Important information regarding Brexit for UK citizens living in or visiting Spain
As you are aware, on March 30th 2019, the exit of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) will take place.
Although on November 14th 2018, a Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU was reached, ensuring that rights of UK citizens living and visiting EU countries were preserved, it seems unlikely that the UK Parliament will adhere to it.
Therefore, the advice we have been providing to clients during 2018, which was based on the commitments of the Withdrawal Agreement (as published on December 2017), will not longer be applicable – unless a new Withdrawal Agreement is reached.
This newsletter will summarise the consequences that Brexit will have for UK citizens living or visiting Spain – in a no-deal scenario – as applicable to current Spanish Law.
Please note, however, that the Spanish Government has announced that a new law will soon be enacted to clarify the situation of UK citizens in Spain. The Spanish government has committed itself to provide UK citizens with legal certainty about their situation as Spanish residents before Brexit takes place
Of course, it is also possible that the UK and Spain will a sign a bilateral agreements that might grant better conditions than the ones outlined in this email – which is based upon a worst-case scenario.
We are sending this information so that you can plan ahead, and take any necessary action before March 29th, whilst EU Law is still applicable to you.
- Residence permits
- Tourists visiting Spain
- Driving in Spain
- Health Assistance.
The Spanish Government is currently setting up a new procedure and the accompanying rules for obtaining Residencia – and it has been announced that this result will be to guarantee:
- British citizens residing in Spain before the date of withdrawal from the United Kingdom (March 29th, 2019) will fall in the general immigration regime. That is to say, British citizens who now reside under the regime of EU citizens will be governed by the regime of citizens of a third State to the EU, such as American or Canadian citizens.
- All British residents in Spain will be considered legal residents in Spain. However, in order to obtain permanent residency, prior periods of residence in Spain will be taken into account in accordance with the EU citizens’ regime.
- In order to facilitate the documentation of all British citizens in Spain, the certificates of registration and family cards of citizens of the Union will remain valid – until the issuance of new documents under the general regime of foreigners.
This means that the current green residence cards or residence A4 papers that you hold will remain temporarily valid after March 29th, although British citizens will be required to exchange them for Non EU residence cards at some time in the future.
We strongly advise British citizens living in Spain, who do not hold a residence card or paper yet, to register as resident before Brexit at the Foreigner’s Police Station.
TOURISTS VISITING SPAIN WITH A UK PASSPORT
The rules for travel to most countries in Europe will change if the UK leaves the EU with no deal. After 29th March 2019:
- You should have at least 6 months left on your passport from your date of arrival. This applies to adult and child passports.
- If you renewed a 10 year adult passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your new passport’s expiry date, making it valid for more than 10 years. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months that should be remaining for travel to most countries in Europe.
DRIVING IN SPAIN
If you are a UK licence holder living in Spain you should ange your UK driving licence for a Spanish driving licence before March 29th 2019. From that date, in the event that there is no EU Exit deal, you may have to pass a Spanish driving test to be able to carry on driving in Spain.
Residents in Spain should consider exchanging your UK driving licence for a Spanish driving licence as soon as possible. Increased demand may lead to longer processing times and delays in exchanging driving licences the closer it is to the 29th March 2019.
The UK Government has announced that you can drive on your EU licence when visiting the UK, and if you return to live in the UK, provided you passed your driving test in the UK. You can also exchange your Spanish licence for a UK licence without taking another test.
LexTax can assist you in exchanging your UK driving licence for a Spanish one at a cost of 120 euros per person (VAT and traffic fees included), to which the cost of a medical certificate should be added.
The process to exchange your UK driving licence is:
1.- You need to pass a medical test. This in Spanish is called “Psicotécnico”. It is a special medical test which needs to be reported to the traffic administration.
The only medical center that does it in Javea, is Policlinica Cume, (Calle Salvador Salvá, 6, Bajo. Pasaje Avenida Amanecer, 37. 96 579 23 24)
They charge 65 euros, and they do on Monday afternoon at 5pm until 8pm and Thursday afternoons from 4:30 pm until 8:30 pm. It is not necessary to book an appointment.
2.- You need to provide us with the following documents:
– Copy of your driving licence
– Copy of your passport
– Copy of your residency card or NIE
– Original medical test (psicotécnico)
– Passport size picture
– Notification address in Spain.
– Sign some forms to allow us to represent you. Those will be available at our office.
If you are a UK licence holder visiting Spain, in a no deal scenario, you will need a 1949 International Driving Permit to drive. You can get an IDP over the counter at the UK Post Office.
They cost £5.50 and you must be a GB or Northern Ireland resident, have a full UK driving licence and be 18 or over.
Currently, British citizens living or visiting Spain, enjoy the Spanish Health system by transferring to Spain their UK Health rights. In this way, tourists showing their UK EHIC blue card, will be given emergency and basic assistance in Spanish public hospitals. Also, UK Pensioners or employees have access to full Spanish public assistance, through and S1 or E121 Forms issued by the UK.
Under the withdrawal agreements, those people who that obtained an S1 Form before Brexit will continue profiting from that scheme.
However, in a no deal scenario, those rights are not guaranteed.
The Spanish Government has announced some contingency measures to provide health assistance to UK clients that will be enacted. As soon as we have information on these, a newsletter will be sent.
Some options available at the moment for those UK citizens holding a EU citizen’s green residence card or A4 paper for more than a year is to sign a “Convenio Especial” with the Valencian Government. This will provide you with public health assistance paying a monthly fee. This is currently 60 euros per month for those younger than 65, and 157 euros per month for those older than 65.
UK citizens holding a EU citizen green residence card or A4 paper for more than five years might, under some circumstances, be able to apply for State Aid, under which you will get free health care in Spain.
LexTax can assist you in either applying for a “Convenio Especial” or for Health State Aid. This can be done after March 29th.
We advise you to consider the options set up above – as well as private health insurance options – both for tourists and for residents.
Under Spanish taxation, taxpayers who are resident in EU countries must be treated in the same way as Spanish tax residents. This means that in some taxable events, non-EU tax residents face a higher tax burden that EU tax residents.
UK tax residents, in a no deal scenario will face a non resident tax rate of 24%, instead of 19%. This will affect both income from rental of Spanish properties as well as tax on owning a second home property in Spain.
Also, in some inheritances and gifts, the applicable Law may change from the Valencian Inheritance and Gift Law to the Spanish Inheritance and Gift Law, which usually triggers a higher tax burden.
For more information on the topics covered in this email, please refer to the following websites of both the UK and the Spanish government.
We hope you find this information useful. We will keep you updated on Brexit related issues affecting Spanish resident and visitors, as soon as new laws are enacted.
If you need advice or an appointment with us, contact us using the following email: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org, by telephone: +0034 630 236 484 or through our contact page: https://gandialawyers.com/contact/