14 Sep, 2018 @ 16:04
2 mins read

EXPAT ALARM: ‘Get yourself registered’, warns Spain ambassador in open Brexit letter

Simon Manley official photo
HELP US CATCH THEM: Says ambassador Simon Manley
GET REGISTERED: Says Simon Manley

BRITISH ambassador to Spain Simon Manley has issued a warning letter to all expats living in Spain.

The Brexit letter urges Brits living in Spain to make sure they are registered fully before the UK divorce from the EU.

While it expresses optimism for a deal, it says all eventualities have to be prepared for, including a potentially devastating no-deal.

“Please ensure you are correctly registered here in Spain,” Manley urges.

It also included a link which details how to prepare for a no-deal scenario.

It comes after no-deal guidelines from the British government yesterday revealed UK driving licences may become obsolete on the continent post-Brexit.

The full open letter reads: “As many of you are no doubt aware, this autumn will be an important period in the ongoing Brexit negotiations, leading up to the European Council meeting on 18 October.

“Ahead of that, you might have seen that the Government has published a series of technical notices on a range of areas, to help businesses and citizens prepare in the unlikely event of a no deal Brexit.

“Firstly, let me reassure you though that the Government does not want, nor does it expect, a no deal outcome in the negotiations. As a result of the significant progress made in negotiations, I remain confident that the UK will agree a positive and ambitious deal with the EU – an outcome that is in the interests of both the UK and the EU, and in the interest of both British and EU citizens.

“And of course, we continue to discuss the implementation of the deal agreed last December on the rights of UK citizens currently living in the EU and EU citizens living in the UK with the Spanish authorities.

“But as a responsible government, we must prepare for all eventualities, however unlikely. Hence these technical notices on driving licences, and travelling between the UK and the EU, amongst other subjects.

I appreciate that this is a period of uncertainty and many of you have questions and want more advice for UK nationals living in Spain. We want to help you prepare for all scenarios and further relevant information will continue to be made available on gov.uk over the coming weeks.

“And both the Embassy and Consulates will continue with the outreach events that we have planned throughout Spain, with some 20 such events planned between now and the end of the year, and ensure that your questions and concerns are shared with the relevant UK government departments.

“In the meantime, please ensure you are correctly registered here in Spain, and stay up to date with the latest news, by signing up for email alerts and visiting the Living in Spain guide on gov.uk, and continue to follow our “Brits in Spain” social media channels, including on facebook.

“Both I and our UK in Spain consular teams will continue to share with you what we know, when we know it, to provide you with as much clarity as possible.”

Staff Reporter

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  1. Following on from Simon Manley’s recent post concerning a possible no deal scenario (possible but I suspect not probable), he mentioned the issue concerning driving licences and the fact he said they could be obsolete in Spain, and other EU countries. This of course is just not true, and is another scare being perpetrated by the “remainers” in the UK. It is however entirely possible that the UK may have to revert to the “International driving licence” of old which we all used to have to get when travelling abroad, and of course still do when travelling to some states in the USA for example. However, and this is a big however, he did say that all immigrants (or ex pats) to Spain should ensure they are registered, and if living there for more than 183 days per year should take full residency, which includes a Spanish Driving Licence. In the “no deal” scenario, anyone driving on a British Licence WILL require an international permit. These are obtained in the UK prior to travel, will cost about £5.50, and are for a limited period of travel (eg holiday). Therefore anyone living permanently in Spain and driving on a UK licence, is putting themselves at severe risk of getting caught, as they will NOT be able to obtain said International licence. Not only will this then become a driving problem, but it could also lead to tax residency implications and other problems. So people should be aware of this, in the event of a no deal.

    Of course one should really be registered anyway if living in Spain for more than 183 days, and and they are breaking the law if they do not declare it. Posted here and on Facebook.

    • Anyone living in Spain long term is breaking the law if they don’t have a SPANISH licence! So not being able to get an International Driving Permit is irrelevant. If people imagine they can stay under the radar by pretending they are not long term resident then they are fools. It just needs one police stop check to unravel everything. No NIE either? Oh dear. The tax man will have a field day. you won’t get away with it.

    • Typical leaver double-speak. Begin by scoffing at “scare- tactics” and then going on to outliine the immense difficulties that will ensue from a no deal scenario. Which of course, given the unassailable EU rules, is a given.
      It is absolute arrogance to expect better treatment by leaving. Even the silly Chequers proposals don’t stand a chance, all that’s left is for Madam May to walk away. Or perhaps she’ll do a little pirouette followed by her trade mark curtsey. The European ex-pat dream will be severely damaged, for many people, tragically so.

  2. Why do you exaggerate and scaremonger by saying UK driving licences will become obsolete? That is a lie. The Government nor any official has used the word “obsolete”. As the UK Government and others have made clear, UK licences will need to be supported by an International Driving Permit issued for a few pounds by any Post Office.

    This is exactly the same situation as existed before Britain joined the EU.

    Careless wording, ignorance or do you have an agenda eh?

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