With the first 90 out of 180-day deadline for non-resident Britons fast approaching – March 31st – many UK nationals who were living in Spain before January 1st 2021 are wondering when the deadline for registering as Spanish residents is.
It’s true that in many cases unregistered Britons should have started the application process with plenty more time in hand, but there are numerous setbacks those who have wanted to register in recent months have faced.
These include Spain’s travel ban on UK arrivals (due to be lifted on March 30th), Covid restrictions that have meant some Spanish immigration departments are operating with a skeleton staff, as well as a general backlog of applications and lack of appointments in places in Spain with a large British population.
Different sources catering to British audiences in Spain have also been mentioning two different dates for a deadline for UK nationals who have never registered before: June 30th and March 31st.
The Local Spain contacted the UK Embassy in Madrid to clarify, to which they replied:
“There is no hard deadline to register for residency – so neither March 31st or June 30th 2021 – or to exchange your green certificate for a TIE.
“However UK nationals in Spain have always had to apply for residency in Spain if they intended to live here beyond three months.
“This applies equally to nationals of other countries, including EU countries.”
The British Embassy recommends that UK nationals in Spain find out all there is to know about visas and residency in Spain in their Living in Guide on Gov.uk.
On this page, the deadline of June 30th 2021 is mentioned but only in reference to the date UK driving licence holders who are residing in Spain have until to exchange their UK licence for a Spanish one.
This may be the source of the confusion regarding the alleged June residency deadline.
Even though there is no hard deadline for residency on March 31st either, it is the day which marks the first 90/180 deadline for non-resident Brits in Spain and the Schengen Area, if they’ve been here or in the EU since January 1st 2021.
The British Embassy did tell The Local in early March that there would be no extension for unregistered Brits in Spain due to the state of alarm and other coronavirus restrictions and difficulties caused by the current state of affairs.
In effect, and this may be subject to interpretation, now is the time for undecided Britons who’ve spent the winter months in Spain, or own a holiday home here, to decide how attached to Spain they want to be and if they want to be residents.
If they lived in Spain before Brexit fully came into effect on January 1st 2021 and can prove it, it’s their choice to make, they can still apply for residency. But they must do it as soon as possible.
- What foreigners should know before becoming residents in Spain
- BREXIT: How to apply for a TIE residency card in Spain
- Q&A: Everything you need to know about Spanish residency for Brits post-Brexit
But if there’s no intention to become a Spanish resident and/or they can’t prove it, they should leave before March 31st, without forgetting there are other visa options available to them.
“UK nationals (UKNs) who were legally living in Spain before 1 January 2021 can continue to live and work here; these rights will be protected by the Withdrawal Agreement for as long as they remain living here,” a UK Embassy source told The Local.
“Their rights come from being lawfully resident here before the end of the Transition Period, rather than from possessing the residency document itself.
“However, it’s really important that people take steps to register as soon as possible.
“The 90/180 day rule applies to any UK nationals who are visiting Spain for leisure purposes since 1 January 2021.
“Any stays beyond the 90 days in any 180-day period will be dependent on the applicable visas and immigration rules for Spain. This may require applying for a visa and/or permit”.