Whether you’re currently residing in Spain or in the UK, Brexit is currently on everybody’s mind: it’s the topic that no one can stop talking about. And for Brits living in the Costa del Sol, for good reason. Britain’s decision to leave the European Union leaves thousands of Brits living in Spain unsure about many things, including their right to remain. In the country they call home. So it should come has no surprise that since December, 10% more Brits have applied for Spanish residency.
To put that figure into context, it is an application surge the most significant acceleration in residency permit expedition for any nine-month period since the referendum in 2016. It equates to 365,967 registrations, in the last nine months.
Applying for a Spanish Residency Order
If there is only one take home from this news, it is that British citizens currently residing in Spain permanently should apply for a Spanish Residency Order as soon as possible. It still remains uncertain exactly how Brexit will impact British citizens living in Spain without a residency order, so getting one before Brexit happens is the one thing you can do to ensure that your position in the country is assured.
There are many benefits of applying for a Spanish residency order. It gives you the right to vote in local elections, take part in the national census, seek medical treatment and be assigned a GP, receive a Spanish ID card, and buy a property in Spain. It also doesn’t have any impact on your British citizenship, effectively meaning that you can maintain the best of both worlds: having a right to remain in Spain whilst still having citizenship rights in the UK. Applying for Spanish residency doesn’t have to be as complicated as you might think, and if you apply now there is likely to still be time to secure yours before Brexit even takes place.
Why Have Application Numbers Increased So Dramatically?
When reading the statistic that 10% more Brits have applied for residency since December many people have questioned ‘why since December?’ After all, we have known that Britain was intending to leave the EU since June 2016, so why did British citizens living in Spain leave it so late to apply for a residency order?
To answer this, we need to consider what has happened in British and European politics since December 2018.
In short, December marked the beginning of the end for former British Prime Minister Therasa May. Mrs May saw her Brexit plan approved by the EU on 25th November, but when she returned to Parliament with this, she was categorically told that they rejected the deal that she had secured. Parliament was divided, British politics was divided, and the Brexit issue was beginning to unravel. In the same month (December 2018) the Labour party raised a vote of no confidence in Mrs May’s leadership – she survivied this vote but her position was proving to be increasingly untenable.
At around the same time, the European Court of Justice ruled that Brexit could be unilaterally revoked. That means that should the UK decide it no longer wished to leave the EU, they could remain in the group legally, and Britain’s relationship with Europe could remain as it always had. Britain didn’t want that either. It should be no surprise then that in the face of all of this uncertainty and confusion, British citizens living within the EU began to apply for rights to remain in their thousands.
What Happens if Britain Doesn’t Leave the EU?
There is so much uncertainty surrounding Brexit that it is impossible to understand exactly what will happen to Brits living in Spain if Britain decides not to leave the EU. The relationship that Britain has with Spain will be outside of the EU: as they have declared it is up to individual member states to negotiate this. What we do know is that with so many British citizens living and working in Spain, contributing significantly to the economy, it is unlikely that Spain will seek to disturb the status quo. Rather, it would be very much in the best interests of both countries to reach a bilateral agreement that benefits both countries in respect of UK expats living in the EU.
If you’re thinking of moving to Spain then why not get in touch with our team of local property experts? We’re committed to helping residents from all over the EU to find the house of their dreams on the Costa del Sol, and we can’t wait to help you too!