News & Events


News From the British Embassy Madrid

As we all know, things are changing rapidly with regard to the rights of British Expatriates resident here in Spain.  Consequently there are frequent updates coming out of the British Embassy in Madrid and therefore we've created a new page to keep them all in one place  for easy reference.  The new page can be found here.

While we will make every effort to reproduce them all, you might also want to ensure that you visit the Embassy's webpage or their Facebook Group "Brits in Spain" regularly as information is constantly changing.

Virtual Parade of Standards

Branches from across District North Spain have joined in the Legion's Virtual Parade of Standards to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, organised to replace the planned commemorative acts. Standard Bearers from across the world have photographed or recorded the Act of Remembrance in their homes and back gardens as part of a collage that will form part of the Nation's tribute. A selection of videos and photographs from here in Spain is below. Please join us on May 8th as we take part in a national moment of Remembrance and pause for a Two Minute Silence to honour the service and sacrifice of the Second World War generation and reflect on the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on so many lives across the world.  You can find additional photos and videos by following this link.


Corona Virus Information


The following helpful update has been received from the British Embassy in Madrid:

I wanted to provide an update on various topics that may be of interest to your communities.

  1. We know that access to healthcare is always a key issue and our healthcare team have provided two updates on home delivery of prescription medicine (for residents and visitors) and on access to regular medical treatment for residents. You may have already seen these posted on our website, but thought you might prefer to share them in document form.
  2. The crisis is affecting us all in many different ways, including financially. Therefore we have pulled together a summary on the Spanish government’s economic measures with some useful links where people can find out more. As I’m sure people are ware, the Embassy cannot offer financial advice, but we hope that the signposting will help people acess the support they need.
  3. Only essential travel is permitted during the state of emergency, but we know that there are UK nationals who want to return to the UK, but have not yet been able to do so. As you will be aware, there are very limited flights back to the UK and currently the only direct flights are going from Madrid, Barcelona and Gibraltar. We do not expect flight schedules to return to normal during May, so we would encourage those people who wish to return to take one of the flights that are available. You may also be aware that Brittany Ferries has cancelled crossings from Spain to the UK until at least 15 May, so again we would encourage those people who want to return to the UK over land to do so by driving through France, where there are ferries operating and the EuroTunnel remains open. There is lots of information on the documentation needed on our Facebook page ( and the travel advice pages for Spain and France ( and

We are conscious that we have focused a lot on trying to support visitors to remain home over the last month or so, but recognise that many UK residents in Spain will have questions about what COVID-19 means for them – for example, how it affects their residency and healthcare – or may just be confused about the restrictions under the state of emergency. We are going to be holding a virtual drop-in session on our Facebook page on Wednesday 22 April ( to give people the opportunity to post their questions to us. Please note that this will not be a live session as, like most people, we are all working from home. Instead, we will give people a limited time period (13:00 to 17:00 (CET)) to post their questions, which we will then answer through a series of videos and a Q&A document. Please do promote this opportunity to anyone you think may have questions.

 This notice was accompanied by a set of factsheets listed below.  Owing to their size and format it isn’t possible to post them here but they have been sent to every Legion Branch Committee should you wish to get a copy.  They are also available from on request:

  • The financial effects of COVID-19
  • Access to regular medical healthcare appointments for residents in Spain
  • Home delivery of prescription medicine in Spain


Tax Rebate for Couples - Act Now


Anyone who is married or in a civil partnership where one is a non-taxpayer and the other is a basic rate taxpayer (earning up to about £50,000) and both are born after 6 April 1935, may be entitled to claim Marriage Allowance. This allowance can be claimed back as far as UK tax year 2015/16 - but today is the last day to reclaim Marriage Allowance that particular year.
Marriage Allowance allows the non-taxpayer to transfer some of their personal allowance to their partner reducing their tax liability. It could be worth around £250 a year (varying year by year on that tax year's personal allowance). It's a simple online application made by the non-taxpayer and all you need is your National Insurance Number and your passport. It only takes about 10 minutes and you CAN apply if you're resident abroad. The application is valid permanently unless your circumstances change - remember that but you may want to act now as the window for 2015.16 closes at midnight tonight (05 Apr 20). Follow this link to claim.

British Consulate in Alicante - Cancellation of Events

Following the recent decision to suspend its outreach events, the British Consulate in Alicante has issued the following clarification:

Given the fast-moving situation with regard to Coronavirus in Spain, we have decided to err on the side of caution and postpone all our physical outreach events until further notice. This follows the advice from Spanish health authorities to avoid unnecessary journeys and limit meetings in the region of Madrid and Avala in the Basque Country. We will aim to reschedule these events as soon as we can, once the situation becomes clearer. We will set up a Facebook Live event to respond to questions from UK Nationals before the end of March and we apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Our travel advice for Spain can be found here, and we continue to update it regularly.

I will keep you posted as soon as we are in a position to arrange the outreach and other events again.

Brexit: Where We Are Now - An Update From The British Embassy, Madrid

As you will know, the UK left the EU last Friday at 23:00 (CET), so it seems like the right time to send you an update on what this means for UK nationals living in Spain.

The Withdrawal Agreement which sets out how the UK leaves the EU has been agreed by both the UK and EU and is now in force. This is very positive news for UK nationals who are resident in Spain, as the Withdrawal Agreement contains some really important protections for your rights:

  • You will be able to continue to live and work in Spain
  • UK state pensioners will continue to have lifelong healthcare as long as they remain living in Spain. This also applies to residents who claim a UK state pension in the future
  • Your UK state pension will continue to be upratedAs above, this also applies to those claiming a pension in the future

Those rights will be protected for as long as you live in Spain, provided you are legally resident here by the end of 2020 – that means having the green residency certificate, which remains a valid document.  These citizens’ rights are not affected by the negotiations taking place on future trade and security.

The Withdrawal Agreement also provides an Transition Period (from 31 January until 31 December 2020) during which time nothing will change for UK Nationals in Spain. You will also be able to exchange your driving licence until the end of 2020 without taking a driving test.  

The rules for travel between the UK and Spain will not change during the transition period. We know that there are many swallows, who split their time between the UK and Spain, who are concerned about what the UK’s departure from the EU means for them. They will be able to continue as they have been until the end of this year, but after that freedom of movement will end, which will have an impact on how long UK nationals will be able to spend in Spain without a visa or residence permit. We will be providing further information on our Facebook channels specifically for swallows and would encourage them to also sign up for alerts to travel advice (

What to do next

Residency: the most important thing UK nationals can do is to make sure they are registered as a resident before 31 December 2020. If you are not yet registered you should take steps to apply as soon as possible ( If you already have the green A4 or credit card-sized certificate you may need to exchange this for a foreigners’ card (or TIE). We will update and as soon as we have further information, but for now anyone with the green certificate does not need to take action.

Driving licence: we advise anyone living in Spain to exchange their UK driving licence for a Spanish one by 31 December as you will be able to do so without taking a driving test during this period. The DGT ( has updated its website to confirm that UK licences will continue to be exchanged as before during the transition period (ie in the same way as any other EU licence). We recommend people take action as soon as they can as the number of appointments in some areas still seems to be quite limited, but do keep trying and remember that you do not need to exchange where you are resident if other areas have more appointment availability.

Healthcare: we urge people to check that they are accessing healthcare in the correct way. For example, if you are resident in Spain you should not be using a UK-issued EHIC to access healthcare unless you are a student or a posted worker. Please see for further information.

Further information

The Living in Guide: is the official source for government information. Please do sign up for updates, so you are aware if anything changes. is our Facebook community for UK nationals and contains some really helpful guidance and videos

To view the latest video message from HMA Hugh Elliott to UK nationals visit:

To view the latest Facebook Live Q&A with HMA Hugh Elliott and Regional Consular Policy Advisor Lorna Geddie visit:

We hope you find this update useful.

British Consulate Outreach Events


Representatives of the British Consulate will be holding further outreach events in March that are outreach events, not pop ups, so there will be a presentation with a chance to ask questions at the end. 

They also want to remind you to check their Living In Spain page where, as those who are signed up to the email alerts you will have seen, a lot of the information has been updated recently.


The Consulate also points out that the Spanish government has also just recently updated its website to give clearer information around how British nationals can show they are covered by the withdrawal agreement. You can read the Q&A in English by clicking on this link.  


Remember that during this year, the two most important things British nationals have to do is:

·       Register as a resident

·       Start the process to exchange their driving licence for a Spanish one

If you are unable to attend Consulate events can keep up-to-date on all the relevant information on, where you can sign up for email alerts, so that you know when things have been updated. You can also follow the Consulate on  

In addition, please be aware that the British Embassy’s Facebook live Q&A session on Brexit is available to watch on their Facebook page for anyone who may have missed it. Lots of questions came up around TIEs, residency, swallows and access to healthcare that will be of interest to you all.  You can watch it on their Facebook channel here:

They will also hold some information meetings on Brexit in the middle of March in a number of towns across the local area. They will send information about those as soon as they are confirmed so that anyone who is interested in attending has the opportunity to do so.

Battle of Britain hero Maurice Mounsden dies 

Maurice Mounsden, one of only four remaining pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain during World War Two - has died.

According to family members, Maurice, aged 101, is understood to have passed away on Friday night at the nursing home where he lived on the island of Menorca. 

"He was a great man and will be missed by his nephews and his nieces," nephew Adrian Mounsdon told the British press.

Maurice, with 56 Squadron, was one of 3,000 men who risked their lives in a three-and-a-half month campaign, in which 544 RAF pilots and aircrew died.

In September last year, the Hurricane pilot celebrated his 100th birthday in style in Menorca, watching the Red Arrows’ smoke trails write ‘100’ in red, blue and white over the Mediterranean in a dazzling 30-minute performance.

Just a month later Maurice was presented with a beautiful glass plaque bearing the coat of arms of the Royal British Legion and the Royal Air Force Association, by Tina Graham the RBL Welfare Officer in Menorca. She passed on the heartfelt thanks and best wishes of the Chairman, the District North Committee and all of the District members.

Following the presentation Tina said “We are all very proud of Maurice and the service he has given. He is a shining example that we all hold very dear. 


(a note from the British Consulate)

Just to remind you that British nationals who live in the Alicante province can get next day residency appointments by selecting the option POLICIA – CERTIFICADO UE (EXCLUSIVAMENTE PARA REINO UNIDO). The local authorities in Alicante inform us that they open up appointments on a daily basis and that there is quite a lot of availability each day.

Please do encourage anyone who hasn´t yet applied for residency to do so, and to take advantage of the additional appointments. As appointments are opened up each day, if there are none left when you check, there will be more the following day.

A reminder of instructions to book an appointment:

When you go to your appointment, make sure you bring the correct supporting documentation which is:

  • Proof of income
  • Proof of healthcare cover
  • Your padron
  • Your passport
  • The completed application form
  • The payment form with proof the payment has been taken

Editor’s Note - from going through this process with a family member in the last week or so, I know that the system works efficiently, even if going to Alicante may not be as convenient as the previous regime.  However, I would add a couple of other things:

  • There’s no dedicated parking there and the surrounding streets are very busy, so leave plenty of time to get to your appointment;
  • Make sure that the documents you take are as recent as possible and certainly not more than 3 months old – and take photocopies of everything as well as they won’t make copies there.  you will also need a passport style photograph;
  • It’s a same day service but please be aware that whatever the time of your initial appointment, you will have to stay until 1pm to collect the green card itself.


In bright sunshine, this year's Poppy Appeal in Spain was launched at a ceremony, including a Parade of Standards, in Benidorm on Friday, 18th October 2018.  For a fuller report of the event, visit this page


It has just been announced that the 2018 Poppy Appeal raised over £50 million to be used to support beneficiaries.  Here in Spain we raised over €176,000, most of which will be spent here supporting Veterans and their families.  For more details of the 2018 campaign results, look here.  For more details of how the Legion in Spain can support those in need, see our page "How We Can Help".


We are proud to announce that the total raised during the 2019 Poppy Appeal within District North Spain was  €156,791.46.

A huge "Thank You" to the people who contributed - what you may not know is that the majority of this money is actually spent here in Spain , supporting Veterans and their families


Posts on this website or on Facebook about Community Support, which is always delivered by The Royal British Legion's trained volunteers, are designed to reach out to all those who have served, are serving, their family or beneficiaries and our Veterans, especially those who do not belong to or have access to a local Branch.

We know that many beneficiaries in Spain live in areas where digital access to news and information is the only avenue open to them, so these are especially important for them. We also post in the local and national newspapers so look out for those.

You do not have to belong to a Branch to ask for help and support.  A lot of our work here in Spain comes from outside of our Branches via word of mouth, so we must keep spreading the word. If you know of anyone who you think qualifies and may need help, please pass on these details to them, they can contact us directly with full confidentiality - they are not alone and if we can offer them support, we will.

TRBL offers support to its beneficiaries wherever they live in the world.

Your continued support for The Royal British Legion is much appreciated and without it we would not be able to reach or support as many beneficiaries as we do.

More details about our Community Support services can be found on this page.  Also, you can find our contact details on this page, including a number for anyone who just wants general information about TRBL, branches or joining info.  We ask you to use the appropriate number depending on the nature of your enquiry so that you can get accurate responses.


The Royal British Legion had a mixed recruitment and Community Support stand at a local fiesta at Camposol in Murcia which is near Mazaron.  Such a lot was achieved in four hours, over one hundred contacts with members of the public as well as 36 people donating funds to the cause. Lots of information was given out to all who approached the stall about both the Branch and all aspects of Community Support.


Five membership joining forms were given out and the contact details taken of those people to keep in touch.  Two people offered to become Poppy Coordinators as the branch currently doesn’t have one, including a couple who were only in Spain for five weeks and were Poppy Coordinators at their last branch.  Lots of contacts were made locally and lots of information about the branch meetings were given out, the branch meets at both Camposol and Calasparra.

As you can see it is not just about the Legion members now, but about having fun with the next generation of members. Snap rulers did big business! 

Pam also got chance to promote TRBL on a local radio station and she is going to talk further on Community Support, including a breakfast club for veterans locally, poppy launch and what is happening locally with Steve the branch chairman.

If you are interested in the Murcia Branch please contact;

If you wish to talk about help and assistance or just want a chat contact Pam on 676451780 or



Do you have a spare half hour to talk to someone who is lonely and lives on their own, do you enjoy chatting with new people? All you need is a phone and a cup of tea. Telephone Buddies are just one of the roles that Community Support Volunteers offer to our beneficiaries. Many people live in very rural areas and once they are on their own they quickly become lonely and isolated, they often have no one to talk to, but people can also be very lonely in a busy town when their life partner has gone and everything has changed. A phone call can make all the difference.   

Hospital / housebound visiting is another way we can show support, a friendly visit to someone who would otherwise not get a visitor is another way to ensure people are never left feeling lonely or isolated. There is no need for formal training but there will always be support and guidance available.

There are many ways we support those who have served, are serving, and their families and you could help us to do this.

If you think you can give us a few hours to help then please contact Community Support on 676451780 or

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As many will already know, the Great Pilgrimage 90 will take place in Ypres next month.  Two of District North Spain's Branches, Mojacar and Hondón Valley are sending their Standards to take part in this once in a lifetime event, marking the 90th anniversary of the first such Pilgrimage in 1928.  Below, you can find the text of the press release issued by Mojacar Branch.


Michael Coote and Christine Coote will travel to Europe for The Royal British Legion’s Great Pilgrimage 90 - 5-9th August 2018

Members of the Mojacar branch of The Royal British Legion are to join thousands on a pilgrimage of Remembrance to World War One battlefield that culminates in a parade and ceremony in Ypres as part of the end of the First World War centenary commemorations this August.

The Royal British Legion event, known as Great Pilgrimage 90 (GP90), takes place between the 5th and 9th of August and will be one of the largest in the charity’s history.

GP90 will mark 90 years since the original Royal British Legion Pilgrimage in 1928, which saw 11,000 World War One veterans and war widows visit the battlefields of the Somme in France and Ypres in Belgium, a decade after the conflict ended.

That Pilgrimage culminated in a march through Ypres to the Commonwealth War Grave Commission’s Menin Gate Memorial for a ceremony to commemorate the launch of The Hundred Days Offensive and in remembrance of those who never returned.

 Local Legion members, Michael Coote and Christine Coote will represent the Mojacar Branch and the local community at the event, as Standard Bearer and wreath layer respectively.

Michael and Christine will tour some of the same battlefields and cemeteries visited by those on the 1928 Pilgrimage, before marching along the original route through Ypres, to the Menin Gate on the 8th August, bearing their branch standard and a wreath.

They will join more than 2,200 other Legion representatives and dignitaries, including Civic and military guests from the UK, Commonwealth and Northern Europe who are taking part. Once at the Menin Gate Christine will lay a wreath on behalf of the Mojacar community.

Andrew Richardson, Chairman of the Mojacar Branch of The Royal British Legion, comments: “Great Pilgrimage 90 is a unique opportunity for the Legion community to come together and bear our Standards along the same route in Ypres taken 90 years earlier by the veterans and widows of the First World War. The Mojacar Branch looks forward to proudly representing Mojacar at the event.”

As local champions of Remembrance, the Mojacar Branch of The Royal British Legion is looking to work in partnership with their community to bring their unique Remembrance message to the Menin Gate, on their wreath, where it will be displayed in a wreath installation for viewing by the general public until the end of August. 

The parade will start at midday and we encourage the public to make the trip across to Ypres for the 8th August and fill the Market Square to watch the parade, One Hundred Days ceremony and then enjoy an afternoon of musical entertainment including The Central Band of the Royal British Legion.


Did you know that Alicante Provincial Government has a  department specifically aimed at helping the Province's many non-Spanish residents?  They can be contacted for help and advice on 965 10 73 91 or by email at .  There's also lots of useful information on a huge range of topics available online in English (as well as Spanish and other languages) by following this link.

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Armed Forces Day exceeds expectations in Orihuela Cathedral

First observed in 2006, Armed Forces Day in the United Kingdom is an annual event to commemorate the service of men and women in the British Armed Forces. Here in Spain the event was celebrated on Saturday 30 June to also include all those security forces, including the Irish Services and the Guardia Civil, National and Local Police here in Spain, to raise awareness and appreciation for those who look after our well-being, especially those who are currently on active duty.

The event, which was also mentioned in a BBC report, was held for the first time in Orihuela city where over 200 British and Spanish servicemen and veterans, led by the Torrevieja Pipes and Drums, and including 4 Chelsea Pensioners who had travelled to Spain especially for the event, marched the short distance from Plaza Teniente Linares, along Calle Mayor de Ramón de Cajal to the 13th Century Orihuela Cathedral.

After they were greeted at the door by the city’s mayor, a 45 minute service, held in English and Spanish, was conducted by the Chaplain of the Royal British Legion (Spain North), Pastor Keith Brown, along with the Cathedral Dean, Father José Antonio Gea.

The Chelsea Pensioners marched into the Cathedral accompanied by “Boys of the Old Brigade” played by the newly formed band of the Royal British Legion, Spain. To the tune of “The Royal British Legion March” they were followed by the Standards of the RBL Spain North, RAFA, RNA, RMA, British and Spanish military veterans.

During the joint denomination service of readings and hymns, conducted in English and Spanish, there was further musical and choral accompaniment by the Royal British Legion Band in Spain, the Crescendo International Choir and opera singer Paul Michael, who performed a moving solo gaining rapturous applause.

The service ended with the mayor of Orihuela, Emilio Bascuñana Galiano, addressing the guests in Spanish and a little English saying how delighted he was that the expatriate community were able to hold the service in the cathedral’s magnificent surrounds. He said how moved he had been during parts of a very emotional and extremely appropriate ceremony.

Following the service a reception was held for almost 200 invited guests and attendees in the magnificent cathedral cloisters.

Guests included the British Vice Consul Elizabeth Bell, the mayor of Orihuela and many of his councillors, amongst which was Rafael Almagro, Sabina Galindo, the councillor for Tourism and Foreign Residents, Sofia Alvarez, who has provided her support to the event since it was first muted many months ago, and the Chairman of the Cruz Roja in Alicante Province. Donald Cubbon and Lt Col (Retd) Nick Keen, the Chair and Vice Chair of RBL Spain, District North, were also in attendance along with many members who had travelled long distances to be at the ceremony.

Thanks must also be provided to the Orihuela Council which provided free transport from the coast, to the Dean of Orihuela Cathedral, to the organiser Eddie Coleman of the Orihuela Costa and District Branch and to sponsors The Emerald Isle La Florida, Designaright and Quiron Hospital.

It truly was an especial occasion which it is hoped will now become an annual event in the RBL Spain calendar.  Additional photographs of this moving event can be found at the following link.

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The Royal British Legion (TRBL) is looking for new Caseworkers across Spain.  We are looking for new caseworkers in the areas of Javea, Benidorm, Alicante, Torrevieja, Zurgena, Barcelona and Mojacar 

You do not need to be a member of the TRBL or a branch of TRBL to apply.  Anyone is welcome to apply, either ring or email for a chat about what is involved.  There are no formal qualifications required but if you enjoy being with people and want to assist or help sign post our beneficiaries so that the quality of their life is improved, then this could be for you. 

Please contact Pam on 676451780 Monday-Friday 0900-1700 or email SpainNorth.CommunitySupport@RBL.Community



HMPO has just released two very useful videos telling you how to apply for a new passport online and how to upload a digital photograph straight into the system.  No more tiresome forms – have a look at Renewing your passport online is easy, convenient and secure and How to take the perfect photo.  For more information visit the GOV.UK website here  to get your renewal application started.


District North Spain of The Royal British Legion held its Annual Conference in Ciudad Patricia in Benidorm on Friday 26th Janqary 2018.  The Committee and Delegates from Branches were delighted to welcome Emma Cannings, Director of Membership and Volunteering and Sara Munsterhjelm, British Vice-Consul in Alicante as guest speakers.  For a fuller report on the Conference, please visit this page.

Emma Canningssara Munsterhjelmpastor Keitth Brown


District North Spain now has its own Facebook page, which we will be growing over the coming days and months.  your ideas and contributions are very welcome - visit us at @LegionInSpain



If your spouse or partner accompanied on posting outside UK on posting, they can now claim Class 3 National Insurance Contributions (a new class of contribution) right back to April 1975. This could help with UK pension eligibility and amounts.   You can apply even if you’re no longer serving.  Follow the link to find out more.  Remember that since 2010 spouses and partners have been entitled to claim Class 1 contributions when accompanying overseas - that information can also be found in the same article.  Read more here...


Lest We Forget Remembrance Day Poppy Flower Field

To mark 11th November and Remembrance Sunday, a number of Services of Remembrance were held across District North Spain.  Photographs of some of them are published here .

For additional information about the background to Acts of Remembrance, please visit


  Ptc Photo

At the recent meeting of the District Committee, District North Spain Chairman Don Cubbon expressed his pleasure and delight in awarding a certificate on behalf of Ian Fraser-Roe (National Overseas Support Coordinator) to Pam Twissell-Cross.   In recognition of her outstanding work as District Community Support Officer for the District, Pam was awarded a Certificate of Recognition in the recent Volunteer's Week.  The Chairman described the award as thoroughly well-deserved and added his own thanks for Pam's unstinting efforts on behalf of those across District North Spain.


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A new Branch of The Royal British Legion was inaugurated in Murcia on 7th April. The lovely surroundings of the Sanctuary on the outskirts Calasparra made a spectacular venue.  With almost 50 people attending there was great enthusiasm for starting a Branch in this northern area of Murcia.

The is the first new Branch to be opened in the District for seven Years and Chris Wyatt, District Secretary said “We are delighted that the Legion will now have a real presence in this area of Murcia.  Branch members will be able to enjoy a varied social life as well as raising money for the Poppy Appeal and helping with Community Support.  We wish them all the very best for the future.”

Click here for contact details.


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