How to move to Spain: a simple step-by-step guide

How to move to Spain: a simple step-by-step guide

1. Work out where you are going to live.

Whether you are moving out to live in your holiday home, renting somewhere or staying with friends at first, you will need a Spanish address for the application.

If you are buying a home, start your property search before your visa application. You may find our Spanish Buying Guide helpful. Buying a home will involve getting a Spanish bank account and also obtaining an NIE number.


2. Why are you going to Spain? Decide which visa.

Different visas will have different criteria and time frames. Some will just be applied for from the UK, others, like the digital nomad visa, can be applied for when you are out in Spain.

Check out our Spanish relocation section and we recommend that you seek advice from a relocation expert to help you work out which visa, how to apply for one and what a likely timeframe is. Plan ahead as the process can take 3-6 months.


3. Take some tax advice.

What type of visa you decide on will also have tax implications. Most visas presume tax residency (eg the NLV) because you are looking to spend more than 183 days there. Either way, talk to a tax advisor at 6-12 months before you plan to move so they so can suggest how to do things regarding income tax, capital gains tax, pensions. Find a tax guide to moving to Spain and professional services.


4. Start getting your paperwork together.

This may take longer than you think, because you may need to obtain a recently issued marriage certificate, and you will need to obtain an ACRO (police certificate) and maybe a medical certificate, depending on which type of visa. The key thing that is delaying some types of digital nomad visa application right now is waiting several weeks to obtain an A1 form from HMRC.



5. Need to transfer money to Spain?

Assuming you have already set up a Spanish bank account, you may wish to arrange to transfer some funds for your move in the most cost-effective way possible. You may have done this already if you have been purchasing a property, but if not talk to foreign exchange broker A Place in the Sun Currency to plan ahead to make savings on this.


6. Book your appointment at one of the Spanish consulates in the UK.

Once you have a date you will know how long you need to get the remaining paperwork together. It’s unwise to book your ‘move’ flight out to Spain and any relocation services until you’ve got this in the diary. Bear in mind that some documents expire after three months. You might be notified of the outcome 2-3 weeks after the appointment.


7. Visa stamp in the passport? You are good to go!

Once you’ve got your visa, you’ll have a month to enter Spain and to apply for your TIE card (identity card). You will need to do this by making an appointment online for a slot at an immigration office or police station in your area of residence. You will need your passport and passport photos. When you arrive you will also need to register with the padron (your local town hall).

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Liz Rowlinson