News desk

THE Government announcement of a decree “freeing European Union residents in Spain as well as nationals of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland from the requirement of being in possession of a residence permit” has been welcomed with open arms in most sectors. But it has left many questions unanswered. The information provided by the government is, as yet, sketchy, and until the decree is published in the Official State Gazette and the regulations governing its application are fully developed, many of these questions will remain unanswered. The Bulletin has consulted various sources, who have confirmed the above, and is continuing in its efforts to find out the answers to the following concerns.

Point One

A valid passport or the equivalent national identity card are all that non-Spanish European Union residents will need, and will be sufficient for purchasing property, obtaining a driving licence or bank transactions.

But the question here is what about taxation? At present, most non-Spanish European Union residents' have a permit, the number of which is also their fiscal identification number. Will they now have to apply for a separate fiscal number

Point Two

"The passport or equivalent national document will also serve residents for taking part in municipal and European Parliamentary elections as well as for being included in the electoral roll.” How, then, will a resident be defined? What is to prevent someone who spends less than six months a year here and therefore in the past has not had to request a residence permit, from registering as a voter?

Point Three

Spaniards have to carry a national identity card at all times, and in fact, the new residence permit currently being issued for Community residents is the same size.

Will nationalities such as the British, who do not have a national ID card be asked to request one of these, or will they be expected to carry their passport at all times?

Point Four

The exemption from a residence permit is also extended to relatives but the actual relationship has not been defined.
Is it just immediate family, does it extend to brothers, sisters, grandparents....?

Point Five

The government press statement published by the Bulletin this week suggested that there could be some exemptions to the rule.
If so who are they and why.

Point Six

The government should advise when the new legislation comes into force. Otherwise this just leads to greater confusion and in some cases concern, especially for elderly people.