Emigrating to Spain: what you need to know

With great food, a wonderful culture and of course, fantastic weather, Spain is understandably among the most popular destinations for British expats.

Whether you’re emigrating for work, retirement or simply a change of scenery, there are a few things to arrange before you make the move:

Paperwork and finances

If you have an EU passport there’s no need to apply for a visa, but you will need a “Número de Identidad de Extranjero” (‘NIE’) identity card within three months of your arrival. You also need to apply for a “Tarjeta de Residencia” (residency card) and to set up a Spanish bank account and be able to prove how much money you have in your bank account in Britain. When you come to transfer your assets, Pickfords’ foreign exchange service can help you move your money safely and securely.

You can still receive your British state pension while living in Spain, as long as you inform the UK’s Department of Work and Pensions of your move.

Another essential is the S1 form, which is vital if you need medical treatment in Spain. If you have this, you will be treated just the same as a Spanish resident, so long as you register your presence at the local town hall on the “Padró Municipal d’Habitants” register.

Pet travel

If you are thinking of taking your pet with you, he or she will need a European Pet Passport to travel freely across European borders. The Pet Travel Scheme allows for appropriately vaccinated pets to travel without being placed in quarantine. Talk with your vet to get your pet fitted with a microchip before it travels. Pickfords’ pet shipping service will arrange all the details of your pet’s relocation.

Learning the local language

It’s a good idea to learn the language of the area you’re moving to. Only 27% of the Spanish population speak English, so even a basic understanding of the local tongue will be incredibly helpful when communicating with local residents. Spanish is of course the official national language, spoke by around 99% of Spaniards as either a first or second language; but other languages, such as Catalan and Galician, are co-official and spoken as a first language in many regions of Spain.

Before you emigrate, you could join a Spanish class in your local adult education centre or community college to gain a basic knowledge and help you communicate effectively in-country.

Understanding the culture

As with any new country, there are a number of cultural differences you’ll likely experience when emigrating to Spain. For example, meal times: Spaniards’ main meal is typically lunch, eaten around 2 – 3pm; dinner is generally between 9 and 10pm. Spanish culture is also incredibly relaxed; people take time over their meals, and children are generally given a greater degree of freedom than in the UK. Doing some research on the local culture before you relocate will help you integrate into your local community after you arrive.

Transporting your goods

When it comes to moving your effects to Spain, choosing an experienced removal company with the international expertise is vital to ensure your goods arrive on time, safely and securely. Pickfords transports customers’ belongings to Spain every week, more than any other BAR member, and with partner offices in Madrid and Barcelona, we can transport your goods to any Spanish destination. Click here to find out more about transporting your goods to Spain with Pickfords.