I hope that everyone is enjoying the relative freedoms we now have – things seem to be moving in a positive direction since I was last in touch. Now that we are gradually coming out of the Covid crisis, our focus is moving back to our resident UK national population and I wanted to share a few key bits of information that may be of use.
Over the last couple of months many people have asked us when residency appointments would resume. Now that all provinces are now in phase 2 or 3 of the de-escalation plan, we understand that offices are opening up appointments, so we are advising people to keep checking the Spanish Public Administration portal (https://sede.administracionespublicas.gob.es/icpplus/index.html) for appointments in their area – bearing in mind that provinces are lifting restrictions at different rates and will be operating at limited capacity.
We also wanted to offer some reassurance for those people that haven’t yet got their residency document and may be worrying about the time left to get it. While we continue to urge people to get an appointment as soon as they can, as long as they are living in Spain and can prove that they satisfy the legal conditions of residency (ie sufficient income and access to healthcare) by 31 December 2020, your rights are assured even if you are not able to get the physical document before the end of the year.
People have also asked about the TIE – the document that will explicitly say that you have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. We understand that this is due to be introduced from July 2020. However, be assured that if you already have the green residency document, this remains a valid document and proof of your legal residence status, even after the end of the transition period.
We will update gov.uk/livinginspain whenever we have further information on residency and other issues of importance to UK nationals living in Spain.
- Driving licence exchange
As you know, another of our key messages has been for residents to exchange their UK driving licence for a Spanish one as soon as they can, as they will be able to do so until the end of the year without taking a test. But again, appointments have been unavailable during the crisis. Now that all Spanish regions have enter Phase 2 or above these appointments are opening up again.
Regional DGT offices will be running by appointment only, so whether you’re starting the process for the first time or suffered a cancellation, you should book a new appointment online (https://sedeclave.dgt.gob.es/WEB_NCIT_CONSULTA/solicitarCita.faces) or by calling 060. Of course, travel between provinces is not yet permitted, so you can only request an appointment in the province where you live until further notice.
It is crucially important that we communicate effectively what the Withdrawal Agreement means for UK Nationals in Spain and that they understand any actions they need to take during the Transition Period. Therefore, I am really keen to hear from you if there are issues that people in your communities are unclear about, so that we can tailor our communications accordingly.
- Your work during Covid
We know that many of you have been doing fantastic work to support your communities during the pandemic and we would love to hear about it, so that we can celebrate so much of the great work that voluntary and community groups have been doing at this time. If you would like to share something of your own activity (or that of others), please do reply sending me a short paragraph on what you have been doing. And if you have a photo – even better!
- Returning to the UK
Whilst we understand that the vast majority of people wishing to return to the UK have now done so, we recognise that some people have chosen to remain in Spain, rather than take an indirect flight option. Please refer anyone looking for advice on returning to the UK, staying safely during coronavirus or information on entry requirements to our travel advice pages, which are frequently updated as the situation evolves: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain
All the Best,
Debbi Christophers | Consular Communications Officer | Communications Team | British Embassy Madrid
BE Madrid | Torre Espacio | Paseo de la Castellana 259D | 28046 Madrid
+34 919 906 845 | +34 673 596 770 | ECHO: 8360 6845 |