Spain Contingency Plan No Deal Brexit – Residency, DL and Healthcare

Contrary to what has been published in some media, this Royal Decree Contingency Plan is not dependent on reciprocity from the UK for all the subjects it covers. With regards to healthcare (including S1, EHIC, S2 and cross border prescriptions), there will be a 2 months grace period, if after that time it appears there is no full reciprocity, that part of the plan will cease to be valid.

For Driving Licences, there is a 9 months grace period. Non residents can continue to drive in Spain with their UK licence during that time, for those that are resident, they will have the opportunity to exchange/renew their licences for a Spanish permit, provided the current EU info exchange system with regards to driving licence entitlements will be maintained during that period. Update Brexit Protocol. After 9 months, the rules for non EU citizens will apply. Update 9.9.2019.


The main difference between EU and non EU residents is that EU citizens have freedom of movement and that entails being allowed to settle in any of the EU member states.  Non EU citizens who wish to reside in Spain,  need to ask for residency authorisation first, through the Spanish consulate in their homeland. In the case of British citizens already residing here on the 29th of March, there will be other procedures to obtain a TIE certificate and prior authorisation to reside here, where applicable.

With regards to arranging for new residency documentation as non EU residents in Spain, there will be a grace period of 21 months.

All those who have registered as EU residents before the 29th of March, plus those that are residing here but have not applied for residency as yet, will be considered legal residents. The EU resident certificates will remain valid proof of legal residency during this grace period whilst they haven’t been replaced by the new non EU residency document and provided they have not expired (non EU family members of EU residents), all will need to obtain a new residency card to document their status as non EU residents (TIE – Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero) before the end of the grace period.

As we see it, there will be 4 different procedures:

Group I

Those with residency certificates that state they are permanent residents, ´residente comunitario con carácter permanente desde ….´. This certificate will sufficiently accredit a legal and continuous residency of 5 years or more and will entitle you to the TIE for non EU citizens that accredits ´residencia de larga duración´without the need to apply for residency authorisation first.

You’ll need to apply for your TIE personally with the Policia Nacional, but all you need to supply will be: passport, proof of payment of the administrative fee ´tasa´ and a photograph.
The same applies for a non EU family member of a permanent UK resident who also has a permanent residency card.

Group II

Those who have resided in Spain legally for 5 years or more, but don’t have a certificate that confirms this status; those that will have resided in Spain for 5 years at a time during a future period:

These will need to apply for a TIE ´residencia larga duración´ with the Extranjería office in their province, but they will need to accredit their legal and continuous residency first. They will likely be asked to supply other documentation besides the EU residency certificate. Periods of absence from Spain during the 5 years can influence the accreditation negatively.

Those with Spanish contributive pensions can also apply for TIE ´residencia larga duración´ without having resided here for 5 years first.

Group III

Those who reside in Spain legally, so have registered as residents before the 29th of March, but are not considered permanent residents yet (under 5 years):

They will need to apply for a TIE ´residencia temporal´and instructions on how and where to do so are to be published by the Spanish government.

Group IV

Those who reside in Spain but haven’t registered as resident before the 29th of March, so without an EU residency certificate:

They will need to apply for a residency authorisation first, and once that has been resolved positively, apply for a TIE ´residencia temporal´. Instructions on how and where to do so are to be published by the Spanish government.


This information is a summary of the information from the Royal Decree that approves the Spanish Contingency Plan in case of a no-deal exit of the UK from the EU. It doesn’t pretend to be exhaustive, but contains the elements we think of general importance to our members.

We purposefully do not provide more details until the exact ´instructions´ from the Spanish government have been published in the BOE State Bulletin. For those who want to know more about their residency situation with regards to the 4 different procedures to obtain their nonEU residency document TIE, please post on the Ask for Advice section on our website for a one on one with an advisor.

Please note: The information provided is based upon our understanding of current legislation. It is not legal advice but is provided freely to enable you to be properly informed. We recommend that if you are considering taking action, you should seek professional advice.

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