A month has passed since the Spanish government brought in the new law that saw the introduction of the biometric Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE) application process for both first time residents and holders of the current EU residency card.
Things have been moving quickly. Although at first there were concerns that the initial response from the government process could take up to 90 days, we’ve been receiving the notifications within a week for the Granada and Malaga provinces. That’s not to say that as the number of applications submitted rises, and with August being historically the worst month for any administrative operation in Spain, response time won’t get slower, but so far so good.
The application process
The application process is divided into two parts – Stages 1 and 2. Stage 1 is the initial application made to the main province Oficina de Extranjeria. On approval Stage 2 is completed at the local National Police station Foreigner’s Office.
The process is substantially different to the EU residency applications that British citizens used to complete pre 30 June 2020. Now Stage 1 is assessed without the applicant present, with notification sent once the assessment has been completed. The new law states that the applications must adhere to the rules set out in the artículo 7 del Real Decreto 240/2007. This means that the same healthcare and economic sustainability requirements are still in place as any other EU citizen until the 31 December. While overall this is great, it doesn’t necessarily mean that applications won’t now be subject to varying nuances and requirements. So we continue to prepare each and every file with a ‘belts and braces’ approach and so far, the Oficina de Extranjeria have responded well.
One key requirement for new first time applicants wanting to register as legal residents under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, is proof that they are residing in Spain. Initially, the Oficina de Extranjeria advised us that a Padron Certificate would suffice, and our initial applications were accepted accordingly, However, in some regions they are now requesting additional proof that an applicant is living in Spain.
Stage 2 – First-time applicants with a favorable ‘resolucion’ and current EU residency cardholders
We have already had our first group of first-time applicants pass on to Stage 2 and request their new card, and of course, current EU residency cardholders can exchange to a TIE card as well, if they want.
As made clear in various statements from the British Embassy in Madrid, the new law does state that for current legal residents, the switch isn’t obligatory, as their EU style residency card proves that they are legally residing in Spain within the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement. Also, there was misinformation circulating on social media saying that applying to swap now would take appointments from new applicants – a sitation that has been dismissed as not the case by Spanish National Police.
This may be the reason why the initial uptake for current EU residency cardholders to switch to TIE has been pretty slow. But in Malaga, appointments have been made readily available in all the local Foreigner’s Offices and even though it’s not obligatory, it’s definitely a good idea to make the switch sooner rather than later. The National Police we’ve spoken to have told us this and they are also of the opinion that eventually, it will be made compulsory.
So, the first month has been a success and although for many, Brexit has caused much uncertainty and worry, systems are now in place to get your paperwork in order. So full steam ahead on both fronts for first-time applicants and the EU to TIE switches alike.