British Consular Drop In Clinic Info
One of the main things that came up in the meeting was around TIE appointments. Sara met the local authorities in Alicante yesterday and they confirmed the following:
· The staff in Alicante city are specific EU Exit staff and have contracts until approximately September 2022.
· A couple of months ago, due to a very high demand in Alicante city for appointments, the police opened up appointments in other areas of the province such as Elche, Torrevieja and Benidorm. However, this led to a reduction in demand in Alicante.
· The police have therefore decided that whilst there is appointment availability in Alicante city they will not open up anywhere else. They will only open up appointments elsewhere if Alicante city becomes overwhelmed as it was a few months ago. This is to prevent the other offices being put under undue pressure leaving the Alicante city EU Exit staff with no work.
This is an important message – people should not wait for appointments to be available elsewhere as this will only happen if the Alicante office becomes overwhelmed. In addition, the Alicante EU Exit staff resource is finite so there is no guarantee that there will be so many appointments in a year´s time.
As you all know, it is not obligatory to exchange a green certificate for a TIE card but the Spanish authorities do recommend that British nationals make the exchange as having a TIE card will make border crossings and administrative processes simpler in Spain.
Please let us know if you are dealing with anyone with particular vulnerabilities or mobility issues as the police said they could look at these on a case by case basis.
We encourage anyone who has difficulty accessing the padron to follow the internal complaints process at the town hall and if necessary, escalate to the regional government Ombudsman:
· Comunidad Valenciana: https://www.elsindic.com/en/
· National (also covers Murcia región): https://www.defensordelpueblo.es/en/
Visas and entry to the UK from Spain:
· There is detailed information on Visas to Spain from the UK on the Spanish Consulate´s website in London: http://www.exteriores.gob.es/Consulados/LONDRES/en/Consulado/Pages/Visas.aspx
· The contact details for applications and further information can be found here: http://www.exteriores.gob.es/Consulados/LONDRES/en/Consulado/Pages/LocalizacionContacto.aspx
Rejected applications at Extranjeria (first time applications, not exchanges from a green certificate to a TIE):
Alicante Extranjeria office advises anyone applying for residency for the first time to submit as much evidence as possible that they were living in Spain before the end of last year. They advise people who are not satisfied with the outcome of their application or their “inadmission” to follow the appropriate appeal process.
For more information and support it is advisable to consult:
· Asociacion Babelia: https://asociacionbabelia.org/en/uk-nationals/ (Comunidad Valenciana)
· IOM: https://spain.iom.int/es/support-british-nationals-based-spain-uknsf-0 (Murcia Region)
· An English speaking lawyer: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spain-list-of-lawyers
· A registered gestor administrativo: https://www.consejogestores.org/en/
Babelia are gathering data on applications that have been rejected on the basis of not having enough evidence to show the applicant was living in Spain before the end of last year. If you want to share their survey please do so: https://asociacionbabelia.org/en/residency-application-rejected/
British Benevolent Fund:
The British Benevolent Fund (BBF) in Madrid are open for organisations to contact them regarding how to become one of their partner organisations. Contact details can be found on their website here: https://britishbenevolentfund.org/ I am also attaching the new application form the BBF have put together for applications on behalf of vulnerable British nationals.
The only thing we can say beyond the information on our website (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-spain#driving-in-spain) is that we are in contact with the Spanish authorities in relation to the possible extension of the June 30th date and we will provide an update as soon as we are able. We recommend UK licence holders sign up for email alerts to the Living in Spain guide on gov.uk and follow us on social media (www.facebook.com/britsinspain)
Contacting the Consulate:
As we said in the meeting, if anyone asks for details to contact the Consulate please give them the main contact details as we are not resourced to deal with lots of general enquiries from the public, these have to be triaged by our colleagues in the contact centre:
· Webform: www.gov.uk/contact-consulate-alicante
· Tel: ++34 965 21 60 22
If you as an organisation are seeing an issue/trend/change or are dealing with a vulnerable person and you want to let us know or discuss it with us, please email our shared inbox which is BC.Alicante@fcdo.gov.uk You can of course always email Sara or I directly also although as Sara said in the meeting, I will be leaving the consular team at the end of August. We really value the information and insights you send us as it is very helpful to know what is going on locally to be able to discuss with local authorities if needed.