In an official letter sent to David Burrage, co-founder of the British Expats Association, a watchdog and information service for British residents, Alain Brun of the European Commission has confirmed that as from April 30 Spain will adopt EU directive 2004/38 regarding residence permits.
This in effect will end the current uncertain situation over who needs to apply for a permit or not. Spanish lawyer Joaquín Lomas informed Costa Blanca News that some government administrations and private companies insisting on the permit have been breaching the law ever since the Royal Decree of 2003 was passed, which stated that any citizen belonging to an EU member state who is employed and paying social security contributions is exempt from needing the permit. The rule also applied to the self-employed and students.
He added that a residence permit is a form of ID, but so is a passport and civil servants and other professional people should know this.
The Royal decree excluded retired expats but under the EU directive that comes into force on April 30 they too will become exempt once they have completed five years of residency. This will also give them the same rights as a Spanish citizen except the right to vote in a general election.
Although the law and the EU directive are clear, readers should note that some institutions will take time in putting it into effect, therefore residence permits may be asked for in some instances after the April 30 deadline.
Since we retired people are excluded from the Royal decree, at least we will need our residency cards for the five years that they are valid for. In any case carrying an ID card is preferable to carrying our passports. N.B. Everytime you use a debit card you have to show your ID in Spain.
Taken from the Costa Blanca News