RELOCATION TO SPAIN 1
Preparing for your move…
Whether you are single, a married couple, a family or retired, every single one of you has unique circumstances, motives, desires and reasons for your planned move to Spain.
Good preparation is fundamental in making your move successful.
My experience is based on moving to Cadiz province, so my comments might not be valid for other parts of Spain but I am recruting other expats in different parts of Spain to deliver the vital information needed to help those looking to move to these other areas.
My first piece of advice would be to learn as much Spanish as you can before you arrive and don’t be disappointed if you can’t understand a damn word; the Andaluz dialect takes a while to get accustomed to and unless you are heading to Madrid, you will probably encounter similar!
Secondly, study the cost of living in Spain. Things have changed since the introduction of the Euro and checking the current exchange rate is essential if you have to exchange money, you need to get your sums right.
It’s a long time since I was single and if you are young and single and anything like I was you won’t easily listen to advice. Spain does have a high level of unemployment at the moment. Don’t think that you can just move here and get a job. Bring a lot of savings, coming in summer does enhance your working chances but remember it is also very expensive to rent property during the summer months. Many,many Spanish people are unemployed in Andalucia and having a good grasp of Spanish is a must if you want to compete on a level playing field.
If you are lucky enough to find some work, remember Spanish wages are lower than what you are probably used to.
If you have a trade and you are thinking of becoming self-employed or work from home, I suggest you try it out first to see if you can make a living. The costs are high for being self-employed in Spain.
On a positive note, single people should be able to make Spanish friends and start exchanging languages. Lots of Spanish people want to learn English.
Spain is a fantastic place to live and the Spanish like to party, enjoy the fiestas, the climate and the relaxed way of life. Be positive, if you have the desire to make Spain your home you will do it but the important thing is to have fun along the way!
Pretty much the same advice as for singles although being a couple could raise the chances of finding work and your overall living costs won’t be much more! If you are looking to buy property and you have some spare cash now is a very good time to buy.
If you need a mortgage the Spanish banks are tightening their lending just like the rest of the banks around the world. Renting is a good idea to see if you really enjoy living in a particular area and using it as a base to look around.
The outdoor life, culture and the overall quality of life here makes it an ideal place for couples to get away from their stressful lives and enjoy the challenge of setting up a new life in Spain but be warned sometimes the financial strains or long working hours for less money can put huge strains on relationships.
The first plan of action if you have children of school age is to find an appropriate school.
There are three main types of school. Public (state), Private and Concertados, which are privately run schools, partly subsidised by the local authority (the majority are religious). They all follow the Spanish curriculum apart from some British and American private schools that teach according to the British or American one.
State schools can but not necessarily be less crowded with a good teacher to pupil ratio.
State schools normally start their subscription (matricula) around March / April so this is worth bearing in mind when arranging you relocation date. Rules tend to vary a lot from school to school so it is advisable to go armed with as much related paperwork as you can.
You will need the child’s birth certificate (ideally translated to avoid delays) and a certificate of “Empadronamiento”, which is a document issued by your local authority that proves that you live within the school catchment area. You may need to be present to obtain the forms and apply for a place, although, you might be able to make an unofficial arrangement with the school.
If you have young children of nursery age you will find they begin to integrate very quickly and at that age are like sponges and pick up the language very fast.
If you are retiring in Spain you should make sure you budget carefully and get some good advice regarding your pension and tax matters. You should also consider taking out private health insurance if this is a permanent move. You can get advice from the social security or pensions department who will issue with all the relevant forms and paperwork. If you don’t speak Spanish, having a private health insurance will garuantee you will get medical asistance in your natural language.
If you are intending to buy property it is essential you take professional tax, pension and investment advice from a tax expert.
Consider renting before you buy!
A Will is always advisable, even if you already have one in your home country it won’t cover your assets in Spain.
Here’s wishing you a successful move to Spain!