Are you looking to move to Spain from the UK? Changes have been made to moving to the EU from the UK since Brexit. However, the process of relocating to Spain is still fairly straightforward.
This guide details everything you need to consider before making the big move to this sunny and cultured country. From property prices and the cost of living to visa applications and shipping options – we cover all of the finer details.
Let’s get to it!
Can I Move to Spain From the UK After Brexit?
The process of moving to Spain from the UK has differed since Brexit. While it’s still possible, the application process varies. The UK no longer has freedom of movement. Therefore, UK nationals looking to stay in the country on a long-term basis will need to apply and be accepted for the relevant visa.
Apply For a Visa
You can begin your Spanish Visa application up to 6 months before your scheduled moving date. The earlier you begin your application the better. This will allow you to be accepted and receive your visa in good time.
It’s useful to note that there is a visa-free travel arrangement between the EU and the UK for short-stay visits. Thus, UK nationals do not need a visa for short-term visits.
As Spain is a Schengen country, UK nationals can visit for up to 90 days in a 180-day period without the need for a visa.
After this time, you must obtain a long-stay visa to remain in the country. Initial Spanish Visas are usually valid for one to two years after they have been processed, and will need to be renewed once expired. Here are several visa types you can choose from:
In addition to this, if you would like to stay in Spain past the 90 days, you will have to get a Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE). This is a type of biometric residence card foreigners need to confirm they can legally reside in Spain. It is processed at the police office.
However, even if you do not intend to get a long-stay visa, it is recommended to apply for an NIE number, which is a foreign identification number. This is essential for tax, applying for housing, employment and key services. It is also the number that will appear on your TIE, if you ever get one.
Choose a Location to Live
Before moving to Spain, you will need to decide on a location. The reason for your move will likely influence this. If you’re moving for employment purposes you will want to live within a commutable distance of your workplace. If you’re moving to retire you may benefit from a small Spanish village or seaside town.
Some of the most popular locations for British expats to live include:
It’s important to consider the size of the home you need and your budget. Road links are important if you are looking to commute and drive. Public transport availability is also important. If you have children you will want to look into local schooling options before relocating.
Consider Renting and Purchasing Options
Renting in Spain is a quicker process compared to purchasing a home. It allows for flexibility if you want to move to a different area of Spain or back to the UK. It’s a good option to consider if you’re looking to move to Spain on a more temporary basis.
The average cost to rent a 1-bedroom apartment in Spain is €652.89 (£565). A 3-bedroom apartment will cost around €1101.25 (£953). To be accepted you must provide the relevant documentation. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Your NIE number
- Valid passport
- Proof you can afford monthly rental payments
If you’re looking to move to Spain permanently, purchasing a property is a more sensible option. It provides stability and is often the less expensive option. To complete the purchase you must provide several documents and ID. This includes a valid passport and your NIE number.
The average house price in Spain costs €2,809 (£2435.65) per square meter. The cost will fluctuate significantly based on where you move in Spain. City and rural home prices will also differ.
Book Your Removal Service
It’s important to arrange your removals to Spain in advance of your move. This helps ensure the removal company can ship your goods in line with your moving date. On average, it will cost around £3,015 to ship the contents of a 40ft container to Spain. If you’re looking to ship motor vehicles, additional charges will apply.
There are many ways to ship items to Spain. The number of goods you have and their weight can help determine the best option for you. How quickly you need the items is another factor to consider.
The available shipping options are by sea, air and road freight. Sea freight will take a few weeks on average to arrive. Air freight can arrive between 1-2 days on average. For a larger volume of items, road and sea freight are more suitable. Smaller, important items are best suited to air freight.
Employment options in Spain aren’t too dissimilar to the UK. This is great news if you’re looking to continue with your career or vocation after moving. Many expats will move to Spain for employment purposes, especially if they can fill the roles of in-demand jobs.
According to Educatly, roles that are in demand in Spain are in the following industries:
The average salary in Spain is around €29,113 (£25204.58) a year. The UK average sits at £34,963. While the average salary is lower in Spain, so is the cost of living. Therefore, expats should still have a good amount of disposable income to spend.
Education and Study
The education system in Spain is of high standard. This is great to know if you’re looking to move with children. You can choose between a Spanish school, a private school or an international school based on your child’s ability to speak Spanish and your budget.
Education is mandatory between the ages of 6-18, although parents have the option of placing children between 0-6 in Escuela Infantil (Infant school). For pupils wanting to prepare for university, they can attend Bachillerato between 15-18. Alternatively, vocational training is available for children aged 15-18.
There are many universities to consider in Spain. These offer high-quality education and teaching. Some of the most notable universities include Universitat de Barcelona, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, and Universidad de Granada.
Calculate Your Living Costs
One key factor to consider when moving countries is whether you can afford the living costs. Fortunately, Spain is around 35% cheaper compared to the UK.
According to LivingCost.Org the cost of living for one person in Spain each month is £1,032 compared to the UK, which is £1,581. A family living in Spain will need around £2,359 compared to the UK average of £3,820.
For the most part, groceries, clothing and entertainment are cheaper in Spain. As a result, you will likely have more disposable income depending on your pay compared to living in the UK.
Set Up A Spanish Bank Account
Setting up an account with a Spanish Bank isn’t required. However, it’s the most logical thing to do. It will make transactions easier and it will allow you to pay for things and withdraw money with no issues.
In most cases, you can keep your UK bank account. It’s important to speak to your bank regarding this however as some banks have stopped this service due to Brexit.
Organise Healthcare Insurance
Spain has a universal healthcare system. This is a fantastic benefit, especially as it’s seen as one of the best in Europe. It’s similar to the NHS and is both government and tax-funded.
UK expats are required to sign up for the free healthcare system upon moving to Spain to gain access to these free services. Alternatively, some expats choose to take out private healthcare insurance. This is paid for by the individual.
Driving in Spain
After moving to Spain, if you have a valid full UK driver’s license, then legally you can drive. You will need to apply for an International Driving Permit (IDP) which will allow you to drive for a maximum of 6 months.
After this time, you must apply for a Spanish driving licence. If you’re driving a UK car in Spain, your car registration plates will need to be exchanged for Spanish ones. Like in the UK, having car insurance and paying road tax is mandatory.
Making the Move
It’s important to plan well in advance for your move to Spain. As there are many steps to consider, it’s better to be organised. Arranging employment, accommodation and removal services before moving will help to make the process less stressful. It’s also useful to look into Spanish phone contracts as most UK companies will charge roaming fees if you keep the same contract after moving.
As always, our immigration lawyers are here to answer all your questions about obtaining a Spanish residence permit as a UK citizen.
Book a consultation with one of our lawyers and solve all your doubts: