Letter from British Embassy Madrid.
I hope everyone is well. There are a few things to update you on, most importantly the introduction of the TIE Card.
1. TIE: As I’m sure many of you will have seen, on Monday the Spanish Government introduced a new residency document for UK nationals who are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement – the Tarjeta de identidad de extranjero or TIE. This means some changes to the appointments process and anyone registering from now on will be issued with the biometric TIE card, rather than the current green paper document. You can find all the detail in the boletin oficial del estado.
There has been lots of concern from members of the British community in Spain and we have received a huge number of questions on social media. Therefore, we would appreciate your help in underlining two key points:
– All British nationals, who are legally resident in Spain by the end of this year, will have their rights protected, including the right to live and work here, and lifelong access to healthcare for UK state pensioners, including those who claim a pension in the future. These are not affected by the current negotiations taking place between the UK and the EU.
– Whether you already have the green residency certificate – A4 or credit card-sized version – or the new TIE, they are equally valid in demonstrating your residence status and your rights as a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement. And whilst you may choose to exchange your current certificate for a TIE at some point in the future, there is no requirement to do so. The green residency document gives you the same rights as the new TIE card.
There is one group of people who must take action. If you live here, but don’t already have a green residency certificate, you must apply for the new TIE as soon as possible.
We know people will have lots of questions about the process itself and we are currently updating our gov.uk/livinginspain guide to reflect the changes. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the system is very new and different provinces will be introducing it at different rates. Also, COVID restrictions mean that there will be fewer presencial appointments available. However, people do have time to get their residency certificate and as long as they are legally resident in Spain (meeting the current residency requirements) then they will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, even if they don’t have the document itself by 31 December.
2. UK Nationals Support Fund: As you may already know, the UK Government has made funds available to support UK nationals in the EU to complete their residency applications and secure their rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. In Spain, three organisations have been funded to provide this support: the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Babelia and Age in Spain. Their remit is to support the most vulnerable UK nationals, providing targeted assistance to individuals who face specific challenges, such as people living with disabilities or chronic illness, those facing language and literacy barriers, or barriers in accessing relevant technology. The attached document gives you further details about the organisations and their current plans. As you will see, we do not have this targeted support for the whole of Spain, but the organisations’ websites and helplines will be available for people anywhere in Spain.
3. Healthcare information: We also wanted you to be aware of a change to our online healthcare information. We now have one definitive guide to Healthcare in Spain on gov.uk. This page has been recently updated. It includes information about how you can access healthcare in Spain as a resident, and up-to-date information about your right to access healthcare during and after the transitional period. You can also sign up for alerts on this page, so that you can keep up to date with any new information. Some people may have previously used www.healthcareinspain.eu Please be aware that this website has now been closed.
We’d like to thank anyone who visited the page and offered comments and feedback over the last few years. Please be assured that we will continue to provide the latest information and updates regarding healthcare on our Healthcare in Spain page, and via our Brits in Spain Facebook page.
We are very keen to hear your feedback and any general comments and questions from your members. But I would ask that people do not email me directly with individual questions nor pass on my email address to others. Whilst I am happy to help where I can, I am in the Embassy comms team and our consular teams are much better placed to assist with individual questions. You can find their details on gov.uk or you can contact us via social media. Far too short notice, I know, but you may also want to join our Facebook Live Q&A this evening (8 July) at 19:00 (CET), which will also be available to watch afterwards and may answer many of the questions you have.
Debbi Christophers | Consular Communications Officer | Communications Team | British Embassy Madrid