Home A Little Introduction to Moving to Spain

A Little Introduction to Moving to Spain

Posted by on December 21st, 2017.

From bustling Mediterranean cities like Cadiz to sedate retirement hotspots like the Balearics, Spain has plenty to offer.

Cost of Living: 19.66% lower than in the UK

Rent: 34.43% lower than in the UK

Quality of Life Score: 11th out of 56

With over a 1000 miles of Mediterranean coastline, hundreds of ancient port towns, elegant cities and a culture that celebrates the slower pace of life, Spain is one of the UK’s top expat destinations – and it’s easy to see why.

Spain ranks 11th in the world on Numbeo’s quality of life index – a ranking that measures variables like the cost of living, housing affordability, pollution, crime rates, health system and commuting times – all factors that place our beloved España above Sweden, Norway, Canada and the United Kingdom (which placed 16th).

For the avid hiker; Spain has plenty of stunning Mediterranean landscapes, for the history buff; more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than you can shake a stick at, and for the fine diner; 24 Michelin starred restaurants (with San Sebastián featuring more Michelin stars per capita than any other city in the world).

Beyond this, expats in Spain enjoy a country that has a significantly lower cost of living than the UK (rent is 34.4% lower than in the UK) with a population that widely speaks English.

What do I Need to do to Move to Spain?

For the time being at least, moving to Spain is fairly straightforward if you’re coming from the UK.

Because Spain is a member of the European Union, British citizens don’t require a visa to live and work there, and maintaining the rights of UK citizens living abroad post-Brexit continues to be a key aim of negotiations.

It should be noted, however, that you will require a Número Identificación de Extranjeros (NIE number), within three months of arriving – a number that registers you with the authorities, as well as a Tarjeta de Residencia (a residency card), both things you can sort out once you’re there.

Some banks in Spain also require a ‘minimum deposit’ of anywhere up to €1,200 to open an account, with a few even insisting that your account has a minimum balance at the end of the calendar month.

Finding Work and Handling Your Pension

Moving to Spain shouldn’t hamper a UK state pension, as long as you inform the Department for Work and Pensions – your payments will also continue to increase in line with pensions paid in the UK.

In respect to work, however, competition is fierce and unemployment is high – especially if you don’t speak Spanish. Don’t be put off, however, especially if you work within engineering, medicine, or IT (all sectors experiencing shortages), if not – you might be stuck looking for longer, though seasonal tourist jobs are abundant, as are jobs teaching English.

We recommend getting involved within any professional expat community networks that might exist within your area, as these can often be lifesavers when job hunting – particularly considering that expatriates make up over 7% of Spain’s total population.

Finding a Place to Live

‘How lazily the sun goes down in Granada!’

When it comes to property prices, you can tend to get more for your money in Spain than the UK – and that goes for both rented and purchased accommodation.

But where you choose to move in the nation is largely dependant on what you’re looking to get out of your time in Spain.

If you’re moving to retire, the current top retirement spots are Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, Valencia and finally, Granada.

Barcelona is Spain’s second biggest city and sits at the ocean’s edge. It’s famous for its architecture, festivals, art, and nightlife.

Malaga is an ancient city on the Costa del Sol – very popular with tourists. It has a reputation for being a safe and friendly place with plenty of restaurants, museums and shops.

Valencia, meanwhile, is a medieval city with astounding beaches and rows upon rows of beautiful orange groves.

Granada is a city in Spain’s Andalusia region, seated on the breath-taking foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

If you’re looking for a more active social scene, Barcelona and Madrid are famous for it – both featuring a large number of festivals, clubs, bars and day-time leisure activities.

A general rule of thumb, however, is that the closer you are to the coastal hotspots the more expensive property will be!

Key Takeaways & Interesting Facts about Spain

  • As a UK citizen you do not require a visa to move to Spain
  • Some banks require a large minimum deposit in order for you to open an account.
  • Spain boasts the fourth-highest life expectancy in the world.
  • Moving to Spain should not affect your UK state pension.
  • Spain is a whopping five times bigger than the UK, but only has a third of the UK’s population… it also has 8,000 km of beaches.
  • In the Spanish-dubbed version of Fawlty Towers Manuel is Italian, rather than Spanish.
  • Property prices in Spain are typically lower on average than in the UK.
  • Spanish is the second most spoken language in the world.
  • There’s a whopping 44 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Spain.

We hope you enjoyed our little introduction to moving to Spain. If you’re planning a move abroad in the near future, get in touch if you’d like to talk through your currency transfer options.

-Data references from Numbeo: crowd-sourced global statistics database-

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