British expats in Spain urged to obtain TIE

by Lorraine Williamson

If you’re a British national living in Spain, you may be aware of the ongoing changes regarding residency rights after Brexit. The British Consulate and Embassy in Spain have been actively advising British expatriates to secure their rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. The most reliable way to prove your rights under this agreement, according to the embassy, is by obtaining a Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE).

The importance of TIE

The TIE, or Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero, is a biometric ID card that explicitly indicates your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. While many British residents in Spain still possess the Green Certificate (a green A4 certificate or credit card-sized piece of paper), which is considered valid proof of residency, there have been numerous reported difficulties with its recognition.

Why TIE?

  • Widely recognised: The TIE is more widely recognised across Spain and the EU compared to the Green Certificate.
  • Simplifies processes: It simplifies administrative processes and border crossings.
  • Listed in Schengen border guard handbook: The TIE is listed in the EU’s Schengen Border Guard Handbook, making border crossings easier. The non-biometric Green Certificate is not listed.

Exemption from entry exit scheme

From Autumn 2024, the EU is set to introduce the Entry Exit Scheme. Therefore, British residents in the EU will be required to possess a uniform-format biometric card, recognised as a residency document under the Withdrawal Agreement, to be exempt from this scheme. For residents of Spain, this card is the TIE.

Moreover, it is anticipated that Green Certificate holders may face significant delays and difficulties at borders if they do not possess a TIE.

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How to apply for TIE

To apply for a TIE, British expatriates in Spain are advised to contact the Spanish Government’s ‘Extranjeria’ offices.

Passport and travel information

  • Passport renewal: You can apply for or renew your British passport from Spain. However, the British Embassy does not issue passports.
  • Travel within Schengen area: Always carry your passport when travelling within the Schengen area. If you have citizenship of an EU or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) country, use your EU or EFTA passport.
  • Residency document: When travelling, carry your residence document (the Green Certificate or the TIE) issued under the Withdrawal Agreement, in addition to your valid passport.

Strongly recommended

While the Green Certificate remains a valid residency document, it is strongly recommended by both the British Embassy in Spain and the Spanish Government to obtain the TIE for a smoother residency experience, administrative processes, and border crossings.

For more detailed information, you can refer to the official UK government website or contact the British Consulate or Embassy in Spain.

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