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As is known, on 1 January 2020, the definitive separation between the United Kingdom and the European Union came into force. This took place after the end of the transitional period established in the Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community of 29 June 2020. Since then, the United Kingdom has become a third state for EU purposes. However, by means of the aforementioned Agreement, the parties have ensured the preservation of citizens’ rights and, in particular, those relating to residence, work and access to social security benefits.

Specifically, Article 18.4 of the Agreement stipulates that British citizens who are resident in a Member State may prove that they meet the requirements for maintaining that status by being issued with a residence document stating that it has been granted in accordance with the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement.

In the case of Spain, this procedure is regulated by the Joint Instruction of the Directorate General of Migration and the Directorate General of the Police, which determines the procedure for issuing the residence document provided for in Article 18.4 of the Withdrawal Agreement with the United Kingdom. It covers all matters relating to the issuance of the residence document to British citizens residing in Spanish territory.

That said, it should be noted that British nationals already residing in Spain prior to 1 January 2021 were able to start applying for the documents related to their residence in Spain from 6 July 2020. However, in the case of British nationals whose residence in Spain begins after the transitional period, i.e. from 1 January 2021, the application for residence must be made within three months of their arrival in Spain or, in the case of pregnancy, of the birth of the unborn child. If the application is not made within the aforementioned period, it must be demonstrated to the immigration offices that the reasons for non-compliance are well-founded, and these will be previously assessed by these offices, granting the interested party sufficient additional time to submit the application.

The residence permit must follow the uniform format provided for in Council Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002. However, it should be noted that the registration certificates and EU family members’ cards held by British citizens and their family members residing in Spain and issued prior to the transitional period are perfectly valid during the existing period until they expire. Specifically, these documents will be sufficient to accredit the holder’s legal residence in Spain, and allow him/her to benefit from the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement.

Having said this, it should be noted that those British citizens and their family members who begin their legal residence in Spain as of 1 January 2021, will be those established by the general immigration regime. Specifically, the procedures to be followed will depend on the situation of the UK national:

1) If the UK national citizen holds a temporary registration certificate and has not reached the legal period of five years of legal residence in Spain, he/she may apply to the police for the issuance of a residence document, having to provide a series of documentation. This residence document will be valid for five years. Once its validity has expired, its renewal will be automatic. Specifically, the documents required for issue are as follows:

– Application form -EX 23 Application for a card.

– Valid and valid passport of the applicant.

– Form certifying payment of the fee.

– A photograph that meets the requirements.

2) If the United Kingdom national holds a temporary registration certificate and has been legally resident in Spain for 5 years, he/she may apply to the police for the issuance of a residence document by presenting the aforementioned documents. This residence document will be valid for ten years and will be permanent. Once its validity has expired, it shall be automatically renewed.

3) If the United Kingdom national holds a permanent registration certificate, he may apply to the police for a residence document to be issued to him on production of the same documents as in the previous two cases. This residence document will be valid for ten years and will indicate permanent status. At the end of its period of validity, it shall be automatically renewed.

4) If the UK national does not hold a registration certificate, he/she may apply for this residence document at the Aliens Office of the province in which he/she resides or intends to take up residence. There, you will need to submit the following documents:

– Application form -EX 20.

– Valid and valid passport of the applicant.

– Employment documentation, such as the employer’s declaration of employment in the case of employed persons; in the case of self-employed persons, proof of employment must be submitted. If the citizen is not in employment, he/she must fulfil a number of conditions such as (i) public or private health insurance; and (ii) proof of sufficient resources for him/herself and his/her family members.

– Documentation proving that the applicant falls within the personal scope of the Agreement.

Once these requirements have been met, the decision on the residence document shall be issued and notified within a maximum period of three months. After notification, the person concerned must, within one month, apply to the judicial department for a residence permit, presenting the documents mentioned in the previous cases (application form -EX 23; valid passport of the applicant; photograph; and form proving payment of the fee).

This residence document will be valid for five years when the duration of residence does not exceed this period, and is therefore considered to be a temporary residence. If the period of residence is longer, the permit shall be valid for ten years and shall be considered permanent.

5) In the case of members of the family of a United Kingdom national who are also British nationals, they must prove that the United Kingdom national with whom they are staying or accompanying fulfils the conditions required for the circumstances in which they find themselves.

In addition, family members of British nationality who change their residence to Spain may also apply for a residence permit following the procedures described above.

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