Should I exchange my EU green residency certificate to TIE card?

Published on 9 Dec 2021

With Brexit behind us and even a year down the line since the end of the transition period, most British citizens residing in Spain, have updated their paperwork…or have they not?! We are still being continuously asked whether there is a need or a legal requirement to exchange the EU green residency certificate to a new type TIE residency card

Well, from the theoretical point of view (the one embedded in the law) the exchange is still optional, however, from the practical side it really has become a requirement! More and more Spanish authorities now refuse to recognise the EU certificates as valid Spanish residency cards for British citizens residing in Spain. We’ve witnessed that on several occasions dealing with such authorities as DGT (Traffic police), governmental employment offices, customs control to name a few. Although it is confirmed by law as a valid residency document for UK nationals residing in Spain, but at the same time not being recognised by key administration offices, it quite naturally leads to many problems and obstacles, not to mention the anger and frustration it may cause. 

Our answer to the problem – CHANGE to TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad Extranjero)! This is also in line with the recommendations from both UK and Spanish authorities urging British nationals to exchange green residency certificates to the new TIE cards, which explicitly confirm their status as beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement and provide easier access to many admin procedures and longer “durability”.

The procedure itself is quite straight forward and with the abundance of available police appointments for exchange to TIE it is hard to find an excuse of not doing it. The main documents required are passport and green residency card, ID photo, birth certificates for the minors, as well as up to date padron certificate in case you have changed the address. There are forms to be filled, and police fee (tasa) to be paid, and both police appointments are to be attended in person, as your fingerprints will be taken. The longest waiting time is for the card to be produced, as it takes about 45 days, so keep it in mind in case you plan any travelling.

Important detail about the duration of your new TIE card! Those who have been residents in Spain for less than 5 years prior to the exchange to TIE, will receive a temporary 5-year TIE residency card, the duration of which will start on the date of the exchange. Those with the legal residency of 5 years and longer prior to the exchange, will receive a permanent 10-year TIE card. So, choose wisely the date of your exchange appointment. If you are a few months short of the 5-year residency period – wait it out and make an appointment straight after your 5-year residency mark. 

And of course, you don’t have to do it on your own if you don’t feel up to it! We at Malaga Expat Consulting are always here and happy to help – just drop us a line and we’ll get back to you to agree the arrangements! 

Finally, the above exchange is ONLY applicable to UK nationals residing in Spain. For EU nationals nothing has changed, and the green EU certificate is still the residency document being issued. 

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