Visas and residency if you were living in Spain before 1 January 2021

If you have been living in Spain legally since before 1 January 2021, you and your family members have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. You must ensure you are correctly registered as a resident. Your children must also be registered with their own residency documents.

If you are registering for the first time, you will be issued with a biometric residence card called a Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE). This card shows that you have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

If you registered as a resident before 6 July 2020, you will have a green A4 certificate or credit card-sized piece of paper from Extranjeria or the police. This is still a valid residency document. You do not have to exchange this document for the new TIE. However, we and the Spanish government strongly recommend that you do.

The TIE biometric card is more durable. It will also simplify administrative processes and border crossings. Read the Spanish government’s guidance on how to apply for the new TIE.

Both the TIE and the green A4 certificate or credit card-sized piece of paper, exempt you from European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) and visa requirements.

If you have difficulty using your green A4 certificate or credit card-sized piece of paper, read the Spanish government’s informative note on documentation for UK nationals. This explains which documents you can use to prove your residence and Withdrawal Agreement rights in Spain. You can refer to this informative note when accessing public services and dealing with businesses that provide services.

For more information:

   see the Spanish government’s information on residency for UK nationals living in Spain before 1 January 2021

   read the Spanish government’s guidance for UK nationals living in Spain before 1 January 2021

If you need further information on how to register as a resident, you may find the information on the webpages from these organisations in Spain useful:

Regions of Spain

Alicante, Valencia and Castellon Babelia

Andalusia, Castilla la Mancha, Castilla León, Ceuta, Extremadura, Madrid, Melilla, Murcia                The International Organization for Migration

Aragon, Asturias, Balearics, Basque Country (Pais Vasco), Canary Islands, Cantabria, Catalonia, Galicia, La Rioja, Navarra Age in Spain

For details of official Spanish government and non-government organisations including in the voluntary sector, visit the Support in Spain website.

Family members

Your close family members are able to join you and settle in Spain at any time in the future. Read more information on who this applies to in the Living in Europe guidance. They should apply online before moving to Spain (in Spanish) or through a third party in Spain, such as a lawyer. Alternatively, they can apply within 3 months of arrival to Spain.

Depending on their nationality, some non-EU family members may need a visa before travel. The Spanish authorities should issue Withdrawal Agreement family reunion visas free of charge.

Read the Spanish government’s guidance for ‘UK nationals and their family members residing in Spain’. This explains how you and your close family members can apply for the TIE and how to renew your TIE before it expires.

Appeal process

If your request to register under the Withdrawal Agreement is refused, read the refusal letter carefully. It will set out the decision, the reasons for it, and how to appeal. You have 1 month to appeal from the date of the refusal letter.

The appeal process usually has 2 steps:

administrative appeal, where a different administrative authority reviews the decision

court appeal

The outcome of an appeal is final. If you want to appeal, we strongly recommend you seek independent, specialised legal advice. The British Embassy cannot get involved in individual immigration applications and we cannot provide legal advice.

You can:

   seek legal advice using the Spanish Bar Association website (Spanish with English translation) or the list of English-speaking lawyers

   read about access to legal aid in Spain

   get help and advice, or make a complaint about how your registration request has been processed, free of charge, using the European Commission’s specialist assistance service

If you do not want to appeal, or do not meet the criteria to reside in Spain under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, you should consider other options:

   contact the local immigration services (servicio de atención al inmigrante) provided by your local town hall or regional government

   read the Spanish government information on general immigration routes and criteria (in Spanish) and Spanish government information on immigration if you are in exceptional circumstances (in Spanish). These circumstances include if you are a victim of domestic violence, or if you can prove strong family, work or social links to Spain

   contact organisations that specialise in migration issues, such as ACCEM (in Spanish) or (in Spanish) run by the Red Cross

   read information on returning to the UK

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