Home The new TIE residence card in Spain: What you need to know before Brexit

The new TIE residence card in Spain: What you need to know before Brexit

Posted by on August 19th, 2020.

Spain residency card and Brexit

Ahead of the end to the UK’s Brexit transition period on 31st December, Spain has recently released a new identity card for UK citizens, the Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE).

From July 6th, this new residency card allows any UK citizen to have all the rights to residency, healthcare, and social security in Spain under the Withdrawal Agreement.

According to the Official Bulletin of State, UK citizens with the new TIE card “will not have to ask for a new residency permission or new documents but will have the right to receive a document of residency which expressly states their position as a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement.”


How does the Spanish residency card affect you before and after Brexit?

What happens if you move to Spain before the end of this year?

If you’re planning on becoming a resident of Spain, you have until before 31st December to claim all the same rights as other citizens of the European Union. After that, you’ll have to apply in accordance with the UK being a non-EU state.

So, if you’re planning to move to Spain, it’s worth applying as soon as possible!

How does the TIE affect you if you recently moved?

That said, if you’ve been living in Spain before 1st January 2021 and have applied to register as an official resident after 6th July, you will receive a biometric residence card (the TIE), which will prove your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.

Existing residents in Spain and the TIE card

If you registered as a resident before 6th July, this should mean you have a green A4 certificate, or a small green residency card.

These can easily be exchanged for the newer and up-to-date TIE card, but this would not be entirely necessarily.

The TIE card is optional as your current proof of residence will remain valid and provide you with the same rights under the Withdrawal Agreement as you have now, and what the TIE card will provide.

Hugh Elliott, British Ambassador in Madrid, recently reassured current nationals living in Spain, saying:

“I want to assure you that 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.”

While the new TIE card isn’t absolutely necessary, it does have benefits. The TIE card is smaller and more durable while also functioning as a photo ID, which the existing certificate and card cannot.

Additionally, the TIE card will show how long the holder has lived in Spain. For those expats who have already become permanent residents after living in Spain for five years, the TIE will be valid for 10 years.

Meanwhile, those who have only recently applied for residency will have a TIE card valid for 5 years.

Moving to Spain after 31st December 2020

Moving post-31st December 2020 would mean that you’d require different immigration procedures along with other barriers. The British Government, however, is still awaiting further clarifications on this issue.

How will Brexit change buying property in Spain?

According to Spanish property law, buying property in Spain post-Brexit will largely stay the same. After all, Spanish property law does not distinguish between nationalities of foreign buyers. So, it is likely that buying property in Spain will remain relatively unchanged.

It’s important to remember that the property market in Spain – especially in places like Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca – relies heavily on foreign property investors.

In fact, non-Spanish buyers represent around 12% of the market annually, with the percentage rising to a whopping 27.7% in the Malaga province in the first quarter of 2020, according to Property Registry.

As a result, it’s unlikely that Spanish law will change significantly, and it will make no difference whether you’re British or not. However, the situation for UK buyers is still to be clarified.


The key point is that anyone applying to live in Spain now could benefit from the best of two worlds by living in Spain and acquiring the rights of being within the European Union.

So, if you need to apply for a TIE card, you can find out further from the Gobierno de Espana.

However, with time fast running out before the end of the Brexit transition phase, it’s worth acting quickly as Covid-19 is causing disruption and possible delays for appointments before the 31st December deadline.

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