Euro Weekly News Media Group publishers, Michel and Steven Euesden, share their personal experiences in the run up to March 29.
FROM our postbag – as our editor Dilip Kuner told The Observer – the British expat population in Spain is pretty evenly split over Brexit.
We strive to reflect this in our coverage, but one thing we feel is hugely important is to give advice that will be useful to all expats whatever their views.
Having listened to the British Ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley, we decided to be pro-active in making sure our house is in order pre-Brexit.
It was all too clear that there were a number of crucial things that we needed to do to make sure we are legal UK citizens living in Spain.
In these uncertain times it is easy to become overwhelmed by the legalities and sometimes conflicting information. But it isn’t as difficult as it initially seems.
We hope that by sharing our experiences readers too can follow some relatively simple steps to ensure life runs smoothly after Brexit – deal or no deal.
To explain, we have renewed our passports, even though there were months left on them, to eliminate potential problems when travelling overseas post-Brexit (many airlines for example won’t permit you on board if your passport has fewer than six months to run).
This can be done easily online here, simply fill in your details and upload a photograph via your phone or computer.
It really is that easy, with the system taking you every step of the way. At each stage of the process text messages keep you informed – even to when the DHL delivery of the passport to your home is due to arrive.
In addition, our padrons – which are vital for all sorts of paperwork as well as benefiting the local council when it comes to calculating government grants (see next week’s EWN for a fuller explanation) – have been updated at our town hall, where the staff were only too happy to help.
Not only that, but we have renewed our Spanish residencias to ensure we are in possession of the official NIE card.
These are issued at the Foreigner Office or National Police station, depending on where you live, and are now a handy credit card size.
They are also essential for renewing your Spanish driving licence -or swapping your UK one – as we have done well ahead of Brexit.
So, no matter what the outcome, we know we can continue to drive here and in Europe. You can do this at your nearest Trafico (DGT) office, or if you don’t speak Spanish, a gestor (Spanish administrator) will deal with all of the paperwork for you.
We are in the process of updating our pension fund and funeral plans both in Spain and the UK, so we are ready for every eventuality.
The key is to break the issues down methodically and tackle them one at a time.
We hope that our readers can benefit from our experience and advice and take the appropriate steps to having everything in place for Brexit.
We know how much more secure we feel for having taken these steps – and we are sure you will too.
If you need more help keep an eye open on these pages for our weekly ‘Expat Guides’ which are full of useful information for foreigners living in Spain.