THE UK-EU WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT
All UK nationals who were legally resident in Spain at the end of 2020 have their rights protected, including the right to live and work in Spain as well as lifelong access to healthcare for UK state pensioners, including those who claim a pension in the future.
In July 2020, the Spanish Government introduced a new residency document for UK nationals, known as the ‘Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE)’ – the Foreigner’s Identity Card.
If you already have the green residency certificate in A4 or credit-card sized version, they are both valid for proving your residency status in Spain and your rights as a beneficiary of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement. At the time of writing (July 2021), you can choose to change your current residency certificate for the new biometric TIE card but there is no requirement to do so as the A4 certificate or card provide the same rights as the new TIE card. However, the Spanish authorities have confirmed that the TIE may simplify some administrative processes and advise changing as soon as possible.
The Exchange Process
It is a simple but time-consuming process for which you will need all your organisation skills. We recommend putting together a dedicated application folder for each person who will be going through the exchange process in which there will be all the required paperwork plus copies. We can’t stress this enough; you will need to take copies of every submitted document with you to the appointment.
You will need:
- A completed Form EX-23 which you can either fill in the PDF document online or print the blank form and fill out with black ink.
- A completed Form Modelo 790 which you complete online, print out, and take to a bank to pay the 12 euros fee for the process. Be aware that it can’t be paid through the ATM and you will need to go inside to pay it in person. The form will be stamped and returned as proof of payment. Of all the documents that you will provide for your application, this is the one that the processing officer is most interested in.
- Your original residency document, either the A4 green certificate or the card. Don’t forget to get at least one copy, in colour.
- An up-to-date ‘padron’ certificate to prove you live in Jávea; certificates normally expire after three months. You can make an appointment to do this online here. If you are making separate TIE appointments, it’s recommended to get a certificate personalized for each person because there’s no guarantee that you’ll get two appointments together (see below).
- A recent TIE-sized photograph. Be aware that standard passport photos are not the right size and may be rejected. We used Aguado in the church square in the heart of the historic centre. They charge 7 euros for six photos cut correctly to the required TIE size.
- Your passport, which should have at least six months left on its validity.
Get all this paperwork sorted before you even think about making an appointment. And get copies of everything!! In our experience, it is best to have too much paperwork (and copies) than not enough!
Getting an Appointment
At the time of writing (July 2021), there are no appointments available in Dénia or Benidorm and the authorities have confirmed that they will not open these offices for TIE exchange applications when there are staff twiddling their thumbs in Alicante.
To make an appointment:
- Head to the appointment page of the Spanish government website here.
- PROVINCIAS DISPONIBLES: Select “Alicante“.
- OFICINA: We found that leaving this as “Cualquier Oficina” provides a better chance of getting an appointment quickly.
TRAMITES OFICINAS DE EXTRANJERIA: ignore
TRAMITES CUERPO NACIONAL DE POLICIA: Select “POLICIA-EXP.TARJETA ASOCIADA AL ACUERDO DE RETIRADO CIUDADANOS BRITANICOS Y SUS FAMILIARES (BREXIT)”
- The next page confirms the documentation that you will need to provide. Scroll to the bottom and click on [Entrar].
- Enter your NIE or passport number (the former is recommended) and your FULL NAME as it appears on your residency certificate or card. Then click on [Entrar].
- On the next page click on [CITA PREVIA] to request an appointment. The system will provide the location of the appointment and the available slots for that appointment. If there are none available, the system will tell you immediately and you will have to wait and try again as they release more appointment slots daily.
- After selecting an appointment, you will receive a code on your mobile phone which you will need to enter straight away as the application is time-sensitive. If you are accepted, you will receive a confirmation e-mail which will include your appointment number, the office, the date, the time and the specific table to which you will need to submit your application.
- NOTE: If you are a couple or family and you are looking for multiple appointments, you will have to do separate appointment applications for each person. If you want appointment close together, each person should go online at the same time on different devices. It just needs a bit of coordination. Be aware that the appointment lists are time-sensitive and will time out after a few minutes.
There have been reports of UK nationals resident in Spain before December 31st 2020 having issues at the border with the green A4 certificate. The Spanish Government has produced an informative note in both English and Spanish (see the link below) which explains which documents can be used to prove residency and your rights in Spain as a UK national benefiting from the Withdrawal Agreement.
Post-BREXIT UK nationals entering Spain are now regarded as third-country nationals and will be required to apply for residency through general immigration.
The Spanish Government also provides information on the conditions of entry, stay, study, residence, and work that foreign citizens from third-countries in the link below (in Spanish):
RESIDENCY IN SPAIN FOR EU CITIZENS
All EU citizens coming to live in Spain are required to register themselves as resident by applying for a “Certificado de Registro” from the OFICINA DE EXTRANJEROS (Foreigner’s Office) in Denia within three months of their arrival in the country.
Note that it is now no longer necessary for those applying for a residency certificate to submit a separate application for an N.I.E. as this number is now incorporated in the residence certificate application process.
Since 2012, all EU citizens applying for residency in Spain will be required to produce evidence of sufficient financial means to support themselves (and dependants). Applicants will also be asked for proof of private or public healthcare insurance. From May 2013, the certificate has been replaced by a small identification card.
You should carry your residency document (the A4 certificate or TIE card) as well as your passport when you travel to provide proof that you are resident in Spain. This is particularly important if you are a UK national because if you can’t provide proof, you may be subjected to additional scrutiny at the borders to enter the Schengen area and your passport may be stamped. This won’t affect your rights in Spain though.
- A valid passport or recognised official identification PLUS a copy. If it has expired during the application process, a copy will be required as well as proof of application for its renewal.
- One of the following completed forms (external links below):
- Form EX-18: Solicitud de Certificado de Registro de Residencia Comunitaria.
- Form EX-19: Solicitud de Tarjeta de Residencia de Familiar de Ciudadano de la UE.
- Certificado de Empadronamiento – It is a legal obligation to register with the Town Hall where you reside. A certificate to prove so is issued by the Ayuntamiento where you live (we’re told that this is not required anymore but it’s always wise to offer too much documentation rather than too little!)
- If you are employed, you must produce the following:
- a certificate of employment which includes details of the employer (company name and address), tax identification and social security number;
- an employment contract registered with the Public Employment Service or a document of registration similar to the corresponding Social Security System. (These will not be necessary if the applicant agrees to have his details checked against the General Social Security Finance Office files “Ficheros de la Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social”.)
- If you are self-employed, you must produce the following:
- a certificate of registration on the “Censo de Actividades Económicos” or proof that the applicant is registered in the “Registro Mercantil” or a document of registration similar to the corresponding Social Security System. (This will not be necessary if the applicant agrees to have his details checked against the General Social Security Finance Office files “Ficheros de la Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social”.)
- If you are employed, self-employed or have recently retired from working, you may need to provide an ‘Informe de Vida Laboral’ which shows your work history and the insurance contributions that you have made over the previous 12 months. This can be requested from the INSS (social security) office in Denia or you can apply online with a digital signature.
- Applicants who do not work in Spain must produce documentation proving that they comply with the following conditions:That they have public or private health insurance contracted in Spain or another country, provided it ensures cover in Spain during their period of residence equivalent to the cover provided by National Health Service. This will be achieved through the production of a certificate which states “Cobertura integral médica, quirúrgica hospitalaria”. Pensioners will meet this condition if they can prove by appropriate certification that they are entitled to health care paid for by the State from which they receive their pension.
- That they have sufficient resources for themselves and their family members so as not to become a burden on Spain’s social assistance system dring their period of residence. They would need to supply proof of a regular income whether it be through employment in another country, ownership of assets, property deeds and any other capital income and provide a bank certificate showing a minimum monthly income of 619 euros.
Download and complete “Form EX-18: Solicitud de inscripción en el Registro Central de Extranjeros Residencia ciudadano de la UE”. It is in PDF format with the ability to fill in your details on the screen; if the required fields are not highlighted, click on the button in the top right (‘Highlight Fields’ | ‘Resaltar Campos’). When completed, click on the [IMPRIMIR] button at the bottom of the form to print it. You will find some translations below. (For family applications, download and complete Form EX-19.)
The Application Process
OFICINA DE EXTRANJEROS DE DENIA
C/ Avinguda del Marquesat, 53
03700 Denia (Alicante)
Tel: 96 642 68 86
Open: 9.00am to 2.00pm
Application is made through the National Police Documentation Office in Denia. Two visits are normally required to the police station in Denia. First of all, you need to arrange an appointment for your application to be considered and processed. This can be time-consuming; appointments are ONLY issued on a Friday morning for the following week only and you will need to queue to make the arrangement.
The queues can be very long and it would be advantageous to get to the office as early as possible; don’t hope to arrive in Denia at 9pm (when the office opens) and expect prompt service for the queue may already be a couple of hundred strong, perhaps even longer. When we applied, we arrived shortly before 8am and there were already 50 or so people in front of us.
Listen carefully for the policeman at the front of the queue because he may well call out “Extranjeros!” and call forward all foreigners to try and alleviate the line of those who simply wish to make an appointment. Inside the office, a chap sitting behind a small desk will ask for your passport and may ask you what you would be applying for (N.I.E. or Residencia). He will then allocate you with a date and a time for the appointment and hand you a small piece of paper with those details. DO NOT LOSE IT!
UPDATE: It is now possible to make an appointment ONLINE using this link. Select [Alicante] from “Provincia Seleccionada” then select [Certificados UE] from the next drop-down box. You will be presented with a series of requirements needed to complete the application during your appointment, including the completed EX-18 form – in duplicate – as well as proof of income and proof of payment of fee at a bank (Tasa Modelo 790-012). For the appointment, you will need your NIE or passport number (take particular care when entering the passport number, avoiding spaces or hyphens and entering the full name as shown on the issued passport; failure to do so will result in the rejection of the application).
On the day of the appointment, return to the police station in Denia; it will be a totally different to the chaos of Friday and you should be able to walk straight in. If there is a queue, show your appointment slip to the police officer and he should allow you to enter straight away. Check in with the front desk and then take a seat to wait for your turn, but don’t expect to be seen promptly according to your allocated time especially later in the day.
When called forward, hand over all the relevant documentation to the police clerk. He or she will ensure that all is in order and then hand back an official receipt which you will need to take straight away to the nearest bank to pay a small fee. (A branch of Banco Pastor is about five minutes walk; turn right when you leave the office and continue along Avenida Del Marquesado and across a small square; the bank is on the left on the far side of the square.)
Return to the police station – you should be allowed straight back in, especially if you wave the form around – and the police clerk should call you forward straight away, even if dealing with another person, to take the form, check it and then, if all okay, hand back a new “Certificado de Registro”.
The certificate is valid indefinitely. However, if you move to a different municipality, it should be updated. If you live in Spain continuously for more than five years, you can opt for permanent residency.
Thanks to Bruce Roberts for updates on proof of healthcare and private income requirements.