So you have decided that you want to move to Spain and live a more relaxed lifestyle in the sun. Now what?
It can be hard to know where to start as there are so many things you will need to sort before you relocate to Spain.
We have listed a few things to do before moving to Spain so you can make a start now and be fully prepared when you arrive…
One of the first things to do is learn Spanish. You should start as soon as possible to give yourself plenty of time to get to grips with the language. Even if you are moving to an area with a lot of expats you will still need to know basic Spanish for use in many shops, banks, town halls, and other local businesses.
Unless you know an area very well it’s a good idea to plan several visits to make sure you find somewhere best suited to you before you commit to a property. Think about what you want nearby. Do you need local transport links? Would you like to have shops and amenities within walking distance? Would you prefer to be in a quieter urbanisation, or do you want to be in the centre of town?
If you have children, one of the things to do before moving to Spain is research on local schools. Would you prefer a private school or a state school? Are there any other international children at the local school? What information do you need to apply? Try to visit schools in the area if possible. This will help you get a feel for the school and find out as much information as possible before you move.
Find out what paperwork you need
If you are moving permanently to Spain there is a lot of red tape you will need to get through. Most of this cannot be done until you arrive but it’s important to ensure you have all necessary documentation to hand. If you need a helping hand get in touch with Benigest who can assist you with everything you need.
Before you can do anything such as rent an apartment, buy a car or open a bank account you will need an NIE number (Identification Number for foreigners). You will also need to sign on the padrón in your local town hall, and if staying permanently you need to apply for residencia.
The paperwork needed varies in different regions but at some point, you are likely to need copies of passports, marriage certificates, birth certificates for children, medical records, rental contracts/house deeds, and bank statements. Some areas also require official documents to be translated into Spanish. Which Benigest can help you with.
Think about pets
If you are going to be taking your pets to Spain, make sure you find out what you need to do in order relocate them legally. How are you going to transport them?
All dogs and cats need a passport to enter Spain, your vet in your home country will be able to help. They also need a microchip, rabies vaccination, and, if travelling after Brexit, a rabies titer test a minimum of 3 months before entering Spain. There’s no quarantine for pets arriving from EU countries as long as all requirements are met. It’s best to speak to your vet as soon as you know you are going to be moving to Spain.
There are various options for getting your pets to Spain including driving them over yourself, flying with them, and using a pet transportation company.
Open a bank account
A Spanish bank account is needed to pay all utility bills. You can do this before you move to Spain by using your home address, (providing you have an NIE). This can then be updated once you have a permanent address in Spain.
Do your research to find out which banks in your area have staff who speak English, and which have the lowest international transfer fees.
Sort out healthcare
Spain has a great healthcare system, which is said to be one of the best in the world.
If you work in Spain you will pay social security taxes which cover all healthcare free of charge. People over retirement age living permanently in Spain from Europe are also entitled to free healthcare. Both pensioners and those working need to register at the local health centre with their social security number, passport and foreign identity number.
If you are not working in Spain or are a pensioner, you will need to take out private medical cover. Or if you have had a padrón for a year (no need for residencia) under the Valencian community agreement along with a monthly payment you are also covered under the Spanish healthcare system – but you must have an NIE card.
Understand how purchasing property works
Buying a property in Spain is likely to be very different from buying a property in your home country.
Once an offer has been accepted on a property, the buyer has to pay a deposit. This is typically 10% of the purchase price. The contract of sale is signed in the presence of a notary, at which point the full sale price, taxes and any other costs are due.
The buyer has to pay a number of costs and taxes over and above the property price. Depending on the type of property this can include VAT (IVA in Spain), notary, transfer tax, income tax, legal fees, and land registry fees.
It’s a good idea to add 10% tax plus 3.000€ on top of the advertised price to estimate the final price you will pay for a property in Spain. This may vary from agent to agent.
If you are planning a move to Spain, get in touch with us here at Benigest to find out how we can help. As well as helping you find your dream Spanish home, we can also help you to obtain your NIE, open bank accounts, and apply for residencia amongst other things.