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A Comprehensive Guide on Moving to Spain

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  • Jacques Paillard

    At the InterNations Events, I didn't only enjoy dancing the night away at some great venues, but I also got to know some great friends.

Are you wondering how to move to sunny Spain and how hard it really is? This will depend on your specific circumstances 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 fairly easy.

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

It’s not surprising that Spain is an expat favorite. There is more to it than the sunny weather, wide beaches, and good food. The work-life balance and general quality of life are just a few of the benefits of moving to in Spain. Spaniards have very clear priorities, family, friends, socializing, and relaxing come first. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), full-time workers spend around 65 percent of their day on personal care and leisure. 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 will improve your quality of life.

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A Comprehensive Guide on Relocating to Spain

All You Need to Know About Relocating Your Household Goods and Pets

The process of moving to Spain can be stress-free if you follow the procedures. You will have many alternatives to ship your household goods to Spain. The Iberian country is one of the best transport hubs in the world due to its convenient geographical location. Whether you plan to ship your belongings by air freight, train, sea, or by land, you should be well covered with many options to choose from.

Upon arrival, your belongings will have to go through Spanish customs, either at the harbor or at the airport. 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 will need to declare them. For instance, if you have medication that falls under the controlled drugs category established by Spanish customs, you will need to apply for an import license at the Spanish consulate of your origin country. As a general rule, make sure you only bring items within the allowed quantities, and bring all the necessary permits to avoid setbacks at the border. Be aware that quantities differ significantly depending on whether you come from a country outside or inside the EU.

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. As 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 you plan your move.

Read our complete guide on relocating to Spain

The Guide to Visa Types and Work Permit Requirements

Wondering how to get a visa and work permit for Spain? This section covers everything you need to know about the visa application process and the requirements for moving to 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 to stay 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 worth over 500,000 EUR (590,000 USD) in Spain will also grant you a visa for two years, which you will then have to renew every five 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 to 1000 EUR (120-1180 USD) depending on the visa type. Other nationalities pay less, with costs ranging from 70 to 150 EUR (82-177 USD). You can read everything you need to know about visa types and work permit requirements in this section of our Spain Guide.

Read our complete guide on visas & work permits in Spain

Everything You Need to Know About Finding a New Home

Renting accommodation in Spain can be tricky. The rental housing market requires you to jump through many bureaucratic hoops. Interestingly, buying a property 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 a foreigner; from property prices to tenancy rights, average rent, house prices, and utilities in Spain.

The good news is that, in Spain, there are no restrictions on property ownership for foreigners. Buying a house worth over 500,000 EUR (590,000 USD) 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 also learn about the different types of houses, and the requirements you need to fulfil if you plan to rent or buy 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 places like Valencia or Bilbao.

Read our complete guide on housing in Spain

Connect with like-minded expatriates

Discover our welcoming community of expats! You’ll find many ways to network, socialize, and make new friends. Attend online and in-person events that bring global minds together.

Jun 13, 2024, 3:00 PM
2 attendees
We will get to know each other and about the systems played. Hope to see you soon!
Jun 13, 2024, 8:00 PM
12 attendees
Dine in this speciality fish restaurant near Thyssen .
Jun 13, 2024, 8:00 PM
18 attendees
Come and enjoy this very special and new place to our wine tasting and pairing food: Wines to taste: 1º Prosecco DOCG 2021. La Gioiosa –Veneto, Italia (Espumoso) 2º Frascati Superiore 2022. Tenuta
Jun 13, 2024, 8:30 PM
74 attendees
Dear friends, summer is here, and I'm happy to invite you to another "LOVE COCKTAIL NIGHT"! I'll be waiting for you this time on one of the most famous terraces in Madrid, a venue with vintage decorat

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