Moving from Ireland to Spain

The prospect of moving to Spain from Ireland has recently garnered significant interest. Spain boasts an alluring blend of elements, featuring a favourable climate, a top-notch healthcare system, a rich tapestry of art and culture, renowned Mediterranean cuisine, efficient transportation networks, picturesque beaches, and an overall high quality of life.

When considering relocating to Spain from Ireland, a clearly defined purpose is crucial. Obtaining the appropriate visa becomes paramount depending on the specific reason for the move. The primary distinction lies in whether the move is for employment, academic pursuits, or simply the desire to establish residence in the country without engaging in remunerative activities.

Do Irish residents need a visa for Spain?

Ireland is part of the European Union, so Irish citizens wishing to visit Spain for a period of less than 90 days within a 180-day period will not need to obtain any visa.

If the intention is to move to Spain for more than 90 days, Irish citizens, being part of the European Union, will need to apply for a certificate of registration as a European Union citizen. This certificate will grant Irish citizens the same rights and tax obligations as Spanish citizens. Initially, it is a temporary permit to reside in Spain, but over time, they can convert it into a permanent one.

For citizens from Northern Ireland, it will be necessary to obtain a specific visa based on the purpose of their move to Spain.

However, if you are a citizen of Northern Ireland, starting from January 2024, you will need to apply for the ETIAS visa waiver to enter Spain for less than 90 days. This is because Northern Ireland is no longer part of the European Union after the implementation of Brexit.

Obtaining a Certificate of Registration

As mentioned earlier, if you are a citizen of the European Union and wish to obtain a residence permit in Spain for more than 90 days, it is necessary to register in the Register of European Union Citizens. To complete this process, you will need to fill out the EX18 form and make the corresponding payment of the fee. Additionally, it will be necessary to demonstrate the availability of sufficient financial resources for your stay in Spain and to have private health insurance.

If you plan to engage in economic activities, either as an employee or self-employed, you must justify this fact to the Police to obtain the mentioned residence permit.

It is crucial to note that all documents submitted to support your situation, if not in Spanish, must be accompanied by an official translation into Castilian Spanish.

Individual circumstances vary. At Tejada Solicitors, we encourage you to contact our legal experts. Allow us to guide you through the process with simplicity and effectiveness tailored to your unique situation. Our specialization in remote services ensures that we can provide advice regardless of your location.

Spanish residency for Irish citizens

To secure your residence permit, visit the immigration office nearest to your home in Spain. Alternatively, if that’s not feasible, you can visit the local Police Station. Once the process is completed and the authorities approve the permit, they will issue the corresponding Residency Certificate.

It’s crucial to note that when applying for the Residency Certificate initially, it will be temporary and valid for 5 years unless any changes in your personal circumstances are communicated to the Immigration office.

After a continuous period of 5 years without alterations in your situation, you must reapply at the Immigration office to obtain the Permanent Residence Card, provided you still meet the residency requirements.
The Administration will issue a new Permanent Resident Certificate, making it a final document. It is the citizen’s responsibility to inform the Administration of any changes in their personal circumstances that could impact the certificate’s validity after its issuance.

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Checklist for moving from Ireland to Spain 

Firstly, you should be familiar with the process to obtain the relevant residence permit, as citizens from the European Union need to follow these steps:

  1. Schedule an appointment at the Foreigners’ Office or Police Station in the location where you will reside in Spain to apply for registration in the Register of European Union Citizens.
  2. The next step involves gathering the necessary documentation required for your appointment, which depends on your circumstances but generally includes:

For those planning to work in Spain: proof of employment, either as an employee or self-employed.
For students: proof of enrolment.
Confirmation of private health insurance.
Evidence of having sufficient financial means for your stay in Spain, and if you have dependents, proof of adequate financial support for them. Minimum income requirements must be met for your application to be accepted.
Completed Form EX18 and proof of payment of the corresponding fees.

It’s important to note that any documents not in Spanish must be translated into Castilian Spanish by a certified translator. Additionally, official documents such as birth certificates must be apostilled.

If everything is in order, you will be issued the corresponding card certifying your residence permit in the country.

1. Spanish NIE Number

Acquiring your NIE, or Numero de Identificación de Extranjero (Spanish Foreigner Identification Number), is crucial in your Spain-bound journey. To facilitate a smooth transition, completing this process before your arrival is highly recommended.

In case pre-application is not feasible, you also have the option to obtain your NIE while in Spain. This can be done through the immigration office or a local police station. Alternatively, our team of legal experts can manage the procedure on your behalf, ensuring a hassle-free experience.

Similarly, if your goal is to obtain a residence permit when initiating the corresponding process, the same organization will automatically assign you your Foreigner Identification Number using the same procedure.

2. Driving License in Spain

As a member of the European Union, your driving license issued in Ireland is fully valid for navigating the beautiful roads of Spain while it is in force. Imagine the excitement of exploring every corner of Spain with the comfort of your own vehicle!

But that’s not all. If you fall in love with the experience and decide to stay longer, we’ve got you covered! You can apply for an exchange to obtain a Spanish license, although we want to emphasize that this decision is always yours and completely voluntary. We want you to feel in control of your road adventure.

Would you prefer to keep your Irish license? No problem! You also have the option to register your license in the DGT driver’s registry, ensuring that your data is backed up in the Spanish DGT database. This way, you can enjoy the freedom of driving in Spain your way without complications or worries! Get ready to experience Spain on wheels!

cost of living spain vs ireland

3. Tax Residence 

Establishing permanent residency in Spain entails fulfilling essential tax obligations as a Spanish tax resident, a prerequisite for obtaining your TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero). Article 9 of the Personal Income Tax Law stipulates that individuals residing in Spanish territory for more than 183 days or having primary financial interests in Spain must become tax residents. To meet this requirement, you must adhere to the following tax obligations:

  1. Personal Income Tax (IRPF) – Model 100: All global income, including capital gains, rental incomes, dividends, etc., is subject to taxation in Spain. To mitigate the risk of double taxation, it’s crucial to establish a bilateral taxation agreement between Spain and your country of origin. For Ireland, a double taxation agreement exists to prevent Irish citizens residing in Spain from being taxed twice on the same income. Therefore, we advise consulting with our tax specialist at Tejada Solicitors to ensure accurate tax filings.
  2. Declaration of Assets – Form 720: Mandatory for individuals and legal entities, Form 720 is required to declare overseas assets exceeding €50,000 outside of Spain. This step is vital to preempt any allegations of tax evasion.
  3. Wealth Tax: Applied to worldwide net assets exceeding 3,700,000 euros.

Stay well-informed and updated on these obligations to fully enjoy your residency in Spain without complications.

4. Spanish healthcare

Acknowledged as one of the best, the Spanish healthcare system offers free services to those affiliated with and contributing to Social Security.

If you are Irish and in the process of obtaining a visa for Spain, it’s crucial to be aware that for most visa types, private health insurance is a mandatory requirement.

However, if you already live in Spain as a tax resident, you can access the healthcare system at no cost. This applies as long as you are employed, either as a self-employed individual or an employee, and regularly contribute to Social Security.

5. Register your new Spanish address

After settling in Spain and securing your property, it’s vital for residents to promptly visit the Town Hall office in your area to register their new address, a process referred to as the “padrón.” This registration not only fulfils a legal requirement but also unlocks specific rights in Spain, granting you access to privileges even before attaining full Spanish citizenship.

6. Utilities in Spain

Once you’ve acquired or rented a residence, the next step is to organize essential utilities such as electricity, water, gas, internet, and phone services. If these services aren’t already in place, you must either activate them or change the account holder.

Basic utilities like electricity and water are usually billed bimonthly, and setting up direct debits for these payments with your bank is recommended. On the other hand, services like gas, phone, and internet are typically invoiced monthly.

7. Opening a bank account

If you choose to establish yourself in Spain, opening a local bank account is crucial. This account will be indispensable for various transactions, including property purchases, health insurance payments, gym memberships, and more.

To initiate this process, you should have your Foreigner Identification Number (NIE) ready. While the required documentation may vary among different banks, you will generally be asked for your NIE, passport, proof of income, and a declaration regarding your residency status in Spain. The complexity of the account opening process may depend on whether you will be a resident of Spain or not.

Recognizing that opening a bank account in Spain can be a bureaucratic and sometimes tedious process, Tejada Solicitors is here to assist you and streamline this procedure for your convenience.

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Buying property in Spain as an Irish citizen

Our team comprises a Lawyer, Tax Advisor, and Architect, all collaborating seamlessly to provide comprehensive support in every aspect of the Property Conveyancing process. Each member of our Law Firm is proficient in English, ensuring effective communication.

From the initial steps to the completion of the purchase, we offer assistance at every stage. We meticulously review all pertinent documents, legal standings, charges, debts, utilities, draft contracts, taxes, etc., ensuring that every detail of the process is addressed. In this way, we manage all necessary documentation with the overarching goal of optimizing the protection of your interests. Additionally, the architect will assess the urbanistic situation of the property, and the Tax Advisor will elucidate all taxes associated with the purchase, including those payable post-completion. We guarantee that the property is free of charges and legally sound. Consequently, the contract will not be signed, and progress toward property acquisition will only proceed once it is confirmed that everything is in order.

apply for spain visa from ireland

Renting property in Spain as an Irish citizen

Irish residents often find the prospect of generating extra income through tourism rentals a compelling reason to invest in Spanish properties. If you’re contemplating this avenue, our tax advisor can conduct a comprehensive analysis of your real estate investment, offering guidance on the tax considerations before finalizing the purchase.

Should you decide to designate your property for tourist rentals, it’s imperative to register it with the Tourism Registry of Andalusia. The team at Tejada Solicitors is well-equipped to furnish you with all the pertinent information and assistance throughout this process.

It is crucial to underscore that neglecting to register your property in this registry may lead to substantial penalties.

Which are the best places to move from Ireland to Spain?

Spain, with its enchanting beaches, rich culinary delights, iconic architecture, and unmatched hospitality, beckons as the preferred destination for many Irish seeking a new home.

Additionally, the cost of living in Ireland is 53% higher than in Spain. However, depending on the specific region in Spain and the aspects considered, this percentage may vary, making the prospect of moving to Spain even more appealing.

Allow us to introduce some Spanish gems that are sure to captivate individuals from Ireland:

Madrid: Beyond being the bustling economic and business hub of Spain, Madrid boasts a rich blend of historical and cultural wealth, making it the perfect haven for those with entrepreneurial ambitions.
Barcelona: Famed for its remarkable architecture and picturesque landscapes, Barcelona invites you into a unique way of life, seamlessly blending tradition and modernity.
Alicante: A veritable paradise on Earth, Alicante’s sunny beaches and the warmth of its residents make it an irresistible city to call home.
Málaga: A coastal jewel, Málaga is the Silicon Valley of southern Europe, globally connected with a plethora of beaches and upscale dining. The friendly locals and unbeatable climate make Málaga a place where living is simply delightful.

How much does it cost to move from Ireland to Spain?

As mentioned earlier, since Ireland is part of the European Union, obtaining residency in Spain is easier and more economical. The fees for registering in the Register of Union Citizens are only 12 euros. Additionally, you will need to add the cost of official translations, which generally amount to around 100 euros if you don’t have extensive documentation.

Furthermore, keep in mind that, to register, you will need private health insurance. The cost will depend on the company and your personal circumstances.

You will also need to demonstrate that you have sufficient financial resources for your stay in Spain, especially if you do not plan to work here, whether as an employee or self-employed. If you bring any family members, you will also need to ensure that you have the necessary means for their maintenance.

Need a professional consultation to prepare for your move to Spain from Ireland?

Navigating the complexities of tax, immigration, and real estate matters in Spain can pose challenges for foreign individuals lacking proper guidance. At Tejada Solicitors, we adopt a holistic 360-degree approach to your case. Our team, consisting of an immigration specialist, tax lawyer, and property conveyancing expert, collaboratively examines and analyzes your unique situation. Our goal is to streamline this process, alleviate stress, and ensure the success of your relocation to Spain. Place your confidence in our team of specialized lawyers with extensive experience in handling these intricate procedures.

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