THE British Embassy in Madrid has revealed that 150,000 Britons living in Spain have been issued with TIE cards since it was introduced in July last year.
Brexit meant that the green certificates available to citizens of EU member states would no longer be issued to Brits entitled to residency in Spain.
Those who had yet to apply for residency were encouraged to do so before the December 31 deadline while those who already had possession of the green certificate were assured that they would remain valid beyond the end of the Withdrawal Agreement.
However, many long-term British residents in Spain took the decision to swap their green certificates for the new biometric TIE cards “just in case”.
And that decision has paid off for many.
The British Embassy in Madrid has revealed just how many Brits had gone through the process of applying for TIE cards in a post on the Brits in Spain facebook page.
“At the beginning of June (2021) more than 150,000 UK Nationals had applied for their Withdrawal Agreement TIE – that’s both those swapping from the green certificate, as well as brand new applicants.” They revealed.
That means that more than double the number of people applied in the first six months of this year than the 50,000 who applied in the last six months of 2020.
Many of those applicants may have decided to make the exchange after seeing the mayhem caused in the early days of the 2021 when the coronavirus pandemic restrictions combined with new Brexit rules to make it difficult for those who didn’t have the TIE.
When Spain imposed travel restrictions on those from Britain unless they could prove residency, many travellers found they were unable to persuade border guards that the green residency certificates were still valid even though the UK was no longer an EU member state.
At the time we reported on people being refused boarding on flights to Spain if they didn’t have TIEs, an occurrence that was repeated later in the year at Alicante airport.
In fact, the facebook post suggested those who were entitled to but hadn’t already applied for a TIE to do so as soon as possible.
“If you’re not one of them, both we and the Spanish Government recommend doing so as soon as you can.”
But if the green certificates are still valid, why go through the hassle? you may well ask.
The British Embassy explains:
“It explicitly states your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. It makes day-to-day administrative processes, including border crossing, easier. It’s got your photo on it, it’s more recognisable and it’s more durable.”
It could also save you arguing with a stubborn border guard or any functionario about the validity of the green certificate if the need arises.
It’s also a surprisingly straightforward process for those who just want to make the exchange and many of the Extranjerias (foreigners’ office) have put on extra staff to deal with the Brexit backlog.