Countdown to Brexit
The extension of article 50 has put the clock back on Brexit. This is good news for Brits in Spain, especially those who haven’t yet managed to get their Spanish residency paperwork sorted out. In addition to time being bought, the chance of a no deal Brexit has also reduced considerably. MP’s voted in March, (albeit narrowly), to reject a no deal Brexit under any circumstances.
Deal or no deal Brexit what difference does it make?
Whilst a no deal Brexit seems to be off the cards at least for now, it could still happen. So if you are a UK national living in Spain,it’s still important to understand how you may be affected in this Brexit scenario.
If the UK eventually departs under the agreed Brexit deal, even though it may no be the best deal, at least we can expect that the future outside of the EU, will include some continuation of current rights afforded to UK citizens in the EU, and vice versa. There will also be the ‘transitional period’, during which time the agreement will be worked into place. For the UK and it’s citizens, nothing will change during this time. The UK will remain ‘in the EU’ during this transitional period, before finally leaving.
When it comes to a no deal, or hard Brexit, the United Kingdom will cease to be part of the EU and become a 3rd country. Unless the member state they reside in has legislated otherwise, UK citizens will overnight lose their EU rights. This could have profound implications for many living in the EU.
The founding principles of the EU are the free movement of goods, services, labour and capital. These principles allow residents in member states freedom to live, work, and travel anywhere in the EU, and provide other entitlements as EU citizens.
In a no deal Brexit scenario, UK nationals will be restricted to visits of 90 days to EU countries. There will be no automatic right to work and reside. EU states will be able to impose 3rd country tariffs on goods being imported, and set special tax rates.
How will a no deal Brexit impact on UK citizens in Spain?
In the event that the UK becomes a 3rd country at Brexit, numerous, freedoms, rights and entitlements currently taken for granted, will disappear.
There was more good news for Brits in Spain earlier this year. The Spanish Government published it’s ‘No Deal Brexit’ Contingency Plan. The Contingency Plan confirms that the the Spanish EU registration document, (residency certificate), can be used by Brits to confirm legal residence in Spain, and thus entitlement to preservation of existing EU citizen rights. The plan also makes provision for those residing in Spain who’ve not obtained their residency certificate before Brexit, to obtain residency documentation.
Read more about Brexit and Spanish Residency for British Nationals.
Is there anything I need to do?
Deal or no deal, things will change either way, just more so in the event of a no deal Brexit. British nationals who plan to move to Spain, or that already live here and want to continue doing so, should do everything possible to show that they are settled in Spain before Brexit.
The UK Government brought in a process for EU citizens in the UK to get certification of their ‘settled status’. They also indicated that some EU citizens who are unable to prove their settled status, may face deportation.
Spain has defined it’s process for UK nationals to prove their ‘settled status. Those without a residency certificate, will not be ‘authorised to reside in Spain’. This will not be an immediate issue, as the no deal Brexit legislation passed by the Spanish Government, provides a grace period for Brits who haven’t have got their ‘settled status’ to do so. This legislation however, also makes clear, that British nationals ‘unsettled’ before Brexit, i.e. without a residency certificate, will be treated differently to to those who obtained their certificate BEFORE the UK leaves the EU.
For Brits living in Spain or planning to do so, the answer to this question is simple. If you haven’t already done so, get your residency certificate as soon as possible.
Need help getting your residency certificate?