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Moving to Spain

A Comprehensive Guide on Relocating to Spain

Taking off soon and wondering what the steps are to move to Spain? All sorts of questions might arise, such as “do I need a visa to live and work in the country? How can I move my belongings and my pets? How do I go about renting a house?” This relocation guide will help you with every step of the relocation process and the requirements for moving to Spain.

Need to move abroad? Organizing an international relocation is not something you should do on your own. As expats, we understand what you need, and offer the the essential services to help you move and live abroad easily. Contact us today to jump start your move, and begin the preparations with our free relocation checklist.

Are you wondering how to move to sunny Spain and how hard it really is? That depends entirely on how you define hard and where you originally come from. EU nationals, or people with a permanent residency in an EU member country, will find the process of moving to Spain to be fairly easy. This is because there are less bureaucratic steps.

However, that does not mean people from outside of the EU need to feel discouraged already. If living in the country of churros, tapas and tinto de verano is your dream, then this guide will provide you with all the things you need to know when moving to Spain; from obtaining a visa, work permit to navigating the housing market, finding good schools to opening up a bank account and filing a tax return.

The work-life balance and general quality of life are just few of the benefits of moving to in Spain. Yet, there is more to the sunny weather, wide beaches, and good food in Spain. The relaxed work culture, excellent international schools, and free quality public healthcare are just a few perks of this incredible southern European country. Read on to find out more about Spain and why moving there might be your best



Whether you are moving abroad for the first time or relocated multiple times before, the process raises many questions. Our complete guide to relocation will ease your doubts along the way, from the initial preparations to how to negotiate a relocation package, we help you GO! prepared with the key answers.

Whether you are moving abroad for the first time or have relocated multiple times before, the process of moving to Spain raises many questions. Our complete guide to relocating will ease your doubts along the way. We include everything you need to know when moving to Spain such as the initial preparations on how to negotiate a relocation package. We help you GO! prepared with the key answers.

Shipping, moving, or storing your household goods and belongings will not be impossible in Spain. The Iberian country is one of the best transport hubs in the world due to its convenient geographical location. Whether you plan on shipping your belongings by air freight, train, sea, or by land, you should be well covered with many options to choose from.

In general, whether your shipped belongings arrive at a habor or airport in Spain, they will have to go through Spanish customs. If you have nothing to declare, this process is easy, but if you are carrying any items that are forbidden or restricted by customs, you need to declare them. As a general rule, make sure you only bring items up to the allowed quantities, and bring all the necessary permits, to avoid setbacks at the border.

Moving to Spain with pets is fairly simple. There are not many vaccinations required. All animals need to show proof of a recent rabies shot, no matter where you are coming from. Because dogs, cats, and ferrets under three months of age are not vaccinated against rabies, they are not allowed to enter the country, so keep that in mind when planning your move.

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Visas & Work Permits

Wondering how to get a visa and work permit for Spain? This section of the guide covers everything you need to know on the visa application process and the requirements for Spain.

As an EU citizen, you can travel and live freely within the Schengen territory for three months. After that time, you will need to register with the local authorities. As a citizen of a non-EU country, the process is more complicated. To enter Spain, you will need a short-term Schengen visa that is valid for 90 days in a 180-day period. If you plan on staying longer, you will need to apply simultaneously for a long-term visa.

To apply for a Spanish visa, you will need to meet some requirements such as a proof of sufficient financial funds, a clean criminal record, and an overall good health certificate. As a highly skilled worker, you may even be issued the European Blue Card, which is equivalent to the Green Card in the United States. Purchasing a property over 500,000 EUR (540,000 USD) in Spain will also grant you a visa, which can be renewed every two years.

Visa costs vary depending on your nationality, as well as the type of visa you apply for. Generally speaking, US and Canadian citizens have the highest visa costs, with prices ranging from 100-1000 EUR (112-1113 USD) depending on the visa type. Other nationalities pay less. The costs range from 70-150 EUR (78-167 USD).

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Renting accommodation in Spain is not always a straightforward process. Buying a house as a foreigner might even be simpler than renting. In this section, we will cover all aspects of how to rent or buy a house in Spain as an expat; from property prices to tenancy rights, average rent, house prices, and utilities Spain.

The good news for all expats who are thinking of purchasing property in Spain is that there are no restrictions on property ownership for foreigners. Buying a house over 500,000 EUR (540,000USD) will also grant you a Golden Visa, which allows you to live in Spain.

If you want to rent a house or an apartment, keep in mind the cardinal rule of housing in Spain: Never accept a spoken agreement and demand a written contract. In general, Spanish law is on the side of the tenants, protecting their rights. Yet, it is not uncommon for landlords to ask you to provide proof of sufficient financial means or for a guarantor to sign the contract with you.

In this detailed guide, you will learn about the different types of houses, and the requirements you need to fulfil, if you plan on renting or purchasing a home in Spain.

Rent prices vary greatly depending on where you want to live. Naturally, big cities, such as Barcelona and Madrid are much pricier than Valencia or Bilbao. If you do not know which city to call home-away-from-home yet, get inspired by our Best Places To Live in Spain guide.

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In this guide we cover the Spanish healthcare system in detail. From how to apply for health insurance in Spain, to how to find a doctor, as well as what to consider when giving birth in Spain, in terms of the process of finding a specialized medical practitioner and what medical care to expect.

Public healthcare in Spain is free and includes primary care services such as family medicine, paediatric, nursing services, midwives, and physiotherapists, as well as emergency and diagnosis prevention services. Adult dental care, correction glasses and some orthopaedic services, as well as pharmaceutical costs are not free. Costs will vary depending on your income.

If you are a legal, working resident in Spain, you are eligible for public healthcare and need to register at the local Social Security to get your health card (tarjeta sanitaria individual). You will need to show this at every doctor’s appointment. The healthcare and social security system in Spain is so good that it is practically impossible to not have healthcare. If you are not eligible to any type of public healthcare, you can opt for a pay-in-scheme at a minimum rate of 60 EUR (67 USD) per month.

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Banks & Taxes

Opening a bank account in Spain is not a difficult process. Spain’s best banks offer accounts for residents, as well as bank accounts for non-residents, that you can later convert into a resident account after you have been granted residency.

Both Spanish residents and non-residents need to file a tax return at the end of each term. If you are a non-resident, you only need to pay taxes on your Spanish income unless you have worked in Spain longer than 183 days a year. Are you wondering how much is the tax in Spain? That depends on the type of tax. Income tax ranges from 19% to 45% depending on the amount you earn.

If you plan on being self-employed in Spain, it is important to consider what the tax rate is to understand the real value of your salaries or profits.

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If you are relocating to Spain with your family, you might want to consider enrolling your children in international schools. Spain’s school system is good, but international schools in the country rank highly nationally and internationally.

The education system in Spain has some peculiarities. Secondary school is divided into three compulsory years and two additional voluntary years called Bachillerato. School is only mandatory until the age of 16, hence the three compulsory years of secondary school. However, most Spanish students want to attend university and for that they need the Bachillerato.

The school system in Spain is made up of public, semi-private and private schools. The latter including the best international schools in the country. These usually allow kids to follow an internationally recognized curriculum with English as the primary teaching language and the local language as a foreign taught language.

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A fundamental part of your relocation to Spain is work. In this guide, you will find helpful insights on how to get a job in Spain, the Spanish job market, requirements to work in Spain, tips for interviews, business culture and information on the average salary in Spain.

In general, integration into the Spanish job market is easier if you speak Spanish, but speaking English is a good asset as well. If you are a non-EU national, you will need a work and residence visa to work in the country. To get these, you will need a job contract with a Spanish employer.

Also, a foreigner is only hired in Spain if the occupation is listed as a shortage occupation. This list is published quarterly by the Public Employment Service (Servicio Público de Empleo Estatal).

If you plan on becoming self-employed in Spain, this section covers all the requirements for registering your business, what Spanish social security benefits to expect, and maternity and paternity leave for self-employment.

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Before relocating to Spain, get acquainted with the culture and lifestyle of your home-away-from-home. The country is overall friendly and open to foreigners. Yet, it is good to know what to expect, before living there.

There are many pros and cons to living in Spain. The weather, food, and nature are amazing. The healthcare system is top-notch and locals are welcoming. However, the high unemployment rate and language barriers are valid downsides and need not be taken lightly.

The cost of living in Spain is not as high as in other big EU countries. Generally, the prices in southwestern Europe, such as Portugal and Spain, tend to be cheaper than in Central or Northern Europe.

Spain puts a lot of emphasis on a work-life balance. Although the concept of siesta is outdated in big cities, people like to take long lunch breaks to relax. Eating in the metro or at your desk at work is highly frowned upon, as Spanish people place a lot of importance on meals.

Make sure you are equipped for driving in Spain. This section will cover everything you need to know about changing your foreign driver’s license to a Spanish one and finding your way through the Spanish public transportation system.

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Updated on: March 31, 2020
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