FCDO confirms accepted residency documentation for UK nationals

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:


  1. Hello Janet,
    I have been a resident and tax resident for 2 years, is it true that I can no longer get the 75% travel discount since Brexit?
    Best regards

    1. Author

      Since the empadronamiento para viajar certificate (viaje), which provides travel and other discounts, is provided by EU regulation, it is covered by EU law. As such it is for legal residents within the EU. Some councils seem to understand this and are issuing viajes to those on the padrón who can show permanencia (so a Registro or TIE with permanente on it). Others are saying they’ll give viajes to anyone on the padrón. Yet others are saying that this does not cover British nationals because the UK has left the EU. One council is saying yes to British nationals with an old Registros but not those with a new TIE because that’s a third-country nationals’ document! It is therefore currently a postcode lottery. Legally, anyone who can show legal residence of any length is entitled, but getting that entitlement means getting past the council gatekeepers. I’ll post any information that becomes available as the situation becomes clearer,

  2. Hi Janet
    I have an Irish passport my wife has a UK passport. We jointly have owned a property on a residential complex in Tenerife since 2004.
    Are the rules about periods of stay in Tenerife the same for both of us or are there different rules for the spouse of an EU citizen?

    1. Author

      As far as we understand, the rule for your wife is the same as any British national, namely the 90 day rule still applies to her. The circumstances of her owning property and married to somebody with an Irish passport are irrelevant.

  3. Hi Janet, I really hope this is not a silly question, but if you have one of the green registros and a Spanish driving license, would that be enough to not carry a passport with you for identification?

    1. Author

      Yes, because the carné is an ID document. A bank might refuse it and demand a passport, but that’s the only instance I’m aware of where a carné wasn’t accepted as full ID, including at notary … and the Registro isn’t ID but proves legal residence.

  4. Hello Janet, really appreciate your clear explanations of current issues regarding Brexit especially. I am an Irish citizen with an Irish passport and a member of the Eu unlike UK citizens who voted to come out of Europe. Can you tell me what I am entitled to do as a member of the Eu that is different from UK citizens with regard to the 90 days out of 180 days stay in Europe? I have a property in Tenerife and am confused about how long I can stay in my property from now on? Regards and thanks. Peggy

    1. Author

      The 90 days restriction does not apply to you because you are an EU member state national and so have freedom of movement. You have no concerns about anything changing.

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