CASE STUDY Nº 6: First Successful Non-Lucrative Residence Permit in London for UK Citizens
Many things have changed since Brexit. UK citizens who want to live in an EU country are especially affected by the UK's leaving of the European Union. Since they are now considered Non-EU citizens, they have to go through the same application processes as any other person who does not hold citizenship of a member state. Thus, for the first time, the Spanish consulates in the UK are receiving applications for Non-Lucrative Residence Permits, Residence and Self-Employment Permits etc. by UK citizens as applicants.
One of the first UK couples I assisted with the application for the non-lucrative residence permit for Spain at the Spanish Consulate General in London is now settled and they are enjoying their retirement on the sunny coast of Spain.
First step: A complete and informed list of documents
The first step was presenting the application in London, in accordance with the Consulate's requirements. As always, it is very important to follow a list of documents prepared for the application at that specific consulate. I prepared the list of documents as per the instructions of the Consulate-general in London as well as my experience and there were no surprises when my clients presented their paperwork.
We should all be aware that the change has not only complicated the lives of the UK citizens who now have to apply for more complicated visas and residence permits, but also the Consulates' everyday work, whose personnel until now were used to getting very few of these applications and are now overrun. Nowadays, it is quite difficult to obtain an appointment at the Consulate General in London and as I understand, this is due to them also having to get used to the drastic changes in demand.
Step 2: Prepare the documents
As part of the non-lucrative residence permit application, you have to present various public documents, that is, documents issued by government agencies, such as the police clearance certificate, the medical certificate (is considered a public document in some countries, in some it is not) and possibly marriage and birth certificates for accompanying family members. It is important to prepare these documents correctly for their presentation at the Consulate. First and foremost, be careful, because these documents generally have a validity of 3 months. Then, they have to be legalised to be used in Spain. In case of the UK, this can be done by sending the documents to the corresponding government agency to obtain the apostille stamp. Finally, the documents have to be translated by a certified translator.
Obtaining the required documents for my clients was quite easy. The UK offers fantastic online services and I could apply for their police clearance certificates through the ACRO website. I also requested their marriage certificate which was sent to them within a few days. Once we had all the required documents, I requested the legalisation online and just instructed the clients to put the documents in an envelope and where to send them. The documents came back with the apostille stamp a few weeks later.
I prepared the application and fee forms for the clients, so that they only had to print them out and sign them.
Finally, I had a zoom call with the clients to go through the list of documents with them and make sure we had everything and to explain to them how and in what order they should present everything at the Consulate.
Step 3: Get an appointment and present the application
In case of my clients, the Consulate was great to deal with and responsive. We were still able to get an appointment relatively easily and they were ushered through, just required to leave their documents, so that they would not spend too much time in the building because of the pandemic.
My clients received a favourable response from the Consulate after approx. 3 weeks and were asked to pick up their national visas to enter Spain.
Step 4: Pick up your visas, travel to Spain, register here and get your residence cards
Once the clients had picked up their visas, the last step was their registration in Spain and obtaining their residence cards (TIEs). Once they arrived at their place of residence where they had previously purchased a house, they registered at the town hall (empadronamiento) and then attended the appointments I made for them at the police station to get their fingerprints taken and to request their residence cards. A few weeks later, they were able to pick up their cards.
Even after Brexit it is not impossible to live your dream in Spain. Maybe the process is more complicated and requires more patience, but it would be my pleasure to help you through every step.