All about the new TIE – Frequently Asked Questions


The New TIE –  Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero
Frequently Asked Questions for UK citizens with EXISTING green residence documents (Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión)

As we’re getting lots of questions about the new TIE card and the exchange process, we’ve put together these FAQs and we’ll update this article regularly with any new questions as we receive them. 

Is it obligatory to exchange my existing green A4 paper or credit card sized Certificate?(Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión) 
No, it isn’t obligatory, just recommended, the new law published on 4th July 2020  states we are in the voluntary period to exchange them. Here’s a translated extract from the law regarding the issuing of he new biometric TIE card:

“By virtue of this, the nationals of the United Kingdom, the members of their families and any other persons residing in Spain in accordance with the conditions established in the Agreement will not be obliged to request a new resident status or submit, therefore, to a new documentation process, but they will have the right to receive, in accordance with the provisions of Directive 2004/38, a residence document expressly stating their status as beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement.

In addition, in accordance with Article 19 of the Withdrawal Agreement, this residence document can be requested voluntarily during the transitional period.”

So why are people saying it is obligatory to exchange to the new TIE?
While there have been a few instances of unscrupulous people trying to make a profit by spreading false information, the consensus within the Immigration and Police Foreigner’s Departments is that ”it is highly recommended that the exchange is made as soon as possible”.

Can I use my new TIE as a photographic ID?
Yes, this is one of the big advantages – your TIE is official proof of ID so you’ll no longer have to carry your passport around with you in Spain. You can also use it instead of your passport for travel internally within Spain and the islands. 

How much will the exchange to the new TIE card cost?
If you do it yourself, the tax (tasa) is €12 euros + the price of a photo from a shop or photo booth.  If you’d prefer help, then you can pay for a specialist to help with the documentation and assist you at the Police Station.

How long does it take for my new card to be ready to collect? 
After you complete your first appointment,  you’ll be able to collect your new TIE card in about 30 days.

Does the new TIE card have an expiry date?
Like all photo ID they do need to be updated to make sure the photo is current. The length of time you’ve been legally resident in Spain will dictate when you will need to renew it and how long the card is issued for. 

  • Up to 5 years legal residence –  Temporary TIE card, renewable after 5 years when you’ll be able to apply for the “permanente” 10 year renewable TIE
  • More than 5 years residence – Permanent TIE card renewable every 10 years

Do I need to show a Padron Certificate when I exchange?
Yes, but only if you’ve changed address since your residency document was issued. The Certificate needs to be less than 3 months old, and we recommend you have copies as well. Conditions do vary between areas so to be “belts and braces” we’d advise you to at least take your most recent Padron Certificate with you, even if you haven’t changed address.

Can I go to any National Police station Extranjeria to exchange to the TIE?
Yes, you can in Malaga province, but always check with your local Extranjeria, just to make sure as there are variations across regions. 

Are there any appointments available?
In Malaga yes, plenty at the moment. The Spanish authorities have gone to a lot of time, effort and trouble to put all the arrangements in place so that UK citizens can exchange their documents as easily and as quickly as possible. There’s dedicated staff in most of the larger Extranjeria’s and other regions also seem to be making plenty of appointments available. 

Won’t I take appointments away from new residency applications if I exchange before the end of 2020?
No, although new applicants do need to go attend the same type of appointment once they have a favourable resolution from their application, their initial process is different. 

What happens if I decide to wait and keep my green card/A4 paper?
At the moment your current green documents are completely valid and serve to demonstrate the protection of your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. The difference with the TIE is that the card explicitly states this protection in writing on the card, whereas the green documents don’t.
It may also be more difficult to get appointments as time goes on or if a mandatory period for the exchange is bought in. 

Do I have to have my fingerprints taken? 
Yes, the TIE is a biometric identity card that conforms to all European standards – having fingerprints keeps you and your card secure. 

Do I have to provide a photograph? 
Yes, you’ll need to provide a “carnet” sized photograph (same size as for the driving licence, 32x26mm) which they scan and give back. This is another security measure, confirming your identity and meaning that the card can be used as official ID. If you’re visiting Fuengirola Extranjeria, you can get your photos same day at the Pro Exchange shop next door.

Useful Links
The Spanish Government have issued a comprehensive guide to the TIE process in English, which you can download from the La Moncloa website

The official Spanish government policy document on the TIE process as it applies to UK citizens under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, can be found here 

The information in this article was current on the date published.
Article last reviewed 10.08.2022

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