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Now that Brexit has been a reality for almost a month, Tim Stacey finds out from PaddyAnne McAllister, founder of Next Stop Ibiza, what the Spanish residencia rules are for British people wanting to become Spanish residents in Ibiza
As was probably to be expected, the situation for British people yet to obtain their Spanish residencia and become a resident of Spain seems pretty confusing right now for many Britons unfamiliar with Spanish bureaucratic procedures.
With this in mind, it made sense to speak to PaddyAnne McAllister, who is widely regarded as the Ibiza expert on the process of obtaining a Spanish residencia. I began by asking what had changed since I last interviewed PaddyAnne for this blog in early October 2020.
“We’re still experiencing high demand with people changing over from the old green cards to the new TIE, as recent official Spanish government literature is advising all to do. We’re also getting a lot of calls from people, like homeowners, who hadn’t realised the severity of the situation until now” she told me. “We’re still busy, but not as busy with first time TIE applicants as we were leading up to 31st December. I think this is due to lack of information as many people fear they have missed the 31st December deadline. It was only when I went to Casa del Mar, the foreigners’ office in Ibiza that I found out you can still become a resident under the old system up until, I was told, March/ 90 days. That is, if you can prove you were living here up until 31st December.”
How do you prove you were living in Ibiza before 31st December?
This is actually super-important because a lot of people are still unclear about how to prove they were living here before the transition period ended. If you’re registered on the Padron, the register kept at the Town Hall of everyone registered in a particular area, that’s great because it’s a legal Spanish document.
If you have a rental contract, proof of property ownership, an employment contract or school registration, they all should be fine too.
The thing is, I think people often don’t realise that the documents they need to provide are for the government. They often want to give me their flight details or a car rental contract but these don’t actually prove anything.
You can still become a resident under the old system up until, I was told, March. That is, if you can prove you were living here up until 31st December.
What happens after the end of March?
That’s the great question. There still seem to be many unknowns. According to recent Spanish government publications you would be treated like someone from a third-party country outside the EU – an American, say – so you could either apply for a visa, residency, work permit, non-lucrative visa, or a Golden Visa (Spanish Residencia by investment). According to your specific situation one would be more suitable than the other. One thing is clear is that the process will be much more complicated.
What should someone who can prove they were living in Ibiza before 31 December and wants to apply for Spanish residencia know?
They should know that if they wish to reserve their rights to live, work, or study in Spain they must act quickly but there is still time and it’s certainly much more straightforward via the current route.
And what’s the situation from 1 January?
Unless covered by the withdrawal agreement, United Kingdom nationals shall be considered as third-country nationals and the general immigration regime will apply to them.
What does it mean if you’re a beneficiary of the withdrawal agreement?
It means that if you were resident in Spain before 31 December, when the withdrawal period ended, you’re protected as well as family members who were born or are still to be born. We get a lot of calls from people who didn’t register their children who were born before 31 December as residents and are worried now but, if they have proof, they’re able to apply for Spanish residencia for their children.
Looking at the bigger picture, what does this high level of demand from UK citizens to become residents of Spain suggest to you?
A number of things. That there are a lot of people who were living in Spain before 31 December who hadn’t chosen to become residents until the last minute. But I think there’s also the COVID-19 effect. People are relocating here from cities like London because they’ve just had enough. They’ve always dreamed of moving here and being in lockdown, stuck inside while it’s raining has given them the final push to make moving a reality. They think it’s now or never. And they may well be right because, as I say, after March it will be a lot tougher to change their lives.
To finish, can we make it absolutely clear what anyone who was living in Ibiza before 31 December can do if they still want to get their Spanish residencia?
Sure. If you can prove you were living here – you have any of the forms of proof we spoke about before – you can contact us and start the process of application with Next Stop Ibiza. You have up until March to do this. Afterwards things will get much more longwinded, complicated and stringent.
If you’re confused in any way and would like us to clarify the situation, feel free to contact Next Stop Ibiza.
Sounds like good advice. Get in touch with PaddyAnne at 0034 672733069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.