The latest twist in the Brexit saga has taken another turn in the last few days in the run up to today´s 31st March residency deadline for the estimated 360,000 Britons who live in Spain.
From 1st January this year, UK Nationals are allowed to spend up to 90 days in a rolling 180-day period out of every 180 within the Schengen area for tourism or other specific purposes, such as business meetings, without needing a visa.
In addition British tourists are able to travel visa-free across the Schengen Area – meaning a tourist arriving in Spain, can also travel to other European countries without the need for a visa.
All foreign nationals intending to stay in Spain for longer than three months have always been obliged to register for residency – whatever their nationality.
The UK Embassy has issued a press statement seeking to clarify the situation for those that are visiting and those that are residing in Spain.
The British Ambassdor, Hugh Elliott said he did not want “people to be overly worried: “I’m aware that many second home owners are concerned about overstaying as we reach 31 March. The Spanish Government has been clear that it will take a pragmatic approach to anyone who is stuck in Spain due to circumstances beyond their control”.
However, he underlined that those who ” do not intend to become resident here in Spain and see the UK as their base” need to return to the UK ” as soon as they can.”
A Spanish Ministry of Inclusion spokesperson said that “the Spanish Government has no plans to deport British citizens who have made Spain their home” and that “the issue of citizens rights remains a major priority and the government is working to provide maximum legal certainty for British citizens resident in Spain”.
Any UK nationals and their family members who were lawfully resident in Spain before the end of the transition period, on 31 December 2020, have their rights protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, and “can continue to live, work, study and access benefits and services, such as healthcare, broadly as they did before the UK left the EU”.
The UK Embassy strongly recommends that British nationals in this situation apply for the new TIE residenccy card.
For British nationals who have arrived in Spain after the 31st December, the application process for residency is different and can be viewed here: http://extranjeros.inclusion.gob.es/es/InformacionInteres/InformacionProcedimientos/index.html