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British Embassy in Madrid publishes a list of alternative documents to prove residency

The British Embassy in Madrid on Thursday, February 18th, posted an update on travel to Spain for UK nationals resident in the country before January 1st 2021.

British Embassy in Madrid publishes a list of alternative documents to prove residency
Image: Pau BARRENA / AFP

Because of the Covid-19 situation, currently only travellers from the EU and other Schengen Area countries can enter, Spain (unless for essential reasons), as well as Spanish citizens and foreign residents.

Since the Brexit transition period ended on December 31st 2020 however, some UK residents of Spain have found it difficult to re-enter the country. 

The British Embassy said on its Facebook page “We are aware that some of you who were legally living in Spain before 1 January 2021, have faced difficulty returning to Spain from the UK, as you don’t yet have a residence document (green certificate or TIE).

The Spanish authorities have confirmed to us a list of additional documentation that beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement can use to demonstrate their residence status and re-enter the country”.

*Update on travel to Spain – UK nationals resident in Spain before 1 January 2021* We are aware that some of you who…

Posted by Brits in Spain on Thursday, 18 February 2021

This came out of the fact that several British residents of Spain who tried to return to the country in early January 2021 were stopped from boarding their flights after airline staff said their residency documents were no longer valid.

Here is the updated list of acceptable documents which have also been given to the relevant authorities such as airlines and ferry operators:

  • Residence card issued under Article 18.4 of the Withdrawal Agreement (the TIE – Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero)
  • Temporary or permanent EU residence certificate (Certificado de Registro de Ciudadanos de la Unión)
  • Receipt of application for the TIE (Resguardo de presentación de la solicitud de la tarjeta de residencia)
  • Confirmation of the positive outcome of your residence application (Resolución favorable por la que se concede la tarjeta de residencia)
  • In the absence of any of the above documents, other documents that credibly evidence your legal residence in Spain before January 1, 2021, such as a padrón certificate (issued by your town hall), a work contract, a rental contract, or proof of property purchase
  • In the case of students, documentation that demonstrates enrolment in an on-site or in-person course and proof of accommodation

Previously, only those with the green residency certificate or a TIE were allowed to enter, but this new announcement now means that those who moved to Spain before January 1st 2021, but have not yet received their TIE card or are still in the process of applying for it, can now re-enter the country.

It also includes documents such as a padrón certificate, a work contract, a rental contract, or proof of property purchase, which were not allowed to be shown as proof of residence before. 

As well as one of the above documents, British residents in Spain also need to provide a negative PCR test, no older than 72 hours, upon arrival.

READ ALSO: Q&A: Everything you need to know about Spanish residency for Brits post-Brexit

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BREXIT

Brexit: Brits in EU feel European and don’t want to return home

The majority of Britons who live in the EU, Norway, Iceland or Switzerland and are protected under the Brexit agreement feel European and intend to remain in Europe permanently, but many have concerns about travel problems, a new survey reveals.

Brexit: Brits in EU feel European and don't want to return home

The research also shows that problems exist and “travel is where most issues relating to the new status currently occur”. For instance, border officials are still stamping passports of UK citizens with residence rights under the EU UK withdrawal agreement, even though they shouldn’t.

“There is constant confusion around passport stamping. I was ‘stamped in’ to France on a short trip… but could not find anyway to be ‘stamped out’ again. I think I can only spend 90 days in other EU countries, but have no idea how anyone can check or enforce that – until someone decides to try. It’s a mess,” was one of the answers left in an open question.

“Every time I go through a Schengen border control, I need to provide both my passport and Aufenthaltstitel card [resident permit in Germany] and watch to check that they don’t stamp my passport. As I am currently travelling a lot that’s been 20-odd times this year…” another respondent said.

The survey was carried out by Professor Tanja Bueltmann, historian of migration and diaspora at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, between October and November 2022. About 1,139 UK citizens replied.

Of these, 80 per cent found acquiring their new status easy or very easy, 60.7 per cent feel their rights are secure, while 39.3 per cent have concerns about their status going forward.

Staying permanently

More than three quarters (76.6 per cent) of respondents said they plan to live permanently in the EU or the other countries of the European Economic Area and Switzerland. In fact, 65.7 per cent said that Brexit has increased the likelihood of this choice.

For some, the decision is linked to the difficulty to bring non-British family members to the UK under new, stricter immigration rules.

“My German wife and I decided we no longer wanted to live in UK post Brexit referendum. In particular, we were affected by the impact of immigration law […] We cannot now return to UK on retirement as I cannot sponsor her on my pension. We knew it was a one-way journey. Fortunately, I could revive an application for German citizenship,” was a testimony.

“My husband is a US citizen and getting him a visa for the UK was near impossible due to my low income as a freelance journalist. We realized under EU law, moving to an EU country was easier. We settled on Austria as we had both lived there before… we could speak some German, and we like the mountains,” said another respondent.

Professor Bueltmann noted that the loss of free movement rights in the EU could be a factor too in the decision of many to stay where they are.

Citizenship and representation

Among those who decided to stay, 38.2 per cent are either applying or planning to apply for a citizenship and 28.6 per cent are thinking about it.

A key finding of the research, Bueltmann said, is that the vast majority of British citizens do not feel politically represented. Some 60 per cent of respondents said they feel unrepresented and another 30 per cent not well represented.

Another issue is that less than half (47.5 per cent) trust the government of their country of residence, while a larger proportion (62 per cent) trust the European Union. Almost all (95.6 per cent) said they do not trust the UK government.

Feeling European

The survey highlights the Brexit impacts on people’s identity too. 82.6 per cent of respondents said they see themselves as European, a higher proportion than those identifying as British (68.9 per cent).

“Brexit has really left me unsure of what my identity is. I don’t feel British, and I certainly don’t identify with the mindset of a lot of British people who live there. Yet, I am not Danish either. So, I don’t really know anymore!” said one of the participants in the survey.

Professor Bueltmann said the survey “demonstrates that Brexit impacts continue to evolve: this didn’t just stop because the transition period was over or a deadline for an application had been reached. Consequently, Brexit continues to shape the lives and experiences of British citizens in the EU/EEA and Switzerland in substantial, sometimes life-altering, ways.”

Considering the results of the study, Professor Bueltmann recommends policy makers in the EU and the UK to address the issue of lack of representation, for instance creating a joint UK-EU citizens’ stakeholder forum.

The report also recommends the UK government to rebuild trust with British citizens in the EU introducing voting rights for life and changing immigration rules to allow British-European families to return more easily. 

This article was prepared in cooperation with Europe Street News.

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