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EUROPEAN UNION

Spain issues new residency card for British citizens

Spain has issued a new residency card system for UK citizens living in the country before the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31st. Here's what you need to know.

Spain issues new residency card for British citizens
An anti-Brexit protest in Spain. AFP

The TIE (Foreigners Identification Card) will state that British residents living in Spain have all the rights to residency, healthcare or social security which are guaranteed under the Withdrawal Agreement. 

Britons living in Spain who already have residency can apply for the new card which will mean they will no longer have to present their passports with current NIE green cards or A4 sheets. 

Those living in Spain who do not have residency have until 31 December to apply for residency permission then can apply for the card. 

The measure was announced in the Official Bulletin of State, which outlines government decisions, on Saturday. 

The order states that UK citizens with the new TIE card “will not have to ask for a new residency permission or new documents but will have the right to receive a document of residency which expressly states their position as a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement”, the order says.

Nigel Aston, president of Eurocitizens, told The Local: “I think this is a good thing because for those who have this new residence card, it will eliminate the need to use a passport when they have to do anything.

“It proves that the holder is entitled to the rights granted in the Withdrawal Agreement.”

HMA Hugh Elliott welcomed its introduction. He also clarified what it means for UK nationals in a short video here saying:

Hugh Elliott, British Ambassador in Madrid, said : “We’ve seen lots of questions and concerns on social media, so I want to underline two key points.

Q&A: What Brits in Spain need to know about the new Brexit-friendly residency card

“First, I want to assure you that all British nationals, who are legally resident in Spain by the end of this year, will have their rights protected, including the right to live and work here, and lifelong access to healthcare for UK state pensioners, including those who claim a pension in the future.

“And second, whether you already have the green residency certificate – A4 or credit card-sized version – or in the future the TIE, they are equally valid in demonstrating your residence status and your rights as a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement. Almost 360,000 British people are already registered here in Spain.

“And whilst you may choose to exchange your current certificate for a TIE at some point in the future, there is no requirement to do so. The green residency document gives you the same rights as the new TIE card. So please be assured on that point.”

The British Embassy is holding a Facebook Live Q&A at 19:00 (not 8pm as was first stated) on Wednesday 8 July. Please join via www.facebook.com/britsinspain. It will also be available to watch afterwards.

Information for UK nationals is available at gov.uk/livinginspain – sign up for email alerts to be kept updated. This is in the process of being updated to reflect the new process.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BREXIT

Brexit: Brits in EU feel European and don’t want to return home

The majority of Britons who live in the EU, Norway, Iceland or Switzerland and are protected under the Brexit agreement feel European and intend to remain in Europe permanently, but many have concerns about travel problems, a new survey reveals.

Brexit: Brits in EU feel European and don't want to return home

The research also shows that problems exist and “travel is where most issues relating to the new status currently occur”. For instance, border officials are still stamping passports of UK citizens with residence rights under the EU UK withdrawal agreement, even though they shouldn’t.

“There is constant confusion around passport stamping. I was ‘stamped in’ to France on a short trip… but could not find anyway to be ‘stamped out’ again. I think I can only spend 90 days in other EU countries, but have no idea how anyone can check or enforce that – until someone decides to try. It’s a mess,” was one of the answers left in an open question.

“Every time I go through a Schengen border control, I need to provide both my passport and Aufenthaltstitel card [resident permit in Germany] and watch to check that they don’t stamp my passport. As I am currently travelling a lot that’s been 20-odd times this year…” another respondent said.

The survey was carried out by Professor Tanja Bueltmann, historian of migration and diaspora at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, between October and November 2022. About 1,139 UK citizens replied.

Of these, 80 per cent found acquiring their new status easy or very easy, 60.7 per cent feel their rights are secure, while 39.3 per cent have concerns about their status going forward.

Staying permanently

More than three quarters (76.6 per cent) of respondents said they plan to live permanently in the EU or the other countries of the European Economic Area and Switzerland. In fact, 65.7 per cent said that Brexit has increased the likelihood of this choice.

For some, the decision is linked to the difficulty to bring non-British family members to the UK under new, stricter immigration rules.

“My German wife and I decided we no longer wanted to live in UK post Brexit referendum. In particular, we were affected by the impact of immigration law […] We cannot now return to UK on retirement as I cannot sponsor her on my pension. We knew it was a one-way journey. Fortunately, I could revive an application for German citizenship,” was a testimony.

“My husband is a US citizen and getting him a visa for the UK was near impossible due to my low income as a freelance journalist. We realized under EU law, moving to an EU country was easier. We settled on Austria as we had both lived there before… we could speak some German, and we like the mountains,” said another respondent.

Professor Bueltmann noted that the loss of free movement rights in the EU could be a factor too in the decision of many to stay where they are.

Citizenship and representation

Among those who decided to stay, 38.2 per cent are either applying or planning to apply for a citizenship and 28.6 per cent are thinking about it.

A key finding of the research, Bueltmann said, is that the vast majority of British citizens do not feel politically represented. Some 60 per cent of respondents said they feel unrepresented and another 30 per cent not well represented.

Another issue is that less than half (47.5 per cent) trust the government of their country of residence, while a larger proportion (62 per cent) trust the European Union. Almost all (95.6 per cent) said they do not trust the UK government.

Feeling European

The survey highlights the Brexit impacts on people’s identity too. 82.6 per cent of respondents said they see themselves as European, a higher proportion than those identifying as British (68.9 per cent).

“Brexit has really left me unsure of what my identity is. I don’t feel British, and I certainly don’t identify with the mindset of a lot of British people who live there. Yet, I am not Danish either. So, I don’t really know anymore!” said one of the participants in the survey.

Professor Bueltmann said the survey “demonstrates that Brexit impacts continue to evolve: this didn’t just stop because the transition period was over or a deadline for an application had been reached. Consequently, Brexit continues to shape the lives and experiences of British citizens in the EU/EEA and Switzerland in substantial, sometimes life-altering, ways.”

Considering the results of the study, Professor Bueltmann recommends policy makers in the EU and the UK to address the issue of lack of representation, for instance creating a joint UK-EU citizens’ stakeholder forum.

The report also recommends the UK government to rebuild trust with British citizens in the EU introducing voting rights for life and changing immigration rules to allow British-European families to return more easily. 

This article was prepared in cooperation with Europe Street News.

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