Spain continues to be a favourite destination for British people who want a holiday home in the sun or who have made the big decision to move abroad permanently. However, not everyone knows how to move to Spain successfully. Our insider tips will help you …
Firstly, choosing Spain as your adopted country is a fabulous choice. According to the World Health Organisation, it’s one of the healthiest places to live due to its climate and the Mediterranean diet.
It’s a country with a rich history and culture, exciting fiestas, great cuisine and top-class sports facilities. You needn’t worry about getting bored because there are so many things to do and places to visit in Spain.
Probably the most important thing is to learn to relax more. The Spanish way of life is very different to northern Europeans’ way of thinking and it can take time to get used to it.
Learning Spanish is also necessary. Some expats will get by with just a few words of Spanish but if you really want to integrate and make the most of your move to Spain, you’ll need to be able to hold a conversation in Spanish.
Many town halls provide free lessons, so it’s worth asking around. This is also a great way to make new friends of all nationalities.
Many towns also have exchanges where they will pair you with a Spanish person who wants to learn English so you can meet once or twice a week to chat over a coffee and help one another.
Another great way to integrate is to take part in the local fiestas. They’re noisy and often start very late at night, but they are great fun.
While having fun should be top of your list of things to do, there are some practical issues that need bearing in mind so that your move to Spain goes smoothly.
The main thing you need to where you are going to live. Do you want to be near a beach? Do you play golf or other sports? Will you have to rely on local transport? Do you want to be near other expats or immerse yourself in a traditional little Spanish village?
If you are planning to buy a property when you move to Spain, it is definitely advisable to rent first. Then you can explore the area or neighbouring towns to see what it is like for permanent living. You may find it is too quiet in winter or there are no buses after 6pm, for example.
Renting is cheap compared to England, even in some of the larger cities, so it could be a good investment to take your time, get to know local people and ask around about good or bad areas.
Once you have decided exactly where you want to live, you can check out property prices. Rather than trawling through all the estate agents yourself, it is worth going to see a property finder who can do all this work for you. They’ll also have local knowledge which will help with your search.
Next on your list is dealing with Spanish bureaucracy which can seem like a minefield.
For example, the first thing you will need is a NIE number, which is an ID number for non-Spanish residents. You’ll need a NIE number to buy a property, open a bank account, file taxes, start a business, and register as freelance or even to buy a mobile phone. In other words, you won’t get very far in Spain without it.
You will also need a social security number and SIP health card if you are working in Spain or are a pensioner and are entitled to free health care in Spain.
Then you have to register to pay tax either as a tax resident or non-tax resident.
When you have moved to Spain, you don’t want to spend all your time trying to deal with the red tape, it really is far easier to get someone to do the hard work for you. It is advisable to source a good local gestor or accountant who can help you sort out all this paperwork.
Timing your move is also very important. If you have children, waiting until the end of the school year could be advisable. Then you have time to register them at their new school in Spain.
Finally, enjoy your time in Spain. It’s a great opportunity to make new friends, try new sports, learn a new language and explore the quirky personalities of the different regions of Spain.
So, there you have just a few of our many tips how to move to Spain successfully. Whatever stage of the moving process you are at, ensure you get a copy of our book that is full of essential information about moving to Spain (with or without children. Read all the 5 star reviews here: Read on Amazon