Living in Spain as an American can be a thrilling experience. It’s a country that is full of culture, history, and great food. Spanish cities like Madrid and Barcelona are popular destinations for tourists and expats alike. If you’ve ever considered living across the world in Spain, then this post is for you. We’ll go over all the details of becoming an expat in Spain from the perspectives of various American citizens who have decided to make the big move.
Why would a US citizen prefer to live in Spain?
Living in Spain provides access to a vibrant local and expat community and allows for the enjoyment of an affordable lifestyle accompanied by breathtaking places and tantalizing cuisine. Spain has a unique charm that has always enamored visitors, especially Americans, and this is why some US citizens prefer to make it their home.
Here are the benefits to consider if you’re a US citizen planning to move to Spain:
If safety is a concern for you when relocating to Spain, fear not. According to four separate surveys, the country has earned its place among the safest 41 countries in the world. These rankings consider homicide rates, natural disasters, and economic/political risk factors. The cities of Barcelona and Madrid are cited especially highly: number 11th and 21st respectively on the list of global safe havens of 2021.
Spain has one of the best healthcare systems in the world, with a comprehensive plan that ensures access to quality medical services for Spanish citizens and non-EU residents alike. And if you’re working and living in Spain, you get free access to healthcare.
The opportunity to work in Spain is a major benefit of living here as an American expatriate. US citizens can take advantage of the country’s booming job market and find various employment options such as teaching, IT, marketing, healthcare, engineering, and more. Those who wish to start their own business can also do so but should make sure they possess the proper documents and meet all necessary requirements.
Spain has various property options, from luxurious villas to city apartments. The great thing is that foreign buyers can buy property in Spain with the same rights as Spanish citizens. Major cities like Madrid and Barcelona are popular for both residential and investment properties. Still, smaller destinations such as Costa del Sol or Costa Blanca offer great value for money in terms of prices per square meter.
Investing in Spain is straightforward, and housing costs are far less expensive than in neighboring countries. Plus, if you invest at least €500,000 into property purchases you’ll receive your own visa to work and reside in Spain and bring any dependent family members with you.
Several visas are available for those seeking to reside in Spain, making the transition a breeze. The Golden Visa is a great option for investors with €500,000 to purchase property or invest significantly in Spain’s economy—it grants you and your family working visas! Additionally, the non-lucrative visa allows those with sufficient funds to maintain themselves during their stay, making it ideal for retirees. Finally, Spanish student visa holders can extend their time after graduation via the job search visa which provides an additional year of residency while searching for employment opportunities.
Relocating to a foreign land can be intimidating, especially if you don’t know what taxes are due. Fortunately for expats in Spain, Bechkam’s Law is here to save the day. This exclusive benefit grants up to 6 years of tax relief on worldwide income and only requires 24% taxation on Spanish-sourced revenue. Without this law, individuals could pay as much as 45% – a huge saving that will help make your transition smoother.
Family and retirement friendly
Spain is a great destination for families, as it emphasizes nurturing strong community and familial bonds. Expats often come here with their loved ones through the family reunion visa or to retire due to its non-lucrative visa, lower property costs, and excellent healthcare that’s either free of charge or offered at an affordable price. Young families usually choose Spain because children can attend good public schools and enjoy outdoor activities in parks and beaches.
Easily become an entrepreneur
Of the 3.4 million businesses across Spain, 1.9 million are registered as self-employed or Autónomos. This is especially popular among expats as it enables them to set their own rates and establish a successful business from anywhere with great flexibility. Expertise in a certain field will help you here, but the Spanish Government offers resources and incentives to support those just starting.
Great transport links
Spain is incredibly well-connected, with numerous public transportation options such as trams, buses, metro, and trains running locally. For longer journeys across the nation – or even further afield to other European countries- expats can take advantage of the high-speed train networks (Alta Velocidad) or utilize one of its many airports for visa-free travel.
Spain is a haven for pet owners, with numerous pet-friendly parks, beaches, and restaurants. From locals allowing their dogs in restaurants, bars, and businesses to cats roaming the streets with people stopping to feed them – you and your furry friend will feel welcomed everywhere! And whether you’re bringing your beloved companion from abroad or adopting one locally, there’s no doubt that both of you are sure to be spoiled by Spaniards’ love of animals.
Cost of Rent
If you’re looking to save big on your living expenses, then Spain is the place for you. Numbeo reports that renting costs are almost 58 percent lower than in America. One of the major expenses that significantly impacts the cost of living is housing. Spain offers a range of affordable options for renting properties, including apartments, houses, and even villas, especially in smaller cities and towns. The cost of renting a similar type of property in the United States is substantially higher, making Spain an attractive option for those looking to save money on their monthly housing expenses.
Americans Retiring in Spain
Spain’s sunny climate and luxurious lifestyle make it an ideal location for expats. With thousands of Britons, French, Germans, and increasing numbers of Americans calling the country home—the opportunities to meet others with similar aspirations are endless! So whether you’re looking to retire in one of the best cities or invest in a multicultural city, rest assured that you’ll find like-minded people wherever your journey takes you.
Spain offers an unprecedented opportunity for Americans looking to retire in a foreign land. With its diverse culture and affordable cost of living for most retirees, those who buy property at this time can find themselves with remarkable financial freedom. And with the Spanish bureaucracy being so easily navigable by US citizens, there’s never been a better moment to call Spain home.
What are the requirements for an American to live in Spain?
To start the process of obtaining a residence permit in Spain, American citizens must apply for a student visa or a work permit. One of the easiest ways to obtain a Spanish passport is to apply for a Spanish Golden Visa. If you invest at least €500,000 in Spanish real estate (or certain other investments) and have the required financial means, you can get a five-year residency permit. After five years of permanent residency, US citizens are eligible to apply for Spanish citizenship – which entails being entitled to free health insurance and access to all European countries.
For those who desire to stay in Spain for more than 90 days, a valid passport with at least six months of expiration is necessary to apply for a permanent residency visa. Furthermore, applicants must provide the Spanish consulate with a valid passport, proof of private health insurance, and sufficient financial means to sustain themselves. It’s worth remembering that for US citizens moving to Spain from abroad, their original American passport must remain valid for at least three months after arriving there.
For US citizens looking to relocate to Spain, there are several visa options from which you can choose. The top seven types of favored visas are:
- Student Visas
- Job Search Visa
- Work Visa
- Golden (Investor) Visa Spain
- Non-Lucrative Visa
- Permanent Spanish Residency
- Family Reunification Visas
A word from SpainDesk
Living in Spain as an American is an incredibly rewarding experience, especially for those who are looking to become a Spanish citizen or establish their own business in the heart of Europe. With so many options available – from visas to healthcare and transport links – you’ll find it easy to move and settle into your new home. If you are thinking about moving to Spain from the US, get in touch with us. One of our dedicated SpainDesk advisors will answer your queries. We offer a service tailored to your specific needs and requirements. Our team of experts will work diligently from start to finish, ensuring a successful transition to your new life in Spain. We look forward to helping you make the move.