Move to Spain from UK

lucia lagunas reyes - Our Move to Spain from UK lawyer expert

What You Should Know Before You Move to Spain from UK

Congratulations on this big step in life.

A journey to move to Spain from UK.

The Spanish life is pure bliss. Beautiful weather, sunrise, and sunsets.

After so much hustle in your prime years, a bold step to relocating to Spain means peaceful ageing. With a lower cost of living in Spain as compared to UK, considering to move to Spain from UK is a great move. Would you love a relaxed pace of life? Then, retire to Spain as you experience the warm Mediterranean climate.

move to spain from uk after brexit

Many UK citizens have made it. You are not an exception. You and your family members can effortlessly do it with the right documentation and procedure.

Before 2021, UK and Spain were members of the European Union. On 1 February 2020, the withdrawal agreement came into effect. Upon Brexit, new rules were formulated in UK to things like travel as well as business operations with Europe.

If you are certain about your decision to move to Spain from UK, you will need the correct information before arriving in Spain. Not guesses from inexperienced people with little insight.

Looking for detailed information? You may visit The Spanish Government’s guidance for British citizens in Spain for guidance.

How do you move to Spain?

move to spain from uk

As an EU national, you are eligible for an over 3 months stay in Spain if:

  1. You can support yourself and family plus a public or private full health insurance cover
  2. You are a registered student at an educational institution that the Spanish authorities recognize and you have full health insurance cover and can support yourself.
  3. You are self employed or have a salaried job position in Spain
  4. You are a close relative to an EU national that meets the above conditions.

For a student: his/her children, his/her spouse, or lawful partner

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Others: his/her spouse or lawful partner, his/her children, or his/her spouse’s children of 21 years and below or his/her ancestors.

For the above categories, before 3 months of your stay, it is mandatory to register with the Central Register of Foreign Nationals.

What do you take?

  1. An identity document that is valid for six months
  2. Form EX18 duly filled and signed

Depending on your situation, there are additional documents to be attached:

Self-employed- proof of being in the economic activities register or your employment status proof

Salaried workers- your employment contract letter

Not in employment

  • proof of adequate resources to support yourself and your family
  • proof of Spanish valid health insurance


  • Declaration statement of your ability to support yourself during your study period
  • Proof of valid health insurance cover (public or private) and
  • Proof of admission

Choosing where to live

The most common places people move to Spain from UK are the coastal regions.

Where you choose to stay in Spain depends on your preference. If it is for work, Barcelona would be a good choice. If you want city life, Madrid wins.

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Many expats reside in the mountainous communities in the outskirts of the city.


Empadronamiento is the process you go through to let City Hall know exactly where you reside. Many documents are required during appointment. Therefore, always carry everything during appointments. According to your city, there are different directions for acquiring an empadronamiento.

Before getting an empadronado, you will have to find a place to live in Spain. After being an empadronado, the certificado and volante will show where you live. The information on both documents is more of the same; the only difference is where they are used.

A certificado is the official document proving where you live. To get one, you simply go to town hall offices.

Finding Work in Spain

The notion of most expats being retirees is wrong. Most of the British citizens who move to Spain from UK are working in Spain. Nearly two thirds of the expat population is of working age. The rate of youth employment in Spain is high. The IT and consultancy sectors have lucrative job openings. However hard finding work could be, it is possible.

Cost of Living in Spain compare to the UK

move spain from uk

Spain’s cost of living is much lower than UK’s and many Western European countries. This may be as a result of the lower wages in the country. Most of the things in Spain are cheaper compared to UK.

Meals, train tickets and monthly utilities are way cheaper than UK. If you want a cheaper life you can move to Spain from UK.

Steps and Actions to move to Spain from UK

Here are steps and actions that will enable smooth relocation to Spain from UK

NIE Number

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It is the first step for anyone that wants to move from UK to Spain.

Acquisition of the NIE number certificate enables you to legally sell and purchase anything in Spain. The certificate however, is different from the Spanish resident card. Both serving different purposes.

Who needs an NIE?

  • Any non-Spanish foreign resident who buys property
  • Any foreigner who becomes a resident

Is an NIE number important when applying for residency?

It depends.

If you are getting employed in Spain and you are not sure about residency or buying property, you will have to acquire the certificate first. However, if directly applying for residency, a new number will be generated.

Spanish citizenship

Upon your move to Spain from UK, 90 days after your stay in Spain, you will need to make an application of the Spanish resident card.

There are likely changes after the transition period (Brexit) may occur. Until now, the residency process is the same if you were an EU citizen. This means you should make haste and apply before the deadline. The process may get complex after the deadline. Hitherto, there’s no deadline.

Finances in Spain

move to spain by brexit

Once you move to Spain from UK, you must make informed financial decisions. You may opt to keep your UK bank account which may be prohibited. If you are in Spain on a permanent basis you will need to present a permanent residency to the bank to review some requirements. Better still, you can open an account that allows sterling and Euro Bank transactions.

The UK and Spain tax systems are different. In Spain, late payment of tax incurs a fine. Sometimes, the taxes applying to you can be overwhelming whether you are a resident or non-resident.

Have you had your Spanish residency?

If not, non-resident tax applies on each property you buy.

183 days after application of your Spanish residency, you will pay resident tax.

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Have a look at tax application terms in Spain, for better understanding.

Healthcare in Spain

UK and Spain have different rules of getting state healthcare. As a British national living, or planning to move to Spain from UK, here’s what to do.

If legally registered to work in Spain and make contributions to the National Insurance, you are entitled to state-run health care as a Spanish national.

If you have permanent residence and no healthcare cover, contact the INSS office for healthcare plan registration. As a permanent resident, you registered as Spanish resident with at least five years of extranjeria.

Public health insurance has a nation-wide scheme in cases of completely no cover. The Spanish regional health authorities give an option of a pay-in scheme that allows you to make monthly contributions.

If you are a UK resident apply for the EHIC beforehand. The validity of a UK EHIC in Spain is three to five years. But, if you cease being a UK resident, the EHIC should be returned to the Health Department with immediate effect.

For a UK state pensioner, S1 healthcare registration is important in Spain. UK has the responsibility of issuing your EHIC. EHIC gives you access to state-provided healthcare. With an EHIC, you have the same privileges as someone insured in Spain.

Education in Spain

As a parent, before you move to Spain from UK, you will want a good education standard for your child.

In Spain, education is regulated by the Ley Organica de Education and children between ages 6-16 years have access to free education.

The Spanish Bachillerato is the equivalent of A Levels in the UK and the International/French Baccalaureate in France.

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Visiting Spain families send their children to international schools.

Fees range from 2,000 to 10,000 Euros per year for senior schools.

Spanish Vehicles and Driving License

After you move to Spain from the UK, remember vehicles in Spain are driven on the right.

If you own a British registered vehicle, you are given up to 6 months to re-register the vehicle with a Spanish number plate. Meanwhile, you can happily drive your UK registered car given that you are in possession of relevant documentation and abide by the Spanish driving laws even without permanent residence status.

Purpose to buy a Spanish registered vehicle; the vehicle must have valid tax and insurance papers.

Three months before the expiry of your driving license, visit the nearest ‘jefatura de Trafico’ and present your documents for the renewal.

Language and cultural Differences

move to spain after brexit

Brushing up your Spanish language skills is important before you move to Spain from UK even if you’ll stay in an expat area. Learning the lingo will be of great value when renting or buying property.

There are also mobile apps like Duolingo that will have you speak like a native in no time.

Spain’s coastal regions have a laidback lifestyle. It is very normal for lunches to run hours into the afternoon.

All sounds cool, but it can be frustrating when you need things done.

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¡Happy moving!

Do you want to move to Spain?

Here are other similar guides for other countries:

Have a nice stay in Spain 😊

12 thoughts on “Move to Spain from UK

  1. jennifer ratcliffe |

    Hi I’m looking into the option moving to Spain I’m 63 and my husband 65 .not contemplating on working as a retirement. We’re looking at Spain Alicante. But all looks frightening to take first steps property
    Would like some advice please

    1. My Spain Visa |

      We can help you through the whole process to make it as easy as possible, we have sent you an email to start the process of moving to Spain from the UK whenever you want.

  2. Kenneth Blewitt |

    Hi,i am 65 retired, and have custody of my 8 year old Granddaughter. I would like some advice on where to live and most important schooling for my Granddaughter. I would need to buy a home for the two of us. I own my house in England. I would like somewhere were there are plenty of Brits, but also would like to integrate with the local Spanish people. A school that would teach my Granddaughter to speak in Spanish would be great. And how to claim my pension in Spain, and health care.

    Regards…..Mr K Blewitt

    1. My Spain Visa |

      We can help you through the whole process of moving to Spain from the United Kingdom.

  3. Dylan |

    Hi. I am considering moving to Spain in a couple of years. I am 57 and would be moving alone. I have some complex health issues and require several different tablets each day. What happens with regards to health care and getting my medication? Is my poor health going to make moving too difficult? Thank you.

    1. My Spain Visa |

      Our lawyers can help you move to Spain from the UK. You have been contacted by one of our lawyers.

  4. Jacqui |

    Please can you advise on which best visa to apply for to relocate from UK. Thank you

    1. My Spain Visa |

      We have sent you an email to explain your situation so that we can advise you on how to move to Spain from the UK.

  5. susan humpherson |

    hi this is sue humpherson i am looking to move to spain next year what forms do i need . i will be moving on my own i am 67 years old

    1. Anna |


      One of our lawyers will contact you to answer your questions about move to Spain from UK.


  6. John |

    When providing proof of income will the UK p60 form be sufficient, or are bank statements always required?

    1. Anna |

      Hello John,

      One of our lawyers should contact you shortly for your questions about move to Spain from UK.


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