This is an attempt to reply to what are now the very many times I’ve been asked about the situation of Brits in Tenerife now that the UK “has left the EU”.
What the question means is “now that the UK has voted to leave the UK”. As of this moment, and until two years after article 50 has been triggered, the UK has not yet left the EU. There has been a referendum which is non-binding on the government, which could, in theory, ignore or overturn it, or simply refuse to implement it. But even if it takes it as binding, nothing will change for at least the next two years.
In the meantime, there is no additional requirement for a work permit or additional documentation, or anything else to enable British nationals to continue living and working in Spain. The current requirements HERE remain valid until further notice.
Beyond that, absolutely everything else will have to wait for the result of the exit negotiations which have not yet started, and cannot start until the UK starts the exit process by triggering article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon which it has not yet done (see HERE). Obviously I will post any firm information as and when it becomes available, and I will post it here to keep it all together. In the meantime, I would urge anyone living here who is not registered with the police (and with a Certificado de Registro), or not on a council padrón, to do so immediately.
In this respect, one question I’m now being asked repeatedly is “following Brexit, would it be wise to apply for permanent residency now?” The answer is, of course, that as is clear from the link to the current requirements linked to above, those living here do not have a choice to “apply for residency” but are under a “requirement to register”. Therefore anyone living here should already be registered with the police, and anyone who is planning to move over cannot guarantee anything by pre-emptively getting a Certificado de Registro now, which in any case would mean making a false declaration of residence in Spain. Above all, bear in mind that the Certificado de Registro is a certificate for EU nationals, and so might be replaced by some other requirements once the Brexit procedure is complete and the immigration conditions for Brits as non-EU nationals are confirmed.
So to reiterate, the current situation will remain the case while Brexit negotiations continue, and everything will have to be determined by negotiations yet to come. Nothing firm can be said until those negotiations are completed.
Postscript 11 July: The UK Government has now set up THIS page offering advice for British nationals travelling and living in Europe in the wake of the Leave vote. It says, as I say below, that nothing will change for at least two years, but it’s useful to have an official source for people to check up with.
Postcript 13 October: Two pieces of what will be considered good news by many have emerged today. First, Theresa May has been in Spain meeting Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy, who has confirmed that British residents in the country will have their rights protected. Rajoy said that Spain wanted to keep the impact of Brexit to a minimum, and that the Spanish Government – of which he is now de facto president – was above all concerned to protect the interests of Spaniards in the UK, and that the interests of Britons in Spain would be similarly assured.
Elsewhere, the Polish President of the European Council and ex-PM of Poland, Donald Tusk, has said that the “irrevocable” triggering of Article 50,which starts the two-year negotiating period of the UK’s departure from the EU is not irrevocable at all. There is a clear variation in legal opinion, but the bottom line seems to be that it is a matter of political will and expediency rather than legal determination. The end might be near, but it might not be the end we’re expecting, given Tusk’s comments today.