British Embassy Updates

British Embassy Updates

Bremain in Spain are proud to work closely with the British Ambassador & Embassy staff to keep you informed about life in Spain.

Throughout the Brexit process, the Embassy have been providing regular updates on our rights in Spain, and the necessary measures to take to ensure those rights are protected. We are grateful for all their efforts on our behalf & for sharing any developments promptly & efficiently.

We will pass on any new information as it becomes available, so please check in regularly for all the latest news.

Right: Chair Sue Wilson with British Ambassador Hugh Elliott

Sue Wilson Embassy

From an article by Bremain Chair, Sue Wilson, in The Local Newspaper, the Ambassador, Hugh Elliott told us:

“I know that, because of the suspension of residency appointments during the current state of emergency, many UK nationals are concerned about their ability to obtain the correct documentation before 31 December. I want to reassure people on two points. If you already have the green residency certificate, your core rights are protected and it remains a valid document, even after the end of the transition period. If you don’t yet have your green residency certificate there is, likewise, no need for alarm. We continue to advise people to get an appointment as soon as you can. However, as long as you are living in Spain and can prove that you satisfy the legal conditions of residence (i.e. sufficient income and access to healthcare) by 31 December 2020, your rights are assured even if you are not able to get the physical document before the end of the year.” 

Read the full article “What will Brits in Spain need in order to feel settled?” here

 

The Embassy welcome direct contact from members of the public, with general or more specific, personal enquiries. Please use this LINK to make direct contact as it will generate an online form & provide a reference number.

You can also contact the consulate in your area – a list of consulates can be found here

You will receive a direct response in due course.

The Embassy provide regular updates, including live Q & A sessions, on their Facebook page here

The Embassy website has a wealth of information on a variety of topics, including details of how things will change after the end of Brexit transition period here

You can also follow them on Twitter: @BritsliveSpain

Need help with applying for residencia?

The British government are funding a number of organisations in Spain to help struggling UK nationals apply for legal residency. The United Kingdom Nationals Support Fund Project (UKNSFP) particularly aims to help the most vulnerable Brits deal with Spanish bureaucracy.

See the table below for details of which organisation to contact for help, support & advice in your area. You can select the logo below to take you directly to their website.

residencia
BebeLia
Age in Spain
IOM

Update from Embassy 16 February

There has been plenty of information available recently regarding applications for Spanish residency. To date, that information has related to those that arrived in Spain before the end of the Brexit transition period.

What are the requirements for those moving to Spain from 1 January 21?

UK nationals moving to Spain post Brexit (and who are not joining close family members under WA family reunification rules) will need to meet the same requirements as other third country nationals. 

In most cases, this will require starting the process via the Spanish consulate in the UK, before traveling to Spain.  The requirements will differ depending on the visa/residence permit the person is applying for (e.g. a residence and work permit, a non-lucrative visa, etc). 

UK nationals requiring further information about visas/residence permits should consult with the competent authorities for Spain:

For the Spanish Consulate in the UK visa FAQ page, click here

For the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration page, click here

Update from Embassy 10 February

The Embassy has produced an essential guide explaining your citizens’ rights as covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. The guide contains information of the following topics, as well as many useful links:

  • Living & working
  • Healthcare
  • Driving
  • Education
  • Voting
  • Travel
  • Pensions

You can view/download the guide HERE or click on the image below. Hard copies are available from the Embassy directly.

Update from Embassy 27 January

 On Wednesday 27 January, our Bremain Chair, Sue Wilson & Vice Chair, Lisa Burton attended a meeting with British Ambassador, Hugh Elliott & his Embassy team.

The Ambassador & his team spoke to a number of issues – many of which are being compounded by both Brexit & Covid. Prior to the meeting, our members raised a number of important concerns with us.

The topics covered were:

  • Vaccination programme in Spain
  • Stamping passports
  • S1 registration delays
  • Driving licences
  • Lack of appointments for TIE
  • Authorities holding your documentation (while waiting for residencia)
  • Increased bank charges
  • Buying property in designated military areas
Hugh Elliott

For answers to all of the above issues, & to access many useful links to additional sources of information, read our PDF here

 Thank you for bringing these important issues to Bremain’s attention, and to the Embassy for their knowledge, support and efforts on behalf of all Brits in Spain.

Update from Embassy 23 January

Spanish Bank accounts & the TIE

The Spanish government has produced a public document which explicitly confirms the continuing validity of the green residence certificate as proof of a person’s rights under the Withdrawal Agreement and therefore their residence rights/status in Spain.

Embassy Letter

In a recent article, it was suggested that banks in Spain would require all British customers to be in possession of a TIE. Whilst a bank may well be within their rights to ask that customers keep their details and personal identification documents up to date (e.g. their passport), they should not insist that a holder of a green EU residence certificate exchanges it to a TIE in order to prove their residence rights and continue banking with them.  If you are asked by your bank to do so, please direct them to the above document. 

Update from Embassy 4 January

In response to the recent travel issues experienced by British nationals returning to Spain, the Spanish authorities, in conjunction with the British Embassy, have issued a statement clarifying the position.

An example of the accepted residency documents can be found here

For details on entry requirements into Spain please see the Consulate General of Spain update here

Embassy Letter

Update from Embassy 2 January

The Spanish Ministry of Migration have updated their website to include two really helpful pieces of info:

  • An updated version of the FAQ document, which includes many of the questions we supplied to the Embassy and which they have been feeding into them on our behalf. These include what to do if you’ve exchanged your green residence certificate for a TIE but want to change it to a permanent card before the original TIE expires – see p.37
ministerio
ministerio
  • A bilingual, informative note on the documentation that UK nationals can use to evidence their residence status and that they are a beneficiary of the WA. Notwithstanding the Spanish government’s clear recommendation for UK nationals to get the TIE, this confirms the validity of the green certificate, even if it is older than 5 years and doesn’t say ‘permanente’.

The Embassy and officials at the Spanish Migration ministry hope that UK nationals will be able to print off or point to this second document should they have any problems in exercising their rights or accessing services in Spain. 

The English version of the ministry website and the Embassy’s own Living in Spain guide should be updated with this information shortly.

Update from Embassy 15 December

Bremain joined other stakeholders for an online Embassy conference call, to discuss current issues affecting Brits in Spain.

We raised a number of issues that our members brought to our attention beforehand, & you can read full details of those in our PDF here

Topics covered included: travel, residency/TIE, EHIC, driving licences & more.

webinar

Update from Embassy 25 November

Bremain held its first webinar in conjunction with Lorna Geddie from the Embassy. The 63 Bremain members attending raised questions on a wide range of topics, including travel, visa requirements, pensions, banking, residency, healthcare/EHIC, swallows rights, driving licences & dual citizenship.

Many thanks to Lorna for her valuable input & to all those that took part.
In response to all the issues raised, Lorna has kindly put together a PDF especially for Bremain in Spain members. (Last update: January 2021)

“I am very grateful to Sue and the Bremain in Spain team for setting up the webinar and it was great to see so many members on the call. It is so useful for the Embassy to hear and understand the questions and concerns of UK nationals in Spain, as it helps us with our citizens’ rights work going forward. I would urge anyone who hasn’t already done so to check out the information available via the Living in Spain guide on gov.uk and to sign up for email alerts to ensure they keep up to date with all the latest developments.” 
Lorna Geddie, British Embassy

Lorna Geddie - photo

“My thanks to Sue, Matt and Lisa for organising the webinar, and very especially to Lorna who was clear, knowledgeable and very generous with her time” – Richard Lander

”Thanks very much for organising an excellent meeting & to all involved” – Mel Slater



“A wide range of topics were covered. Very interesting, informative & inclusive” – Sue Scarrott

”Thank you to everyone at Team Bremain for making this happen” – Jacqueline Davison


 

Update from Embassy 17 November

The Embassy have provided us with updates relating to:

  • British bank accounts for Spanish residents
  • DGT latest protocol re driving licences

To read the latest information re banking, click on the PDF HERE

To read the latest information re driving licence applications, click on the PDF HERE

 You will also find a post on the subject on the Embassy “Brits in Spain” Facebook page here

 

Bank
DGT

Update from Embassy 11 November

The government have introduced a new portal to improve the process of applying for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

If you are eligible for a new card, for use after the end of the Brexit transition period, you can apply using the link below.

 

EHIC

In addition to a wealth of information about the EHIC, including eligibility post-Brexit, the Embassy have also compiled a list of FAQs on the subject – just click on the PDF HERE

To apply for your new UK EHIC via the new portal, click HERE

 

Update from Embassy 6 November 2020

The Embassy’s dedicated healthcare team have provided an update on exportable benefits. The policy review – which applies to those wishing to make a new application for an S1 form from 1/1/21 only – affects those who are in receipt of:

  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance
2020_DHSC

NB. this policy change does not affect the following groups:

  • those who qualify for an S1 form on the basis of another benefit, such as a UK State Pension
  • those receiving benefits from an existing S1

To read the Embassy update on exportable benefits in full, click on the PDF HERE

The healthcare team have also responded to your queries regarding EHIC cards. You can read their update PDF HERE (Updated 9/11/2020)

If you have any further questions, you can contact the dedicated health team by email at: healthcare.spain@fcdo.gov.uk

 

Update from Embassy 16th October 2020 – Your questions answered

Bremain in Spain members submitted a number of interesting questions to the Embassy, regarding residencia, driving licences, Withdrawal Agreement rights & much more. Open the PDF for your questions & the Embassy’s answers HERE or select FAQs image right. Further questions on healthcare have been submitted to the specialist team & will be answered in due course.

The Embassy also provided some useful Spanish authority links for further information:

FAQs

Update from Embassy 9th October 2020

 Driving Licences

The Embassy has been in touch with the Dirección General de Tráfico (DGT) regarding the difficulty in getting driving licence appointments. The Embassy are working with the DGT to improve the process for British citizens resident in Spain. For all the latest details, open the PDF, where you will also find updates regarding registration issues.

DGT

Specialised Committee on Citizens’ Rights (SCCR)

The SCCR met on 8 October for the 3rd time – the agenda included social security coordination, registration and support for the most vulnerable. You can read the joint statement from the UK and EU, issued following the meeting here

For details open or download the PDF HERE or select image above.

Update from Embassy 23rd September 2020 HMA video for UK Nationals

With 100 days until the end of the Transition Period, HMA Hugh Elliott has recorded a message for UK Nationals – providing reassurance about citizens’ rights under the Withdrawal Agreement and reinforcing the importance of being legally resident. 

Updates from Embassy on 22nd September 2020 re potential bank account closures

Thousands of British citizens living in the EU have been contacted by UK banks warning of potential account closures due to Brexit.

Following concerns raised by members, Bremain contacted the Embassy for an urgent update.

Please open or download the PDF HERE or select image right for the Embassy’s swift response.

Banks

To receive the latest updates direct from the Embassy, we recommend you sign up for the Embassy email alerts. You can select your preferred frequency of alert here

Updates from Embassy on 18th September 2020

Read updates from the British Embassy regarding:

    • The Internal Market Bill
    • TIE
    • Driving Licences
    • Dates for LIVE Facebook events
Embassy Spain Advice

For details open or download the PDF HERE or select image above.

 

On Friday 11 September, Bremain in Spain Chair, Sue Wilson took part in an Embassy Stakeholder meeting. Topics discussed included:

  • Internal Market Bill
  • TIE applications
  • Communications
  • Stakeholders input
  • UKNSF government funded support programmes
  • Healthcare

For more information, download the PDF HERE or select image right.

Living in Spain after Brexit

A few outstanding queries have yet to be answered, but on receipt of any further updates from the Embassy, we will pass on any additional information.

 

La Madre de Todos los Podcasts

La Madre de Todos los Podcasts

Episode 1 – The key events and the chronology of Brexit. 

Our Chair, Sue Wilson, was interviewed recently for the first in a series of podcasts. Topics covered included:

Bremain’s Brexit journey

The causes and effects of the Referendum

Where we stand now and what the future holds.

You can listen to the interview here, from 71 minutes in.

 

Bremain Glossary of Terms

Bremain Glossary of Terms

“With many changes to our circumstances post-Brexit, we’re increasingly confronted with new and often bewildering terminology. Some of the old terminology can be pretty confusing too!  Bremain has therefore put together a Glossary of Terms which we hope will make things clearer and aid understanding.
We hope you will find it useful”.
Sue Wilson – Chair – February 2021

 

 

You can find the Glossary Terms below or you can download them as a PDF HERE

EFTA Member States – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

 

EHIC – The European Health Insurance Card gives individuals the right to access medically necessary state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in an EU or EFTA member state. It was a benefit of EU membership that covered (& in some cases, still covers) medically necessary state-provided healthcare at a reduced cost or, in many cases, free of charge, until the planned return date.

Though new cards will no longer be made available (being replaced by the new GHIC), existing cards are still valid until they expire, when they can be replaced by the new GHIC. Certain groups, such as S1 holders, (e.g., pensioners) can apply for a post-Brexit replacement EHIC card, which they can continue to use. An EHIC may not be used in the country you reside in.

EU Member States – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

 

Frontier worker – a person who is resident in one state but regularly works in one or more states as an employed or self-employed person.

 

GHIC – the new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) gives UK residents, regardless of nationality, the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in the European Union. Whilst similar to the EHIC it replaces, it cannot be used in the EFTA countries of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. EU residents that previously qualified for the EHIC, e.g., S1 holders, will also qualify for the GHIC, but like the EHIC, it may not be used in the country you reside in. The GHIC is for UK residents and S1 form holders registered in the country from 1 January 2021. 

 

Lawfully resident – an EU citizen or a UK national lawfully resides in the host state in accordance with free movement law before the end of the transition period. This includes the right of residence, irrespective of whether it is a permanent right of residence, its duration (e.g., an arrival in the host state one week before the end of the transition period and residing there as a job-seeker is sufficient and irrespective of the capacity in which these rights are exercised (as a worker, self-employed person, student, job-seekers, etc).

NIE – a fiscal (tax) number that is necessary to carry out legal activities in Spain. It is a white A4 sized paper, and you retain the same number for life (just like your British social security number). The NIE number should not be confused with the Spanish green residency document which has the NIE number on it (see ‘Residencia’). Having only an NIE number certificate does not mean that you are a legal resident of Spain and it does not cover healthcare. You will need an NIE number in order to buy property, a car or connect to utilities.

Posted Worker (or ‘Detached Worker’) – an employee sent by their employer to carry out a service in another country on a temporary basis.

 

Padrón – an abbreviation of ‘empadronamiento’, a padrón is a certificate obtained from your local town hall (ayuntamiento), that provides proof of residence in the municipality and the habitual residence therein.etc).

Everyone living in Spain must be registered on the local “Padrón” of the current place of residence. If you live in several locations, you should only register in the place where you live the most. The document has a short-shelf life and should be renewed at regular intervals, especially if your residencia document does not contain your current address details.

Residencia – a term often used to refer to the green EU residence certificate, or more recently, green EU residence card, is proof of residency provided by the Spanish authorities – now replaced by the introduction of the new TIE. It contains your name and tax number (NIE), and although no longer being issued, remains proof of residency. It provides evidence of the same legal rights, including those covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, as the new TIE. There is no legal requirement to replace your existing green residencia with the new TIE, though there are benefits to doing so, e.g., the new card is more durable and would be more easily recognised by other EU states when travelling.

S1 – a certificate of entitlement issued to individuals who live in one Member State but have their healthcare costs covered by another, for example state pensioners, and entitles them access to state-provided healthcare on the same basis as domestic nationals.

Third country national – a national of a country that is not an EU Member/EFTA state. As of 1 January 2021, UK nationals are now 3rd country nationals in Europe, and will lose rights associated with EU citizenship, such as freedom of movement.

TIE – the ‘Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero’, or Foreigners Identity Card is a biometric ID card that contains the identity details of a foreigner who lives in Spain.

Now the UK is outside the EU, and a 3rd country, this will replace the older green residency document/card going forward. For those that were legally resident in Spain before the end of the Brexit transition period, the TIE will also identify those whose rights are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement.

Withdrawal Agreement – The international agreement between the UK and the EU that sets out the respective rights and obligations of both parties, following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

 

UKNSF – United Kingdom Nationals Support Fund is a UK-government funded scheme that provides practical support for UK nationals struggling with the bureaucratic process of registering as a resident. Working especially with the most vulnerable, the three groups providing support in Spain are: Babelia, Age in Spain and IOM.

Spain should stick to its two-dose vaccine strategy

Spain should stick to its two-dose vaccine strategy

Despite problems of supply, Spain is determined to stick to its current strategy of vaccination, prioritising second doses over first, unlike the UK. Columnist Sue Wilson explains why she believes that’s a good thing.
Based on recent arguments between the UK and the EU over vaccine supplies, nationalism has reared its ugly head again. The UK media focused on the EU’s threat to invoke Article 16 of the Northern Ireland protocol and barely mentioned that prime minister, Boris Johnson, had threatened to do the same, in parliament, two weeks previously.

Thankfully, the EU’s mistake was quickly recognised, publicly acknowledged, and reversed. As a result, the EU is now promised supplies from UK factories, to arrive in the first quarter of this year. The irony is lost on Brexiters that the EU threatened the NI border for just five hours, while the UK did the same for five years.

Vaccine supply is an issue for many countries, although less so for the UK. Having approved the use of various vaccines ahead of other countries, the UK was early to sign contracts with vaccine producers. As a result, the UK has rolled out its vaccination programme at a staggering – and for once, actually “world-beating” – pace.

Last weekend, a record-breaking 600,000 people were vaccinated across the UK. This was a phenomenal achievement by any standard, and is thanks to the incredible dedication, planning and hard work of the NHS. I cannot help thinking: how many lives would have been saved by giving the NHS the contracts for other programmes, such as test and trace, rather than handing them to private companies with ties to the Conservative party, and no relevant experience.

Based on announcements about the vaccination programme in Spain, and being in Group 4, I anticipated receiving my first jab around Easter, the second dose by the end of April, and to be immune by the end of May. Although I’m disappointed by the delay, I’m relieved to hear that cancellations for appointments related to supply problems are for the first dose, and not the second.

While the UK boasts about its vaccination rollout, it doesn’t mention those people who are awaiting their second jab. The UK has made a strategic decision to delay the second vaccination for up to 12 weeks, going against scientific advice. The vaccine producers have recommended that the second vaccine is ideally delivered three weeks after the first. Although some leeway exists, it is recommended not to exceed 42 days between doses.

The UK government has unilaterally decided that doubling that time to 84 days is acceptable, safe, and effective, minus any scientific evidence. Every UK care home resident has now been offered their first vaccination, but many have had their second vaccination appointment postponed until further notice – including my elderly mother.

If we consider the picture re first and second doses, on January 30th, the UK had vaccinated 0.72% of the population with their two doses. On January 28th, Spain was close behind, with 0.54% of the population having received a second dose.

You can read the full article over at The Local