lunes, 26 de octubre de 2020

26/10/20: AN IMPORTANT UPDATE FROM EUROCITIZENS ON CITIZENS' RIGHTS ISSUES

Since our recent Zoom meeting on Friday 16 October, EuroCitizens has received a reply from one of the two Brexit leads in the Spanish government whom we deal with. Last week, after consulting with the Interior Ministry, she replied to our detailed queries. These were the result of a survey on registration that EuroCitizens carried out amongst our members in September. Our thanks again to everyone who participated in that.

 

A. Information from the Spanish government on registration of UK citizens under the Withdrawal Agreement: 

 

1. UK citizens who have received an erroneous Tarjeta de Identidad para Extranjeros Brexit (Spanish third-country-national ID card for UK citizens): 

- these TIE cards are valid despite the erroneous reference to 'family member of an EU citizen' (familiar de un miembro de la UE).

- if you have received one of these TIE cards, you can ask for a duplicate (and correct) copy at no extra cost at any national police station in Spain which has a documentation unit (unidad de documentación). A duplicate will be issued and no appointment is needed.

2- Problems in getting an appointment for a TIE Brexit:

- due to the Covid pandemic, the demand for appointments has gone up, thus extending waiting times. The government has announced an increase in staff at a series of national police stations around Spain (see below the list below).

- you can apply for a TIE Brexit at any national police station which has a documentation unit and which is in your province of residence. In Madrid, appointments are available at Padre Piquer and the team dealing with UK citizens there has been reinforced.

- currently 6,000 TIEs are being issued daily, of which 500 are for UK citizens.

3- Variations in procedures for receiving a TIE Brexit (documentation required, handing in of EU green cards, appointments to collect the TIE Brexit):

- you can find the documentary requirements for applying for a TIE Brexit on the appointment website (see the website for UK citizens in Alicante: https://www.consultorga.com/section.asp?sec=207)

 - Civil servants can require extra documentation in certain cases, such as where the applicant has changed domicile recently.

-There are two phases to the process: issuing and collecting the document (as TIEs have to be printed by the official organism (La Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre).

-The Spanish government had been unaware of cases where UK citizens have been asked to hand in their green EU card before receiving their TIE Brexit. The procedure is for this to happen at the same time as they are given their new cards, and for the old EU green card then to be destroyed.

4- Other issues related to UK citizens in Spain:

 

Some of queries which we have raised with the Spanish authorities are still pending, such as how UK citizens can combine more than one status (eg TIE Brexit + EU family member), the exchange of temporary TIEs Brexit for permanent cards after five years residence, possible administrative problems as a result of the handing in of EU green cards and the coordination of TIE and Spanish nationality applications.  

 

B. News from the UK Embassy:

EuroCitizens and other BiE groups such as ECREU and BHOV have also been in close contact with the UK Embassy. 

For newly arrived Britons who are registering for the first time, it seems that the best policy is to keep trying to get an appointment and, at the same time, to gather evidence of residence before the end of the year (e.g. rental contracts, healthcare insurance, utility bills).

The Embassy has updated its page on driving licences: 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-spain#driving-in-spain-

The Spanish authorities have agreed that applications received before the end of the year can be processed after the deadline. 

 

C. List of national police stations in Spain with extra staff to deal with Brexit TIE registration:


 

martes, 15 de septiembre de 2020

EUROCITIZENS SURVEY 15/09/20: REGISTRATION FOR THE NEW SPANISH ID CARD (TIE)


Have you thought about or tried registering for the new Spanish ID card (TIE*) for Britons protected by the Withdrawal Agreement? (*Tarjeta de Identidad para Extranjeros - ciudadanos Reino Unido).

If you have and would like to share your experiences with us, please answer the questions below and send your answers to eurocitizens2016@gmail.com.

 

Data privacy: EuroCitizens does not share any personal data with outside organizations unless we obtain specific written permission. If we share the overall results of this survey, this will be done so anonymously.

 
Introduction:

If you have already applied for a TIE please go straight to question 1. If you have not yet applied for a TIE, please just email us and say why not: eg no time pressure, unclear instructions, a fee is necessary......


Questions about registration for the TIE:


1) Have you encountered any problem at any stage of the application? 

E.g. difficulties in obtaining an appointment, in providing the documentation required, the wrong status was granted: i.e. temporary (under 5 years) instead of permanent (over 5 years residence).
 

Yes/No

If NO please ignore the questions below and simply forward to eurocitizens2016@gmail.com with that "NO" response and any advice that you would like to give about the procedures.



 

2) Have you experienced any problems in getting an initial appointment?

Yes/No     If "yes" please give details:





3) What was the name of the police station (and its location) of your initial appointment?

 



4) Did you encounter any issues in respect of the status of the TIE that was granted to you? E.g. you have more than five years' residency, but you were not granted permanent residence status.

Yes/No    If "yes" please give detail



 

5) Was any documentation requested that was not specifically cited in the guidance provided by the Spanish government?  E.g. photocopies of passport, green documents, supplementary information regarding education, financial information etc.

Yes/No    If "yes" please give detail

 

 

6) Was your original green document retained at the time of application?

 Yes/No 

If "yes", please give some details about what happened: e.g. you challenged the demand.




7) Was your application refused? 

Yes/No    If "yes" please give details of why it was refused.



 

8) Were you given /do you have a date for collection of the TIE?

Yes/No    If "no" please give details:



 

9) Were you able to collect the TIE without incident? 

Yes/No     If "no", please give detail

 

 

10) Did you encounter any problems with payment for the TIE?

Yes/No     If "yes", please give details:

 

 

11) Do you have any other observations eg clarity of instructions, proficiency of officials you encountered etc?

Yes/No     If "yes", please give details:



 

 

domingo, 19 de julio de 2020

VISITING A NATIONAL POLICE STATION TO REGISTER FOR THE NEW ID CARD FOR UK RESIDENTS IN SPAIN


Last week a EuroCitizens committee member visited a national police station in Madrid to apply for the new third-country-national ID card for UK residents in Spain. Here is a short report of what happened. 

I went today (17 July 2020) to my appointment with the Policia Nacional in Av. Padre Piquer, 18. I arrived an hour early. There was no queue and I was seen very quickly by a friendly senior staff member (she was helping the colleague next to her with system problems).
I was given back my certificado de empadronamiento (registration at local town hall) because it was not needed, as I had not changed address. However it may be worthwhile getting one just in case. However, you definitely need it if you have changed address. My payment of the €12 fee was not queried so, for temporary cards at least, seems the correct one.
The operation for my temporary TIE (ID card for third-country nationals) looked to be basically a straight swap. The page of the EX-23 form where you can list other administrations to give access to your files there, which I had left blank, did not seem relevant to my application for a temporary card as it was given back to me.
My green card and passport were given back. I was told that when I collect the new TIE, I must bring the green card back as it needs to be given in. I was asked if I had photocopies of my green card and passport. I did have a photocopy of the green card but not of my passport. Photocopies are not mentioned in the instructions but it is clearly useful to have them if you can.
I was given a return date for collection of the TIE, and restitution of the green card, of 4 September in the same office. I will get an SMS if it changes. Given we are in both post-Covid lockdown and prime holiday time, the delay is understandable. But you keep your green card for the interim, which therefore covers you.
My photographer did not know if the rules were for photos with or without spectacles. I was told that if you normally wear them the foto should be with them on. Fingerprinting for biometric purposes is done electronically in a similar way to allowing touch access to a mobile phone.
My temporary TIE will be valid until 17 July 2025 - 5 years from today's date. You should clearly keep a record of your green card to have proof yourself of earlier residence, e.g. in the event that you want to apply for a permanent card sooner than the 5 years on your new TIE, as is foreseen in the WA. NB you will not keep the green card for posterity.
I was happy to let the procedure take its course - i.e. towards a hopefully positive outcome.

Conclusions from the visit:
  • The procedure looks to be basically a straight swap, at least for the temporary card.
  •  You need proof from the padrón (municipal registration list) only if your address has changed from that on the green card. But I thought it useful to have a certificate just in case.  
  • For payment with form 790, the code is 012 and, for the temporary card, I paid the €12 fee. 
  • Photocopies of your green card and passport are appreciated. Having them will smooth the process even if copies are not mentioned in the instructions.
· For the temporary card at least there looks to be no need to fill in any information about documents with other Spanish administrations.
  • If you wear spectacles all the time the photo should be with them.
  • Your new card with have a date of validity of (5/10 years) starting with the date of your appointment.
  • Best to keep a copy of your green card for your own records as you will have to give it up when you collect the new TIE.
  • Useful links:  
  •  IOM -  International Organisation for Migration (Madrid, Murcia, Andalusia)
  • Spanish government guide on the registration process (English version)

jueves, 16 de julio de 2020

REGISTERING FOR THE NEW SPANISH ID CARD PROTECTED BY THE WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT

The Spanish government's guide to registration.
Legally resident UK citizens in Spain, and those who register (or at least get an appointment to do so) before 31 December 2020, will be protected by the citizens' chapter of the Withdrawal Agreement. This is an international treaty that will stand even if there is no trade deal at the end of this year between the EU and the UK. 

For more information, see the British in Europe guides on the WA and another publication on the Guidance Note that explains how the WA will be implemented. There is also a question-and-answer guide produced by the EU Commission on citizens' rights.

On July 4 the Spanish government announced the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement for UK citizens living in Spain. From Monday 6 July it has been possible to apply for the special new third-country ID card covered by the WA. The Spanish government has produced a detailed question-and-answer guide in English to help you. Also see a report of our meeting with the Spanish government on 9 July.

If there is something that you do not understand, if you need advice or if you run into problems during registration, you can contact three organisations in Spain. Through the UK National Support Fund these organisations have been contracted by the Foreign Office to help Britons with the new registration procedures:

1. Age in Spain (Catalonia and Baleares)
2. Asociación Babelia (Alicante province)
3. IOM -  International Organisation for Migration (Madrid, Murcia, Andalusia)

See below handouts from Babelia and IOM. These organisations have helplines where you can get advice and they can even accompany people, when necessary, to police stations and foreigners' offices.

EuroCitizens is a campaigning group which is part of the British in Europe coalition. We lobby for your rights and try to provide quality and up-to-date information for UK citizens, but we are not in a position to provide personal guidance and advice. However, if your approach to one of the UKNSF organisations has been unsatisfactory, you can write to us at:
eurocitizens2016@gmail.com

See below handouts from Babelia and IOM:

martes, 14 de julio de 2020

09/07/2020 EUROCITIZENS MEETING AT THE SPANISH FOREIGN MINISTRY

Spanish Foreign Ministry in Madrid
On Thursday 9 July four EuroCitizens representatives had a most productive meeting with three senior officials at the Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, Unión Europea y Cooperación in Madrid. We raised a series of questions related to the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement in Spain and the registration of Britons for the recently announced third-country-national ID card under the WA. For example, we asked about the length of validity of our existing documentation from 1 January onwards and the situation of Britons who will also be EU family members - as well as mentioning the need for requirements for first-time registration as residents to take into account the financial impact of the COVID emergency.

The Foreign Ministry officials took note of our queries and said that they would get back to us with specific answers. The Spanish Government is currently working on a detailed guide for Britons in Spanish and English and has proposed that an inter-ministerial committee should be set up to coordinate the implementation of registration. On the issue of previously unregistered Britons, they stressed the importance of getting an appointment to apply for residence before the end of this year, as this would help citizens establish their right to be protected by the Withdrawal Agreement.

The Ministry officials also stressed that, while everyone who is already registered has had the right as from 6 July to apply for the new TIE (third-country-national ID card), their current documents confirming residence (green cards, A4 sheets, etc.) will remain valid. Thus everyone is free to decide when to apply and there will be no imminent deadline requiring an immediate application. We mentioned the need, in these circumstances, for the Spanish authorities to ensure that other EU Member States also were aware of this.

The Spanish Ministry and EuroCitizens agreed on the importance of proactive communication, both to British citizens and relevant Spanish authorities and administrative bodies, as a key factor of smooth implementation. EuroCitizens will inform the Spanish administration of further doubts or issues and both sides agreed on the need to maintain the current dialogue on the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, in the same way as was done for the no-deal preparations throughout 2019.

Our next meeting to discuss these issues will be held in September or October.

martes, 7 de julio de 2020

A SPECIAL THIRD-COUNTRY-NATIONAL ID CARD FOR BRITONS IN SPAIN

The EX23 form.
Under the EU/UK Withdrawal Agreement, UK residents living in the EU lost our condition as European Citizens when the UK officially left the EU on 31 January 2020, though most of our rights will stay the same until the end of the transition period which finishes on 31 December 2020. 
 
After some delay, caused notably by the COVID emergency, the Spanish Government has published its plans for registering Britons under the new status of third-country nationals. To do this, Spain has chosen the more benevolent route (WA 18,4 - declaratory) which involves the confirmation of status for legally resident Britons rather than having to re-apply for it (as in 'constitutive' countries like the UK or France).

From yesterday, 6 July, legally resident Britons in Spain can apply for an ID card establishing our status as third-country nationals (TCN) protected by the Withdrawal Agreement. Under the declaratory route this will not be compulsory and there is no 'legal cliff edge' but, in practice, having the new ID card will avoid any possible problems whilst travelling abroad and carrying out day-to-day transactions in Spain.

Those UK citizens who arrive in Spain after 1 January 2021 will be treated as pure third-country nationals and face exactly the same requirements as others from non-EU 'third countries' unless free movement is included in any future agreement between the UK and the EU, something which currently looks highly unlikely. However, new arrivals before 31 December will still be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement if they apply for residence, meet the requirements and demonstrate proof of residence before that date.

The Boletín Oficial del Estado (Official Gazette) of 4 July 2020 published detailed ‘instructions’ as to how we will be able to change our EU residence certificates for the new ID cards.

It outlines the steps that each of these groups will have to take:

i- Existing long-term EU residents.

ii- Temporary residents who have completed five years legal residence.

iii- Temporary residents with under five years residence.

iv- New arrivals without certificates.

v- Family members of registered or unregistered Britons.

For legally resident Britons the procedures should be fairly straightforward, involving visits to police stations, the filling in of a form, the paying of a fee and the presentation of a valid passport plus photos. The permanent resident card must later be renewed after ten years, which is in line with the duration of the Spanish DNI and Spanish and UK adult passports. The temporary residents' ID card can be changed for a permanent resident card as soon as you have completed five years legal residence.  

Unregistered Britons will first have to apply at a foreigners' office (oficina de extranjería) for residence as a UK citizen protected by the Withdrawal Agreement. This must be granted before you can then apply for a temporary residence card as a third-country national (WA). So two steps are involved.

EuroCitizens welcomes this information from the Spanish government, which gives some clarity about what Britons in Spain will have to do over the next few months. We are also happy that the new Spanish ID card will specify the status of ‘Permanent Residents’ which grants longer periods of absence.

However, we will be looking for clarification on various issues:

i- How Britons will be informed of the registration procedures, what measures will be taken to ensure that implementation is carried out uniformly and smoothly throughout the different autonomous regions and provinces (particularly those like Alicante and Málaga with large British populations) and what help will be given to vulnerable groups.
 
ii- The situation of Britons who will also be EU family members as well as third-country nationals protected by the Withdrawal Agreement and thus stand to lose some of their rights if they opt for one or another status.

iii- What steps will be taken to ensure that existing documentation for Britons in Spain (as EU citizens) is still valid for international travel and in-country transactions for a reasonable ‘grace’ period.

Tomorrow morning EuroCitizens will be taking part in a 'catch-up call' with staff at the UK Embassy. On Thursday we will be having a meeting in Madrid with officials from the Spanish administration. 

martes, 30 de junio de 2020

THE END OF FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT AND UK SECOND-HOME OWNERS IN SPAIN

As an association our brief is to defend the citizens' rights of Britons who are legally resident in Spain - and who stand to lose key rights on 31 December. Even though protected by the Withdrawal Agreement in our host country, the end to EU-wide freedom of movement and cross-border service provision could  jeopardise the jobs and businesses of many. Here is a short explanation of how the end of the transition period (31/12/2020) might affect another group- UK second-home owners in Spain. It appears that they will not have the same mobility as now and will be subject to Schengen length-of-stay restrictions and possibly the need for visas.


The mobility rules for UK second-home owners in the EU, who are not legal EU residents (and therefore not covered by the EU/UK Withdrawal Agreement), will probably depend on the freedom of movement clauses of any future agreement between the UK and the EU. 

Until 31 December (the end of the transition period), British second-home owners will still have the option to apply for Spanish residence status covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. Under Spanish No-Deal contingency plans (March 2019), allowances were made for Britons, who had been unable or unwilling to register before, to apply for residence after the UK had completely left the EU - if they could demonstrate proof of prior residence. So we think that the same could happen now, though no legislation on the Spanish implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement has been published yet.
 

If freedom of movement for EU/UK citizens is not covered by the future relationship agreement, which seems highly likely, Britons who do not fall under the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement, because they are not resident in the EU, will probably be subject to a rolling restriction of 90 days in any 180-day period within the Schengen Zone.

Case study:
Sarah and Paul used to go to their villa in Spain every September and stay until the middle of May. Now they can go from mid-September to mid-December and then they can go back from mid-March for another three months. However, any other time that they spend elsewhere in the Schengen Zone (for business or pleasure) will reduce the length of time that they will be able to stay in Spain.

It is worthwhile pointing out that, under EU freedom of movement rules, EU citizens are obliged to register in a Member State after only three months residence. Some countries (like France) do not require registration. Others, like Spain, require registration as EU citizens after three months but, in practice, do not strictly enforce this for the large community of EU citizens in the country.   

What is the outlook now for UK second-home owners? It appears that the UK is not in favour of Freedom of Movement being included in the Future Agreement. A recent European Parliament resolution urged the EU and the UK to strive towards a high level of mobility rights in the future agreement and regretted the fact that the UK has shown little ambition with regard to citizens’ mobility, which the UK and its citizens have benefitted from in the past;https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2020-0152_EN.pdf

The worst-case scenario for UK second-home owners in Spain is a complete breakdown in EU/UK talks and a 'no trade deal Brexit' (though the Withdrawal Deal protecting UK and EU residents will still remain in place). A 'no deal' could mean the need for visas to travel to EU countries (as required for many other 'third countries'). According to the Political Declaration (agreed before the UK's exit), visa-free travel for UK citizens requires there to be a 'Future Relationship' in place.


Case study:
Sarah and Paul used to go to their villa in Spain every Easter from mid-March and stay until the middle of October. In the case of a No Deal, every time they go to Spain they will need to apply for a visa at the Spanish Embassy which will stipulate the maximum length of time that they can spend in the country. 

This is not legal advice and, if you are worried about the situation, we suggest that you consult a lawyer.