Some of you may know that ever since Brexit was announced, there has been talk of a credit-card sized green residencia card called a TIE being introduced to replace the NIE that expats need to have when living in Spain.
Earlier this month, the Spanish government finally announced its availability. As of 4th July 2020, UK expats living in Spain can now apply for a TIE card, although please know this is not mandatory.
As we write this article, thousands of British expats are scrambling to get an appointment to get their TIE as soon as possible for fear of losing their right to Spanish residency next year when the Transition period ends. But fear not – no one will be deported.
Whilst the new TIE card is the new fashion amongst Brits in Spain, the government has assured us that this little green card is not mandatory. Yes, it will replace the green A4 or credit card-sized NIE paper most of us have, but it will not cause problems for those who don’t have it as long as they have their NIE.
What will the new TIE card look like?
If you have ever seen a Spaniard’s DNI card, this is what a Tie card will look like, only green. It will be a small, green credit card-sized plastic card with your photo, personal information and residency status and number on it.
The benefit of having a TIE card is that it will clearly state that it’s owner benefits from the Brexit Withdrawl Agreement and distinguishes between initial and permanent residency. Sidenote: as some of you may know, any foreigner that has resided legally in Spain for over 5 years qualifies for permanent residency here, providing they spend over 183 days per year in Spain.
Other benefits include it being more durable than the NIE green paper and it qualifying as a form of photo ID.
What else do I need to know?
The main thing is that the government has assured Brexpats that their residency, free movement and social security rights will remain the same after Brexit. Also, family member will be included in the Withdrawl Agreement even if they are from non-EU countries as long as they are registered legally in Spain before 31st December 2020.
Another thing to bear in mind is that you are required to have health insurance – both private and public are valid. If you have private insurance, make sure you have the same benefits as the Spanish National Healthcare System.
When do I need to apply for my TIE card?
You can apply as of right now. Although it is difficult to get an appointment with Immigration to apply, if you plan on being in Spain for more than 90 days over a 180 day period then we recommend you get everything sorted before 31st December 2020. At the moment all residency, free movement and social security rights are automatically guaranteed but things may get more complicated after the transition period has ended – nobody knows for sure.
Sidenote: the same goes for your UK driving license. At the time of writing you can simply apply for a Spanish one, but after this year it’s possible that you may have to retake your driving test as some citizens of some non-EU countries have to.
To apply for your TIE card you will need to make an appointment or cita previa online via the Spanish Immigration Department website. As we mentioned before, it is quite hard to get an appointment due to so many applications so make sure to apply well in advance.
Getting your TIE can be quite a stressful process if you do not speak Spanish – there are forms to fill out, processing fees to be paid, paperwork to put in order and appointments to attend. It might not be a bad idea to hire a lawyer to help you out with the process and act as a translator if you want to go yourself. Alternatively, you can sign a Power of Attorney and they will do everything for you while you relax at the beach…
We would be happy to assist you with applying for your TIE card – contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.