We are publishing this report on Tuesday 24th of November. Coming into the holiday season, that leaves us just 20 working days to ensure you have done everything necessary to maintain your right to live and work in Spain. 


Ensuring you have legal residency is the most important issue for most people. It is essential to understand that having a Spanish NIE number does not in itself constitute residency. 

At this late stage we are seeing some people who have lived and worked in Spain for some time, some even for many years, but discovering they do not have official residency and that they cannot gain residency with their current property status – typically where subletting.

Also some people holding a ‘white’ NIE who mistakenly believe this to be residency. 

If you have any doubt regarding your residency status help is available. See details further in this article.  

Driving Licence

The situation regarding driving licence exchange is so confused that even the professionals are unclear how the situation will resolve itself. On this subject all we can do at present is wait and see – we have further information on driving licence exchange coming soon. 

U.K. Government Action 

  • One of the largest UK Government direct mail campaigns to UK Nationals living in EU and EFTA member states, with 365,000 customers on Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) database contacted.
  • UK Nationals resident before 31 December can continue living and working in Spain, but will need to register as soon as possible if they have not already done so.
  • UK State Pensioners will continue to receive their healthcare cover and pensions as they do now.
  • UK Nationals Support Fund has so far assisted more than 37,000 UK Nationals in Spain.

The UK Government has written to 365,000 UK Nationals living in Europe with advice on the actions they need to take to prepare for the end of the UK transition period on 31 December. This includes 102,087 letters issued to people on DWP’s database in Spain.

The letters, sent to UK State Pensioners and benefit recipients, give advice on how to register for residency and healthcare, exchange driving licences and check new passport validity rules online. It is one of the largest-ever mail outs by the UK Government to UK nationals living in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

The UK Government has also allocated £3 million for charities and community voluntary organisations across Europe to assist UK Nationals that may need additional help in applying for residency. This includes potentially at-risk groups, such as pensioners and disabled people and those living in remote areas or who have mobility difficulties. In Spain, three charities – Age in Spain, Babelia and IOM – have received funding and by the end of September over 37,000 people had accessed their services. For details of how to contact them visit gov.uk/livinginspain.

British Ambassador to Spain Hugh Elliott said:

 “Supporting UK Nationals is one of our highest priorities. The organisations receiving funding to support British people with their residency are making a huge difference and, since 2017, we have organised nearly 300 outreach events. Whilst face-to-face events are currently limited by COVID restrictions, we continue to provide support through our Facebook Live Q&As. Our next session on residency is on 1 December, so please do follow us on BritsinSpain on Facebook to take part.”

 The UK Government has been running a public information campaign featuring online, radio and newspaper adverts across 30 countries informing UK Nationals of the actions they need to take.

Ambassadors, Heads of Mission and Consuls General from across Europe have recorded a video message reminding UK Nationals of the actions they may need to take before the end of the Transition Period. You can view the video here.

UK Nationals’ rights to continue living in EU member states are protected by the Withdrawal Agreement (and Separation Agreement with EFTA countries), provided they are resident and exercising their treaty/free movement rights by 31 December 2020. This is not affected by the UK’s ongoing trade negotiation with the EU.

Actions UK Nationals may need to take include:

  • Applying or registering for residency
  • Checking or registering for healthcare
  • Exchanging UK driving licence
  • Checking passport validity

UK Nationals can find the most up to date information on actions they may need to take at gov.uk/livinginspain and on www.facebook.com/britsinspain.