Moving to Spain

Moving to a foreign country is usually a big decision that requires a lot of planning and preparation, whether it’s a long-term commitment or a short-term lifestyle choice.

For many British expats, Spain is the ultimate emigration destination, providing the perfect terminus for those seeking a change of scenery.

Whether you’re seeking a fresh start or a place to retire to, a whole host of Brits have no problem swapping the cold, damp greys for warm, cloudless blues.

If you’re one of those Brits looking to relocate to the land of the siesta, this handy guide for expats in Spain is a must-read.

Do I Need a Visa to Live in Spain?

First things first, as is the case with any international relocation, it’s important to know the legalities of moving to your country of choice and moving to Spain from the UK is no different.

For short-term visits, British expats are allowed to remain in Spain for 90 days over a period of six months; however, if you are planning on residing in Spain for longer than three months, you will need to apply for Spanish residency.

Under the Freedom of Movement Act, citizens of EU countries don’t need a visa to visit, live, work or study in Spain. Instead, EU nationals simply need to register with the authorities and get a national identity number.

However, with Brexit ominously hanging over the UK like the Sword of Damocles, those terms have become somewhat clouded, muddying the Spanish waters for Brits looking to make the journey south.

Expats in Spain After Brexit

If you are or will be an expat in Spain after Brexit, it’s important to become well acquainted with the Brexit process. The results of the negotiations are likely to have a significant impact on expats living in Spain after Brexit, so it’s wise to familiarise yourself with the latest updates.

While the exact details over Brexit and the subsequent implications are murky at best at this stage, there are a few pieces of information that have emerged with regards to Spanish travel.

If the UK severs ties with the EU without a deal, UK nationals that were officially living in Spain prior to the date the UK exits will be considered legal residents for a period of 21 months. According to gov.uk, this ruling will be enforced regardless of whether or not the British national currently holds a Spanish residency document.

Conversely, if the UK does leave the EU with a deal in place, UK nationals will be able to register as a resident in Spain under the current rules, provided they arrive before the end of the implementation period. Such expats will also have their right to Spanish residency protected for as long as they remain living there.

In short, should the UK leave the EU with a deal, travel to the EU will remain unchanged until the end of 2020. On the other hand, if the UK leaves without a deal, rules for travelling and working in Europe will change accordingly.

Good to Know

With the visa/Brexit issue covered, there’s more to life in Spain than admin, paperwork and entry documents.

To prepare you for your Spanish arrival and help you settle in once you touch down on Iberian soil, here are a few facts about life in Spain that are good to know:

Mediterranean Climate

Arguably the biggest draw for would-be expats in Spain, the toasty warmth of the Spanish climate is an attractive proposition for many Brits seeking escape from drab and damp weather of the UK.

The south of Spain is particularly blessed with sunny weather, with the Balearic and Canary Islands boasting a warm climate all-year-round. In the summer months, temperatures in Spain can even break the 40 degrees Celsius barrier.

Even when temperatures drop, the sun is a virtual constant regardless of the season and it’s not unusual for islands like Mallorca to feature sunshine even in December.

According to Spanish travel experts, SeekingTheSpanishSun.com, the five warmest winter destinations in Spain are Marbella, Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Costa Tropical and Seville, with temperate highs of 16-22 degrees.

- Property Prices

While growing housing prices in Britain have made it increasingly difficult for many to mount that first rung on the property ladder, the same can’t be said for real estate in Spain.

Low-interest rates – particularly in coastal regions – make Spain an attractive proposition for property buyers.

In fact, national statistics show that there is 78% home ownership in Spain, considerably higher than the UK and notably above the EU average.

For additional help buying a property in Spain, you may want to enlist the aid of a gestor who will be able to guide you through the process smoothly.

Cost of Living

Another huge perk of life in Spain, the cost of living is lower than the UK in almost every measurable metric.

According to statistics website, Numbeo, Spanish prices trump the British equivalent across the board, with an overwhelming majority of goods and services costing less en España.

From groceries and rent to cigarettes and beer, the Spaniards have us Brits well and truly trumped.

Dining out is also cheaper, providing all the more reason to enjoy some tapas and a few sangrias with friends.

However, there are some curious exceptions to the rule, with items like cheese, beef and bananas all costing around 15-20% more.

However, it’s worth noting that the average monthly salary is also less in Spain, which does offset the price differential somewhat.

Easy Does It

Spain is renowned worldwide for its laid-back lifestyle and the slower pace of life can be a huge culture shock for those used to the hectic pace of working life in the UK.

That being said, it’s undoubtedly a welcome change for many and the relaxed approach is the polar opposite to the daily rush many of us Brits have become accustomed to.

A famous part of this calmer approach is, of course, the mid-afternoon siestas. Meanwhile, it’s not unusual for morning routines to run into early afternoon.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that the entire month of August is traditionally viewed as a domestic holiday month for most Spanish natives.

While this is great for relaxing and reinforces Spain as a fantastic destination to unwind and enjoy life, it can make things difficult when it comes to errands and admin.

As such, if you need to get something important done, it’s best to arrange your activity outside of these times, where possible.

Transferring Money to Spain

Of course, no UK expat in Spain will be able to survive very long without financial backing. As such, moving money to Spain from the UK is a vital part of the process.

Whether you’re looking to purchase a property or arrange accommodation rental, transferring funds from the UK to Spain is a necessary part of securing a place to stay prior to arrival.

Prior to doing so, it’s important to secure the best exchange rate possible. Doing your due diligence and getting the right exchange rate can provide substantial savings.

In order to ensure you get the best exchange rate for transferring money to Spain, Universal Partners FX is here to do just that.

Our safe, secure transaction process allows you to transfer money to Spain quickly and effectively with no hidden transaction fees or strings attached.

To transfer money to Spain, simply follow our easy three-step process:

  1. Register for free
  2. Secure your exchange rate
  3. We make your payment

With a 5-star rating from independent review site Feefo, we have a proven track record as a top-quality FX partner. Send money to Spain with Universal Partners FX and give your transfer trouble a siesta today.

For more advice for expats in Spain or to find out more about sending money to Spain from the UK, why not drop us a line today? Call 020 7190 9559 now or get in touch online by using the button below.

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