All EU and EEA (European Economic Area) citizens and their family members have the right to visit, live or work in Spain. A Spanish residency certificate confirms your status as a resident in Spain. For stays of up to 3 months there is no need to register or obtain any Spanish documentation unless you are going to be working, or for example buying a property, in which case you’ll need an NIE. After that period, or if you intend to stay more than 3 months, you are expected to register as a resident.
You are given a residency certificate, or ‘certificado de residencia‘, when you successfully register. The issue of certificates is controlled by the National Police, (Cuerpo Nacional de Policia).
Countdown to Brexit
Once again Brexit looms, only this time around, the person in charge will make it happen, and appears hell-bent on doing so at whatever cost.
The slim chances of a second referendum or cancelling of Brexit, are well and truly gone, and all British nationals living in Spain should understand, plan and do what they need to do to secure their position in Spain. Deal or no deal.
Fortunately for British Nationals in Spain, the Spanish Government has made clear in it’s ‘No Deal Brexit’ contingency plan, how it plans to treat Brits in Spain.
According to the plan, UK nationals settled and lawfully residing in Spain before Brexit, will continue to be considered legal residents and keep rights they now enjoy, after the UK exits the EU.
It also lays out what Brits living in Spain need to do to achieve and maintain lawful residence.
So What do Brits Living in Spain Need to Do?
Countdown to Brexit:
Spanish Residency for British nationals, used to be a basic paperwork exercise. It is now a necessity due to Brexit, and the uncertainty of the last few months has made it quite difficult for Brits to get their residency certificates.
Earlier this year, the Spanish Government published its ‘No Deal Brexit’ Contingency Plan. The Contingency Plan was approved by Royal Decree 1st March, and affirms that the Spanish residency certificate will be needed to confirm legal residence in Spain. The plan makes provision for those residing in Spain who’ve not obtained their Spanish residency EU registration certificate before Brexit, to obtain residency documentation. However, it makes clear that British nationals in this situation will be treated differently to to those who have obtained their certificate BEFORE the UK leaves the EU.
A Place in the Sun is one of the UK’s most highly recognised names when it comes to property abroad and overseas lifestyle, and the A Place in the Sun magazine is always full of features and top tips help people with their property searches and plans for their life abroad, be that a holiday home a permanent move.
In the current issue, we’ve provided an editorial feature in the Ask the Experts section, offering a insight into the important considerations and steps to becoming a Spanish resident.
As Brexit draws closer, the subject is all the more poignant. And for Brits planning to move to Spain, those here already who are thinking about taking up Spanish residency, the article is a must read.
Also of interest in the issue
Can you buy two homes for a budget of £150,000 on the eastern Costa del Sol?
With Brexit creeping closer, valuable information to help you prepare for the transition period next year (and/or beyond).
Why and how it’s not too late to find your perfect home in the next six months.
The magazine is available in stores and online now.
Since 2007, there has been a requirement that all EU citizens coming to live in Spain for more than 3 months, should register in person at the Oficina de Extranjeros in their province of residence, or at designated Police stations. On registering, a credit card size residency certificate is issued. The full name for this is, certificado de registro de ciudadano de la unión, however it is commonly referred to as certificado de residencia‘, or simply ‘residencia‘. It has name, address, nationality, NIE number (Número de Identificación Extranjero) on it, and the date of registration as a Spanish resident.
UK and EU nationals intending to take up residency in Spain, can get their ‘certificado de residencia‘ at anytime after they arrive in Spain. Any UK or EU national coming to live in Spain is according to Spanish law, required to register within 3 months of arriving.
Apart from the legal obligation to register, either because you’ve moved to live in Spain or intend to, if you spend 183 days or more per year in the country, then you are also deemed to have Spanish residency for tax purposes. You therefore don’t ‘become resident’ by obtaining your residency certificate, in most cases you will by definition and law, be deemed resident in Spain due to the amount of the time you spend here, i.e. Spain is where you ‘habitually reside’.
The NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero), meaning – Foreigners Identification Number, is the identification number issued to people who are not a Spanish nationals.
The National Police, (Cuerpo Nacional de Policia), handle the issue of NIE’s, and any one planning to carry out a transaction in Spain, e.g. buying a car, holiday home, or various other interests, needs to have one.
The NIE identifies you whenever you do something official, or which involves the authorities. For example paying taxes, buying a property; signing a document at Notary; starting a business; or becoming a director of a Spanish company.
The NIE is not a fiscal (tax) residency identification – you can have a NIE and be fiscal resident in another country, however it is used to link payments to you that may be due, including tax amongst others. Both EU citizens and non-EU citizens are issued with NIE’s, and if you become resident, you keep the same NIE when you apply for your residence certificate or card.