With so much of the media’s glare focusing on the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, it’s easy to forget that the Brexit deadline is fast approaching. There are now just over two months left until the UK will officially leave the EU on the 31st December, and many of us still don’t feel ready for the transition.
But what does this mean for Brits that are currently living in Spain? And what should you be doing now to make this transition as easy as possible? Here is a quick checklist of everything you need to do now to ensure you’re as prepared as possible for Brexit to finally take place:
-Make Your Residency Application
The first and most important thing you must do as a British citizen living in Spain in a post-Brexit world, is make a residency application, if you haven’t already done so. Under the negotiated Withdrawal Agreement, anyone who is registered and has legal residency status in Spain will be able to continue to live and work here indefinitely once the transition period ends, so if you are living in Spain now, pre-Brexit, then this is essential. In order to apply for residency, you must be able to demonstrate that you are a permanent resident in Spain: documentation such as your rent payments, mortgage statements, or pay slips can all be used for this.
If you have made your residency application already and are in possession of a green A4 residency certificates or older style permit, these are both considered legal resident cards, and you won’t have to change them at this point. From July 2020, a biometric card called a TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero) will replace the old paper cards for new residency applicants, and you may wish to upgrade your application at this stage.
-Check Your Passport
Until 31st December 2020, UK passport holders are free to enter and leave Spain as they please within the Schengen area or elsewhere within the EU, regardless of how much date they have remaining on their passport. From 1st January 2021 this will change, and there will be more restrictions on your ability to leave Spain to return to the UK, and then reenter Spain again. The main one of these that you need to be aware of is that you will need to make sure that your passport has at least 6 months validity remaining to travel within the EU.
Check your passport now, and if it is due to run out before or around 1st June 2021 then you won’t be able to use it from 1st January 2021. If this is the case, then now is the perfect time to make a new passport application, giving you a passport with much longer date and therefore more freedom to make future travel plans. You can apply for a new passport online, or request a paper form here.
-Change Your Driving License
If you’re a British national living and driving in Spain on your UK driving license then you will need to swap this for a Spanish driving license before 1st January 2021. If you don’t do this before the Brexit deadline then you will have to sit a full Spanish driving test and theory test in order to receive your license. You can start your application here.
As a result of the ongoing Coronavirus situation, and the backlog that lockdown caused, you may find it difficult to find an appointment to receive your new license. The British and Spanish authorities are aware of the situation and are currently working on a solution, but the most important thing you can do now is register your intention to surrender and exchange your license before the deadline.
-Open a Bank Account
There is some concern amongst Brits living in Spain about what will happen to their British bank accounts in a post-Brexit world. A number of British banks have contacted some of their account holders with Spanish addresses advising that their accounts will be closed in 2021, leading to panic amongst account holders with other British banks. We cannot be 100 percent sure what all British banks will choose to do with overseas account holders post-Brexit. So, for peace of mind, if you don’t already have one then now would be a good time to open a Spanish bank account.
The British Embassy recently confirmed that pension payments can be sent to your Spanish bank account if required, so your Spanish bank account can still do everything your British account did, with the added bonus of there being a branch in the town where you live!
-Protect Your Pets
It isn’t just your own passport requirements that will be impacted by Brexit: your four-legged friends will need to update their passports too! Unfortunately, the current EU Pet Passport Scheme will no longer apply to the UK once the UK leaves the EU, which will have a big impact on pet owners that wish to travel regularly between the UK and Spain with their pets. Instead, it could take up to four months for pet owners to arrange travel to and from Spain for their pets, meaning that holidaying with your pets could well become a thing of the past, for now at least.
Are you thinking of taking the plunge and moving to Spain? Regardless of whether the UK is in the EU or not, there’s no better time to relocate and find your home in the sun! Our expert team of local property specialists are perfectly placed to help turn your dream into a reality. Why not get in touch today to find out more about how they can help you.