On 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom ceased to belong to the European Union, making Spain the host country for nationals of the United Kingdom and members of their family that were resi-ding in Spain.
This exit is ruled by the Withdrawal Agreement which came into force on 1 February 2020 and which establishes a transitional period that will last until 31 December 2020. European Union legislation in relation to freedom of movement will be applicable until then.
Individuals residing in Spain be- fore 31 December 2020 will have the same rights relating to residence, freedom of movement and Social Security as provided under the Withdrawal Agreement. However, those arriving later will have different rights, as nationals of a third country.
The permits obtained before the end of the transitional period will continue to be valid and will be able to benefit from the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement. By virtue of the Withdrawal Agreement, the Spanish Government has established earlier this month that as from 6 July 2020, those who were already residents in Spain will have the rights to be issued with a residence document/permit expressly stating their condition as beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement.
This implies that nationals of the United Kingdom who were already residents and holders of resi-dent permits as EU citizens will have the rights to continue to re-side and work in Spain in accordance with EU Law after the end of the transitional period. Likewise, the new regime permits those who still do not have a residence permit to apply for Spanish residence in the next few weeks and months, thereby benefiting from the Withdrawal Agreement.
In summary, with the entry into force of the Withdrawal Agreement, the following regimes will apply:
a) The regime of the citizens of the EU;
b) The regime applicable to nationals of the United Kingdom, members of their families and any other persons included with the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement;
c) And Nationals of third countries. The Immigration General Regime will apply to them and the nationals of the United Kingdom who are not beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement are included in this regime.
In conclusion, British citizens have the right to apply for the new document and our recommendation would be to do so at the earlier possible convenience for their immediate and future use. For advice and information, please contact our office in Sotogrande.