Moving to Spain and starting a new life here will require that you open a Spanish bank account to receive payment either from your salary, pension or from your holdings in the UK and abroad.
While you can manage all transactions from your international payments account, it can be simpler to manage many aspects of your finances from a local account. There are two different types of account, a resident and non-resident account; the principal difference relates to your tax obligations but it will depend on how much time you spend in Spain as to which you will be appropriate.
Can a UK citizen open a bank account in Spain?
If you are resident in Spain, opening a Spanish bank account is a relatively straightforward process. A non-resident account is for people who spend a maximum of 183 days each year in Spain, which may be appropriate if you spend the winter months in Spain and return to the UK for the rest of the year. If you live full-time in Spain, you are entitled to a resident account which comes with fewer charges but you will be taxed on the balance.
What do I need to open a bank account in the Spain?
The documents and identification that you need to open a bank account in Spain depends on the type of account you wish to open, but have similar requirements. For a resident account, the following items are required:
- A valid, current passport or national identity card if you’re an EU citizen.
- A document that proves your address in Spain, such as a utility bill that is less than three months old, or a recent bank statement from another Spanish bank.
- Your NIE number, or Número de Identidad de Extranjero, an identification and tax number for foreigners in Spain
- Proof of your employment status (such as an employment contract, a student card or unemployment paperwork).
If you’re applying for a non-resident bank account, you will also need to collect a ‘Certificado de No Residente’ from your local police station or you can request that the bank provides this for you, although there will be a charge of around €15 for this service.
Can you open a Spanish bank account from overseas?
You can start the application process online but there are many advantages to applying in person. You will need to hand over your identification paperwork even if you start the application process via a website.
In addition, unless you’re fluent in Spanish you’ll find that the English translations provided may not be as accurate as you need them to be to make the right decision. Applying in person means that you can talk through your requirements and ensure that you’re getting the right account for you. It also gives you an opportunity to shop around and find local branches that are convenient and meet your requirements.
Which Spanish banks can I open an account with?
Banco Santander is the largest bank in Spain, there are others that you may wish to consider, including:
- Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (BBVA)
- Banco de Sabadell
- Banco Popular Español
Even if you have a UK bank account with Santander, you will still need to apply separately for a Spanish account. Although it may speed up the process and have additional advantages to have both UK and Spanish accounts with the same organisation, do your homework. Another organisation may have an account that is better value or better suits your needs, so research all your choices just as you would with any other provider.
Can I open a student bank account in Spain?
Many of the major banks have branches on campus in Spanish universities. You’ll need your student card as proof of your student status, and in addition you can enjoy various additional benefits and special offers. In some cases, enrolment fees are waived, or different bank accounts will offer the chance to pay fees in instalments or offer free benefits that are charged on some standard bank accounts such as online banking. Bear in mind that in Spain, you will be charged by any ATM which is not run by your bank, so you might want to check which banks have ATMs conveniently on campus.
How can I transfer money from the UK to Spain?
All banks within Spain will allow you to send and receive money from the UK. However, you may incur significant transfer fees – particularly if you’re making frequent transfers – and a less favourable exchange rate to convert your money when you make a payment to Spain. Making regular payments to and from your home country may then incur large amounts in fees and see you miss out on a better exchange rate for your transfers.
With a moneycorp account for your currency exchange, you can enjoy a competitive exchange rate and low fees when you send money to and from Spain. This way you can get more for your money when you send money back home and when you transfer funds over for your new life in Spain.