Spain: Benidorm expats scramble to get residency before Brexit – ‘all so unnecessary’

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Benidorm has long attracted British expats eager to leave the chilly UK behind them and enjoy the sun, sea and sand the resort in Spain has to offer. However, with Brexit fast approaching, Britons in the area need to make sure they register their residency in time. In July this year, the Spanish government introduced a new residence document for UK nationals living in Spain who have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement – the Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE).

“This biometric card explicitly states that it has been issued to the holder under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement,” explained the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in its Spain travel advice.

Britons in Benidorm are now rushing to get this card ahead of the December 31 deadline.

Some are claiming unregistered expats are facing delays as they go through the required procedures, reported local news site The Olive Press.

One Londoner living in Madrid and travelling to Benidorm posted on Twitter: “I am currently attempting to negotiate Spanish bureaucracy to get my residency (hi, trip to Benidorm on Thursday) and all I keep thinking is “it didn’t need to be like this. It’s all so unnecessary”.

President of the Benidorm British Business Association, Karen Cowles told The Olive Press: “My consultancy firm that deals with organising appointments for the TIE has seen business skyrocket recently.

“Until a few weeks ago, people have no attached any importance to registering but reality has now sunk in.”

She added that many Britons thought they could come to live in Spain without ever registering.

Cowles also warned that some expats might not actually meet the requirements needed.

To submit a residence application in Spanish you need to provide: application form EX20, passport, documentation which demonstrates your residence in Spain before 31 December 2020, and documentation which demonstrates you meet the EU residence criteria on income and healthcare.

You then must apply online for an appointment at the police station.

For this, you will need: application form EX23, passport, proof you have paid the fee (via form ‘modelo 790, code 012’ – choose option ‘certificado de registro de residente comunitario’), and a photograph (you must ensure this meets the Spanish administration’s requirements).

Benidorm council is now urging Britons who wish to stay in Spain to start the registration process as soon as possible.

The scramble to register comes as Britons are reported to be enraged that UK citizens will only be allowed to stay in a European country for a maximum of 90 days in every six-month period.

The rules mean that Britons may not be allowed to stay in another European country unless they have a visa.

Those who exceed the limit could face the threat of a fine or even a ban on entry to the EU’s Schengen travel zone.

Britons are campaigning to change the rules to allow them to stay for more than 90 days.

David Young created the group 180 Days in Greece to combat against the new rules.

He told The Telegraph: “Like me, many Brits divide their lives between two countries, but after Brexit – unless they apply for full residency in the EU country where they’ve bought their property, pay taxes there, and lose their NHS provision back home – second-home owners will be limited to stays of a maximum of 90 days.”

He added: “Citizens from the EU, EEA and Switzerland who want to stay in the UK for up to six months will not require a visa post-Brexit. All we are asking for is parity.”

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