Winkworth Spain Real Estate Blog

Moving to Spain

So you have set your sights on moving to Spain, a country with a warm personality, culture and weather to match. But coming from another country, how do you prepare yourself for that big move? There is certainly quite a lot to think about when moving to Spain and you need to be prepared in advance, you simply don’t just pack your belongings and jump on the next plane.

The good news is that Spain is part of the European Union so means it’s less hassle if you are coming from another European country. For example, if you are retired you can claim your UK pension whilst in Spain, freely work and open a business if that’s what you want to do.

Expats can be found everywhere, especially in the south of Spain on the Costa del Sol and latest statistics show that there are over 1.5 million expats living in Spain. Remember Spain is 5 times bigger than the UK with a third of the population, so it’s a big country.

Like most countries, Spain is quite bureaucratic in terms of paperwork and you should have all your ducks in a row when moving to Spain.

Some things you need to know before moving to Spain

  • EU residents do not require visas to move to Spain, however within 3 months of arrival you need to apply for a Número de Identidad de Extranjero (a foreign identity number known as NIE).
  • Before leaving the UK, you should apply for an S1 medical form, which you should present to a local Spanish doctor or hospital. You should then be treated on the same basis as a Spanish-born resident.
  • You should register on your town hall’s “Padró Municipal d’Habitants” (Citizens Registry). Failing to do this, may result in you losing certain privileges which are allowed to registered citizens.
  • If you’re a from another EU country you are allowed to drive in Spain using your existing driver’s licence for the first two years of residence in Spain, although you must register your details with the traffic authorities after six months. If you dont and are caught, then you might be liable to fines starting at €200.
  • If coming with a pet, it must be chipped with an ISO pet microchip. It should be vaccinated for rabies and various other diseases at least 21 days before travel and not more than one year before travel. If your animal was vaccinated before it was fitted with a microchip, it will have to be vaccinated again after the microchip is inserted. If your pet’s microchip is not ISO 11784/11785 compliant, you will have to bring your own microchip scanner.
  • If you are bringing a car to Spain, then you are permitted to drive the car with UK plates for a period of 6 months. After that you will need to change the plates for Spanish license plates and register the car in Spain. Costs can vary but budget around €2,000 – €2,500 to change a UK plated car to a Spanish plated car. If you are caught driving a UK plated car and its found to be in Spain longer than 6 month on UK plates, you may be subject to fines starting from €400.
  • Schools in Spain have a very high level of education, however if your children do not speak Spanish then there are many International schools to choose from, some even teach the UK curriculum, however expect to pay anywhere from €750 – €1500 a month per child to attend an International school. State schools are free.

Obviously there are many more things to consider when moving to Spain and its advisable to research the subject as best as you can. There are many experts available to those moving to Spain but always use a reputable advisor when dealing things of high importance.

Thinking of Moving to Spain?

At Winkworth, we are happy to help you with the transition and are available to answer any questions you may have whether you are moving to Spain permanently, relocating for a job or looking for a holiday home, our property experts are on hand with their ear to the ground and can assist you.