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British Embassy in Madrid publishes a list of alternative documents to prove residency

The British Embassy in Madrid on Thursday, February 18th, posted an update on travel to Spain for UK nationals resident in the country before January 1st 2021.

British Embassy in Madrid publishes a list of alternative documents to prove residency
Image: Pau BARRENA / AFP

Because of the Covid-19 situation, currently only travellers from the EU and other Schengen Area countries can enter, Spain (unless for essential reasons), as well as Spanish citizens and foreign residents.

Since the Brexit transition period ended on December 31st 2020 however, some UK residents of Spain have found it difficult to re-enter the country. 

The British Embassy said on its Facebook page “We are aware that some of you who were legally living in Spain before 1 January 2021, have faced difficulty returning to Spain from the UK, as you don’t yet have a residence document (green certificate or TIE).

The Spanish authorities have confirmed to us a list of additional documentation that beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement can use to demonstrate their residence status and re-enter the country”.

*Update on travel to Spain – UK nationals resident in Spain before 1 January 2021* We are aware that some of you who…

Posted by Brits in Spain on Thursday, 18 February 2021

This came out of the fact that several British residents of Spain who tried to return to the country in early January 2021 were stopped from boarding their flights after airline staff said their residency documents were no longer valid.

Here is the updated list of acceptable documents which have also been given to the relevant authorities such as airlines and ferry operators:

  • Residence card issued under Article 18.4 of the Withdrawal Agreement (the TIE – Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero)
  • Temporary or permanent EU residence certificate (Certificado de Registro de Ciudadanos de la Unión)
  • Receipt of application for the TIE (Resguardo de presentación de la solicitud de la tarjeta de residencia)
  • Confirmation of the positive outcome of your residence application (Resolución favorable por la que se concede la tarjeta de residencia)
  • In the absence of any of the above documents, other documents that credibly evidence your legal residence in Spain before January 1, 2021, such as a padrón certificate (issued by your town hall), a work contract, a rental contract, or proof of property purchase
  • In the case of students, documentation that demonstrates enrolment in an on-site or in-person course and proof of accommodation

Previously, only those with the green residency certificate or a TIE were allowed to enter, but this new announcement now means that those who moved to Spain before January 1st 2021, but have not yet received their TIE card or are still in the process of applying for it, can now re-enter the country.

It also includes documents such as a padrón certificate, a work contract, a rental contract, or proof of property purchase, which were not allowed to be shown as proof of residence before. 

As well as one of the above documents, British residents in Spain also need to provide a negative PCR test, no older than 72 hours, upon arrival.

READ ALSO: Q&A: Everything you need to know about Spanish residency for Brits post-Brexit

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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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