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BREXIT

BREXIT: Where can Brits in Spain get help with residency applications?

As the end of the transition periods nears, it is more important that ever to secure your rights and register legally as a Briton living in Spain. But if you're worried about the process, there is help at hand.

BREXIT: Where can Brits in Spain get help with residency applications?
Photo: AFP

New residency card process

On July 6th, UK citizens registering as residents in Spain started to be issued with the highly anticipated TIE residence cards.

A TIE is a “Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero”, an identity card for foreigners which is issued to non-EU residents in Spain.

Although the document may be a reminder for Britons in Spain that they will soon cease to be EU citizens, the TIE also acts as a guarantee that they will hold on to the same rights relating to residency, free movement and social security in the country they've made their home.

These rights will be guaranteed for their family members, even those from non-EU countries, as long as they are already registered or do so before December 31st 2020.

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

Difficulties reported

It has  become increasingly difficult to secure an appointment at the extranjeria or foreigners office to begin the process to formalise residency.

There is also a certain amount of confusion around whether or it is best to swap your green resident certificates for the new TIE.

But here's a reminder that for UK citizens who have registered as residents in Spain and are already in possession of a green A4 residency certificate or a small green residency card, the TIE card is optional.

READ ALSO: 

Photo: AFP

 

The Local

We have created a series of articles around the issue of residency in Spain and we are also happy to answer questions from our members on specific topics.

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

If we don't already know the answer then we will do our best to find out.

You can also find a lot more detail on residency, healthcare, travel and pensions in our Preparing for Brexit section.

UK-funded organisations

The British government has provided funding to three organisations in Spain to offer help and support Brits with the process. If you don't have internet access or don't feel confident completing the form online they can even do it for you if you don't have friends or family who would be able to help.

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.

These organisations are:

IOM – The International Organisation for Migration (Andalusia, Madrid and Murcia). You can visit the IOM Spain website here, email them at [email protected] or call one of their 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

If you are in Valencia you can seek help from Babelia by visiting their website here emailing [email protected] or on the helpline: +34 865 820 229 available Mon to Fri, 9am to 2pm

Age in Spain are helping those in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. Visit the Age in Spain website hereor email: [email protected], fill out the contact form hereor call the helpline: +34 932 20 97 41 available Mon to Fri, 11am to 1pm

Additionally if you’d rather see someone in person then Age in Catalonia is running three pop up events at A Taste of Home shops in Barcelona, Sitges and Cubelles at the end of October and into November. 

Are you a UK National that needs help getting residency in Spain sorted out? Age in Spain can help! We will be at A…

Posted by A Taste of Home – The English Supermarket on Monday, 19 October 2020

British Embassy

The British Embassy has also been running information and support campaigns for British people living in Spain. Due to the coronavirus situation the Embassy's roadshows have had to cease, but they are still doing live Q&A sessions via their Facebook page and remain available for help.

The Embassy can also take up cases if anyone has been turned down for residency and needs help in appealing. 

Gestors

If you really can't face the process and just want someone else to do it for you then many gestors offer residency card/visa services and are often able to secure appointments when it’s seemingly impossible for everyone else.

Be warned however, you will have to pay extra for their help and will still have to find all the relevant paperwork yourself so that the agent can make the application on your behalf. 

READ MORE:  What does a 'gestor' do in Spain and why you'll need one

More information:

  • Spain's government has a dedicated Brexit page for UK nationals HERE
  • Check out the UK Foreign Office latest advice on Living In Spain HERE 
  • Follow the British Embassy Facebook page for updates as well as Live Q&A sessions HERE
  • Check our Brexit section for all the latest news and updates: HERE

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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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