Spain approves the first law about the provisional consequences of a hard BREXIT. Expatriates.

GIVEN the possibility of a Brexit without an agreement or a Hard Brexit, Spain has approved, through Royal Decree Law 5/2019, a series of provisional measures to regulate the consequences of such an event, albeit temporarily and provisionally.

Regarding this law, we should point out the following;


Temporality and reciprocity

It is noted that some of the measures and consequences will be suspended if the United Kingdom does not, within two months of the entry into force of this law, agree a reciprocal treatment for Spanish individuals and companies in the United Kingdom, that is, the United Kingdom should recognise similar rights for Spaniards, so that the recognised rights in this law may be maintained.


Residence and work permits

This law will apply to British nationals and their relatives residing in Spain before the withdrawal (without agreement) of the United Kingdom, who must prove that they lived in Spain through a certificate of registration in the Central Registry of Foreigners or by any other means accepted in Spanish Law. We understand that residency prior to Brexit could be proven by: registration on the Padron at the Town Hall, copies of water and electricity bills, income tax declarations as residents, etc.

British nationals and their families will be obliged to submit an application, according to the documentation and requirements that will be established by the Council of Ministers, according to their new condition (nationals of a country not a member of the European Union), to obtain the corresponding residence and work permits, within 21 months of the withdrawal from the United Kingdom, and during this period British passport holders and their families will be allowed to continue to reside in Spain legally.


Access to long-term residence

In addition, this law provides that British citizens residing in Spain before Brexit can obtain a long-term residence if they can prove that they have resided in Spain for more than five years continuously prior to Brexit.



Article 7, says that British professionals who are practicing a profession in Spain at the time of Brexit, may continue to exercise and develop their professional activity, even if there is a requirement to be a national of a member state of the European Union.


Social Security

 Article 11, says that unless an international agreement or one between the two countries is entered into, during the 21 months following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the Union, British nationals, who after Brexit reside and work legally in Spain, thus being subject to Spanish Social Security laws, will enjoy the same rights as before.

But these rights are conditional on the United Kingdom recognising the same rights for Spanish nationals.



 Article 13, says that unless an international agreement or one between Spain and the United Kingdom is adopted, and for a period of 21 months following Brexit, individuals who are entitled to healthcare in the United Kingdom or Gibraltar, will receive health care in Spain through the Spanish national health system, in the same way as before Brexit, so long as the United Kingdom also provides healthcare to Spaniards and other nationals entitled to healthcare in Spain and on the condition that expenses arising from such assistance are reimbursed to Spain.


Health cards will remain valid and will be used to allow for the receipt of health care, so that expatriates living in Spain will be able to use them for at least a further 21 months.


If you are an expatriate in Spain and if you have any questions, contact us and we will help


The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues.


Carlos Baos (Lawyer)

White & Baos

Tel: +34 966 426 185


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