Can I still retire to Spain after Brexit?

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At 11pm GMT on December 31, the Brexit transition period ended and the UK officially exited the European Union with a deal. After five years of discussions, negotiations and campaigns membership of the single market and customs has now expired. Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a New Year’s Eve message and hailed the “amazing moment” for Britain.

Mr Johnson said: “This is an amazing moment for this country.

“We have our freedom in our hands and it is up to us to make the most of it.”

With new rules on travel, imports, exports and moving abroad Britons are wondering how exactly Brexit impacts them.

With approximately 285 thousand British citizens living in Spain and more moving to the country every year what does Brexit mean for retiring abroad?

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Can I still retire to Spain after Brexit?

Before Brexit, as EU citizens Britons could retire to EU member nations without requiring a visa.

However now rules have changed, and those intending to move abroad or stay away for any period of time need to adhere to the law of the country they are travelling to.

Spanish authorities have said British ex-pats will have the same rights in Spain post-Brexit, on the condition the UK extends residency rights to Spaniards already living in the UK.

If you were legally resident in Spain before January 1, 2021, you will be able to stay.

However, you must make sure you are correctly registered as a resident.

Any residents who are children must also be registered with their own residency document.

If you are registering for the first time, you will be given a biometric residence card called a Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE). This card will prove your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

If you registered as a resident before July 6, 2020, you will have a green A4 certificate or credit card-sized piece of paper from Extranjeria or the police.

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This is still a valid document and proves your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

You can exchange your paper EU residence document for the new TIE but you are not obliged to.

UK nationals who plan to live in Spain for more than three months must register as a resident and on the padrón at their town hall.

If you register as resident after July 6, 2020, but were living in Spain before January 1, 2021, you must follow a two-step process to obtain your TIE.

If you meet the requirements and your application is approved you will be issued with the TIE. Children must also be registered and obtain their own TIE.

You then need to submit your residence application to the immigration office (Oficina de Extranjeros) in the province where you live.

You can do this electronically (if you have a digital signature ‘firma digital’), in person by appointment at the immigration office or via a third party representative who can submit your application, electronically or in person, on your behalf.

The rules around this may be subject to coronavirus restrictions, so check before you head to do this in person

You will need to provide the following documentation:

  • application form EX20
  • passport
  • documentation which demonstrates your residence in Spain before 1 January 2021
  • documentation which demonstrates you meet the EU residence criteria on income and healthcare

To read more about this, visit the Spanish government’s residency Q&A here.

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