain for at least five years.

Non official translation