before you come & in the early days
Anyone who has researched moving to Spain recently, whether it’s by asking questions on the many Expat facebook groups, or on one of the online Expat forums, will know that Spain has very high unemployment at the moment, so the usual advice is to make sure that you have a stable income of some kind before you come to live here. If you’re coming hoping to find a job, it could be an expensive long holiday.
This income could be in the form of savings, a pension, one of the family working outside Spain & ‘commuting’, an ‘online’ income, a contracted position, or maybe setting up your own business. This is also intended for UK/EU residents. For non-EU residents it’s a whole different set of rules.
I’m therefore starting from the position that you have income & accommodation sorted out already! That still leaves us with several possible scenarios though – so here goes…….
BEFORE LEAVING THE UK
Who to inform (apart from family & friends! )
- HMRC. Do this with form P85 in order to avoid the taxes which as a non-resident you don’t have to pay.
- Your current GP & dentist
- Banks & other financial institutions.
- Private Healthcare insurers. Unless your current insurer covers you as a non-UK resident, you need to cancel it.
- If you are keeping a property in the UK, consider having utility bills etc. sent to your Spanish address. Also your local council authority.
- Have your mail redirected by the post office.
- EHIC. You more than likely already have one of these, but if not, apply for one. They are for essential healthcare for holidaymakers, but for the first few days or weeks before you become a registered resident it’s perfectly legitimate to use it if required.
Bank account in Spain
Consider opening a non-resident bank account in Spain. If you own property then you will probably already have one, but even if you are moving here to rent it’s also a good idea to do this in advance of the move & have regular transfers into the account (you don’t have to leave the money there all the time – it can be used as it would be in any active account). Non-resident accounts can usually be opened using your passport as ID, although more & more banks are asking for a NIE number.
Having an active bank account in Spain will make the process of registering as resident much easier. Once you are registered, take the registration certificate to the bank & change the account to a resident account.
Moving here to retire with a state pension
Quite possibly there are more retirees coming to live in Spain than any other kind of immigrants from the UK & other EU countries. If you are in receipt of a state pension you need to contact the DWP in Newcastle on 0191 218 7777 (Monday to Friday 8am–8pm), & tell them that you are moving to Spain, just before you move. They will send S1 forms to your Spanish address, & with these forms you will have access to the state healthcare system.
ON ARRIVAL IN SPAIN
There are two essential bits of ‘Red Tape’ which everyone has to deal with initially : Registering on the padrón & Registering as Resident. As an EU citizen you are supposed to be registered as resident before you can register on the padrón, although not all towns yet insist on this. For information about registering on the padrón, click here : PADRÓN FAQs
Registering as resident:
First of all I want to clear up any confusion about the difference between a NIE number & the ‘Resident Registration Certificate’ / Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión, sometimes incorrectly known as ‘residencia’.
Simply – A NIE NUMBER is available to anyone with financial interests in Spain, whether they are resident or not – it is required, for example, to purchase or inherit property. You can have a NIE number without ever having been to Spain because they are available through Spanish consulates (if you have a good reason to have o
According to the govt. website, the only documentation you need is the form EX15 & your Passport, & possibly proof of why you need a NIE number. There is anecdotal evidence that some offices ask for photos, though.
A RESIDENT REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE / Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión, is what EU citizens need if they intend to live here or have lived here for 3 months/90 days or longer. It’s a record that you have registered as resident, as required by the Spanish authorities. You register at the extranjeria which is run by the National Police & is usually at a National police station.
Here’s a list : List of Extranjerías
In most cases a NIE number will be issued at the same time as the certificate if the applicant doesn’t already have one, although in some areas they expect you to get a NIE number first
In order to register as resident you must be able to show that you have sufficient income & healthcare provision. The law only says that you have to have enough income so that you will not be reliant on the state. Anecdotally a figure of over 700€ per month per person &/or 7000€ in the bank per person seems to be an average requirement. Different extranjerías have different exact requirements, so you need to check with your local one. Every person in the family needs to register. When registering as a family or couple, you will need to have apostilled copies of your marriage certificates & also the birth certificates of all children. You get them apostilled here : https://www.gov.uk/get-document-legalised . There are private companies which also do this – but they are more expensive & simply send the documents to the same place as in the link.
Income could be in the form of an employment contract, autónomo (self-employment) registration, a state pension or regular transfers &/or funds in a Spanish bank account. A state pension is considered to be ‘sufficient income’ regardless of how much it is.
Many/most Certificados de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión now have a small ‘push-out’ card like this
in the certificate containing the essential information. Although a handy size for keeping in your purse or wallet, these are NOT ID cards & you must not laminate them.
REGISTERING AS RESIDENT – DIFFERENT SCENARIOS :
When you register as resident your pension will be enough to cover the income requirement (regardless of the actual amount) & your S1s will cover the healthcare requirement.
Early retirees or those with an income from outside Spain.
You will need to show that you have sufficient income or funds into a Spanish bank account, & you will also need private healthcare provision. Private healthcare isn’t as expensive as you might expect – here is a link to a comparison website : http://www.acierto.com/seguros-salud/.
In some instances families being supported financially by a family member working in the UK will be eligible for S1s for healthcare – check with the DWP. For more detailed information about the healthcare system in Spain click here : HEALTHCARE IN SPAIN
Coming to work – contracted job
If you have a contracted job in Spain you & your dependents (wife/husband/children) will be entitled to state healthcare. When you go to register as resident take your work contract or vida laboral – that will cover both the income & healthcare aspect. Check locally which they require.
Coming to work – autonómo / self-employed.
This is a little more complicated. First you need to get a NIE number, & then register as autónomo . You then need to obtain a Social Security number from the INSS (& also register your dependents at the same time – you’ll need those apostilled marriage & birth certificates here). You can then register at the local Centro de Salud for healthcare. (You’ll need your padrón certs too) .
Then it’s just a case of taking copies & originals of all of these when you register as Resident.
You should be able to find your nearest INSS office by using this link : http://www.seg-social.es/Internet_1/Oficinas/BuscadordeCercanos/index.htm
This link is to the Spanish govt. info. giving the current requirements for an EU citizen registering as resident (in Spanish)
There are of course many other ‘Red Tape’ things which you will be doing in the first few months – rematriculating cars, enrolling children in school, etc. – but these are for other articles! The most important thing to remember is that if you have the correct paperwork (and photocopies) everything is simple. You usually need to make an appointment, so it’s a good idea to ask them to write down exactly what they require at that particular office, when you do so.
It really isn’t usually as bad as this….