Moving to Spain - Checklist

As soon as possible

  • Learn Spanish, and if you have children, get them learning Spanish as soon as possible too. Moving to a new country, changing schools and making new friends will be hard enough for them as it is.
  • Choose an area to live in. You may want to move to somewhere where you will be able to speak English if you have to - if that is the case, choose somewhere near the coast, or near a major inland tourist area such as Las Alpujarras. If at all possible, you should visit the area before you move, even if you have been before. Holidaying and living somewhere are very different things!
  • When you have an area in mind, research Spanish estate agents on the internet. It is a good idea to search for long term rental properties initially, although if you intend to buy a property in Spain, it's also worth checking sale prices in your chosen area.
  • Save as hard as you can! Outside Madrid and Barcelona, you will need at least E1000 a month to live on (in those cities you may need more), as long as you can live fairly frugally. Jobs are not easy to come by in Spain at the moment, so take at least enough money to live on for 6 months.
  • If you own your house, decide whether you want to sell it and live on the capital for a while, or if you want to rent it out while you decide what to do. The latter option is generally the safest, but either way, you should talk to some local estate agents and start to make arrangements.
  • Plan your move to Spain. If you have children, then summer is a good time to move to Spain: Spanish schools are closed from the 15th June to the 15th September. If you don't have children, then the end of September is a good time, because that's when lots of long term rental properties become available.
  • Check whether your bank will allow you to keep your accounts once you live in Spain. If your bank does not allow it, move your account to one that does.

2 months before you go

  • Start to sort your belongings and sell or give away anything you do not want to keep. This always takes longer than you think it will!
  • If you are taking your car, get it MOT'd and check whether your insurance covers driving in Spain
  • Find an international removals company and buy some boxes (it is not worth trying to save money on boxes - you want the double thickness international freight ones).

1 month before you go

  • If you are an EU citizen, make sure you obtain an EHIC card from the Post Office or apply for an EHIC online.
  • Additionally, if you are not planning to register in the Spanish social security system, then it is adviseable to arrange private health insurance.
  • Fill in form P85 and take it to your nearest tax office or your employer. Unless you are moving to Spain in April, you should have a tax rebate to collect (since you can claim your full year's tax allowance)
  • Go to your bank and fill in a "Not ordinarily resident" form so that you will not pay tax on your savings - make sure you give them your new address.
  • Pack!

Site last updated July 2017.
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