Warning: About Brexit and the new Spanish residency for British citizens

This article is for British citizens, for those who are within the following group:

  1. You have your green card or A4 paper Spanish residency certificate
  2. You have never applied for Spanish residency before

Please read carefully, this is a good metaphor about what can be around the corner.


The tsunami (Brexit) is coming to you

Can you imagine this?

You are on the beach sitting in a chair.

It’s sunny.

Your partner next to you.

Two children making sandcastles across you.

A few seagulls in the sky.

The sound of the waves softly hitting the seashore.

All of a sudden, you see something far away, at the horizon.

It looks like a bubbling line above the water.

Then you realise it’s a wave.

People around stand up staring at the wave.

In just a few seconds, it goes from an insignificant thing to a fast-growing wave.

Higher and higher.

As in Hollywood apocalyptic movies.

A huge wave.

As big as a building.

The two children making castles are grabbed by the arm. Their parents ran away with them.

Some people start screaming.

Others leave the beach, all their things abandoned there.

The wave is getting bigger and bigger.

You can see the white foam on top of the wave.

The hit is imminent.

(In my imagination, the wave is this big)


It’s the point of no return

In less than a minute, the beach is almost empty, apart from several groups of people who have done nothing.

They got their umbrellas up.

The food and drinks on the table.

The white and blue cooler on the side.

These people are still sitting on the chair, looking at you, smiling, saying that it’s nothing, that the wave will disappear anytime, no worries.

I will call these people: The Free Advisers.

One of them says: “No worries, the wave will lose power as it gets closer to us. We are safe”, a grin in his face.

Another Free Adviser says: “Oh, those waves are not real, they only happen in movies. Not to worry”, and gives you the shrug of the shoulders.

Another Free Advisers starts telling you the story of a neighbour living in Spain…

For a second, you feel tempted to stay with them.

All this might be just a nightmare.

The Free Advisers seem to be right because they speak perfect English.

They feel like friends.

However, your instinct is telling you that the danger is real, that you must react.

The wave does nothing but getting bigger and bigger.

It’s so close that you have to look up to see the peak of the wave.

Then, behind you, a man shouts: get in the car!

You turn around.

It’s a man with a beard, a big car, doors opened, pointing at you.

Get in the car!

The Free Advisers look at the car. One of them sighs and sits down again.

“Get a new car mate!”, says one.

“That wave is illegal!”, shouts another Free Adviser.

All of them laugh.


The choice is yours

Here are the protagonists of the story:

The tsunami wave = Brexit

The Free Advisers = Anonymous people on the Internet reassuring that nothing will happen, that you can apply for residency on your own and save the money (most of them did not do it on their own), that the new residency card is illegal (as if Brexit would have been created by Spain), that you have this and that much time left.

The man with the bear and the car = me, David, telling you to apply for residency before Brexit brings the final hit with more unpredictable outcomes.

Sounds like a Hollywood movie, right?

The danger.

The hero.

Well, it is not.

It’s the real world.


(Not this time… the new Spanish residency process is for real)

Things are changing.

Brexit is almost done.

Let me explain.


Four years of opportunities

After the Brexit referendum in 2016, there were four deadlines:

The First deadline was 29 March 2019.

The Second deadline was 31 October 2019.

The Third deadline was 31 January 2020 (the official day when the UK left the EU).

The Fourth deadline was 31 December 2020, the transition period.

The procedure to apply for residency should have been EU until the end of 2020, but…

Out of the blue… there is a new procedure to apply for residency.

Just like that.


Out of the blue.

Starting on 6 July 2020.

No early announcement.

No official publications.

Just the exact way things will probably keep happening for residency.


Out of the blue.


So, now what?

Before 6 July, you could get your Spanish residency card in one simple visit.

One single appointment.

One single procedure.

One single part.

The Spanish residency card (green card) was yours straight away.

It’s true that coronavirus has complicated everything.

Several months were gone due to the lockdown in Spain.

The foreign affairs offices and immigration offices were closed between 14 March 2020 and 15 June 2020.


Maybe you got your green card already.

Maybe not because you couldn’t apply earlier.

For those who have not obtained their residency yet, the process has become more complex.

Not impossible, but more complex.

The new Spanish residency process for British citizens has been divided into three parts:

  1. Application:The immigration office will collect all the requirements and will study every case individually.  By law, it could take up to three months for them to make the official decisions.
  2. Fingerprint:The immigration office will produce a letter stating whether the application has been approved. If yes, the Spanish national police will take your fingerprint and will order the card.
  3. Spanish residency card collection:It will be ready a few weeks after the fingerprint stage.

Can you read between the lines?

The green card, which was a single visit, has not turned into a procedure that could potentially take months and months.

It was a wave that for four years has been coming to you.


The deadline is approaching: 31/12/2020.

The wave keeps coming to you.


Out of the blue.


(Unpredictable as a foggy road)


What can you do?

The Free Advisers will keep saying:

  • That new Spanish residency procedure is nothing, super easy
  • That you can do it on your own and save the money
  • That the friend of the friend of the friend of the friend got it done for €50
  • That according to whatever European directive, the new residency is illegal
  • Bla Bla Bla

But the choice is yours.

Because the Free Advisers will not pay the consequences of your decisions.

They will be gone from the Internet when you try to confront them for giving you wrong advice.

New Free Advisers will appear.

As a never-ending cycle.

They come and go.

But the wave keeps coming to you…

The car is ready for you to escape from the monster wave… only if you get in the car.


There is only one question to answer

Are you ready to apply for your Spanish residency?

If yes, do it.

Take action now and apply for residency now.

But now.

Not in 2 months.

Not a week before the end of the year.

Not on 31/12/2020.

Start the process now.

Get in the system and protect yourself in case something happens after the end of the year.

People will start panicking as the 31/12/2020 deadline gets closer and closer.

They will realize that the wave is there, huge, giant as Mount Everest.

The immigration offices may get overloaded, the appointment system may get blocked, no appointments (as it happened during the early stages of Brexit, the deadlines I described earlier).

Do it now.

The wave is coming… are you getting in the car to escape?


The two groups

You are within one of these groups:

1. You have got your green card or A4 green Spanish residency certificate

My recommendation is to exchange the card now.

You may read on the Internet that is fine, no rush, no obligation, that according to…

And it’s true, no obligation, no rush.

But this could change overnight (could change = possibility, maybe, not 100% guaranteed).

And could change out of the blue.


The wave.

The foggy road.

The blockage on the appointment system.

Even if you would like to do it with the friend of the friend of the friend (x 10) at €50…

Do it.

Note: it’s only my recommendation

I want to clarify this crystal clear so that there are no misunderstandings.

I don’t mean your green card or A4 residency sheet will be illegal beyond 31/12/20.

I don’t mean you must exchange your green card or A4 residency sheet before 31/12/20.

Just a recommendation.

2. You have not applied for residency yet

Apply for residency now.

Beyond 31/12/2020 everything is up in the air.

People are speaking about another date they have read here and there, June 2021.

I have read super vague and ambiguous information about that.

Sounds like hope, fresh air, some more extra time, correct?

Well, some people will keep procrastinating and won’t apply even if it’s stretched to the year 2040.

But it’s not about the procrastinators.

It’s not about The Free Advisers.

It’s about you.

About being legal in Spain.

About living a happy life in Spain free of worries.


My recommendation?

Stop making calculations if you have not applied for residency yet.

It’s been four years of opportunities.

Deadline: 31/12/2020.

Are you ready to apply for residency?

Then, do it now.

Because things may change out of the blue.


The wave.

Nothing will be published in the newspaper.

Nothing will be on the news.

It will not be announced by a car driving around with a big megaphone.

You will not receive a leaflet in the post.

It’s going to happen.

Out of the blue.



That is all.

(A nice set to wander around announcing the changes)


Get in the car now

Which is code for: apply for residency now (if you have not got it yet).

When should you do it?


You will be tempted to wait a few more months.

The Free Advisers will try to convince you too.

You will read tons of contradictions on the Internet.

The official websites will be full of jargon and ambiguity.

Nothing clear.

But, if you have not applied by 31/12/2020, as of today, beyond this date, everything is up in the air.


About trying to save money on important things in Spain

I have been running Torrevieja Translation since 2010.

Ten years as of today.

I have met over 10,000 people since.

And I have seen a common pattern within a certain group of people:

They buy property impulsively.

They spend thousands of euros (many times it’s over 100,000 Euros) without knowing the area (and regret 1-2 years down the road).

Then try to save money on important things: healthcare, Spanish residency, tax advisers, legal services.

But it’s the other way around, believe me.

The stay permit is the most important step, as otherwise, you will not be able to enjoy your home.


Isn’t your health more important than your home?

Having peace of mind is less important than saving a few hundred Euros?


It’s all pocket money

It is.

Getting your Spanish residency is pocket money.

Protecting your health in Spain is pocket money.

Using a good fiscal adviser is pocket money.

The difference between doing things right or wrong can be only a few hundred Euros.

The difference between the guy on shorts who does residencies and the relocation advisers who will protect you and will make your dream come true in Spain is only a few hundred Euros.

Can you see it?

Only several hundred euros difference between low cost and high quality.

Have you seen those shows where people go to cheap plastic surgeons to save some money but end up at professional clinics to fix the disaster (and paying fortunes)?

You get the idea ?

In English you say: buy cheap, buy twice.

Although there will always be an exception to the rule, the lucky one who got things cheap and is bragging all over the Internet.

The Free Advisers…

(It’s pocket money… getting Spanish residency is pocket money)


Are you ready to move to Spain?

You are either from an EU or non-EU country… and chances are you don’t know where to start.

But, good news, we are relocation specialists :-)

Here is the starting point.

Please click / tap on the image below:

online session


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Alicante Province

Costa Blanca: These are my usual in-person coverage areas in Costa Blanca Spain,  Altea,  Calpe, Orihuela Costa, GuardamarJavea, Moraira, Alicante, La Marina, Denia, Pilar de la Horadada, Benidorm, El Campello, Santa Pola, and, of course, Torrevieja; as well as other towns near Alicante.

Inland Alicante province: OrihuelaElche, Pinoso, Almoradi, Alcoy, Orba, Rojales, Crevillente, Los Montesinos, San Miguel de Salinas, Benijofar, Algorfa,

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Credit image: Brian M.Bradley G.JWPhotography2012,  mckinney75402