Retiring in Spain vs Portugal

lucia lagunas reyes - Our Retiring in Spain vs Portugal lawyer expert

    If you want to retire to a place where you can enjoy a relaxed lifestyle, a rich culture and a community full of friendly and helpful people, you should consider southern Europe, with Spain or Portugal among the top choices.

    In this post we will explain why these two countries are the most recommended for retirees and why you should choose Spain or Portugal.

    In Spain there are about 6 million immigrants who call Spain their home because of the many wonderful things this country has to offer, it is one eighth of the country’s population. As for Portugal almost one million people are immigrants and call Portugal their home.

    retiring in spain vs portugal

    We would like to explain the reasons why our retired clients choose to live in Spain rather than Portugal, especially in Spain they choose to retire in Malaga where the cost of living and retirement can make more sense for those who prefer a more relaxed lifestyle.

    However you can contact us if you have any questions and we will advise you on the whole process of obtaining a Spanish visa.

    Who is Eligible?

    Check to see if you qualify for a visa to retire in Spain if you’re thinking of moving there in your golden years. Are you from one of the European Union countries? Do you already live in Spain? A visa would be issued to you if the following situations apply to you:

    EU Citizens

    The fact that Spain has been a member of the European Union for the past 30 years has made it easier for EU citizens to retire in Spain. You don’t need a visa or residency permit to work or retire in Spain if you are a European Union citizen. Despite this, you will need proof of your clean bill of health before you can travel to the country.

    Non-EU Citizens

    A long stay visa or a residence visa must be obtained by non-EU citizens, depending on their nationality, in order to enter the country. It is possible to stay in the country for an extended period of time with a long-stay visa, which usually does not expire. If you plan to stay in Spain for a long period of time, you can apply for a long-stay visa or spain retirement visa, which can be renewed each year for an additional year. In order to renew this visa, you need to be in Spain for a minimum of six months each year. A long-term residency visa is the most common option for expats who want to retire in Spain. A long-term visa, which does not require a person to work while they are in the country, may be easier to obtain.

    Obtaining a Visa Spain or Portugal

    In order to apply for a visa to Spain, you must first meet the specific requirements for the type of visa you wish to obtain. To obtain a work permit in the country, you must first prove that you can support yourself. In each country there are different criteria and the best thing to do is to contact an immigration lawyer in Spain or Portugal and they will be able to answer your questions.

    The regular visa

    A complete list of documents and requirements for entry into Spain can be obtained from your local consulate. Passports must be at least one year old, bank statements and an affidavit of support showing proof of financial stability are required, as are records from the police showing that you have no criminal record. You will also need proof of adequate health care coverage through a Spanish company or plan, as well as documentation from a doctor attesting to your overall health status.

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    The ‘Golden Visa

    retiring spain vs portugal

    Spain’s Golden Visa is another popular option for non-EU citizens, the habitual resident, or longtime residents. This is a residency program for those who want to live in Spain, but it also gives investors the right to permanent residency, which eventually leads to citizenship.

    Individuals with this visa can live and travel freely in Spain and the Schengen area without a visa if they intend to invest a significant amount of money into Spanish economic development. Real estate purchases are the most common source of Spain’s Golden Visa. This is why they are also known as the Investor Visa, as they are typically granted to foreign investors who invest in Spanish businesses.

    There are many benefits to obtaining a Golden Visa, such as visa-free travel through Spain, the ability to include your spouse and children under the age of 18 on your application, or any children over the age of 18 who are reliant on you, such as full-time students. If you spend more than six months a year in Spain for ten years on a Golden Visa, you can become a citizen, unlike other visas that require a minimum stay.

    Spain’s Golden Visa is only open to a select few. You must do any of the following, invest €1 million in Spain’s economic growth, invest €1 million in your own company, or invest €500,000 in real estate, to meet these requirements.

    Taxes – What to expect

    Retiring to Spain will mean paying taxes, whether you become a citizen or not. Tax regimes for non-habitual residents in Portugal and Spain have become increasingly attractive in recent years, with the goal of attracting well-educated professionals and wealthy individuals who can boost their economies. Those who are looking at retiring in Spain vs Portugal often take the two different tax situations into account before deciding where to live.

    For the most part, wages earned in Portugal are taxed at 20%; wages earned outside of Portugal are exempt and there is no upper limit. Foreign-funded private pensions are also subject to this rule.

    Whenever dividends, capital gains, and other income from capital have been earned outside of Portugal and there is a double taxation agreement between Portugal and the country from which the income originated, such income will be exempt from taxation in Portugal. The country of origin must also be free from Portugal’s blacklist. In Portugal, the tax rate on income is 28 percent.

    Spain, however, has a different program in its tax regime. Earnings up to a maximum of 60,000 euros are subject to a 24% general tax rate; however, this rate rises to 45% once this amount has been reached. In addition, all wages and pensions will be taxed worldwide, regardless of where they were earned.

    For Spain, you must prove that you have been a tax resident for the past ten years in order to qualify for this program. Those who register will be able to use the program for six years from the date of their registration (the year of notification and the next five years).

    The taxation of dividends, capital gains, and other income from capital obtained outside Spain will be exempt if Spain and the country of origin have a double taxation agreement. Tax rates in Spain range from 19% to 23%, depending on the amount of income earned. Spain’s wealth tax is mandatory for anyone who owns property in the country (Except for the Community of Madrid). Taxes are a major reason behind why someone might decide to retire to Spain vs Portugal. The two each present a decent tax regime for retirees, but in the long term, Spain’s tax rates might be more palatable.

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    Tax Criteria

    You become a tax resident in Spain if you spend six months of the year in the country. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the taxes in the country where you plan to stay for six months in order to maintain your visa. Residents of Spain are required to file a tax return and pay taxes. If you meet the following criteria, you will be required to pay Spanish income tax on all of your worldwide earnings:

    1) If you earn more than €22,000 a year from your job, you are eligible for benefits.
    2) If you’re self-employed or run a business in Spain, you’ll need a work permit.
    3) If your annual rental income exceeds €1,000,
    4) If you make more than €1,600 a year from capital gains and savings, you are eligible for tax benefits.

    Remember that if you have assets outside of the country that are worth more than €50,000, you will need to declare them.

    Allowances and deductions for Spanish tax purposes

    Taxpayers in Spain can take advantage of a number of tax breaks if any of the following apply to you:
    1) Under 65-year-olds are entitled to a €5,550 personal allowance.
    2) It costs €6,700 if you’re between the ages of 65 and 75.
    3) Anyone over the age of 75 will pay €8,100.
    4) If you have children under the age of 25 who live with you, you can claim an additional allowance.
    5) You are entitled to a stipend of the following regarding dependents: The first child costs €2,400, the second costs €2,700, the third costs €4,000, and the fourth costs €4,500.
    6) Each child under the age of three will receive an additional €2,800.

    The Wealth and Inheritance Tax

    If your net worth exceeds €700,000, you are subject to a 0.2-2.5 percent wealth tax. Homeowners can claim an additional tax-free allowance of €300,000 in addition to the €700,000 tax-free allowance.

    In Spain, the average amount of estate and gift tax is extremely low. Around 1 to 7 percent is the range. Andalucia, for example, recently revised its estate and gift tax laws. In some cases, you may be able to avoid paying inheritance taxes at all. For more information, you’ll need to check the laws in your area.

    Advantages of retiring in Spain vs Portugal?

    Compared to the rest of Europe, both Spain and Portugal have attractive benefits to retirees for luring them to the respective countries’ borders. Both Madrid and Barcelona are popular destinations for retirees looking for a southern European retirement destination. But what are the advantages and disadvantages of retiring in Spain vs Portugal?

    Cost of Living, Spain vs Portugal

    cost of live portugal or Spain

    As previously stated, Spain is generally less expensive than other European countries. In a big city, you can afford to live comfortably on $2200 a month, and if you live outside of the big cities, you can afford $1900 a month. As a result, you’ll be able to live wherever you want based on your own earnings.

    If you’re looking to rent a home in Spain, you’ll find that prices can vary greatly depending on location. In Madrid, you can expect to pay $925 a month for a one-bedroom apartment, while a three-bedroom apartment will set you back $1800 a month. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment outside of the city center is $680 per month, while the average rent for a three-bedroom apartment outside of major cities is $1200 per month.

    To get the most out of your vacation, you’ll need to go beyond urban areas. It is possible to rent a one-bedroom apartment outside of Valencia’s city limits for $450 a month.

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    Cost of Food, Spain vs Portugal

    The cost of food and groceries in Spain is lower than in some other countries, making it an attractive option for tourists. On average, you should budget between €250 and €300 a month for food, depending on your personal needs. To top it all off, Spain’s wine is well-known throughout the world. For as little as five euros, you can get a decent bottle of wine or a pint of beer. If you like to eat out, Spain has some of the world’s best restaurants and cuisine. As a result, they are typically much less expensive than in other European countries. Those who are considering retiring in Spain vs Portugal often take food costs into consideration.

    Cost of Utilities and transportation, Spain vs Portugal

    Transportation and utility costs are two of the most significant expenses that most people face in their daily lives. In some parts of the world, the cost of these two things can be so high that they no longer make economic sense. However, in Spain, utility costs are generally lower than in other countries. It is common for utilities to include heating and water, as well as electricity; the cost of which can vary depending upon how much you use and the size of your home, along with the temperature and time of year in your area. Cable internet subscriptions can cost as much as €40 per month.

    Cities like Barcelona, Valencia, and Madrid have excellent public transportation systems that are comparable in cost and quality to those elsewhere in the world. Metro systems link the city’s business districts to the surrounding neighborhoods and towns in every major metro area. There are also numerous local and inner-city buses running between these areas, so you should have no problem getting around.

    You might not even need to own a car if you live in a city like Barcelona or Madrid. In these densely populated areas, finding a parking space can be a challenge. As an alternative, if you live in rural or suburban areas, you may benefit from owning a car. Keep in mind the following items must be kept in all vehicles: caution triangles, fuses in spare bulbs, a spare tire and tools, an orange disability jacket if the driver requires it, an extra pair of glasses if the driver needs them, and proof of automobile insurance and licenses.

    If you are stopped by the police and do not have any of the above items, you may be subject to a €500 fine. Bear in mind that gasoline is not prohibitively expensive. It costs €1.30 per liter, or approximately €4.60 per gallon.

    Healthcare in Spain vs Portugal

    helthcare spain vs portugal

    The healthcare system in Spain is world-class. In most cases, it provides coverage to all of the people in the area. At some of the hospitals and health centers located there, you can access both private and public health care options. Spain comes in 19th place on the Euro Consumer Health Index.

    If you are British and can obtain the S1, our lawyers will take care of registering your S1 in Spain.

    There is a government agency in Spain called the Ministry of Health that oversees the system. National health policy must be developed and implemented by the Ministry, and the national health budget must be under the Ministry’s control. Public healthcare in Spain is typically available to those who pay into the country’s social security system.

    Full or part-time employees and business owners must pay social security, have residency status in Spain, be a child resident, be 65 or older and legal residents or EU citizens who are temporarily staying in Spain with an EHIC card to receive public healthcare benefits.

    For those who don’t meet the criteria for public healthcare in Spain, private health care is also common. Self-insurance is popular among expats because it allows them to access better medical care with fewer restrictions and shorter wait times.

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    Spain – Home for the Golden Years

    Spain is one of the most developed countries in the world, with a standard of living higher than other countries. When compared to other European countries, the cost of living in Spain or Portugal is extremely low. The cost of living in the heart of the city for a couple is approximately $2000 per month. You can enjoy your golden years in peace thanks to the friendly locals and laid-back lifestyle. Consider retiring in Spain vs Portugal if you’re looking to retire somewhere warm and sunny.

    8 thoughts on “Retiring in Spain vs Portugal

    1. Susan DeValdivielso |

      I am a 63-year-old US widow of a Spanish man. I am looking to retire in Spain, in the area of Cadiz. I have dual citizenship (Spain & US) and would like help with the options regarding investment vs. renting.

      1. My Spain Visa |

        You can contact us and we will help you through the whole process.

    2. MICHAEL J |

      We are a gay couple. My Husband and I are seriously contemplating leaving the states due to the extreme right and conservative trends happening in the US. Its btw Spain and Portugal and we are having a difficult time deciding. All our income is US based with monthly earnings of 10,000-12,000 USD. If we sell our home we’d have about $700,000 USD to invest in real estate. Any suggestions on country and cities is welcome.

      1. My Spain Visa |

        We can help you in the whole process to come to live in Spain and retire in this country. We have sent you an email.

    3. Ashley |

      I currently live in California but by husband and I are looking to retire to Spain. I am fortunate enough to have dual citizenship US & Euro (Spain specifically) but my husband does not have dual citizenship. Does anyone have any advice as to how to go about getting him Euro residency via marriage without a huge expense? I’ve read that citizenship through marriage Can almost be more complicated than just applying for extended stay visa?

      1. My Spain Visa |

        One of our lawyers will contact you shortly.

    4. Michael |

      I was hesitating between Spain and Portugal but I think I will go to live in Spain, can you help me with all the visa paperwork?

      1. Anna |


        One of our lawyers will contact you to answer your questions.


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