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British expats in Spain issued urgent warning over new EU rule – 'apply now'


British expats living in Spain have been issued with an urgent warning about their EU residency permits.

Spain is a popular destination for Brits looking to settle down in sunnier and warmer climes.

Hundreds of thousands have upped roots in Britain to move to the southern European country as they go in search of the “good life”.

As many as 284,000 Brits still called Spain their home as of 2023, according to the website Statista.

However, Brexit has forced Brits in Spain and other EU countries to navigate a minefield of new regulations concerning residency rights.

The latest issue involves the EU’s new Exit and Entry System (EES) and Green Certificate residency documents.

The certificate allows British expats to live and work in Spain legally despite Brexit.

However it is slowly being replaced by the biometric TIE card that was first introduced in 2021.

The British Embassy in Spain has urged all British expats to make sure they are in possession of the biometric cards before the EU’s EES comes into force on October 6 this year.

The UK ambassador Hugh Elliott said: “It’s really important that any British person who lives in Spain gets the TIE – not only because it is the most durable and dependable way to prove your rights in Spain, but also to avoid disruption at the border when the EU’s Entry Exit Scheme comes into force.”

He added: “We are working with the Spanish Government and the EU to prepare for the implementation of this new scheme and we have requested that more TIE appointments are made available. Please keep checking our ‘Living In Spain’ guide and social media pages for more information.”

The EES will require all non-EU short stay travellers to register via an automated system at the border.

They will need to provide their name, passport details, biometric data and the date and place of entry and exit upon entering Spain. This will replace the current passport stamping at the border.

The registration will be valid for three years, meaning the process will not be repeated each time someone travels to and from Spain or other EU countries within that period.

British residents in the EU will need to show a valid uniform-format biometric card, which in Spain is the TIE, to avoid having to register.

The non-biometric Green Certificate, though a valid residency document in Spain, does not feature in the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement or in Annex 22 of the Schengen Border Guard Handbook.

This means those in possession of just a Green Certificate may be forced to register along with other short stay visitors to Spain.

This could result in difficulties and delays at the border, and could make it harder for them to travel to other EU countries where the Green Certificate may not be recognised as a valid document.

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