The Low-down on Moving to Spain
Although I didn’t originally intend to end up in Spain, Barcelona is where I am for now. I’m enjoying my time here and even picking up some of the language. Spain has always been a popular country to migrate to, although some people have had to return home in the last few years. But the economy has been improving, and people haven’t stopped wanting to move here. If it’s something that you’re interested in, you might be wondering where to start. You’ve got as far as wanting to enjoy the sun and the laid back lifestyle, but that’s about it. If you think you want to make the move, there’s a lot to think about and get done.
Deciding If Spain Is for You
Before you move to Spain, you have to decide if it’s the right place for you. If you’ve never been, it’s probably not the best idea to choose it as your new home. Assuming you have visited, don’t think that you’re an expert on what the country is like. Visiting a country is a lot different to living there. There are many things to think about if you want to decide whether Spain is the right place for you to live. There’s the climate, the lifestyle, the law, and the national attitudes to various things. Do your best to read accounts from both locals and foreigners living in Spain, and even speak to them if you can.
Your Standard of Living in Spain
Spain might seem like the perfect place to live, but can you afford to live here? One of the most important things to think about is the cost of living. Moving to Spain could mean that you’re paying more for rent, food, or your gym membership. Or it could mean that your salary is lower and won’t stretch as far. On the other hand, you could be better off. It’s important to take a number of factors into account. The first thing you should start with is how much you think you’ll be earning, and what you’ll be paying in tax. Some people choose Spain as their retirement location. That means they’ll need to work out how much their pension will be worth. It’s a good idea to compare your income and expenses in Spain and where you live now. You can see if you could be better or worse off.
Find Your Way In
Of course, to move to a new country, you have to be given the right to stay. If you’re from the EU, you have the right to move to Spain, whether you have a job already or not. But other people will need to check the rules on visas and work permits for their nationality. If you’re not from an EU country, there are three main visa options. You could get a work visa, a student visa, or be granted the right to stay for retirement or family reasons. You should know which one of these is most appropriate for you.
Get a Job
If you’re an EU citizen, you can move to Spain without a job. However, if you want to live in the country on a work visa, it makes sense to try and find a job before moving. Obviously, if you speak Spanish, you will have a much wider pool of jobs from which to choose. But if you only have English, you could still find you have specialist skills that are in demand. Your language skills themselves could be useful if you’re considering being a teacher. Or perhaps you could work for an English company. If you need an English-speaking job, try looking at websites designed for recruiting people from outside the country.
Where to Go in Spain?
Spain might not be the largest country in the world, but it’s still bigger than many in Europe. One area can be very different from the next, so it’s important to think about where you want to live. For some people, where they end up will depend on where they can find a job. That will mean larger cities for many, but could be elsewhere. If you can live wherever you want, you need to become familiar with some different areas. You might already have visited somewhere several times. Maybe you have decided it’s the place for you. You should think about whether you want to have contact with other foreigners. Perhaps you want to integrate completely with the locals.
Getting Somewhere to Live
Once you decide where you’re going to live, you have to find a property. You will probably plan to rent at first, especially if you’re moving to the country for a new job. However, if you’re retiring, you might decide to buy a home. When you’re looking for property, you can find websites with homes listed in English. However, it’s also a good idea to learn some property terms in Spanish. You then will be able to look at a wider pool of places. If your Spanish is limited, it’s always possible to use online translation tools. Of course, it will help you to find a property if you speak some Spanish or have someone who can help you. If you’re buying a property, you need to find out about the mortgages and the purchase process in Spain. However, it’s much easier to rent, to begin with.
Learning the Language
You can find large communities of English-speaking people in Spain. However, you’ll get a much better Spanish experience if you make an effort to learn the language. You could start learning before you make the move, or wait until you arrive. Although there are many ways to learn a language online, you need to get out and do it in the real world. You can find Spanish classes when you arrive in Spain, but don’t just rely on teaching. If you make an effort to make friends or even just carry out daily tasks, you can pick things up faster. It’s much easier when you’re surrounded by the language and not just learning in a classroom.
Using a Moving Service
Moving to a different country can be a huge task. After arranging the technicalities, you have to sort out how you’re going to get there. Some people decide that they want lots of help and use an international moving service. There are services that specialise in helping you sort out your new life, so it’s less stressful for you. They can do everything from helping you find somewhere to live to arranging to have your stuff moved. However, they obviously will cost you, and not everyone wants to pay for this service.
What to Take with You and How
When you have to make an international move, taking your possessions with you can get expensive quickly. Moving within Europe is cheaper, but bringing your stuff from elsewhere could cost you a lot. Deciding what you need to take with you will help you keep to a budget. Before you decide what to pack up, think about how you’re going to get to Spain. You and any family or pets need a way to get to Spain before any of your stuff. After factoring in that cost, you can start thinking about what else should make the move. Some people will go the minimal route, choosing to take clothes and little else. Others will want to take as much as they can with them.
When You Arrive
When you get to Spain, there are some important things you need to do to make like easier. First, you need to apply for an NIE number, which you need to do a number of financial things. For example, to open a bank account, you can use your NIE number or your passport. You can get the form online and even fill it out in English. You also need a social security number so you can work and pay your taxes. You go to your local office with your passport and a photocopy of it and fill out another form. It will ensure you build entitlement for benefits and that you can get medical care.
Some people will take their car with them when they move. However, if you’re coming from outside Europe, it could be very expensive. Selling your current vehicle and getting a new one often makes more sense. Depending on where you move to, you might decide to get by without a car. Some cities have excellent public transport, so you can rely on buses, trams, and other methods to get around.
Getting to know people in a new home can be difficult. It’s even harder if there is a language barrier. If you want to make friends, you have to look for opportunities to socialise. Even if your Spanish isn’t great, joining clubs and activities will help you improve. You can also find people you can talk to in English if you feel like making Spanish friends is taking too long.
Spain is a fantastic place to live, and it could be your next home. But making the move requires a lot of preparation, so don’t rush into it.