A hugely popular destination for expats, Spain is home to a large number of foreign national residents. 12.8% of the Spanish population is now made up of immigrants, while the country’s hot weather and laidback lifestyle have proved to be a great attraction for Brits moving abroad.
Whether you’re retiring abroad to Spain or moving for a new career, there’s a few things to bear in mind before emigrating to Spain.
Do you need a visa to move to Spain?
Depending on where you are emigrating to Spain from, you may require to apply for a visa. Similarly, if you are moving to Spain for work, you will need to also be aware of your rights to work in the country.
EU citizens are able to emigrate to and work freely in Spain, as are citizens of the EEA. Expats from the US, Canada or Australia will need to apply for both a Spanish work permit and a residence visa.
How to get your NIE
As a foreigner emigrating to Spain, you’ll need to apply for your NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero), which is a number given to all foreign residents. Similar to a National Insurance number in the UK, your NIE enables you to buy a property in Spain, rent accommodation, begin employment and pay your taxes.
Again, the process can differ depending on your nationality. If you are from the EU, applying for your NIE can be done either at the Spanish Consulate in your country or at the local police station when you arrive in Spain. Alternatively, you can hire a legal representative in Spain to conduct your application for you before you arrive.
If you choose to register as a resident in person, you will need to make an appointment at your local immigration office or police station within the province you are living. Once registered, you will receive a residence certificate that displays your name, address, nationality, NIE number and the date of registration.
How to register on the padrón
Those planning on moving to Spain for longer than three months must also register on the padrón – the census that your town holds.
Registering on the padrón as a foreigner can be done at your local town hall and will require a form of official identification. This can be:
- A passport
- Your NIE or residence certificate
- The deed to your house or copy of your rental contract
- A utility bill in your name (this must be recent)
There is a small fee incurred by some town halls for registering you and providing you with your certificate (certificado de empadronamiento). However, this fee is nominal and once you have registered you will be able to enjoy the following benefits:
- access to public services and discounts
- access to income-related benefits and social care
- a tax reduction
- the ability to register for local healthcare
- the ability to enrol children in school
- voting rights in local elections
- register a car with a Spanish number plate
Opening a bank account in Spain as a foreigner
It’s worth noting that you will be unable to open a bank account in Spain as a non-Spanish resident without having your NIE.
Popular banks include BBVA and Banco Santander, which have proven popular in the past with foreigners opening bank accounts in Spain. There are a wide range of resident bank accounts to choose from, while non-resident bank accounts can be a more suitable option for anyone who owns a Spanish holiday home and wishes to visit for less than 183 days per year.
Read our full guide on how to open a bank account in Spain.
What is the currency in Spain?
The euro has been the official currency used in Spain since 2002. It replaced the peseta, which had been Spain’s currency for over a hundred years. The euro is the world’s second most traded currency and is used by 19 countries within the Eurozone. Note denominations include 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, as well as the rarer 200 and 500 notes. Each euro is made up of 100 cents.
If you are moving to Spain from UK, you can monitor the pound to euro rate and even set up a rate alert from your online account. This way we’ll inform you via email or SMS if the rate reaches your desired level before you make your exchange.
Moving to Spain with pets
If you’re emigrating to Spain and plan to bring your pet with you, there are some regulations that must be adhered to.
Moving to Spain with pets requires them to have a European Pet Passport for travel. This can be issued by a licensed vet from your own country, once your pet has been micro-chipped and a blood test has been taken. An EU Pet Passport features an ID number, documentation of previous vaccinations and other relevant information.
Your pet will need to have had an ISO microchip inserted and have received the vaccinations required by the Spanish government before entering the country. This list can be viewed on the Spanish government website and includes vaccinations against rabies and other diseases. These vaccinations must have taken place before your pet was fitted with a microchip as well as at least 21 days before entering the country and not more than a year prior.
Most pet microchips are ISO 11784/11785 compliant, however in the event that your pet’s microchip is not compliant, you will need to bring the appropriate scanner with you for proof.
Spain allows cats and dogs under the age of three months to enter the country without requiring vaccinations. However, other regulations may apply, which is why it is always best to check the current rules and regulations of the Spanish government.
Foreign currency exchange for moving to Spain
One of the unavoidable aspects of moving abroad is having to transfer money between your UK and Spanish bank accounts. Whether for paying for your property purchase or for transferring savings or pensions over, you’ll need to make more than a few overseas payments during the process and while living abroad.
That’s why, as foreign exchange specialists, we offer our customers a competitive exchange rate and low transfer fees. With some banks charging as much as £40 in transaction fees per payment, you can save both time and money when you send money to Spain with moneycorp.