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Why Residency Applications are Being Rejected

As of September 2021, about 2,400 applications by British expats for residency in Spain have been refused

By Nick Nutter | Last Updated 20 Mar 2022 | Andalucia | News

As of September 2021, about 2,400 applications by British expats for residency in Spain have been refused. Those people can either appeal the decision of leave the country within 15 days. The question is, why are their applications being rejected?


First let’s get the numbers into some sort of perspective. There are just over 300,000 UK residents in Spain, 81,600 of whom lived in Andalucia in January 2021. 168,700 of the total number in Spain have applied for the Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE) biometric card and 141,700 applications have been processed.

Of those 141,700 - 138,500 were approved for either permanent or non-permanent residence. 2,400 were refused and 800 were withdrawn or counted as void.


Which Applications for Residence in Spain are Being Rejected

The majority of rejections for residency have been made by people who did not have the green Certificate of Residence Registration (sometimes wrongly called a Residencia Certificate) that was being issued until December 2020. They are therefore making their first application for residency.

Anne Hérnandez, the head of citizen help group Brexpats stated that, “Applications are mostly being rejected on the grounds of insufficient evidence of legally residing in Spain in 2020, such as a padron, medical insurance or other proof people were actually living here before 2021”.

Where are the Missing 131,000?

Well, they are not really missing. Some will have returned to the UK, but the vast majority will still be holding onto their old Certificate of Residence Registration. Whilst this is entirely legal, both the UK and Spanish authorities recommend applying for the TIE on the grounds that the TIE makes crossing borders easier, it is a better proof of identity than the photograph-less Certificate of Residence Registration, it encapsulates the holder’s rights under the Brexit withdrawal agreement and it is more durable.

In the author’s opinion the TIE will eventually become mandatory, probably during 2023.

Read: Why the TIE car will become mandatory sooner rather than later

Read: Step by Step Guide - How to apply for a TIE card