How UK Armed Forces veterans can get help with residency in Spain

Age in Spain is reaching out to Spain-based UK Armed Forces veterans (of all ages) and their families, dependents and carers to offer free help with the Spanish residency process post-Brexit. Here's how they can assist.

How UK Armed Forces veterans can get help with residency in Spain
A British soldier at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Camberley, southwest of London. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP

UK veterans and/or their family members living anywhere in Spain (and whatever their age) can contact Age in Spain for information and varying levels of support – according to their residency needs.

“As Patron of the Royal British Legion in Spain, I am committed to making sure that veterans living here get the support they deserve,” British Ambassador to Spain Hugh Elliott said.

“Therefore, if any veterans of the UK´s Armed Forces, or their family members, living in Spain are struggling with the residency process, I encourage them to access the free support available from Age in Spain, Babelia and IOM who the British government has helped fund so that they can provide the help to those who need it most, supporting them to continue their lives in Spain.”

“It is important to remember that, as with other UK Nationals, Veterans who were legally living in Spain before December 31st 2020 can apply for residency under the conditions of the Withdrawal Agreement, even if they have not yet started the process,” writes Age in Spain.

“Theres still time.”

Veterans and their families can contact the Age in Spain Residency Helpline on: +34 932 20 97 41 or email [email protected]


BREXIT: When is the deadline for Brits to apply for residency in Spain?

Why some residency applications by Britons in Spain are rejected (and how to appeal)

Commenting on the importance of reaching Armed Forces veterans, Age in Spain Director, Helen Weir, said: “There is a special sense of achievement when we help someone who is a veteran of the UK’s Armed Forces. Partly that’s because of Age in Spain’s longstanding relationship with the network of great services organisations and with individual veterans in Spain and in the UK.

“But there’s also the sense of privilege when it’s our turn to serve, sometimes in very little ways, people who served us – sometimes in unimaginably important ways.”

How Age in Spain helps Armed Forces veterans with obtaining residency in Spain

One example of how the Age in Spain residency helpline recently helped an Armed Forces veteran’s family is the following:

“John (name changed) phoned the Age in Spain Residency Helpline to ask for help as he was the full-time carer for his disabled mother, who had been resident in Spain for 20 years but Jonny needed to start his own residency process.

“He had previously not seen himself as resident but only his mum´s carer but the end of the transition process made it clear that he needed to act to secure his rights.

“He was worried as he did not seem to meet the criteria as he was an informal unpaid carer with no salary.

“Age in Spain discussed John’ss options for residency with him and he has now requested all his documentation, opened a bank account and is progressing with his residency application with confidence on how to meet the criteria.”

Which organisations are offering help to Britons with registering in Spain?

Age in Spain is one of three organisations delivering the United Kingdom Nationals Support Fund (UKNSF) in Spain.

The UK Government recently announced it was extending its support for potentially at-risk groups including pensioners, disabled people and those with language difficulties who live in Spain by continuing the activity of the UK Nationals Support Fund (UKNSF) and supplementing it with an additional £1 million.

In Spain, the UKNSF is delivered by Age in Spain, Babelia and IOM.

Age in Spain is the acting as the point of contact for Armed Forces veterans who need help with residency from anywhere in Spain.

For the general UK National population , Age in Spain supports people living in Aragon, Asturias, Balearics, Basque Country (Pais Vasco), Canary Islands, Cantabria, Catalonia, Galicia, La Rioja, Navarra).

·       Age in Spain website

·       email: [email protected]/[email protected]

·       Age in Spain contact form

·       helpline: +34 932 20 97 41 available Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm

Member comments

  1. Don’t enjoy too much of that real strong sun in that area of the world. Luke’s book 12 and 14 forsake everything, and everybody, and your life 4 Him.
    Matthew’s 5-7 work for Me, never for money, then I’ll give you the food and clothes.
    Mark’s 16 share the Truth to everyone.
    John’s 17 work together, to show love.
    Do not take the Mark of the Beast; right hand or forehead, only way to buy or sell (not a mask or vaccine, but could be a quantum implant or tattoo thing). The Revelation 13 + 14.
    USA maybe the Babylon, to be destroyed with fire in 1 hour. Revelation 17 + 18.

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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.