Countdown to Brexit
The clock is ticking. There are just a few months to go before Brexit and there is still no deal in sight.
As things stand, there is every chance that come 29th March next year, the United Kingdom will leave the EU with no deal.
Deal or no deal Brexit what difference does it make?
If an agreement is reached, even if it’s not 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 a transitional period, during which time the agreement will be worked into place. For the UK and it’s citizens, nothing will change at this time, as the UK will remain ‘in the EU’ during this transitional period, before finally leaving 31st December 2020.
When it comes to a no deal, or hard Brexit, on 31st March 2019, the United Kingdom will cease to be part of the EU and become a 3rd country. UK citizens will overnight lose their EU rights, which could have profound implications for many living in the EU.
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.
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 citizens will be restricted to 3 months visits at a time, and may be required to obtain travel visa. There will be no automatic right to work and reside. EU states will have free reign to impose 3rd country tariffs on goods being imported, and set special tax rates.
So what will a no deal Brexit mean in practice?
We aren’t going to speculate or provide an in-depth analysis on what the ramifications of a no deal Brexit might be. Our aim here is to highlight the fact that a no deal Brexit is a distinct possibility and could be happening quite soon. If it does happen it will have significant implications for UK citizens living in, or planning to live in Spain.
With the UK as a 3rd country, a UK citizen living in Spain without proof of settled status, e.g. residency certificate, will not be ‘authorised to reside in Spain’. This may not be an immediate issue, and how the Spanish authorities choose to address it remains a question. The UK Government has brought in a process for EU citizens in the UK to get certification of their ‘settled status’. They have also indicated that some EU citizens who are unable to prove their settled status, may face deportation!
Entry of all goods, including personal effects such as household goods, and online purchase from the UK, will be subject to customs clearance. So removals to Spain will take a lot longer, as they’ll have to clear customs, there’ll also be customs fees, and lots of paperwork. If you’re planning on bringing, or have brought your car with you, and want to register it on to Spanish number plates, there’ll be 21% VAT, 10% duty, plus customs fee, before the usual registration costs!
Is there anything I should 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.
Spain hasn’t yet defined a process for UK citizens to prove their ‘settled status, however, it stands to reason, that things like having a residency certificate, will be a good starting point for someone. There are a number of other ways that someone might be able to improve their case, what one might do of course depends on individual circumstance.
The countdown has begun, and if Spain is your home, or you plan to make it so, and you haven’t yet started planning for Brexit, you should start now.
Need help with your Brexit planning?