Exchanging Residencia For TIE

Following Brexit, British residents are able to exchange their existing green resident’s certificates for the TIE – Tarjeta de identidad de extranjero – the card for foreign residents of Spain who are not EU citizens.

Note that it’s not necessary at this stage to make the exchange, and the green certificates currently remain valid. However, there will come a time when you need to change, and we’d advise doing it before it becomes essential. Why wouldn’t you? Having photo ID again is priceless.

However, we went through the process recently, and are sharing the information here for anyone who needs it. We chose to do so in order to be able to write up the process, but also because the biometric cards are useful documents to have – they are photo ID, which was never the case with the old documents.

Any British citizens who have residency here in Spain since before Brexit, have their rights to live and work here protected under the withdrawal agreement, and the new cards are endorsed with the words “Permanente Articulo 50.” Article 50 is the withdrawal agreement.

Here’s how it works.

Filling in the form and making payment

The first step is to complete a form EX23, pay a €12 fee at the bank, and submit the form, with the payment receipt, two passport size photos, your passports and your existing green residency certificate at the police station, having made a prior appointment.


You’ll then need to visit the police station at a further appointment to have both index fingerprints scanned. At this meeting, the police will give you a form which shows that you have applied for the TIE, and which can be used while you await delivery of your new card. They asked us to return after 40 days.

Collecting the card

The card collection process is also by appointment and we were asked for our passports and the copy of the form we’d been given at the last appointment. Our fingerprints were scanned, the machine confirmed our identity, and we were issued with our new cards!

I was delighted to see the endorsement I’d been looking for, and our new cards are valid for ten years. For the first time in 20 years, I’ll feel happy leaving my passport behind when I l head out of the house.

Don’t turn up at the police station without an appointment or the correct paperwork – people are simply turned away, as we saw each time we visited.

New Applications

New applications for residency are following this same procedure, and again, citizens rights to live and work here are guaranteed currently.

From 1st January 2021, new applications from British citizens will follow the same process, but they will have to:

  • Prove they have sufficient income or capital to support themselves here
  • Provide private medical cover for themselves
  • Prove no criminal record
  • Obtain a visa to live and / or work here

They will be applying to live and / or work in Spain, as non EU citizens do not have those rights. Their cards will not be endorsed with the article 50 information.

Although we speak Spanish and are quite used to the bureaucracy here, we used Lydia Thain to arrange everything for us. Lydia runs a paperwork consultancy service on the island, and has a fantastic relationship with the various departments here. She saved us so much time in making appointments and sorting the form filling for us. We basically just had to turn up at the right time and with the right pieces of paper! Also remember that any mistakes or misunderstandings can result in real problems, so we’d advise using a professional.

You can contact Lydia via her Facebook page: Lanzarote Living Consultancy by Lydia Thain.

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