The FCDO has confirmed, again, that Registros (green NIEs/residencias), whether A4 or credit-card sized, and whether containing the word permanente or not, remain valid and transfer to the TIE is up to the individual – those who do not want to exchange do not have to. There are clear advantages to the TIE, the main one being that it can be used as ID and so obviates the need to carry a passport, but some object to the fact that unlike the Registro, the TIE needs to be updated every ten years like any other photo document, eg driving licences. Presumably the FCDO has issued this update because there are rumours for unknown reasons that changing over to the TIE had become compulsory. It has not. The FCDO says:
If you were legally resident in Spain before 1 January 2021, you will be able to stay. You must ensure you are correctly registered as a resident. Children must also be registered with their own residency document.
If you are registering for the first time, you will be issued with a biometric residence card called a Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE). This card will prove your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.
If you registered as a resident before 6 July 2020, you will have a green A4 certificate or credit card-sized piece of paper from Extranjeria or the police. This is still a valid document and proves your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.
If you have trouble using your green EU residence certificate, read the Spanish government’s informative note on documentation for UK nationals. This explains which documents you can use to prove your residence and Withdrawal Agreement rights in Spain. You can refer to this informative note when dealing with service providers.
You can exchange your paper EU residence document for the new TIE but you are not required to.
The Spanish government recommends obtaining the TIE because the biometric card is more durable. It will also simplify administrative processes and border crossings.
Read the Spanish government’s guidance on how to apply for the new TIE.
For more information: