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British residents in Spain urged to apply for a foreigner ID card (TIE) ahead of EU's automated border system

British residents in Spain urged to apply for a foreigner ID card (TIE) ahead of EU's automated border system

The British Embassy has said that the old green certificate, though still a valid residency document in Spain, may not guarantee exemption from the system

SUR in English

Monday, 13 May 2024, 18:45


British residents in Spain who have not yet exchanged their green residency certificate for a TIE ID card are being urged to do so ahead of the EU's Entry Exit System (EES) coming into force later this year.

The British Embassy has explained that the biometric TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero), which came into force in 2021, proves that the holder is a beneficiary of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement and has the right to reside and work in Spain.

Most British people living in Spain already have the TIE, having abandoned the formerly issued paper green certificate following Brexit, according to the embassy.

"The British Embassy is asking those still using a green certificate to follow suit and get a TIE as soon as possible, ahead of the introduction of the EU’s new Entry Exit System (EES), expected in autumn this year," said a statement issued on Monday.

British Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott said: “It’s really important that any British person who lives in Spain gets the TIE - not only because it is the most durable and dependable way to prove your rights in Spain, but also to avoid disruption at the border when the EU’s Entry Exit Scheme comes into force.

"We are working with the Spanish government and the EU to prepare for the implementation of this new scheme and we have requested that more TIE appointments are made available. Please keep checking our Living In Guide and social media pages for more information."

Automated system

The EES will require all non-EU short stay travellers to register via an automated system at the border. They will need to provide their name, passport details, biometric data (fingerprints and captured facial images) and the date and place of entry and exit upon entering Spain. This will replace the current passport stamping at the border. These details will be held on file for three years, meaning Britons making repeat visits to Spain within a three-year period will not have to go through the same registration process each time.

To be exempt from registering with the EES, British residents in the EU will need to show a valid uniform-format biometric card, which in Spain is the TIE. The non-biometric green certificate, though a valid residency document in Spain, was issued prior to the UK's exit from the EU and does not feature in the Withdrawal Agreement or in Annex 22 of the Schengen Border Guard Handbook. Therefore, said the embassy, it is expected that green certificate holders may lose out on the chance to be exempt from registering. As a result, they may encounter difficulties and delays at the border, especially when entering other EU countries where the Green Certificate may not be recognised.

The process for securing a TIE appointment and the card itself is run by the Spanish government. More information on how to apply, including links to Spanish Government websites where the applications are made, can be found on the ‘Living in Spain’ guide on

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