Moving to Spain? In 2017, Spain made it back into the Top 10 Expat destinations (Expat Insider) thanks to an excellent quality of life, a friendly population, low costs, and a slowly improving economy.
When you look at the main reason for relocating to Spain, a better quality of life is the clear winner: 26%, more than three times the global average (8%), cite this factor. And Spain does not disappoint; nine in ten expats (90%) are satisfied with their life in Spain, twelve percentage points more than the global average. It’s a consistently strong area for Spain: across all four years of Expat Insider, the country has always been in the top 10 of the Quality of Life Index, ranking third in 2017.
So, whether you’re relocating to Spain for more sunshine or a change in career, preparation is key. I’m pretty sure that one of the first words I learned in Spanish were: “falta uno”. Sound familiar?
Spain is a country where The Law of “falta uno” applies when dealing with local bureaucracy: no matter how many documents and photocopies you bring, there will always be one missing. Before you come to Spain, here are a few tips you should know to get set up in your new country.
Get your NIE
First thing’s first: apply for your NIE (Foreigner’s’ Identification Number). You will need the number to do anything that requires an official process: renting an apartment, opening a bank account, getting a job, connecting to utilities or paying your taxes.
There are three ways you can go about applying for the NIE:
– You can either apply in person when you arrive in Spain
– Apply at the Spanish Consulate in your current country of residence
– Hire an accredited representative in Spain with the correct legal powers to make the application on your behalf.
Open a bank account
Once you have your NIE, you can open a bank account.
Resident accounts have more flexibility and benefits, while non-resident accounts are easier to open. You can take a look at BBVA, CaixaBank, Banco de Sabadell and Banco Santander. These are the top banks in Spain.
Find somewhere to live
In my experience, when you go to live in another country, one of the most complicated things is to know in which area to live.
There are many online pages where you can look for an apartment, but I recommend that you do it once here. It is difficult to know if the neighborhood will like you or if it will adjust to your needs if you do not know the city. Then you have these options:
- Ask someone you know to live in the city where you are going to move
- Contact the agencia inmobiliaria
- Hire someone to do all this for you (this is something I can help you with!)
Make sure you have the right to work in Spain
If you are a citizen of the EU and European Economic Area member states as well as Switzerland, you can come to Spain and work freely without needing a work permit.
On the other hand, if you come from the U.S., Australia or Canada, you will need a Spanish residence visa and a valid Spanish work permit (permiso de trabajo). If you plan to work independently in Spain (working as an autónomo), you can apply for a work permit from the Spanish consulate or embassy in your home country.
Set up a business
Maybe you want to skip battling your way through the job search and set up your own business in Spain.
Here your options:
- Become an autónomo
- Found a company (a pequeña empresa)
Each option has its process and its bureaucracy. Maybe it’s complicated if you do not speak Spanish well. Honestly, I know Spaniards who also find it difficult and need professional advice.
Find schools for your kids (if you have them)
In Spain, you have a few different schooling options if you are bringing your kids:
- Colegios concertados (these are the semi-private ones)
There are some factors you should bear in mind before making a choice:
- Your child’s age
- How long you will be living in Spain
- Your budget
- The primary teaching language you prefer for your kids
Once again, make sure you have all the necessary documents and follow instruction online for what you need in order to enrol your child. Maybe te falta uno…
Here you have my School Search Guide for Barcelona.
Remember that if you need help with any process related to your move to Spain, I can help you! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to assist you.