Residence for citizens of the united kingdom

Residence for citizens of the united kingdom


As we all know, the United Kingdom ceased to belong to the European Union on January 31, 2020. Since that time the legal status of the British in Spain has changed.

My intention with this article is to summarize the necessary procedures to follow in order to obtain the new residence document, which will be valid from July 2020.

The information gathered in this article, however and in case anyone wishes to be informed in a more detailed way, is extracted from the Joint Instruction of the Directorate General of Migration and the Directorate General of Police determining the procedure for the issuance of the residence document provided for in Article 18.4 of the Agreement on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, of June 29, 2020.

  • Transitional period: From February 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.

During this period, United Kingdom nationals will be able to enjoy the rights of free movement in Spain. Those who have exercised their right to reside or work before that date, and who continue to do so thereafter, will continue to have exactly the same rights as they had before Brexit.

Thus, British citizens who already had their certificate of registration as a citizen of the European Union, and the members of their families, will have to collect a new residence document during the transitional period.

From July 6, 2020 it will be possible to apply for the new residence card for those who reside in Spain, and already had their EU registration, temporary or permanent.

Likewise, from July 6, 2020 until December 31, 2020, those who did not have an EU citizen’s certificate of residence may apply for residence in Spain with the same rights as before the Brexit.

In the case of people whose right of residence in Spain begins after the end of the transitional period (after December 31, 2020), the deadline for submitting the application will be 3 months from their arrival in Spain. If the applications are presented after this period has expired, the Immigration Offices will assess the circumstances and reasons for the failure to comply and will grant a sufficient additional period to present the application if the reasons for the failure to comply are well-founded, after assessment by the Immigration Office.

-If you already hold a registration certificate, whether temporary or permanent, you must go to the National Police to obtain the residence document, after paying the corresponding fe

-If you have never been the holder of a registration certificate, either temporary or permanent, you must go to the corresponding Foreigners Office upon payment of the corresponding fee.

Continuity of residence will not be affected by temporary absences not exceeding a total of 6 months per year, or by absences of a longer duration for the fulfilment of military obligations, or by absences not exceeding 12 consecutive months for important reasons such as pregnancy and childbirth, serious illness, study or vocational training, or transfer for work purposes to another EU Member State or a third country.

Once the right of permanent residence has been acquired, it will only be lost if the absence from Spain is more than 2 years in a row.

Previous periods of residence in Spain will be considered when applying for permanent residence. The beginning of legal residence in Spain will be presumed to have taken place on the date of issue of the temporary registration certificate, if this was issued.

The renewal must be presented during the month prior to the expiration, and may also be presented within 3 months after that date.

At the time of renewal, when in possession of a temporary residence document, a residence document will be issued for 10 years, automatically renewable every 10 years. Failure to submit the application for renewal of the residence document within the time limits set out above (1 month before and up to three months after the date of loss of validity) will not in any case result in the loss of your right of permanent residence.





1) Being a UK national and holding a temporary registration certificate, but without having reached five years of legal residence in Spain, you must go in person to the National Police Commissioner and obtain the new residence document.

2) Be a national of the United Kingdom, holder of a certificate of registration, and have reached five years of legal residence in Spain; in this case it will be possible to access permanent residence by applying to the National Police. This residence will be valid for 10 years. This can be done whether you have a temporary or permanent certificate of registration.

3) Be a UK national but not a holder of a certificate of registration as an EU citizen; in this case you can apply for the residence document in person, or through a representative, at the local foreigners’ office.




Relatives of citizens of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland can also apply for the residence document.

If the family member is a holder of an EU citizen’s family card, either temporary or permanent, they must apply for their new residence card at the National Police. Previous periods of residence will be taken into account in order to grant a temporary or permanent residence card, as the case may be.


However, if the family member is not the holder of such a card, because he or she did not apply for it before July 6, 2020 or because he or she arrived in Spain after this date, he or she must apply for his or her residence document at the local foreigner’s office.


In López Morueco Lawyers, your law office in Torrevieja, we will help you to obtain your residence, or change your residence card.


Ask us for an appointment and we will start helping you.