Prepare yourself for Brexit – Interim Spanish legislation on driving licences, health assistance and residence permits of UK Citizens in Spain


Dear client,

The Council of Ministers of Spain has met today in order to approve an interim legislation to protect UK citizens living in Spain in case United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a deal.

The law will be published either tomorrow or Monday. However a summary of it has been released to the public, on which we are providing an extract of information useful to our clients.

In case new relevant information is contained in the published law, we will send an update to this Newsletter.

Please note that measures approved are temporary and unilateral, which means that they will not longer be valid once the period stablished on them has finalized, or if a bilateral agreement is reached between Spain and UK, or if a broader agreement is reached between the European Union and UK.

Another important requirement for those measures to apply is that United Kingdom provides similar treatment to Spanish Nationals living in the UK.

The measures that will affect circa 300.000 registered UK citizens living in Spain will be:



–          British citizens residing in Spain before the date of withdrawal from the United Kingdom (March 29th, 2019) will fall in the general immigration regime after Brexit.

–          All registered British residents in Spain will be considered legal residents in Spain after Brexit. In order to obtain permanent residency, prior periods of residence in Spain will be taken into account in accordance with the EU citizens’ regime.

–          In order to facilitate the documentation of all British citizens in Spain, the certificates of registration and family cards of citizen of the Union will remain valid until the issuance of new documents under the general regime of foreigners.

This means that the current green residence cards or residence A4 papers that you hold will remain temporarily valid until the end of year 2020.

After January 2021, UK citizens will be expected to exchange their EU resident cards for a Non EU residence cards.

For those British citizens that do already hold a permanent residence card, the exchange process will be almost automatic.

We strongly advice British citizens living in Spain, that do not hold a residence card or paper yet, to register as resident before Brexit at the Foreigner’s Police Station before March 29th.




Spain has granted an extra 9 month period to exchange UK driving licences for Spanish driving licences.

If you are a UK licence holder living in Spain you should exchange your UK driving licence for a Spanish driving licence during year 2019. From that date, in the event that there is no EU Exit deal, and no bilateral agreement, you may have to pass an Spanish driving test to be able to carry on driving in Spain.

Residents in Spain should consider exchanging your UK driving licence for an Spanish driving licence as soon as possible. Increased demand may lead to longer processing times and delays to exchanging driving licences.

Please contact us should you require any help with exchanging your UK driving licence for an Spanish one.



Spain will continue rendering health assistance to UK citizens who have either an EHIC card, or that have transferred their UK health rights into Spain in the same way as before Brexit at least during April and May 2019.

After June 2019, rendering of health services to UK citizens will depend on:

–          UK guaranteeing that Spanish citizens do also receive health assistance in the UK, which will be paid by the Spanish Government.

–          UK reimbursing Spain for the cost of medical treatment of UK citizens receiving health assistance in Spain.

We hope you find this information useful. We will keep you updated on Brexit related issues affecting Spanish resident and visitors, as soon as new laws are enacted.

Article 50brexitbritishcitizensEuropean UnionSpainUk

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