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On December 31st 2020, the transition period ended and the UK left the EU completely. Now there is much confusion for UK nationals who reside in Spain. People who were planning to travel back to Spain from the UK were stopped from boarding planes even though they held the correct documents.

Many questions have arisen:

What document do I have to hold in order to maintain my residency?

Do I have to get a new card?

Can I keep my old card?

Can I still apply for the new Residence Permit for UK Citizens?

The answer is that if you wish to maintain your residence in Spain after Brexit, you have to be able to prove your beneficiary status of art. 18.4 of the Withdrawal Agreement.

This means, you have to have established residence in Spain before December 31st 2020, and you have to be able to prove this.

GROUP 1: If you already hold an EU Registry Certificate, you can keep it and when you have to renew it you can go and apply for permanent residence and get the new card.

GROUP 2: If you hold the Residence Card for Family Members of EU Citizens, you can keep it and apply for permanent residence with the new card once the time comes to apply (within 30 days before your current card expires).

If you belong to one of the two aforementioned groups, you can also opt to get an appointment at your local Police Station to apply for a change to the new card now.

GROUP 3: If you have been residing in Spain since before December 31st 2020 but you do not yet hold any card, you can still apply for it.

The following document was prepared by the General State Administration (State Secretariat for Migration, General Directorate of Migration, State Secretariat for Security and General Directorate of the Police) in order to clear up the doubts regarding the different residency documents that a British citizen who is a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement may have in order to prove such condition:

To summarise, the residence rights of UK citizens under the withdrawal agreement are the following:

  • The United Kingdom is no longer a member of the EU and the transitional period has ended.
  • United Kingdom citizens who were resident in Spain before 31 December 2020 have acquired the rights provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement.
  • To prove that they are beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement and therefore their residence status, they can use the registration certificate (known as green certificate) either in its A4 or reduced version or the new residence document – the TIE article 50 TEU.
  • Certificates of residence that have been issued more than 5 years ago also remain valid, even if they do not say “permanent”.

For more information, get in touch with us. You can also consult the following website:

David Poole is a South African entrepreneur and businessman, and founder of Consult Immigration.