Spain has issued a Royal decree that guarantees that even if the UK exits the EU without a deal, the 400,000 British residents living in Spain will be able to remain here.

This is a unilateral agreement, and foreign minister Josep Borrell described it as a contingency plan, and expressed his hope that the UK would reciprocate for Spanish citizens living there. The decree states that if it is not reciprocated within two months, it can be suspended.

British citizens, who are registered as living in Spain will have until December 31st 2020 to apply for a new foreigner identity card, as issued to other foreigners from third countries.

The card is called a Tarjeta de identitad extranjero, or TIE. It’s a biometric ID card.

British Ambassador Meeting

British Ambassador Simon Manley held a meeting in Madrid at which he reiterated the need for British citizens living in Spain to register before 29th March.

He went on to add that those thinking of moving to Spain after that date would have to go through the same process as other third country nationals. That entails applying for living and work visas initially, then eventually a residence visa. They will be required to prove no criminal record, sufficient means to support themselves and take out private medical cover.

He pointed out that if Britain leaves without a deal, British citizens will be limited to 90 days in any 180 day period when visiting Schengen zone countries.

He also said that there would have to be a new agreement between Spain and the UK to enable the continuation of existing social security and pension rights to be aggregated between the two countries.

The British Consular team are hosting meetings here in Lanzarote next week: Brexit Meetings.