Bremain in Spain are proud to work closely with the British Ambassador & Embassy staff to keep you informed about life in Spain.
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
“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 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
Update from Embassy 23 November
Bremain attended a webinar with the Embassy today to discuss the pressing issues of Driving Licence exchange and local voting rights in Spain.
Driving licence exchange – the discussions have progressed & the next steps are legal checks & political processes. While the timeline is out of the Embassy’s control, further information will be forthcoming as soon as it is available.
For the latest information of the conclusion of the two outstanding issues, watch the video from the Ambassador here
Local elections Spain – the Municipal elections will take place on 28 May 2024. UK nationals are eligible to vote as long as they are registered on the Padron and have been resident in Spain for 3 years.
It is advisable to check beforehand that you are on the Padron, with the correct address, ahead of the date window for registration on the electoral roll – 1/12/22 – 15/1/23. For more information visit the Living in Spain website here
Update from Embassy 11 June
Following the ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) regarding EU citizenship and voting/standing in local elections, the Embassy would like to confirm the rules with regards to Spain.
The ECJ ruled that with Brexit, we lost our EU citizenship rights and the right to vote and stand in local elections under EU law. However, this does not affect UK nationals’ right to vote and stand in local elections in Spain. This is because a bilateral agreement exists between Spain and the UK which allows UK nationals who have lived in in Spain for more than 3 years to vote and stand in local elections.
More information on voting rights in Spain (and the treaty, signed in January 2019) is available in the Embassy’s Living in Spain guide.
Update from Embassy 23 February
The latest update from the Embassy includes information on a variety of subjects, including an extension for the use of UK driving licences in Spain.
Update from Embassy 22 December
As the year comes to a close, the Embassy have provided an update on the issues that are still concerning UK nationals living in Spain.
Following a negative outcome on a residency application, some UK nationals have received an instruction to leave Spain within 15 days. While discussions between the relevant authorities are ongoing, the Embassy have put together some information for those finding themselves in this position. Open the Residency PDF for further details.
Ambassador Hugh Elliott has recorded a video message for UK Licence holders living in Spain, which has been posted on the Brits in Spain Facebook channel. Negotiations are “progressing” but have yet to reach a conclusion. An extension to the current grace period has been asked for, and is expected to be granted, before the end of the year. Open the Driving Licence PDF for further details.
UK travellers are still experiencing inconsistencies at the border, with some Withdrawal Agreement beneficiaries being stamped despite presenting evidence of their residence status, and some visitors being stamped only on entry and not on exit.
For the second group – the travellers who are concerned that they received an entry but not an exit stamp – the Embassy have recently updated their travel advice page with information in line with the Schengen Borders Code. This information currently sits under the subheading ‘visas’ on the page. We advise UK travellers to carry evidence of when and where they last entered and exited the Schengen Area when travelling in the future as you can ask a border guard to add this information into your passport. Acceptable forms of evidence can include boarding passes and tickets.
TAXATION OF OCCUPATIONAL OR PRIVATE UK PENSIONS
In response to issues raised in this regard by Bremain in Spain, the Embassy have put together some information. Open the Pensions PDF for further information.
Update from Embassy 13 November
The Embassy are often contacted for assistance in areas they are unable to assist with. To clarify where they can help, and to point people in the right direction where they can’t, a guide has been produced to explain the services they provide. Click here to open the guide
For visas for those wishing to move to Spain, please contact the Spanish consulate in the UK
To contact the Embassy in Madrid by phone or online, or for more information click here
Update from Embassy 27 October
DRIVING LICENCE EXTENSION
The Spanish government has today announced that valid UK licences will continue to be recognised for driving in Spain until 31 December 2021.
Negotiations are ongoing, and the Embassy will continue to provide information as and when any developments happen.
Independent of those ongoing negotiations, UK Nationals who successfully registered their intent to exchange their licence before 30 December 2020, will be able to exchange it for a Spanish one without having to take a practical test up until the end of this year. The Embassy understands that some people who tried to register their intent have subsequently found out that they were unsuccessful in doing so. If this is your situation and you are unclear as to why, you should contact the DGT directly to discuss further. https://www.dgt.es/es/contacto.shtml
If you moved to Spain after 1 January 2021, your UK licence is valid for six months from the date of your TIE or until 31 December, whichever is later.
Update from Embassy 12 October
UK national stakeholder event with FCDO Minister for Europe and the Americas
On Thursday 30 September, Wendy Morton, FCDO Minister for Europe and the Americas, met with 14 representatives from ten organisations that work closely with the UK community in Spain, as part of her visit to Madrid.
The meeting was an opportunity for the Minister to hear of the main concerns and issues affecting UK nationals in Spain, following the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, ahead of her meetings with the Spanish government later that day. The issues raised included: registration/residency applications, visa processing, the stamping of passports, immigrations status, moving back to the UK and many more.
The Minister assured representatives she would be raising issues, such as the registration of UK nationals in Spain and driving licence exchange, in her meetings with the Spanish government, and that ensuring smooth visa processes was also a priority. Citizens’ rights remains a priority for the UK government and the British Embassy in Madrid continues to engage with the relevant UK and Spanish authorities on the various issues that were raised.
Bremain in Spain was ably represented by Vice Chair, Lisa Ryan Burton and Council Member and Newsletter Editor, Helen Johnston.
For further details regarding the topics discussed, view the PDF
Update from Embassy 27 September
Earlier this year, the Embassy carried out a series of Healthcare focus groups throughout the EU. Some of the most popular questions and concerns were about NHS access and S1 registration, with participants wanting more detailed information.
As a result, the Embassy have produced the following series of infographics. Click on the relevant PDF for more information:
Registering your S1 with the INSS
The INSS has recently updated its online portal. The process has been revised, and there’s a specific link for S1 form holders who wish to register online. There is a dedicated page on gov.uk which outlines the process for registering your S1 online, and which has been updated to reflect changes made.
Please note that, at present, the page is only in Spanish and it has an additional series of instructions to ensure you confirm your identity.
Update from Embassy 25 June
Starting today, the Embassy Health Team are offering one-to-one calls with UK nationals on the last Friday of every month, continuing throughout the summer.
How does it work?
You can book a 10-minute slot to speak to one of the health team about your individual circumstances, relating to healthcare access. Click on the link here to book your appointment.
What can people call about?
The objective is to help those who are still struggling to register or are having issues with accessing healthcare. Unfortunately, the Embassy will not be offering advice or assistance with anything related to provision of care, or the Covid-19 vaccine – both of which fall outside the remit of the team.
Future sessions will be advertised on the Brits in Spain Facebook page a few days before the event.
Update from Embassy 23 June
CHANGES TO DEADLINE RE DRIVING LICENCE EXCHANGE
On Tuesday 22 June, the Spanish Consejo de Ministros agreed an extension to several measures in their end-of-transition period Royal Decree. One was on the recognition of UK driving licences in Spain. The announcement in English can be found here.
The deadline for the exchange of driving licences, for those who were resident in Spain prior to the end of the transition period, has been extended. For full details of the changes, read our PDF here
You can also find further details re driving licences, for those who did not register details/intent before the 31/12/20 deadline, in the PDF.
Update from Embassy 27 May
On Thursday 27th May, Bremain in Spain Chair, Sue Wilson and Vice Chair, Lisa Ryan Burton attended an update meeting with British Embassy staff to discuss:
- Driving Licence Exchange
- Travel – including the much discussed ‘carta de invitación´
- Votes for life – government press release
To read all about those discussions and get the latest information, click on the PDF here.
Update from Embassy 21 May
In response to members’ concerns about entry requirements to Spain – especially in relation to visitors to our homes – the Embassy have provided the following update and helpful links.
Following recent discussions with the Spanish authorities, the relevant Embassy webpages have been updated, and further clarification will be available in due course.
The following websites are recommended by the Embassy as the best sources of information:
- Spain Travel Advice (We recommend subscribing for email alerts as this is updated regularly)
- Visiting the EU page on gov.uk
- Foreign travel advice (see Regular entry requirements)
- Ministry of Interior – for more information on the ‘carta de invitación’
- Ministry of Interior – for more general information on entering Spain as a non-EU national
There is further information direct from the Embassy in the PDF
On Tuesday 20 April, our Chair, Bremain in Spain Chair, Sue Wilson took part in a meeting with representatives of the FCDO (Citizens’ Rights department) and British Embassy staff from Madrid and Paris. The meeting was also attended by representatives of citizens’ rights groups from 7 EU countries.
The meeting involved discussions around the misrepresentation in the media of recent coverage of events regarding UK nationals, most especially in Spain. Other topics included communications, information and support being provided for Brits abroad, followed by a question and answer session.
To read more about the meeting, open the PDF
There has been some confusion over the rules for visiting other Schengen countries when legally resident in Spain. We asked the Embassy to clarify how long you are entitled to visit, and whether the rules are different for those with temporary residency to those with permanent residency.
- Length of stay for visits
- Requirements for extended stays for work
- Length of time you can be out of Spain without affecting your residency
- Differences between temporary & permanent residency rights (where they exist)
In response to recent concerns our members raised over access to Spain’s vaccination programme, we approached the Embassy directly and received this response:
“The Spanish Government’s Vaccination Strategy sets out that all people living in Spain will be eligible for the vaccine, regardless of nationality or residency status. The Vaccination Strategy is updated regularly to include new priority groups as the number of doses available gradually increases. You might be interested to see this question and answer from the Spanish government’s FAQ website, which highlights that all people in the priority groups, irrespective of their nationality or type of sickness insurance cover, are being vaccinated.
Those UK nationals who are already registered in the public health system should be contacted by their regional health authority to arrange an appointment. The Spanish authorities are asking insurance companies to coordinate with regional health services in order to provide vaccines to their customers. The Spanish authorities are also considering how to contact people who are not registered on the public system nor with a private insurer. Ultimately, our advice to UK nationals living in Spain remains that they contact their local health centre and/or insurer for more information.”
The Embassy will provide further updates as and when further information is available, and the issue will be followed closely by the Embassy communications team.
The Department for Health & Social Care has today provided healthcare updates, and potential solutions to difficulties being faced by UK nationals when registering S1 forms.
- Continuation of S1 scheme
- Sending medication via courier from the UK to Spain
- S1 registration issues
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
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
You can view/download the guide HERE or click on the image below. Hard copies are available from the Embassy directly.
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.
- 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
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.
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.
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
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
- 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.
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.
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)
Lorna Geddie, British Embassy
“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
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
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.
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
- 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: email@example.com
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:
- La Moncloa Citizens’ website – landing page – in English and in Spanish
- La Moncloa Citizens’ website – section on residence – in English and in Spanish
- FAQ document detailing the new TIE system – in English and in Spanish
- Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security & Migration – section on residence in English and in Spanish
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.
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.
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.
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.
Read updates from the British Embassy regarding:
- The Internal Market Bill
- Driving Licences
- Dates for LIVE Facebook events
- Internal Market Bill
- TIE applications
- Stakeholders input
- UKNSF government funded support programmes
For more information, download the PDF HERE or select image right.