lunes, 9 de septiembre de 2019

WHAT RIGHTS WILL WE HAVE IN DIFFERENT BREXIT SCENARIOS?

Below see an analysis of the status of rights of UK residents in Spain in different Brexit scenarios: now as EU citizens (Brexit does not take place), under the Withdrawal Agreement (May's deal), under the Spanish Brexit contingency plans (Royal Decree 5/2019) and under the scenario that this protection is removed because of a lack of reciprocity from the UK. We have also added a column about the UK government's position, particularly related to issues within their unilateral grant such as the situation of returnees to Britain. 

This is a working document and is aimed to help people know what situation they might find themselves in and what specific rights they might keep or lose. Please write to us at eurocitizens2016@gmail.com if you have any comments or queries. However, remember that we are not lawyers and cannot give advice about individual situations - what we are trying to do is provide up-to-date and accurate information at a time of considerable confusion.

Click on these tables to enlarge or copy them: 













































miércoles, 26 de junio de 2019

SPEEDING UP YOUR SPANISH NATIONALITY APPLICATION BY TAKING LEGAL ACTION

It appears that the average time it takes to get a reply on your Spanish nationality application (yea or nay), having put in all the relevant paperwork, is over two years. However, in some cases the whole process can take up to five years. Because of this some EuroCitizens have gone down the route of legal action, taking the Spanish government to court for 'silencio administrativo'. This might seem a somewhat extreme action to take, but it can work if you are prepared to spend the money.

See below a detailed description of the process of lodging a lawsuit in the form of an administrative appeal (demanda contencioso administrativo) which has been written by a EuroCitizen who was brave enough to go down this route. His appeal was successful and he gained Spanish nationality in a matter of months.

* EuroCitizens cannot give legal advice, but merely inform our members about issues. If you have lodged an appeal (successful or otherwise), write to us at eurocitizens2016@gmail.com and tell us about your experiences.
 


The use of a Demanda Contencioso Administrativo (DCA) in the process of applying for Spanish nationality.

The DCA is a relatively simple process with the following main features:
1.    When applied to the nationality procedure the DCA can only be presented one year after the application for nationality was presented.

2.    This is because the demand is based on Silencio Administrativo which applies when the Ministerio de Justicia has not given a resolution one year after the application. This theoretically means that the application has been refused although in practice it usually means that it has been delayed because of the backlog in the Ministerio.

3.    If it is decided to present a DCA the first action is to appoint a lawyer with DCA experience preferably related to nationality applications.

4.    The lawyer’s minimum costs are quoted in the colegio de abogados of the province where he/she practices but the costs are negotiable, and the lawyer will usually require fees higher than the minimum. A fee of 2000 euros per case seems to the around the average.

5.    As well as the lawyer a procurador is needed to liaise with the court. The lawyer provides all written material to the procurador. Usually the lawyer will appoint the procurador, but the client can also do it directly. The procurador’s fees are around 372 euros per case.

6.    DCAs are always hear in the Audiencia Nacional in Madrid because that is where the Ministerio de Justicia is based, so the procurador must practice in Madrid.

7.    The first thing the lawyer will do is check the documentation because one error can cause the DCA to fail and therefore the application would be refused definitively. If there are any doubts about the accuracy and completeness of the documentation presented it is probably not advisable to proceed with a DCA.

8.    If the documentation presented is accurate and complete the lawyer will instruct the procurador to present the DCA. The judge will then admit or reject the DCA. It is very rare that he/she would reject it.

9.    The judge will then send a requirement to the Ministerio de Justicia asking them to send him or her the documentation of the person making the demand.

10. The Ministry then has to reply within 20 days, but they usually take longer.

11.At this stage the funcionario at the Ministerio will review the documentation before sending it to the judge. If he or she sees that everything is in order the application may be just approved basically to avoid the costs of a court case. In my case this appears to be what happened and I received the approval of the application 3 months after presenting the DCA

12.It’s interesting to note that the approval or not of the application is not discretionary. If the documentation is accurate and complete, they are obliged to approve the application.

13.If the Ministerio decides to dispute the demand it has to go through the whole court process which can take up to 18 months. For this to happen the lawyer of the Ministerio will have written to the giving their reasons for refusing the application. The judge then must consider the arguments of the two parts before making the final decision. With the workload they have to clear the backlog they have at present it seems unlikely that most DCAs will get to that stage.

14.Note that even though a DCA is presented the normal approval process continues without interruption.

HOW TO APPLY FOR SPANISH NATIONALITY (updated June 2019)


A Spanish citizenship ceremony.
Despite the serious obstacles (long delays, paperwork, lack of dual nationality and the need to 'officially' renounce British nationality), many EuroCitizens have decided to go down the route of applying for Spanish nationality.  

See below a detailed updated summary of all the procedures you need to go through, prices etc. Our heartfelt thanks to EuroCitizen Karen Welch. 

It is worth mentioning that, if you have a 'digital signature' you can present documents fairly easily online yourself and then check out the status of your application later.

*Translation of documents

·       Police disclosure and birth certificates (and UK marriage certificate if applicable) with the corresponding ‘apostilles’ see ‘Legalisation of documents’ below)must be translated by a sworn translator.

·       Cost €120 approx. (IVA inc.) for the two docs plus apostilles.



**Legalisation of documents

·       UK police disclosure certificates and birth certificates – and I presume marriage certificates - must be legalised through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, which attaches an ‘apostille’ certifying their authenticity. This means sending originals through the post or by courier.

·       Processing can take from 2 days up to 10 days at holiday times.

·       Cost 30 GBP per document plus 15 GBP if you want sent back by courier = 75 GBP, total around €100 approx. with postage/courier.








 






















lunes, 3 de junio de 2019

MESSAGE TO UK CITIZENS IN SPAIN: WHY IT'S CRUCIAL FOR YOU TO APPLY FOR EU RESIDENCE NOW, IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY GOT IT

In the first three months of this year, with the prospect of a no-deal Brexit at the end of March, there was a spectacular rise in the number of Britons in Spain applying for Spanish residence certificates. However, in April this number went down by half, especially in key provinces in Andalusia and Levante as well as in Baleares and Madrid.

What does this fall in numbers mean? According to Spanish government and Foreign Office estimates, there are still considerable numbers of unregistered Britons in Spain, despite having been resident in the country for more than three months. It is possible that in March some UK citizens in provinces like Alicante or Málaga had problems getting appointments to apply for residence. However, the Spanish government informs us that appointments are currently being given with no problems in even the busiest 'comisarías de Policía' —and applications can easily be made online.

Why should you register immediately if you have not yet done so and have spent more than three months here? The first reason is that it is compulsory under EU and Spanish law and undocumented residents can face all kinds of administrative difficulties. The basic principle is that, if you have been in Spain for more than three months, or you are intending to spend more than 90 days in any 180 days in Spain, this situation will only be lawful if you are registered with the Spanish authorities. Secondly, even getting an appointment with the Spanish authorities to apply for residence will hugely facilitate the process of re-registration, that will be necessary, after the end of October (when a no deal now looks more likely). If you have not started the registration process by then, and wish to continue to reside in Spain, under the Spanish Brexit contingency plans for citizens (Royal Decree 5/2019) you will need to provide detailed documentary proof of residence prior to Brexit. Finally, as the next Brexit deadline looms after the summer, numbers of applications will no doubt surge again and your application could get caught in the rush.

So, starting the process of registration while you can still do so as an EU citizen, brings you a whole series of benefits. It legalises your situation in the country under EU conditions (much more benevolent than those for third-country nationals). It will also make post-Brexit paperwork in respect of registration much, much easier for you. NB, if you feel your fiscal situation is relevant you should seek advice to clarify your position in this regard as soon as you can. If you do have any problems getting an appointment for registration, get in touch with your UK consul.

 

 * 
Clarification on the situation on EU residence certificates for UK citizens in Spain after speaking this afernoon to a Spanish government spokesperson:

Firstly, it is true that from early March appointments were cancelled or changed due to the imminent departure of the UK, which meant that Britons with appointments after the Brexit date would need to apply as third-country nationals and not as EU citizens. However, this situation was immediately reversed after the April agreement, which meant that we would still be EU nationals for another six months. Thus people now have a real opportunity to get registered under the more benign EU conditions.

Secondly, while on the government website it says that you should go to either an 'oficina de extranjería' or 'comisaría de Policia Nacional', in practice it is the latter that you need to apply to. Though of course it is all much easier doing it online.

We hope that this helps. This is a good example of how all the uncertainty caused by Brexit has made it complicated for everyone, including the Spanish authorities who have the biggest population of Britons.

 

Useful links: UK Embassy: register your residency  Spanish government website: residence and Brexit

 

EuroCitizens 03/06/19

domingo, 24 de marzo de 2019

"WE WANT OUR RIGHTS, NOT BREXIT!" - THE PLEA OF BRITISH CITIZENS IN MADRID

EuroCitizens demonstration in Madrid 23/03/19

Hundreds of British citizens demonstrated in Madrid on 23 March to show their support of the People’s Vote, bearing placards with messages such as “Can’t live without EU by our side” and chanting slogans in English and Spanish like “¡Derechos sí, Brexit no!” (“We want our rights, not Brexit!”).


The chaos currently reigning in British politics is causing serious concern and stress among British citizens in Spain, who are well aware that the implementation of the Spanish contingency plan to deal with their situation as smoothly as possible in the event of no deal, depends on the reciprocity of the British government towards European citizens. The only moment of silence in a day that was full of chanting, poetry and music (both flamenco and bagpipes), was when Michael Harris, chair of EuroCitizens, asked the public “Who trusts the British Government now?” No-one raised their hand.


The 314.000 legally registered British residents include workers, retired people, students and their families, and even local councillors, who have made their homes in Spain. Camilla Hillier-Fry, vice-chair of EuroCitizens, highlighted that the association has maintained a continuous dialogue with the Spanish Administration and emphasised the understanding of citizens’ plight shown by all political parties.  “We truly hope that Spain continues to be as inclusive and welcoming as it has been until now and that these contingency measures that give us some peace of mind will be properly communicated to every town council and police station throughout Spain, ensuring that all British residents are treated equally. We want to keep on being a part of Spanish society.”


The Spanish spokesperson for the3million, Silvia González, joined the demonstration via a video link and shared the many concerns of European residents in the UK.


The demonstration, held in Margaret Thatcher Square in Madrid, concluded with the “Ode to Joy”, played by the bagpiper and accompanied by all the demonstrators. The chair of EuroCitizens summed up people’s feelings “They can take away our European citizenship, but we are still Europeans”.





EuroCitizens is an association created to defend the rights of British citizens to live, work and study in the EU27. It forms part of the coalition British in Europe and works closely with the3million.

More photos: 

lunes, 18 de marzo de 2019

23M: DEMONSTRATION IN MADRID FOR CITIZENS' RIGHTS AND CALLING FOR A SECOND REFERENDUM


On Saturday 23 March (12.00 Plaza Margaret Thatcher, Colón, Madrid) the British in Europe group EuroCitizens will organise an event in defence of the rights of the five million Europeans in the UK and Britons in the EU and to ask for a second Brexit referendum. We intend to have fun, with activities for children, poetry and music as well as the speeches, and to celebrate our European identity which is now in jeopardy.

Because of Brexit, thousands of British and Spanish citizens have spent nearly three years living with mounting uncertainty. The imminent possibility of a no-deal Brexit makes all this even worse and affects the futures of thousands of people, especially those who are under thirty. In our opinion, this situation must stop.

EuroCitizens thanks the Spanish government for the publication of the Royal Decree 5/2019 which will ease as much as possible the transition of UK residents here to Third-Country Nationals – with all the implications that the change has for us and our families. At the same time, the British government has begun the process of giving 'settled status' to Europeans living in the UK. However, the measures in both countries are unilateral and with no legal guarantee. If the UK fails to reciprocate in all of the areas covered in the Royal Decree, the Spanish government can rescind the special measures for UK citizens. Likewise, a change of UK government could mean a toughening of the requirements needed to gain settled status for Spaniards in Britain.   

Because of this, British in Europe (Britons in the EU) and the3million (Europeans in the UK) are asking for the ring-fencing of the citizens' rights included in the Withdrawal Agreement. This agreement is by no means perfect, amongst other things ending the freedom of movement of UKinEU, but ring-fencing it would give both groups the legal certainty of an international treaty.

On 27 February the House of Commons unanimously passed the Costa Amendment to ring-fence the rights of the five million. However, in its subsequent letter to the EU, the British government did not even propose ring-fencing. Meanwhile, the EU has made deals with the UK on aviation and finance, but refuses to discuss citizens' rights. Since the EEA and Switzerland have agreed with the UK to guarantee citizens' rights, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, a Norwegian or a Swiss citizen would have more rights in Britain than a Spaniard or a German. A profoundly unjust situation.

An alternative to ring-fencing of citizens' rights is a People's Vote, because to stay in the EU is the best way of guaranteeing our existing rights. Thus we are asking for a second referendum, with a franchise that includes all of the five million Britons in the EU and Europeans in the UK. If that happens, we are optimistic about a victory for Remain. For EuroCitizens such a result would be the end of a long nightmare and would give us the possibility of continuing to live our European dream. We are Europeans. We feel European. We have exercised our European citizenship for years. And we want to continue being Europeans.