Ready to embark on your journey and take up residence in the delightful country of Spain? Making the checklist for moving to Spain is essential if you want your relocation to be as smooth and stress-free as possible.
We all know moving to any new country can be overwhelming. However, if you do some research and plan well in advance, your stay in Spain will be enjoyable from the get-go. Check you have everything prepared for a smooth transition with our ultimate checklist before relocating to this spectacular nation.
With its stunning scenery, delectable cuisine, and classic leisurely pace, there’s no doubt that you’ll be proud of this new home soon. Keep on reading!
Can I just move to Spain?
Before you move to Spain, there are a few essential things that must be settled first. Immigration requirements and finding an appropriate school for your children are issues you should bear in mind.
For example, British nationals can move and live in Spain for three months as long as they have a valid passport. However, if you are British and you wish to stay longer or acquire residence permanently, you must follow certain legal processes.
To guide you as you plan this significant journey, here’s our comprehensive checklist for moving to Spain to ensure all bases are covered.
Do your research
Gather as much information about your new home before making the move. From education and housing to the cost of living, you should research all facets. To get more detailed answers, join expat communities on online forums or Facebook groups where people can provide helpful intel and advice.
Decide where you want to live
After gathering the data and answers to all of your questions related to living in Spain, it is time for you to decide on where exactly you will settle. Of course, those who have work or family ties already established may not need to worry about this step since their location has been predetermined. But if that’s not the case, there are plenty of incredible places in Spain available.
Research real estate options and find the ideal neighborhood for your family. Consider the distance between family and friends, proximity to major cities and airports, schools, shops, restaurants and more. Once you have established where you will live, it’s time to start looking into rental options or buying a home.
Make sure to review contracts and legal documentation for any rental or property purchase. In this sense, having a real estate lawyer review all paperwork is a great idea to avoid any potential surprises.
Health Insurance & Bank Account
You must find appropriate health coverage prior to your relocation to Spain. With both public and private healthcare systems available, it is easy to access the necessary services such as doctors, hospitals, or specialists. If you plan on staying in Spain for a longer period, you may want to consider private health insurance rather than relying on the public system.
Next, you’ll need to open up a Spanish bank account to facilitate your day-to-day banking needs. To open a Spanish bank account, you will need your passport –or any other valid identity card-, a Spanish address, your NIE number and proof of your employment status.
Removal Company & Costs
Experienced expats can confirm that one of the most difficult aspects of relocating overseas is transporting your personal items to your new dwelling. Depending on where you are coming from and what possessions you need to transport, moving to Spain will be an entirely different process.
Choosing a removal company can sometimes be stressful. However, finding information about costs and doing your research regarding the company’s reputation, will help you make the right decision. Clear your doubts as regards customs regulations before hiring a moving company.
It’s also important to note that if you’re moving large furniture, there may be additional removal costs involved. Be sure to plan for unexpected costs and factor in any additional fees before signing a contract.
Start looking for a job
In Spain, the job market varies from region to region. For instance, Madrid, Barcelona and Bilbao offer more international companies with English-speaking opportunities while coastal regions and island communities like the Canaries and Balearics largely rely on tourism as their economic staple. To ensure you’re in a place that suits your career needs best, it’s wise to take some time to research what kind of job possibilities are available before making any decisions.
Moreover, if you’re a self-employed expat or planning to set up a business in Spain, there are some important things you must take into account beforehand. From obtaining the correct licenses to considering local taxation regulations and double taxation agreements; all scenarios require a good amount of prior research.
Sort out your finances
The checklist for moving to Spain must include financial planning when transferring overseas. Expats must also remember to factor in any currency exchanges, bank charges, and understand the rules that different countries apply regarding withdrawals and deposits. Furthermore, keep in mind that many UK banks have ceased offering services throughout Spain due to Brexit – so you’ll need to switch over to a Spanish one.
As soon as you start the process of relocating to Spain, open a Spanish bank account. This will give you ample time to get acquainted with the banking system, as well as make sure that all of your financial transactions and payments are made in Euros. Another solution is to use online money transfer platforms, which will enable you to bypass any bank charges when transferring funds into Spain.
Residency Applications & Documents
In order to live in Spain, both British and non-British citizens will need to obtain residency status. This involves submitting a residency application at the local town hall, as well as providing documents such as passport copies and marriage certificates (if applicable).
Meanwhile, for those looking to stay permanently – you’ll need to apply for the EU’s ‘Certificado de Empadronamiento’. This certificate states that you are a legal resident of Spain, and it is necessary when registering at the local health center. For further information regarding residency in Spain, be sure to contact the Spanish government directly to find out what the latest rules and regulations are.
When relocating to Spain with school-aged children, research the education system and start planning well in advance. You essentially have two options when considering schooling: public or private. Public schools are generally more affordable than their private counterparts. However, public schools are a great environment for your children to become immersed in the local culture. Private schools, on the other hand, usually offer international curriculums such as British or American. Though it is more costly than traditional schools, doing thorough research ahead of time can help you make an informed decision.
Get an International Driving Permit
If you’re dreaming on Spanish roads and are over 18 with a valid license from your home country, then your dream can become real. You must also get a Spanish license or an International Driving Permit (IDP) that allows you to drive in Spain and any other country as long as you have a valid driving license from your home nation. To apply for an IDP, visit your local post office or automobile association and follow their instructions as well as the steps listed by the DGT (Dirección General de Tráfico).
Learn some Spanish and familiarize yourself with Spanish culture
Before you relocate to Spain, equip yourself with the essentials. Learn the native language and familiarize yourself with the cultural nuances. Understanding the language will not only make you feel more comfortable in your new home but will also help you connect with locals. Whether it’s Castellano (what most call Spanish) in Tenerife or Tarragona, or other specific dialects such as Catalan and Basque for local areas – having a few phrases of each language can go an exceptionally long way. Get ready to embrace your new home by getting familiar with its culture, customs, and ways of doing things.
A word from SpainDesk
With these 10 essential steps, you will cover the essential aspects of a successful move to Spain. Planning and research are key when it comes to such an endeavor, but enjoying the culture of a new place can in turn enrich your life. Don’t forget to keep an open mind while living in a new environment, as this will make the transition smoother. All in all, if you plan ahead and stay organized, there is no reason why the adventure of moving abroad shouldn’t be thoroughly enjoyable.