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Moving to Spain

Moving to Spain

Looking to make an international move to Spain?

  • Our articles and blogs on moving to Spain will give you essential information and advice, and tips and tales.
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We’ve provided you with Three Necessary Practical Steps and Five Essential Facts in our full and fast flavor of what to consider in a move to Spain. We’ve taken a quick tour through the regions, giving you a taste of three of the most popular cities expats choose when moving to Spain, and we hope whetted your appetite with the region’s specialties. There’s an introduction to the paper-work you’ll need and health and wellbeing considerations – yes, they’re a must – and we’ve given you a few things you may not have considered if you are planning to work in Spain and finally, a great tip for moving your money to Spain.

Spain’s does seem to have it all.

The climate for one thing, an easier stress free lifestyle for another and then there’s the country itself, because Spain is blessed with natural beauty in abundance. The latest immigration figures from 2016 states over 10% of the population are foreign born. British authorities cite the population for UK citizens living in Spain to be between 0.8 million – 1 million. Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t all UK pensioners either, only 21.5% are over the age of 65. For whatever reason you’re intending to make this international move to Spain, it’s wise to accept that although you will have moments of stress, there’s absolutely no need for your blood pressure to rise if you’re prepared to put some time into planning.

Three necessary practical steps

  1. First things first, get that all important paperwork in order. Yes, it’s a fact, wherever you go on the planet, paperwork always takes priority.
  2. Planning the care of pets and children’s health and wellbeing weeks (and sometimes months) in advance will always pay dividends. This may mean checking out any medicines and favorite (comfort) foods because if they aren’t readily available in Spain, consider taking at least two month’s supply with you in order to make settling in to a new country, culture and environment smooth sailing.
  3. Finally, finding that all-important international moving company who will take care of all your needs from door to door is a must. They will be a mine of information with tips and tales of other international moves to Spain to share.
Most important Top Tip? Ensure you have multiple copies of passports, photos, birth certificates, proof of your Spanish address and all necessary permits before your move. This goes for you, your family and your pets! Buy a multiple pocket wallet – you know the one you can strap around your waist – so all your paper work is easy to hand. You won’t regret it.

Can you open your mind to another language?

You’ll have to if you move to Spain. Spanish (Catalan, Valencian, Gallego, Euskera are independent languages spoken in the regions of Catalonia, Valencia, Galicia and The Basque Country.

Moving to Spain? Let’s take a quick trip around the Spanish Regions, including three of the most popular Expat Cities.

Each region has its specialties, depending upon climate, location, history and tradition.

Moving to Madrid

Madrid has been the capital of Spain since 1576. Located in the centre of Spain, this great Spanish city is a must for those wishing to explore Spanish history. If you’re moving to Madrid to work the largest economic sector is the service industry, including corporate services, transport and communications, real estate and financial services. Madrid also attracts direct foreign investment and a fair number of multinational corporations. Most expats moving to Madrid opt for renting property with options limited to furnished or unfurnished apartments in the downtown areas, and a few maisonettes and chalets in the suburbs. The lifestyle, culture and a city steeped in rich history await your move. Madrid’s museums, el Prado and Reina Sofia and royal castle together with many historical monuments will give you the very essence of its culture and history. A tour around central Spain itself will introduce you to other historic Spanish cities like Salamanca, an officially designated World Heritage site. Absorb the natural beauty of the area and treat yourself to the red wine from Riojo or the Jamon Serrano (Spanish ham) from Extremadura.

Moving to Granada

A popular destination for retiring expats, moving to Granada, down in the south of Spain you’ll find the region of Andalucía, a large tourist attraction thanks to the superb beaches and climate. The rich history and culture with the Moorish monuments in Alhambra in Granada and the Mosque in Cordoba, the festivals all over Andalucía from April to October and the Spanish people themselves make this region a popular destination to live as well as visit. Moving to Granada gives you a UNESCO world heritage site, snow sports in the Sierra Nevadas and warm beaches throughout the year.

Moving to Barcelona

The second largest city in Spain and the capital of Catalonia, Barcelona is home to many famous artists including Dali and Picasso. The city boasts amazing architecture by Gaudi. South of Catalonia along the Spanish Mediterranean coast, lies Valencia attracting tourists with its beaches and climate along with paella, the specialty dish of the region. Moving to Barcelona is the second most popular expat destination, it’s one of the largest international cities in the world, if you are moving to the city to work, even if you don’t know Spanish you should easily find a job in a bar or restaurant. Check out – for English speakers – for English teaching positions. Property prices peaked around 2006, so if you are moving to Barcelona and looking to buy a property – although not easy with all its red tape – there are some great opportunities, but do check out the paperwork and processes. Top tip – get an English speaking lawyer. The Basque Country in northern Spain is known as ‘Green Spain.’ If you love nature, sea and the mountains this is the region for you. Bilbao City, the capital, is well known for its modern Spanish museum The Guggenheim. Moving Northwest and also part of ‘Green Spain’ is Galicia widely accepted as the principal fishing region of Europe. Let’s not forget the Balearic and Canary Islands popular with the local mainland Spanish and known for an all round temperate climate. Tenerife is renowned for its beautiful beaches and scenery.

Spanish cuisine to suit every taste…

Food is a high priority in Spain. The history and the geography will make up part of the story too from Moorish Occupation to the Romans. You’ll be treated to an exquisite dish in every small village you en-counter. Most famous foods include La Paella (rice dish) El Jamon Serrano (Spanish ham) El Gazpacho (cold vegetable soup) La Tortilla (Spanish omelet) and sausages, sausages, sausages! Sample the world famous Spanish wines and Sherries, olive oils and seafood. Try all the elements of the Spanish cuisine by visiting Tapas bars where a variety of small plates of hot and cold Spanish specialties are served throughout the day and evening.

Five essential facts about Living In Spain

Every Country has its customs:
  1. Do NOT go to the beach in August. It’s also best to refrain from decision making too: that means don’t plan a new extension, renew any paperwork or arrange any medical treatment because Spain is on holiday in August!
  2. Pedestrian crossings aren’t the same as in the UK– so don’t dawdle, the motorist won’t be stopping.
  3. The majority of banks are only open from 8.30 am – 2.30 pm. Now that’s a good job to have! They are open on Saturday mornings until about 1pm but closed on Saturdays between June and September/October.
  4. Water shortages are common in Southern Spain so watch out for restrictions on usage.
  5. Do not refer to Catalan, Valenciano or Gallego as dialects of ‘Spanish’ or Castilian, unless you want to annoy the Catalan, Valenciano, or Gallego you are speaking to, because they’re all languages in their own right.

Let’s talk Paperwork.

“I am a name not a number!” That’s as maybe, but every Expat has to obtain an ‘Numero Identificacion de Extranjeros’ which is known as an NIE number and issued by the area police. Spanish law requires all foreigners to register with the local authorities. You’ll also need to register yourself and your family at the town hall (Ayuntamiento) for your certificate of ‘Empandronamiento.’ When you purchase a car, register for schools or use healthcare facilities you’ll need to show this certificate. The Empandronamiento allows the local government of the region to claim a budget in relation to the number of people living in each town.

Are you planning to work in Spain?

If so, you need to be prepared for a slower lifestyle, where things take a tad longer to get done. Maybe it’s the weather – who knows – but if you like things done immediately then drive, determination and patience are a priority for you otherwise you’ll need to learn them pretty quickly or make an international move elsewhere! You’ll need patience and an easier going nature as far as the weather goes too, because it’s hot. Whilst that’s fine when you’re on holiday, you’ll need to adopt a far more relaxed attitude to your working day in order to cope with the hot climate. For the latest information on living and working in Spain check the UK Govt website link here. Currently, if you’re from EU you can live and work in Spain without restriction. However, its wise to continually check this UK Government website due to the UK removing itself from the EU. ‘Brexit,’ as the removal is called by the English, is likely to take at least two years, so the situation should, until say, March 2019 remain the same. After that, it is extremely likely things may change.

Great tip for your financial planning.

Before your international move to Spain, plan well ahead by opening a bank account in your own country that has established Spanish connections. Banks in Spain probably won’t have any financial history on you, but you can easily avoid any problems by simply opening an account in a bank in your own country with strong Spanish connections, or maybe even owned by a Spanish Bank. Then all you have to do is simply transfer your account when you move to Spain. Saves a tremendous amount of paperwork and hassle opening a brand new account. Banks do come and they do go – as far as who owns whom – so do a bit of shopping around on the internet, and whilst you’re at it check out which banks function in which region. Pretty frustrating if you’ve taken the time and energy to open an account in your country with say, connections with a Spanish Bank in central Spain, only to find they are few and far between in the Basque region! Top Tip: take enough cash or facility to obtain cash for the first ten days when you first move to Spain.

Health and Wellbeing in Spain

You are entitled to free healthcare if you are living and working in Spain with a proportion of your salary being deducted at source by your Spanish employer. It is still recommended you take out private healthcare because you’ll receive faster treatment for non-emergency services. Chemists ‘farmacias’ are marked with a large green cross, they usually have heart monitors and blood pressure monitors, which you can pay to use, alongside basic medical advice. For detailed information on healthcare

Moving Your Pets

Is your pet anxious, does he suffer from separation anxiety? If your pet can’t be left in the car on the ferry, you will have to consider travelling by Euro-tunnel. Check out this link: Plan well ahead because your pet will need to be micro chipped, with his own pet passport, together with up to date jabs. Your next set of essential steps for Moving to Spain begin here:

P.S. Life is too important to take seriously!

Moving to Spain will enrich your life. The language is expressive and beautiful, the country is stunning and the food is exquisite. The lifestyle is laid back, the camaraderie and community lifestyle enviable. Every location and every venture has its drawbacks, you just have to take the leap and decide for yourself. As a rule of thumb, it takes six months to attain a semblance of normality after a move within your own country. So give a move to Spain at least a year to acclimatize. Attend as many social or cultural events as you can, and be open to socializing within the community and with work colleagues. Read books by authors who have moved to Spain, make every effort to step into the community you’ve chosen. What’s more, there is already a significant expat community in Spain who are more than willing to welcome new additions for friendship and support!
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