What will happen with british residents in Spain after the Brexit? How to obtain your NIE number as a british expat?


In this post we are going to explain to you everything about the Brexit situation in Spain. If you´re a british citizen who wants to move to Spain after Brexit to study or work, in Flowabroad we can help you by giving you three advices in your moving process during and after the Brexit. Keep reading!

First things first, what is Brexit? “Brexit” is the mixture of `Britain’; and `Exit’, that consists of the UK’s Exit from the EU. In order to decide whether or not this project was carried out, a referendum was called and it turned out that the United Kingdom would leave the EU. Therefore it was established that the UK had 2 years to separate. The transition period started in March 2019 and will finish in December 2020.  The UK has to pay an exit fee and the 27 member countries will decide the conditions without UK, who is unable to vote. <However they could decide not to join certain politics approved during these 18 months. 


      1. Get your temporary NIE number in Spain

If you are a UK citizen and have economic interests in the country (you maybe have a property or would like to buy one, you are renting real estate properties or a car, you would like to set up a business, etc.); we advise you to get the temporary NIE number as soon as you arrived in Spain. Even though no official statement has been made about working in Spain with a NIE Number after the Brexit, the system will be probably roughly the same as non EU Citizens requesting a NIE Number. The booking system will be quite different as they will not be applying for an EU certificate.

British citizens will likely apply for a NIE Number like people from the rest of the world. This identification number does not expire, and it will immensely facilitate every kind of paperwork and procedure in Spain. Getting the NIE number is the most basic procedure you will need to do once you arrive before starting any immigration procedure. For further information about how to get you NIE number step by step you can take a look to our previous post. 

If you don´t speak spanish or need physical assitance to go along with you in this process we offer a premium pack for 50€ to go with you and sort this out 😉!

       2. Get your Green Card in Malaga

If you will stay in the country for more than 3 months, make sure that you update your Green Card  “residente comunitario con carácter permanente”, which will allow you apply for the permanent residency as a citizen from the European Union. Under the current rules, UK nationals living in Spain must register with the Spanish authorities (at the Oficina de Extranjeros or at a designated local police station) to be legally resident here.  As a UK citizen you have to know that foreign citizens of most countries must renounce their nationality of origin in order to obtain Spanish nationality by residence.  If they refuse to do that, they will not be able to obtain Spanish nationality.

Where and when to apply for residency in Malaga?


Calle Virgen del Gran Poder, 40 (29071 – Málaga)

Phone: 95 298 95 00

E-mail: infoextra.malaga@seap.minhap.es

Open: Monday to Friday 9h to 14h

The visa will be renewable for the first five years (the visa is renewable after the first year for a new period of 2 years. After the third year is is again renewable for a new period of 2 years, and after the fifth, the residents can become permanent) If you chose not to take permanent residency, you can continue to renew the visa as before. There are three types of visa that allow you to live in Spain:

  • Airport transit visa
  • Short-stay Schengen visa
  • Long-term visa

For further information about this different types of visa and how to obtain them we recommend you to take a look to this post in the website of Expatica where you´ll find all the information you´ll need.  Here you can also access to some visa tracking systems that allow you to follow the progress of you application. If you want to study in Spain as a non EU citizen you´ll have also to obtain a visa card that allows you to studying and living here. The guys from Expatica have also a very useful post that will help you as a british student to apply for your residence card for staying in Malaga.

       3. Keep updated

As a british expat is very important that you keep yourself updated of everything that happens during this transition process. You can do it through the British government’s website «Living in Spain».  Also, if you´re thinking of working or studying in Spain as a british citizen, we also recommend you to contact a immigration lawyer, that will assist you and solve any problem you would have. In Trámites Malaga they can put you in contact with some of the best immigration lawyers of the city. 


If you have got any doubts or need advice about your moving process according to your preferences, don´t hesitate in asking us! Our team is happy to help you for free in anything you need and let your adventure abroad flow! 🚀