August 1, 2009

How to move to Spain : Moving to Barcelona Spain

Spain is the number one destination for Britonss wanting to leave the UK. The Spanish property market is going through a rocky patch, with prices falling particularly steeply on the Costa del Sol, so be careful before taking the plunge.

Despite the bumps in the property market, the attraction of sun, sea and the way of life still prove unbeatable for many. Here is our guide to moving to Spain.

Organising your departure

Though many Britons have made the move to Spain, that doesn't make the prospect of packing up your stuff and heading south any the less overwhelming. Thankfully, there are plenty of websites with all kinds of advice. has hundreds of articles on subjects ranging from moving to-do lists to where to find your nearest Spanish Ikea. explains the specifics of how long it will take to move your belongings, how much it will cost (up to £5,000) and what you can do about your pets. Another expatriate website Expatica is also extremely useful, with information on everything from the Spainish housing market downturn to features on educating your children in Spanish schools.

There are also countless books on the subject of relocating from online retailers such as Amazon.

Finding a home

Are you dreaming of a city centre flat in Barcelona or a villa on the coast? Wherever you decide, there are thousands of overseas property websites. British property websites such as Rightmove, Prime Location and Find a Property all have Spanish sections.

Mortgages and finance

If you are applying for a mortgage to fund your purchase, you can seek a deal either from a UK or Spanish lender.The process is similar, for each but you should expect to pay an extra 10 per cent to 14 per cent of the cost of the house in fees and taxes with a Spanish lender.

If you are taking out a Spanish mortgage, you will need to open a Spanish bank account. There are two types of banks in Spain: regular and savings banks. The service may be excellent, but day-to-day charges can be high. For example, you will pay 20 euros simply for having a current account.

Get a Gestor

Gestors are professional book-keepers who can help with all sorts of paperwork associated with moving to Spain, from obtaining driving licences to residency permits. They are not lawyers or accountants, but for a small fee they will help you to navigate all the bureaucracy involved in your move.

You will need to apply for a residency permit, known as a Residencia, from the local Oficina de Extranjeros in your nearest town. You will be given an NIE, essentially a tax number for foreigners, at the same time, provided that you are an EU national. Non-EU nationals will have to apply for the NIE first. It is a good idea to apply as soon as you can.

Before leaving the UK

Before you leave the UK you should contact both The Pension Service for a state pension forecast and also speak to HM Revenue & Customs to ensure that you are not liable to pay tax before you leave or while you are abroad. You should also contact your GP and the Post Office, to redirect any mail.

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