Moving to Spain

Moving to Spain from the UK is a popular choice for expats. If you’re going for the laid back lifestyle, the warm climate or the friendly locals, Spain suits a variety of tastes. If you’re looking for useful information about relocating to Spain then pay attention to this page. From how to get a find a house, to the strange Spanish customs and everything in between we’ve got you covered. Below is what you can find on this page:

Emigrating to Spain

When you read about Spain, it is impossible not to think that it might be the ideal destination for a travel or even as a permanent residence. However, before you pack your bags and move to Spain, take a look at issues such as visas, cost of moving, housing, etc. You need to think about and arrange all these things should you decide on relocating to Spain.

No visa needed

If you are an EU national or are part of the European economic Area (EEA) you do not require a visa to enter Spain. Therefore, a UK national does not need to apply for a visa in order to be allowed to enter or live in Spain. Moreover, since the UK is part of the Schengen Agreement, a UK national can stay in Spain for up to 90 days without having to do any paperwork regarding their stay in Spain.

Moving to Spain after Brexit

Due to the current uncertainty surrounding the UK’s decision to leave the European Union there are several unknown factors related to what will happen for current and prospective expats in Spain and other EU countries. Although we don’t currently know about the terms of the Brexit deal we can loosely predict that freedom of movement is unlikely to continue and that those wanting to move to Spain should keep a close eye on the news and current events.

Resister at the Oficina de Extranjeros

If you are moving from the UK to Spain to stay for longer than 3 months you have to register at the Oficina de Extranjeros in your province or local police station. You will need to bring a form of identification as well as public or private health care or insurance. You may also have to produce proof that you have sufficient funds to support yourself and your dependants.

After your registration, you will receive a residence certificate. The residence certificate will state your personal data such as your name, nationality, date of registration and more importantly, your NIE number (Número de Identificación Extranjeros). The Número de Identificación Extranjeros is important because you will need this number for example to open a bank account, get paid or pay taxes.

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Considering hiring a ‘Gestor’ to cut through the red tape

A ‘Gestor’ is a person or firm that can help with vital things expats have to do such as registering yourself, converting your driving license, helping with the legalities and tax of setting up a business and helping to check over housing contracts, not to forget translating all the complicated jargon that most expats don’t understand initially.

The price of hiring a Gestor ranges vastly from just €20 per hour to over €1000. Not all expats choose to use Gestors due to the high costs involved. If you know an expat who has moved there before you could benefit from their knowledge as much as or if not more than a gestor.

When choosing a gestor you should look at choosing one the same way that you would a lawyer, size of the firm and good recommendations. Some gestors prove not be helpful so make sure you research them before you pay any money. As a cheaper alternative, some cost savvy expats in larger cities hire students to translate and help them with paperwork for around €15 per hour.

Cost of moving to Spain

Spain is a big country, therefore the cost of moving to Spain varies considerable depending on where you would like to move to in addition to how many things you would like to move. Many expats choose to leave their belongings behind to decorate their homes in a more traditional style. However, moving your belongings would certainly add a few home comforts to a Spanish villa. The most popular way of moving your things to Spain is to use overland transport which takes arounf 3-5 days. Sirelo has estimated the removals costs below.

Household sizeTimeEstimated Cost
1 bedroom flat5-7 days£2,000 – £2,700
3 bedroom house5-7 days£3,300 – £4,500
5 bedroom house5-7 days£5,400 – £7,300

Moving to Spain: Tips

With a move abroad its always helpful to know some tips from those in the know. Here at Sirelo we’ve compiled a list of tips for moving to Spain so pay close attention!

  • Make sure to take out insurance when you move your things. Some Spanish removals services are known for being rough with belongings due to using old trucks on bad roads so try and remove the stress by making sure you’re covered.
  • If you’re basing where you want to live in Spain based on your summer holidays then you should bear in mind that Spanish towns are very different for tourists in the summer than how they are for expats the rest of the year. Do your research and ensure that you are prepared for the culture.
  • Learn the language. 60% of expats in Spain don’t even speak Spanish! The locals will appreciate you a lot more if you make an effort. Many areas of spain don’t speak English well so this is a further crucial point!
  • For more handy tips about moving to Spain that you won’t find anywhere else on the internet check out our blog 24 tips no one tells you before you move to Spain.

Checklist: Things to remember when moving to Spain

Make sure not to forget anything when you move abroad. Sirelo has developed a check list to help you with your move to Spain.

  • Double check all Spanish paperwork – it may be well known that the administrative process in Spain is difficult but it is still a surprise for those that move abroad. When it comes to things like registration, it is vital to check all forms documents with a fine tooth comb. This will save a lot of frustration and even months of waiting.
  • Register on el padrón – Once you and your family are registered at the town hall you will have the same rights as a Spanish citizen. This includes things as simple as registering for the local bus pass rates or something as big as being able to enrol your children in school.
  • Renew your EHIC – as a temporary measure it is important to have a valid European Health Insurance Card. After registering and you have an NIE number you will be entitled to the same healthcare as Spanish citizens. Additionally it has been the case in the past where hospitals have refused EHICs and asked for a full up front payment. Although this shouldn’t happen to avoid this you can take out insurance.
  • Make sure you have access to euros. If you want more information about how to transfer money abroad effectively check out our page.
  • Make sure you have told the tax authority that you are moving abroad. There are agreements in place in order to avoid being taxed twice but you need to tell the authorities in order to ensure this works without a problem.

Moving to Spain

Moving a car to Spain

When it comes to driving in Spain there is no major problem with the legality of driving a UK car or when it comes to driving licences. The driving licence of citizens of the EU, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland, is valid in Spain, just as it is in their home country. A licence issued in the UK is therefore also valid in Spain. If you stay for two years or commit a traffic offence then you will be obligated to exchange your UK driving license for a Spanish one.

Cost of moving a car

Generally a car will fit into a 20ft container which costs a base price of around £1100. Quarantine and taxes also need to be factored in which costs a further amount, usually between £1,000 and £2,500 amounting to a total of £3,600. Due to the cost many expats choose to drive to Spain themselves as a mode of transporting their cars as this works out cheaper, even with the additional costs of accommodation on the journey.

Fortunately car insurance tends to cost less in Spain. Additionally there is an EU law which prohibits companies to charge more if a car is right hand drive (or vice versa) so you won’t be out of pocket for having a UK car. The main disadvantage of having a right hand drive car in Britain is the inconvenience of having limited vision and the difficulty involved with drive throughs and requesting tickets for car parks.

Features of living in Spain

The cost of living in Spain ranges significantly between each city and even more so when it comes to moving to smaller villages. Below you can find a handy comparison of  important features of living in the 6 biggest cities in Spain including the cost of living and quality of life.

Quality of LifeCrime RateCost of LivingHealthcarePurchase Power

Finding property in Spain

Finding a place to live in Spain is not so different to the UK. For rental properties there are several options but the main one is to go through an estate agent (inmobiliarias). There are also several online portals to find a property abroad. Bear in mind that if you use a portal targeted at expats you will be paying more than average.

Online property portals to help you find a place include:

Although renting a property might seem like a great option, many expats choose to buy a place in Spain as the market was hit hard by the global financial crisis which caused the price of properties there to plummet. You are able to get a lot for your money, often it can be cheaper than renting.

Distinct regional differences

As you may or may not know Spain is made up of 17 distinct regions knows as communidades (communities). Each region of Spain has a distinct subculture that can differ vastly mostly between the North and South but it can even be the case between neighbouring communities.

Spaniards are often as patriotic for their region as they are for their country in general. The strong regional pride is most famously known in Catalunya and the Basque Country who have fought for independence for a long time even having their own language. Regional languages are also found in the Basque Country, Galicia, Valencia and the Balearic islands.

Moving to Spain

 Other useful information about Spain

In addition to the information on this page we have further information about Spain on the following links:

  • Working in Spain : Are you moving abroad for work? Read here about how Spanish work place culture differs to the rest of Europe.
  • Healthcare in Spain : There is more to healthcare in Spain than just having your EHIC so make sure you’re prepared!
  • Education in Spain : What you need to know about different schools and universities.
  • Taxes in Spain : All the information about the tax system in the country.

Requesting free moving quotes

Do you want to move to Spain? Then use our free service to compare the cost of moving abroad. All you have to do is fill in our free quote form. It takes 2 minutes to receive up to 5 quotes from moving companies that specialize in moving to Spain. This way you can save up to 40% on moving abroad.