There always seem to be too many jobs to remember when you’re moving house, and moving to another country means there are a few more things to consider. There’s a lot to think about when moving to Spain but as long as you leave yourself plenty of time there’s no need to panic! Our checklist aims to give you some pointers so you can be ready for moving day, which will come around sooner than you think! You can also download the checklist attached to use as a tool when going through the process.

Before you leave

So you can throw yourself into Spanish life the moment you arrive, take a bit of time to tie up loose ends at home.

Make sure you don’t end up paying for old bills at home after moving to Spain by writing yourself a list of all of your outgoings. A good way to do this is to run through your bank statement and make note of anything you aren’t going to need once you’ve left. Make sure to plan well in advance to give yourself enough notice to cut ties. Some key things to cancel are below:

  • Utilities; for things like gas and electric you need to leave at least 48 hours’ notice to cancel and make sure to take a final reading and provide it to your suppliers before leaving your house so you’re not stuck paying for the next person’s usage! You should also check if you’re on a fixed rate tariff as you may be charged an exit fee to close the account early.
  • Internet and phone – the terms of cancellation will all be detailed in your contract – here’s hoping you still have a copy!
  • Local council tax – use this online checker to find out where your local council is based and how to advise them that you’re leaving, https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council
  • National Insurance – you’ll need to complete a p85 form to notify the Inland Revenue that you are planning to leave if you are moving permanently or for longer than 1 year which you can download here: there is an online form available, or a downloadable version if you need to send it in by post.

Pack! Try to leave more time than you think you’ll need for this. Transporting belongings to another country is understandably expensive so you won’t want to take more than you need in a mad rush a week before moving to Spain. Make a list of all the items you definitely want to take with you, and in the process, you’ll realise what you don’t care too much about. Be brutal, every item you send across the channel is an extra cost so just take what you really want to. Car boot sales and online listing sites are a great way to get rid of your unwanted belongings, and the extra cash will always come in handy with the move. Get quotes from at least 3 international removals companies to find out the costs you’re working with, which might even help you be a bit more decisive when it comes to throwing away that Christmas jumper from 15 years ago!

Get your furry friends microchipped. If you’re planning on taking any pets with you when you move to Spain, as long as you aren’t travelling from a 'high-rabies risk country' and your pet has been microchipped (read here for the specific type of microchip required for entry to Spain) to confirm this you won’t need to leave your companion in quarantine before taking them home with you. This goes for cats, dogs and ferrets; if you have any more exotic animals to take with you there is further information here.

Once you’ve made the move to Spain

There always seem to be too many things to remember when you’re moving house, and moving to another country means a few more jobs to consider. There’s a lot to think about but as long as you leave yourself plenty of time there’s no need to panic! Our moving to spain checklist aims to give you some pointers so you can be ready for moving day, which will come around sooner than you think!

Getting a NIE number

You’ll need a NIE (Non native identity number) pretty much as soon as you have moved to Spain to get you started with things like healthcare, finances and the like. This can be obtained from a police station if they have a department for foreigners once you have arrived. If you are planning on completing the form before you move to Spain, you can download a copy at https://www.citizensadvice.org.es/faq/where-can-i-download-form-ex-15-nie-application-for/ and take it to a Spanish consulate in your home country, along with:

  • your passport and proof of address
  • two copies of each of the above
  • completed application form (see below)
  • self-addressed envelope with postage stamp
  • €8 (approximate admin fee for submitting form)
  • “Certificado de Empadronamiento” – this differs from region to region in Spain but it's generally a good idea to have one as it may be required before you can get an NI

Your other option is to elect a representative such as a solicitor to complete and submit the form on your behalf, you’ll need to complete a permission form in order to do this. You’ll need to do this in order to open a bank account, register for health care services and for school applications so it’s key to get this step done as soon as possible. When you submit your form, check and double check that you have all the required paperwork as this can be a timely process – you don’t want any unnecessary delays on top!

Registering with your local town hall

This document is called “Certificado de Empadronamiento” or “certificate of registration” and can be required prior to you obtaining your NIE number. This differs from region to region, but as you need one within 3 months of moving to Spain it’s a good one to tick off the list ASAP. The following documentation is needed in order to register:

  • Your completed application form (available at the office where registration is being made)
  • Photo ID such as a passport, and copies of your passport. This is required for each person registering at an address.
  • Proof of address such as rental bill, title deeds or utility bill

It doesn’t generally take too long for the process itself, and the certificate can be issued on the spot.

Healthcare

The Spanish healthcare system works similarly to the UK, in that people working and making social security contributions will be entitled to state healthcare. There are no upfront costs involved with this, other than buying prescribed medicines. This is a percentage of the full price for the prescription, which is worked out based on how much your yearly earnings are and whether or not you received a state pension. The table below shows the percentages you will be expected to pay as an expat in Spain, depending on your circumstances:

 

Under €18,000

€18,000 - €100,000

Over €100,000

State Pensioner

10%

10%

60%

Working Age

40%

50%

60%

healthcare in spain emigration checklist

If you have bought a second home in Spain and will spend the majority of your time in the UK you should still be able to use your EHIC card for your healthcare needs. You should make sure to update your EHIC card with plenty of time to receive it before you leave. You can apply for a renewed card here.

If you are not eligible for free healthcare whilst in Spain, for example if you are not making social security contributions you will need to arrange for either state provided health insurance or private cover. Health insurance provided by the state is charged at a flat monthly fee of €60 for those under the age of 65 and €175 for anyone over that age. If you already have private health care it’s worth getting in touch with your current provider to see if you need to make amendments to your policy in order to be covered in Spain.

For more guidance on healthcare, read our Guide to the Spanish healthcare system.

Opening a bank account

You’ll need to the have the NIE number we mentioned earlier in order to get yourself set up with a bank account in Spain, you’ll also need your passport, and a proof of address for your residence. Some banks will also ask you for a proof of employment so check on the requirements for your prospective bank before arranging your visit. You will need to be in the country to hand over your documentation, though with some banks you can set up an account online before going out there to get the ball rolling. Another option is to set up a Euro account with your existing bank before making the move if they provide this option. If you are buying a property abroad, you should ask your currency provider if they are able to send the funds directly to your solicitor in order for the Euros to be sent to the seller so you have one less transfer to arrange and can ensure the timely transfer of funds.

Many Spanish banks offer non-residency account also, so if you are only staying in the country for a little while, or will be splitting your time between the UK and Spain then this might be the easiest option.

Charges

The best way to source a bank is to travel around your new local area and find out which branches are closest to you, as cash withdrawals from your own bank tend to be free but if you take out cash using another company’s ATM there may well be a charge for this, generally no more than €2 Euros per transaction. Spanish banks are known for having relatively high charges compared to other EU countries, it’s well worth while doing some research on the bank you plan to use to find out about these before opening an account.

Other charges may include a ‘maintentence fee’ which is the ongoing cost of holding your bank account, an initial administration fee for the set up and charges for receiving sums over €50,000.00 into your account.

One way you can avoid paying these charges is to open a Euro account with your own bank at home, which works the same way as one abroad and will be able to send and receive your Euros without first needing to convert your Sterling. It’s just like having an account abroad essentially.

Getting a Spanish driving licence

As of January 2015, if you become a Spanish resident and are planning on driving you will need to obtain a Spanish driving licence. Spanish law requires that driver have medical checks prior to being given a licence, which needs to be renewed every 10 years until the age of 65, and every 5 years thereafter. If you have an EU license you need to renew this after your first two years of moving to Spain, which effectively turns it into a Spanish licence – after this the normal renewal rules apply.

Now that you’re bone fide expat living Spain with a bank account, health insurance, and your very own NIE number, Spain is your oyster, Enjoy!

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