British expats in Spain warned over ‘fraudulent residency applications’

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After the deadline passed in December 2020, British people have needed to apply from the UK for Spanish residency. Without residency, Britons can legally stay for 90 out of every 180 days in the EU.

The British Embassy community Facebook page, Brits in Spain posted: “The Spanish authorities have asked us to warn UK Nationals against submitting fraudulent residency applications, either directly or through a third party.

“They are particularly on the alert for forged healthcare insurance, padrón certificates and lease contracts, as well as people falsely claiming student status.

“Of course, this only applies to a very small minority, but it is useful as a reminder that if you are using a gestor, do make sure they are as reputable as possible.”

A gestor is a private professional agent who deals with Spanish administration on behalf of a client.

The British Embassy continued: “There have been a number of stories in the media recently about so-called “gestores” putting in false residency claims on behalf of UK nationals, who the authorities have then uncovered.

“We recommend using the online database of registered gestores [on our website] or asking for personal recommendations from people you trust.

“And if you are submitting your application yourself it is important to provide as much documentation as possible to avoid being turned down for lack of evidence of having moved to Spain before 1 January 2021.”

The Embassy added that the UK Nationals Support Fund organisations would be able to provide advice until 31 December 2021.

Expats have reported seeing ads for healthcare that can be purchased and pre-dated before 31 December 2020.

Purchasing a fake document would be illegal and would not be accepted by the Spanish authorities.

British expats applying for Spanish residency need to prove they were living in the country before the end of 2020.

This can be done through evidence of healthcare, bank statements or even restaurant receipts but applications can require a lot of documentation.

Diego Echavarria, a lawyer based in Marbella, told that Spain was getting tough on expat applications.

He said: “The Spanish Consulate in England are being very tough now, they are turning down a lot of applications for stupid reasons.

“If you can prove you were in Spain in 2020, you can still apply but you need to submit a lot of paperwork.

“You need to prove you had a mobile phone, restaurant receipts, supermarket bills, you need to prove on your credit card you were here, spending money and living in Spain.

“Expats need to have their own private health insurance unless they have a work permit.

“The authorities are turning down applications because British people didn’t have health insurance before December 2020.”

In the last few days, British expats in Spain recieved an extension on the validity of UK driving licences.

UK licences will now be valid until the end of this year when British expats will need to take a test if they want to drive in Spain.

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