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BREXIT: Brits in Spain offered help with residency applications

The British Foreign Office has announced funding for organisations to provide practical support to UK nationals who may have difficulty completing their residency application or registration in Spain.

BREXIT: Brits in Spain offered help with residency applications
Photo: AFP

The UK government has allocated £3 million for charities and organisations to provide practical support for UK nationals living in Spain as well as France, Germany, Cyprus, Italy and several other EU countries.

The funding from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office is meant primarily for those who need additional help.

This may include pensioners, disabled people, people living in remote areas or who have mobility difficulties as well as Brits who don't speak Spanish and need language translation or interpretation support.

The services available for people who need this additional support include:

– Answering questions about residency applications, such as the documents required and application procedure
– Guiding individuals through the process, if necessary
– Supporting people facing language barriers or difficulty accessing technology.

In Spain, this support is being provided by three organisations: The International Organisation for Migration will cover Andalusia, Madrid and Murcia, Babelia will cover Alicante, and Age in Spain will cover Catalonia and the Balearic Islands.

READ MORE:

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

What are the steps to apply for a TIE residency card in Spain?

If you or someone you know may have difficulty completing the paperwork, you can contact them using the details below to discuss how they may be able to help you.

IOM – The International Organisation for Migration (Andalusia, Madrid and Murcia)

Visit the IOM Spain website here

Email: [email protected]

Helplines: Andalusia: +34 650 339 754, Madrid: +34 699 581 855, Murcia: +34 648 642 543, all available Mon to Thurs, 3.30pm to 5pm

Babelia (Alicante)

Visit the Babelia website here

Email: [email protected]

Helpline: +34 865 820 229 available Mon to Fri, 9am to 2pm

Babelia contact form here

Age in Spain (Catalonia and Balearic Islands)

Visit the Age in Spain website here

Email: [email protected]

Age in Spain contact form here

Helpline: +34 932 20 97 41 available Mon to Fri, 11am to 1pm

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For members

BANKING

Banking giant Barclays to close all accounts of Brits living in Spain

UK nationals living in Spain have begun to receive letters from their bank telling them that their accounts will be closed, in an apparent post-Brexit change. Have you been affected?

Banking giant Barclays to close all accounts of Brits living in Spain

Customers of Barclays Bank who are living in Spain and other EU countries have been receiving letters telling them that their UK accounts will be closed by the end of the year. 

A number of readers of The Local’s network of news websites have contacted us to report receiving either letters or messages in their online banking telling them that their accounts would be closed because of their residency in Spain or in other countries in the EU.

A Barclays spokesperson told The Local: “As a ring fenced bank, our Barclays UK products are designed for customers within the UK.

“We will no longer be offering services to personal current account or savings customers (excluding ISAs) within the European Economic Area. We are contacting impacted customers to give them advance notice of this decision and outline the next steps they need to take.”  

Customers are being given six months to make alternative arrangements. The changes affect all personal current accounts or savings accounts, but do not affect ISAs, loans or mortgages.

During the Brexit transition period Barclays closed Barclaycard accounts of customers in Spain, but did not indicate any changes to standard bank accounts.

READ MORE: 

Around the same time several other British high street banks began closing accounts of British customers who live in the EU, although with the exception of Barclaycard customers in Spain who were largely spared.

Many UK nationals who live in Spain maintain at least one UK bank account – in addition to a Spanish account – sometimes just for savings but others use their accounts regularly to receive income such as pensions or income from rental property or – for remote workers – to receive income for work done in the UK.

Not having a UK bank account can make financial transactions in the UK more complicated or incur extra banking fees.

READ MORE: What are the best UK banks for Brits in Spain?

Since Brexit, the UK banking sector no longer has access to the ‘passporting’ system which allows banks to operate in multiple EU countries without having to apply for a separate banking licence for each country.

And it seems that many UK high street banks are deciding that the extra paperwork is not worth the hassle and are withdrawing completely from certain EU markets. 

When British banks began withdrawing services from customers in the EU back in 2020, a UK government spokesman told British newspaper The Times that “the provision of banking services is a commercial decision for firms based on a number of factors” so Brits in Spain probably shouldn’t hold their breath for any help from that direction.

READ ALSO: Premium Bond holders in Spain may have to cash in if no UK bank account

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