Moving to Spain from the UK

One of the preferred destinations for the British who decide to move from the United Kingdom is Spain. According to official data, around 370,000 British expats currently officially reside in Spain, and that’s without counting the British citizens who decide to buy a home to enjoy their holidays in Spain or to be used for tourist rental.


There are many attractions that Spain offers expats who decide to move there permanently. According to Maria Soledad Sala, a lawyer from Tejada Solicitors specialized in immigration, the British are attracted to the good weather and the culture, good food and good wine, international schools, excellent communications, a good healthcare system and generally a low cost of living. In her experience, towns like Malaga, Marbella, Fuengirola, Mijas, Nerja are some of the most popular areas on the Costa del Sol.

Checklist for moving to Spain from the UK

When taking the decision to move to Spain from UK, whether it’s for pleasure or necessity, there are several procedures to be completed, some of which aren’t always obvious. Moving abroad is a process that involves giving up some of your rights and interrupting services provided by your country of origin. So as you settle down in your new homeland, there’s a transitional period during which British citizens are subject to legal and tax obligations, both in the UK and in Spain. To understand how all this works, professional advice can be of great help.

The Tejada Solicitors team has prepared the following checklist for moving to Spain from the UK, to help you prioritise the mentioned tasks and carry them out in the right manner and order:

  1. It all starts with your NIE. To apply for a Spanish ID for foreigners – the so-called NIE (número de identificación de extranjería), download the application form EX-15 and submit it through your nearest Spanish consulate. As it is required for most bureaucratic procedures, applying for your NIE before moving to Spain will speed things up for you and make the process easier. If, on the other hand, you apply for it when you are already in Spain, it’s processed through the police station or immigration office.
  2. Spanish Residency ( TIE CARD). Every European Union and the UK citizen who live in Spain for more than 3 months, has to request a Spanish residency certificate to have both the tax rights and obligations of Spanish citizens. If you wish to know in detail all the procedures about the Spanish Residency you can get all the information you need about it in the following link: What document do I need for residence in Spain.
  3. Tax residence. The Spanish Law and most of the double taxation agreement with Spain states that tax residents in Spain will be those who stay for over 183 days a year in the national territory or those whose main financial activity base or interest is in Spain. Once the Spanish tax residence has been stated, the expatriate must pay taxes for all their worldwide income in Spain, we recommend you not to forget about the tax implications you can be affected by, and we advise you to check this important matter with our tax expert. You can read more about these implications in the following link: Fiscal residence in Spain.
  4. Inform the British healthcare system (NIH). For temporary stays in Spain or any other European country for that matter, your European Health Insurance Card will keep you covered. For that, citizens who change their country of residence need to step out of the UK system. This change will need to be notified to your general practitioner. On the plus side, healthcare in Spain is free for anyone legally living and working in the country, as long as you meet the following requirements:
    • If you are a pensioner and receive a pension from your country of origin (State or Government Pension), you will be entitled to Spanish healthcare by submitting the S-1 Form issued by the country of origin.
    • Workers, whether self-employed or employed, are also entitled to free public health care, both for themselves and their families.
    • If you are not in any of the above situations, you can take advantage of the special agreement or take out private health insurance.
  5. Make sure that your passports and driving licence are still valid. Stress while preparing the move can distract you from the most basic things. If you want to continue to use your same car in Spain, for example, you will have to apply for a Spanish drivers licence, which can take up to 6 months. For this reason, once you’ve acquired the census certificate (certificado de empadronamiento), it’s important to complete this procedure as soon as possible.
  6. Register your new Spanish address. As soon as you arrive in Spain, we recommend you go to the Town Hall Office to notify your new address. Once it’s registered, you start to earn rights, even if you still haven’t got the Spanish nationality. This process is known in Spain as “Padrón”.
  7. Opening a bank account. In Spain, the documentation and requirements may differ depending on the bank you choose. In general terms, the primary required documents are as follows:
    • Passport
    • Personal and financial information, such as your P60, Personal Income Tax or pension certificate.
    • Spanish NIE number.

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Moving to Spain from the UK and buy a property

Moving to Spain from the UK

The purchasing of a new home (especially if it is your first purchase) is both stressful and exciting, and we seek to keep your stress and aggravation to a minimum. Clear and regular communication between you and our Law Firm is one of our main purposes when moving to Spain from UK.From the very beginning, our team of experts in property conveyancing (Solicitors, Tax Advisor, and Architect) will advise you in every aspect of the procedure. It is crucial that our solicitor checks all the relevant paperwork and makes sure that the property is free of charges. When all the paperwork has been reviewed, the private contract will be signed.

Our Tax advisor will advise you for all the tax implications before and after completion.

Move to Spain and renting out a property

The British are increasingly investing in Spain not just for moving from the UK but to rent out their homes for tourist purposes.

Our tax advisor will study the investment and advise on the tax implications before buying the property. For more information about tax implications.

If the property is going to be dedicated to tourist rental, it is very important to register the property in the Andalusian Tourism Registry. Our Law Firm will support you in this procedure and explain all the requirements very carefully. Failure to register the property in the Tourism Registry department carries very high penalties.

Interesting read: Renting out a property in Spain

Moving to Spain after brexit

As we know, the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union will mean that the procedures for obtaining residence for British citizens change as they will already be considered non-EU citizens. In this sense, a Transition Agreement has been reached, which will last until December 31, 2020. During this period, the procedure for obtaining residence in Spain by citizens from the United Kingdom and moving to Spain from the UK will be the same as until now.

The only difference so far will be concerning the Residence certificate that will be issued by the Authorities, since until now a temporary or permanent resident certificate is being issued according to the circumstances of the citizen, either in A4 format or green card. The objective is to start issuing another document called “TIE Certificate”, in which in addition to the identification data of the holder, it must appear that you are the beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement, as well as a mention to the Article 50, which regulates this and whether it is issued by a declaratory or registration system. This document will enter into force on January 1, 2021.

As we have previously discussed, the exchange procedure of a driving license for a Spanish one will be governed by the general rules applied to non-EU citizens once the transitional period has ended.

Finally, the healthcare procedure is the same, but what will happen after the transition period remains to be determined by the Administration.

Moving to Spain from the UK Maria Soledad

Maria Soledad Sala – Immigration Lawyer

Following these steps will help make things easier for you and allow you to concentrate on other practical aspects, such as transporting your belongings, finding accommodation and organising your trip.

Should you need further assistance with any of these topics, don’t hesitate to contact the Tejada Solicitors. We will be more than happy to support you.


Author: Rosana Tejada

Biographical Info: Rosana Tejada Crespo is a tax advisor holding a Master’s Degree in International Taxation. She specialises in companies and freelancers, tax regulations concerning foreign employees (Beckham Law Spain), non-resident tax, inheritance tax and Spanish income tax. She is one of the founders of Tejada Solicitors, which comprises a group of English speaking solicitors, economists and architects.

Tejada Solicitors is an English-speaking law firm based in Malaga and Costa del Sol, specialised in property conveyancing, inheritance tax, residence for foreigners, self-employed tax declarations and most legal and financial aspects of relevance to foreigners and expats living in Spain. For any questions and enquiries regarding the Spanish market, don’t hesitate to contact us either by phone or e-mail.

Moving to Spain from UK ► Legal checklist | Tejada Solicitors Blog ®
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Moving to Spain from UK ► Legal checklist | Tejada Solicitors Blog ®
✅Anyone who decides moving to Spain from the UK needs to complete a list of tasks and procedures ✅Verify our checklist for moving to Spain.
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