Moving to Spain
Removals to Spain from the UK are a staple of European movings, such is the attraction this country has with its comfortable lifestyle, warm climate and rich cultural history. Spain also offers stunning architecture and beautiful beaches if you opt for the coast.
If you’re moving to Spain, whether it’s to study, work or retire, you’ll find there’s plenty to organise before you hit the road. From choosing a place to live, to arranging your removals, the list of jobs can seem endless! To help you get started, here’s an overview of Spain with essential facts you may need about the country.
Removals to Spain: About Spain
Lying in the southwest of Europe on the Iberian Peninsula, Spain is the third largest country in Europe. It hosts a population of more than 45 million. Spain also uses the euro as its currency and along with a thriving tourism industry also excels in agriculture.
The north of the country has a more temperate climate with rain and cloudiness more common. Further south around the coastline, it’s much hotter and there is far less rain, giving a much more typical Mediterranean experience. The interior of Spain is variable, with differences in altitude changing the climate. Mountainous areas can be quite chilly and provide the perfect setting for winter sports, but during the summer can become very hot.
Removals to Spain: Things you should knowThere are specific quirks about living in Spain; here are a few useful things you should know:
- Don’t plan on going shopping during your lunch break. Other than in major cities, many shops are closed in the middle of the day
- The country closes down in August. Perhaps not literally but other than coastal areas, shops may operate reduced opening times and businesses may temporarily close. Everyone gets away from the heat for a while.
- Banks are only open until around 2 pm
- Meal times are typically later, lunch at 2.30pm and dinner not before 9-10pm
- The Spanish love a good festival – there are more festivals in Spain than days of the year!
Removals to Spain: Visas Requirements
When you’re moving overseas, you need to consider the need to apply for a visa or other entry documentation. If you’re from the EU or EEA, you won’t need a visa nor any other form of paperwork before your departure.
Other international visitors can apply for a visa in one of three categories: work, student or family/retirement.
You’ll also need to make sure you obtain a Número de Identificación de Extranjero (NIE) – also known as a Foreigner’s Identity Number. This NIE is essential to apply for a driving licence, pay taxes and open a bank account, amongst other things. Ensure you have multiple copies of passports, photos, birth certificates, proof of your Spanish address, etc. before your move. You will need them.
EU and EEA visitors who are planning on staying longer than 90 days must register with Oficina de Extranjeros. 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 based on the number of people living in each town.
The latest immigration figures from 2016 states over 10% of the inhabitants are foreign-born. British authorities cite the population of 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.
You will find essential links for British Expats in Spain on the UK Govt website
Removals to Spain: Healthcare
The Spanish healthcare system is one of the best available, but as it’s decentralised, you’ll need to check more specifically for the area to which you plan on moving.
If you are contributing to the Social Security system, you will be entitled to receive free healthcare. However, some people still prefer to have private healthcare to bypass any queues and to access the best facilities.
If you aren’t working or making Social Security contributions, you either choose to pay for your healthcare when needed or take out private cover.
Removals to Spain: Opening a Bank account
Before your international move to Spain, open an account in your own country in a bank with established Spanish connections. You can then just transfer your account when you move to Spain. It will save you a significant amount of paperwork and the hassle of opening a brand new account.
Banks do come, and they do go – as far as who owns whom – so check out which banks function in which region. It would be 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! Don’t forget to take enough cash, or facility to retrieve money for your first ten days in Spain.
Removals to Spain: Cost of living
The cost of living in Spain varies significantly depending on where you choose to live. Barcelona, Madrid and San Sebastian for example, are markedly more expensive than elsewhere.However, overall the cost of living in Spain is cheaper than many other places, even when comparing the more expensive cities. As an example, Barcelona is:
- 47% cheaper than London
- 30% cheaper than Dublin
- 33% cheaper than Sydney
- 2% cheaper than Washington DC
- 32% cheaper than Paris
Removals to Spain: Time
Time can be a very fluid concept in Spain depending on where you are and what you’re doing. While on the streets, car drivers seem to become obsessed with getting anywhere as fast as humanly possible and have no patience for any delay. Conversely, if you book an appointment that will require any bureaucracy or paperwork, make sure you are not in a hurry. Appointments may well conclude many hours after they were due, so take a book, your knitting, or some other form of entertainment and settle down for a possible long wait.
Removals to Spain: Language
Spanish is the national language, but it’s far more complicated than in other countries. Parts of Spain have their own separate, cultural identity and instead of speaking Spanish, they use similar but distinct languages such as Catalan, Galician and Valencian. In these areas, schools teach Spanish is as a second language. Then you have Euskera, in Bilbao and the Basque country.
These are sensitive cultural issues; if you plan on moving to one of these areas, make sure you understand their history.
English is spoken in Spain; after Spanish, it’s the second most popular language. However, only just over a quarter of Spaniards understand English so you’ll need to learn the local lingo if you genuinely want to mix with the locals.
Removals to Spain: Moving to Spain
You will have lots of options for removals to Spain, but it’s always recommended to use an international moving company which has the necessary experience in the country. European Moving has been organising relocations to and from Spain for over eight years. Please contact us to discuss your needs.
The accommodation you move to may be very different from your property at home, so it’s worth taking the time to reconsider what furniture and belongings you want to bring. Whether you choose our Load and Go or our EasyMoves solution, European Moving can help you with moving to Spain. We shall also provide advice on a whole range of moving issues you may not have considered before.