After many months of uncertainty, at least one thing we know for sure: Britain is leaving the EU. And one more thing is sure: Whether you'll transit through London on your way to Palma or you want to pop up to the City for a long weekend, life will change when Brexit happens. For UK citizens here in Spain many insecurities remain. What will happen with my health insurance. Will I be entitled to unemployment benefits? What's with my driving license?
"We will get Brexit done on time by the 31st of January, no ifs, no buts, no maybes!" Boris Johnson on Dec. 13th, 2019
There is Good News #
Spain is the Brits' Country of Choice. 300,000 UK citizens currently live in Spain, that's more than in any other EU country, but down from a high of 400,000 in 2015 before the Brexit referendum and the drop in the Pound’s value. 40% of British Expats in Spain are aged over 65 years.
Once Brexit goes through, Brits will lose their privileged EU status. The good news is: During the so-called transition period, relations between the EU and the UK will remain more or less as they are now until 31st December, 2020. Whether you are already living in the EU on Brexit day or come to the EU before the end of that transition period, your right to stay is guaranteed.
Provided you are a legal resident here, you will have the right to stay, albeit you will have to apply to authorities in order to secure this status. With the so-called tarjeta verde de residencia comunitaria you will keep your rights to residency, healthcare, and unemployment benefits and also be able to legalize your driving license. However, to get the tarjeta verde you have to apply for it. According to the official UK Government website explaining the ins and outs of Brexit for their nationals living in EU countries you will have until at least 30 June 2021 to submit your application – where and how, they promise, will be explained in separate guidelines they will publish as soon as they have them.
To cope with the expected wave of applications, the immigration office in Palma has promised to staff up their team and they promise there won't be any problems in getting your Green Card provided you have your papers in order and your taxes paid – and you can prove that you have the means to support yourself.
According to an estimation by the Consulate General of the United Kingdom in Palma, to the approximately 15,000 UK citizens who are officially registered as residents on the island, 10,000 more live here who aren't. These, of course, will not be eligible for the Green Card and have to apply for a residence card as Non-EU citizens. Read on to find the details>> We urgently recommend to file your application NOW.
What rules will apply for UK citizens working on the Mallorca or other Balearic Islands, whether they are on a contract or free-lance, has not been not fully defined but authorities promise that there will be ways to keep going for those whose papers are in order. We will keep you posted.
Useful Websites #
A very useful website with the latest information about your rights as a UK Citizen living in the EU is British in Europe. Read their free, six-part Brexit guide>>
For any new developments, we also advise to regularly check the official UK Government's website on this subject>>
For more information and advice about how you can adapt your lifestyle to post-Brexit times, click here>>
By Ulla Rahn-Huber
14 January, 2020