New rules on NIE and Residencia

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31 Mar 2012 00:00 by tracyrimmer1 Star rating. 2 posts Send private message

Please can someone help and tell me what is true and what is just another gossip item.

We have been informed that there is a new law, only just changed in Jan 2012, that if you have just an NIE number and you are here for anymore than 3 months you must change this as soon as possible to a residencia.  This was advice from a company who had just attended the national police to get a NIe only for a client.  And you must change you british driving licence to european licence or if you get stopped you will not have the correct papers and will get fined.

I have a business in the UK, and still my home there, and pay taxes in UK too, I also drive in the UK.  But I also have a business in Spain and have a house here and drive, and pay tax too.  I dont want to fall foul of the law, but there is so much conflicting gossip I dont know what to do.  I really dont want to give up my license as I have been pre warned by rental car places that the european license is less liked than the  British license.

If anyone know please help

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31 Mar 2012 11:31 by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5247 posts Send private message

If you are an EU citizen but not Spanish, if you spend, or intend to spend, 3 month or more PERMANENTLY in Spain then you must register on the EU Foreign Citizens Register. (This process replaced the Residencia,m which no longer exists for EU citizens,  in I think April 2007).
The problem with that is that you then immediately become tax resident in Spain. And must as from the following year make a tax return on all your worldwide assets.
You will read in other threads that people who have registered and been contacted by their banks and told that their Non Resident accounts have been frozen as they have become resident
You do not have to change a UK DL for a Spanish one in any circumstances, that regulation was abolished. However I have a Spanish DL and have never had any problem with car hire.
In your particular case, as you have business in UK and Spain I would suggest that take advice from a comp0etemnt Spanish Accountant, as no one can choose where they pay their tax, it is determined by law.

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31 Mar 2012 11:46 by evento Star rating. 33 posts Send private message

 I reply to Tracy, I changed my u.k driving license to a spanish one, nearly 5 yrs ago and have had no problems whatsoever, and I have hired cars all over Europe, and it has been accepted everywhere.

What I do have a problem with. after 20 yrs living in Spain, is with my Residencia Card, which has expired last November.

I really want to renew it, but I am told this is not possible. I know as from 2007, it is not required by law but do I not have a right to have one. Up until now, shops, restaurants, petrol stations will accept it, But Banks, Tax Office  etc, insist on seeing my passport.

I am not happy having to carry my passport around and want to have the opition, to renew my Resident Card, if I wish to.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.

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31 Mar 2012 11:51 by bobaol Star rating. 2256 posts Send private message

bobaol´s avatar

 Unusual as the cards are being issued albeit in a different format.  However, it clearly states on the back that it is not acceptable as a form of ID so passports would still be required to prove identity.  Maybe, since the format has changed, you have to apply for a new one rather than a renewed one?


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31 Mar 2012 11:59 by evento Star rating. 33 posts Send private message

 Yes, an A4 piece of paper and No they do not accept this, as proof of idenity, that is why I am not going to even apply for it, and I want the right to have my Plastic ID card like before. 

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31 Mar 2012 12:19 by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5247 posts Send private message

                     Residencia does not exist (except for people who come from OUTSIDE the EU) thus you cannot renew it and are left with the piece of paper which says on it that it is not ID.
Since my residencia expired in April 2007, I have produced it as poof of ID ever since and hardly ever had any problems.  However, that said, I would not try to use it at an official office.
This is the reason why I keep on saying (despite being criticised) that the Registration which EU citizens must make is not Residencia, to call it that creates confusion.

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31 Mar 2012 13:01 by stillgoin Star rating. 161 posts Send private message

 oddly someone on here  said they wont use registration and insist on calling it residencia to avoid confusion 

how very confusing

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31 Mar 2012 13:12 by evento Star rating. 33 posts Send private message

 John zx, Thank you and I am aware that we are now ,NOT required to have residenicia, But that is exactly

what I want and as you rightly say, the old Red. Card is accepted without problem but Offical Offices are another 

thing. The Registration, is exactly that, and is for Tax purposes only, in my opinon.

They change the rules as they go along, and I won´t even mention the new "Reforma Laboral"

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31 Mar 2012 15:06 by MizzFixit Star rating in Sunny Marbs. 46 posts Send private message

EOS Supporter
MizzFixit´s avatar

 I've been in Spain for 22 years.  Started off with a non-resident NIE, then received the old 'Tarjeta de Extranjeros' (residency card) with my (very dodgy!!) photo and an old address on it.  Once the card has expired in 2007, I toddled off to the Police Station and was given my Green NIE 'residencia' certificate.  I continue to show that plastic card every time I pay with a credit card, order a new telephone etc. etc.  and no-one has EVER asked for anything else.  With the exception of when I had to go to the Notary to translate for someone and I was then obliged to show my passport.

I was forced by the Guardia Civil many years ago to surrender by UK driving licence for a spanish one (something that I subsequently found they weren't allowed to do), but hey - I wasn't about to argue with the men in green suits.  I have never ever once had a problem in hiring a car with the Spanish licence.  It's a European licence, and at least in this respect, is seen to be equally as European as a UK licence. 

I fully expect to be showing that old plastic card here for another 22 years and I do wonder why they are so against having ID cards in the UK.  It makes life so much easier :)


I organise, you relax

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01 Apr 2012 21:10 by in_the_sun Star rating in Riveria Del Sol. 34 posts Send private message

Regarding the id cards in england , i dont think many have a problem with an id card its what the uk goverment want to include in the data base is the problem , ie health records , criminal records , social services records etc etc , i mean the uk goverment has done well in the past with security of data bases have they LOL

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02 Apr 2012 00:42 by johnzx Star rating in Spain. 5247 posts Send private message

Mizzy, as I said I too have been ‘getting away’ with using my Residencia card which expired in 2007, however, the card should be surrendered in exchange for the A4 piece of paper. 
The police station where I help out sometimes get people who say they have ‘lost’ their card to sign an undertaking that if they find it they must hand it in.

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07 Apr 2012 07:22 by 66d35 Star rating. 243 posts Send private message

That is total rubbish.

Taking the driving licence issue first. The UK license IS a European licence. It is valid here. There is no requirement to change it as multiple people have pointed out.

It really would help if people ceased referring to the registration document as a "residencia". It is not. There is no such thing anymore.

After three months residence you are supposed to register. After 5 years you automatically (no application required) become a permanant resident and under EU law no longer need to renew anything, ever again.

There is one current area of conflict here. EU law states categorically (and this has been verified by direct discussions I have had with Brussels) that once you are a permanant resident, obtaining a certificate of registration is supposed to be 100% "voluntary". There is no obligation to have one under EU law. Despite this, various Spanish officials may insist on it. They are wrong to do so. This is a matter I am personally pursuing further.









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07 Apr 2012 08:44 by paulsimkiss Star rating in Thailand & Spain. 58 posts Send private message

paulsimkiss´s avatar


Sometimes I do wonder about all this paraphernalia. Is it all jobs worth?
If Mr Spanish goes to the UK is it true that he virtually needs nothing.
He can buy a mobile phone from anywhere
He can buy a new or used car from anywhere
He can just go to any Doctors and get treated for whatever for free
Probably, go sign on as unemployed and get benefit.
Go down the housing department to get on the list.

Turned Out Nice Again

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07 Apr 2012 10:03 by GTB Star rating. 3 posts Send private message

Hello everyone, what i dont understand is that if you live in Spain and you have a UK driving licence the address will be wrong, I didnt think that you could have a UK driving licence with a Spanish address and it surely cannot not be legal to have an old wrong address on your licence? How we you get it renewed which needs doing every 10 years for the photo?


kind regards, Graham

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07 Apr 2012 10:32 by 66d35 Star rating. 243 posts Send private message

As already stated. A UK (or any other) EU license is valid in Spain until it expires. DVLA will not accept a non-UK address, but critically, this does not invalidate the licence. From DVLA website:

You don't need to notify DVLA of a change of address when moving to live abroad.

If the license is about to expire and you no longer have a UK address, then it is probably a good idea to exchange it for a Spanish license in good time, however.

In short, yes, it is perfectly legal to drive abroad with a non-current address on the license, but not legal do so so in the UK.




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07 Apr 2012 10:42 by Team GB Star rating. 1245 posts Send private message

Team GB´s avatar


Good point Graham

We have just had that exact problem with my wife's DL - What we ended up doing was changing the address (to her mums) and at the same time renewing the licence.




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07 Apr 2012 11:27 by lavge Star rating in Granada. 19 posts Send private message

Just a reply to paulsimkiss comment,

t's actually not as easy coming to the UK from an EU contry as you might think. When I got there from Denmark I couldn't get a mobile phone contract so I had to go with pay as you go. When I got a job they had to pay my salary into my husband's bank account as I couldn't open one for ages. Everywhere you go they ask for proof of address and you can't really get any proof of address without already having proof of address. With time it solves itlself, but it's a real hassle when first arriving. 


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07 Apr 2012 12:23 by jokamac Star rating. 6 posts Send private message

According to the DVLA website it actually says " You must tel the DVLA of any chnges to your Name or address or both" from this I would assume if you permanently move abroad you must tell them.

It also states (as 66d35 says) that you cannot register a British licence to a foreign address but it also states you will have to contact the licencing authority in your country of residence.  This only applies however if you permanently move abroad and no longer have a British address

Whoever told you Spanish licences were no good for hiring cars is talking rubbish.


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07 Apr 2012 12:37 by 66d35 Star rating. 243 posts Send private message

According to the DVLA website it actually says " You must tel the DVLA of any chnges to your Name or address or both" from this I would assume if you permanently move abroad you must tell them.

You are looking at the section that relates to UK residents.

The relevant instruction for holders of UK driving licenses who relocate overseas is:

You don't need to notify DVLA of a change of address when moving to live abroad.



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07 Apr 2012 12:56 by jokamac Star rating. 6 posts Send private message

It also says in the same paragraph you should check with the  driving licence authorities in that country for information about driving and exchange of licences which possibly means dont just keep driving on your British licence because you might be breaking their laws 

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Number of posts in this thread: 139

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