An open letter from the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to UK nationals living in Spain

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Madrid, 10 October 2019
In less than a month, the will of the British people will be delivered and the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. This, of course, will be a time of transition. But for those living in Spain, I want to assure you that as Foreign Secretary, I am working to ensure that your rights and access to services remain as strong as ever.
From Madrid to Malaga, and Barcelona to Benidorm, 300,000 Britons have made Spain their home. No matter the terms of our departure from the EU, you will continue to be able to live and work in Spain.
But to make sure your daily needs are met, there are some steps you must take to get ready for Brexit on October 31. You’ll need to register for residency, check your healthcare cover, verify your passport validity online and exchange your UK driving licence for a Spanish one. To check the specific actions you need to take, and stay up to date, go to the Living in Spain Guide at gov.uk/livinginspain.
In Government, we are doing our bit to get ready for Brexit, too. We are making sure that on 1 November, every British national living in Spain can go on living, working, studying and accessing healthcare.
We are working with the Spanish authorities to make processes as smooth and straightforward as possible, whether you’re applying for residency or a new driving licence.
And we are working with the Spanish National Health System, SNS, to ensure that tourists, students and European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) holders will be able to access healthcare in the same way until at least December 31,2020.
We are working hard to reach a deal with the EU. But even if the UK leaves without a deal, the UK and Spain have each taken steps to ensure you will be able to continue accessing healthcare in Spain, exactly as you do now, until at least 31 December 2020 if you are an S1 form holder.
Of course, every circumstance is unique. And we know that some British people might need some extra support during this transition.
We want to support those who may find it harder to complete all the paperwork – like pensioners or disabled people, those living in remote areas, and those needing assistance with language translation or interpretation. The Foreign Office has allocated an extra £3 million for charities and other voluntary organisations to help these people keep their rights and access to services in the EU.
You should be checking in regularly with the Embassy in Madrid or local consulates in Alicante, Barcelona, Ibiza, Las Palmas, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, for information on upcoming local ‘question and answer’ sessions, town hall meetings and information stands in supermarkets and on high streets.
And by now, you should also be seeing one of the largest information campaigns in British history, which launched with advice in newspapers and on billboards, encouraging people across the UK and Europe to Get Ready for Brexit.
This is an exciting time, but also one of unprecedented change. We’re getting ready for Brexit on October 31, and I would urge you to do the same.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Why do politicians come here to explain about Brexit. The latest is Dominic Raab he has had a break in the Spanish sunshine to deliver an open letter in this column,another vague epistle may well have been penned by Dominic (the Head Honcho)Cummings with the instruction to keep to the script.Others will comment on other parts but I take up the bit about health care.As an oldie myself,it is the greatest concern.Instead of stating we should ensure that we are covered ,can I suggest an interpretation of that ” If you are an old biddy& have not yet a knee or replacement hip done,please do so before December 2020.The Spanish NHS is so much quicker & better & we certainly do not want you back in the UK onto our crumbling Health System. Like so many,I am not allowed a vote in my birth country ,been away too long & not patriotic enough some say despite I have served in the British Armed Forces as so many others have in this same situation are told.In the early 1900’s my Grandmother had a vote as she was a householder.Yet once we leave the protection of the EU as a citizen,I shall be like a stateless person as I will even lose my vote in Spanish local elections,no say anywhere in the world.Recently speaking with an Eastern European man here he told me that his parents under Soviet domination accepted what they were told even knowing their rulers lived a better lifestyle.But they could access social housing & employment even if it was in a low paid job .Also knew they were restricted as regards travel to other places without a visa.It made me think if this sounded rather like life post Brexit in our (dis)united kingdom Since the chancellor is splashing the cash could he spare a bit to buy some braces for our P.M who has to walk around with his hands in his pockets maybe to keep his trousers up.Or is it because he needs to hide his hands with fingers crossed each time he needs to answer a question.My grandfather was a military man,signed up at 18 years old & fought for his country in every war for Britain. He was gassed in the trenches & I was able to buy ceramic poppy in his memory.He believed along with his fellow soldiers that their effort was to secure peace in a united Europe.Brexit feels to me as if my own countrymen have said he was a fool. Alice Band.

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