Moving to Spain from Australia

Relocating to Spain from Australia has become increasingly popular in recent years. Many factors contribute to Spain’s appeal, such as its pleasant climate, stunning beaches, vibrant art and culture, famous Mediterranean cuisine, excellent healthcare system, efficient transportation networks, and high quality of life.

Additionally, Australians appreciate the tranquillity and warm reception they experience in Spain. The ability of people from diverse cultures and backgrounds to live together peacefully makes Spain an ideal destination for Australian expatriates.

When planning to emigrate to Spain, it’s important to have a clear purpose for your move. The type of visa you will need depends on your reasons for relocating. The primary distinction is between moving for work or academic purposes and intending to live in the country without engaging in any profitable activity.

Visa requirements

When planning to move to Spain from Australia, whether for work, retirement, or other reasons, it’s essential to understand your purpose of stay. The type of visa you need depends on this purpose, and knowing the correct steps is crucial. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that you seek guidance from experts like the team at Tejada Solicitors.

Generally, visa applications should be initiated at the Spanish embassy in Australia. Here are the main visa options, with a focus on the most commonly sought-after ones:

Golden Visa or Investor Residence Authorization:

This visa is ideal for those looking to make a significant investment in Spain, either in public debt or real estate. Options include:

Investing at least 2 million euros in Spain’s public debt or a minimum of 1 million euros in shares or social participation.

Acquiring real estate worth at least 500,000 euros, free of encumbrances. For married couples, only one needs to obtain the investor visa since the other is included as a family member of the investor.

Launching a business project in Spain that generates substantial socio-economic impact, creates jobs, or significantly contributes to scientific or technological innovation.

Investing through a legal entity, provided it’s not based in a tax haven and the investor controls the majority of its decisions.

This visa allows you to reside in Spain and enables movement within the Schengen area – consisting of 26 European countries – without additional visas. You can apply for a 1-year visa at the Consulate in your home country and then apply for a 2-year residence authorization in Spain, which is renewable. Alternatively, you can start the process directly in Spain for an initial 2-year residence authorization, which is also renewable.

Additionally, applying for a Foreigner Identity Card is not mandatory. However, you can request one at the Immigration Office or the local Police Station if you prefer.

Entrepreneur Visa: For individuals aiming to start a business activity in Spain.

Visa for Intra-Company Transfer or Highly Qualified Workers: This type of visa requires sponsorship from a Spanish employer and is linked to the employment contract, renewing as long as the contract remains valid.

Researcher Visa

Non-Lucrative Residence Visa (Retirement Visa): For those with sufficient financial resources who do not plan to work in Spain. Also known as the retirement visa, it allows for stays exceeding 90 days, provided you do not engage in professional or economic activities. Applicants must demonstrate financial resources through certified bank statements. While it does not allow work in Spain, remote work for a foreign company is permissible. The Spanish embassy in the applicant’s jurisdiction in Australia is responsible for issuing this visa, which is valid for 90 days. During this period, the beneficiary must enter Spain. Upon arrival, you have one month to apply for the Foreigner Identity Card at the appropriate Immigration Office or Police Station. The initial residence authorization is valid for one year from the date of entry into Spain. After this period, you can renew it for an additional two years, provided that you continue to meet the necessary requirements.

Digital Nomad Visa: This visa is designed for highly skilled professionals who will work remotely for companies based outside of Spain, exclusively through computer, telematic, or telecommunication means. A key requirement is that the Australian citizen must have a work contract with a foreign company that has been in place for at least three months, with the company allowing for remote work.

With this visa, Spain aims to attract talent by making taxation and bureaucratic processes more favourable for remote workers. The visa is valid for up to 1 year and serves as proof of residence in Spain, removing the need to obtain a Foreigner Identity Card, though you can request one if you prefer.

Visa for Employment by a Third Party.

Self-Employment Visa.

Study Visa: For Australian students studying in Spain. It’s crucial to meet all requirements and renew the visa as necessary to avoid legal issues.

Internship Visa.

Schengen Visa (for short stays): Australian citizens do not need a visa for stays of less than 90 days within a period of 180 days.

Family Member of an EU Citizen Visa.

Key Changes to Consider for Entry into Spain: For citizens from outside the European Union, such as Australians, travel to Spain for tourism or business for up to 90 days has historically not required a visa. However, beginning in January 2025, Australian tourists will need to obtain an ETIAS travel authorization before their trip. This electronic permit, which allows travel across Europe and Schengen countries, can be applied for online, costs approximately 7 euros, and is valid for stays of up to 90 consecutive days within a three-year period.

Do you need a professional help for moving to Spain from Australia?

María Soledad Sala
AUTHORA: MARÍA SOLEDAD SALAS
-Inmigration Specialist Lawyer-

At Tejada Solicitors, our experts are well-versed in the visa application process, tax obligations, and property transactions. These areas, though regulated separately, are closely linked. We strongly advise our clients to understand the tax consequences of obtaining a visa, as many are often surprised by the tax liabilities they will face as Spanish tax residents, which can impact their relocation decisions.

Permanent residence

Picture immersing yourself even further into Spanish life. Australian citizens can apply for permanent residence after five years of legal and continuous residence in Spain. This special status permits you to stay in Spain for another five years, providing the freedom to live and work, either independently or as an employee, and enjoy the same rights as any other country resident.

Setting up your new home as an Australian citizen

Once you’ve decided on the type of visa to apply for, the next step is to choose where to establish yourself in Spain. You have two options: buying or renting a property. Renting initially can be a wise choice as it allows you to get to know the area better before deciding to buy a property later on.

Buying a home involves considering various tax aspects and hiring a real estate lawyer to guide you through the process, which can be quite complex. At Tejada Solicitors, our lawyers handle every detail of the property conveyancing  , from the reservation contract to the public deed. They also assist in property search, ensuring the correct registration of the property, its legal status, and that it is free of debts and occupants. Moreover, they provide a detailed estimate of all costs of buying a property in Spain, such as notary fees, property registry fees, and the settlement of taxes like the property transfer tax for a resale or the applicable VAT for a new build.

If you prefer to rent initially and take your time searching for a property to buy, it’s essential to consider the following before renting:

Familiarize yourself with the area: Ensure it has good public transport access, proximity to your workplace, etc., and compare several properties and their prices.

Review the rental contract thoroughly: It’s crucial to have a lawyer check all clauses and ensure they comply with current laws. Verify that the contract details aspects such as the agreed price, who pays for utilities, and who is responsible for repairs.

Inspect the property before signing: Visit the apartment beforehand, and once the contract is signed, make an inventory of the condition of the property and all appliances and furniture.

The main requirements to rent a property in Spain are:

  • Having an NIE or passport
  • Proving your financial solvency
  • Paying a deposit, typically equivalent to one month’s rent
  • Possessing a Spanish bank account for the monthly rent and utility payments

Whether you are Spanish or an expatriate, you will have the same rights and obligations when renting out a property in Spain. Among your main rights are negotiating the duration and price of the rental with the landlord and ensuring the property is maintained in good condition. If repairs are needed, the landlord should handle them. This must always be specified in the rental contract.

Your obligations as a tenant include paying the required deposit and regularly paying the rent and utilities.

Interesting read Spanish property Solicitors 

Do you need a professional help for moving to Spain from Australia?

Checklist for moving from Australia to Spain

Here’s a checklist to guide you through the relocation process from Australia to Spain, covering legal and tax obligations in both countries. Tejada Solicitors has compiled this list to help streamline your move:

  1. Assess Your Situation and Visa Requirements: Determine the most appropriate visa based on your specific circumstances and goals in Spain. As an Australian citizen, the visa process may be more intricate, necessitating strict adherence to all prerequisites.
  2. Initiate Visa Application: Typically, visa applications commence at the Spanish Embassy or Consulate in your home country. However, for specific visas like the Golden Visa or Digital Nomad Visa, applications can be initiated directly in Spain. Upon obtaining your visa, you should plan to travel to Spain within 90 days. Depending on your visa type, you may also need to apply for a Foreigner Identity Card upon arrival in Spain.

NIE Number

Securing your NIE, or Numero de Identificación de Extranjero (Spanish Foreigner Identification Number), is a key stage in your Spanish journey. It’s recommended that you accomplish this task before your arrival to facilitate a seamless transition.

However, if pre-application isn’t feasible, obtaining your NIE while in Spain is also an option. This can be carried out at the immigration office or a nearby police station. Alternatively, our legal team can manage the process on your behalf.

Driving License in Spain

As an Australian citizen transitioning to residency in Spain and becoming a tax resident, it’s crucial to understand the regulations concerning your driver’s license.

For the initial six months of your stay in Spain, you can use your Australian driver’s license. Alternatively, you can apply for an international driving permit, which remains valid for one year. This permit is supplementary and must always accompany your Australian passport and driver’s license. The international permit is a grey card in the form of a tri-fold brochure containing 16 pages, written in multiple languages (Spanish, German, English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Arabic, and Russian), detailing the holder’s personal information and their respective permits.

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Following this initial 6-month period, or before the year expires if you obtained the international permit, and due to the absence of a reciprocity agreement between Australia and Spain for license exchange, acquiring a Spanish driver’s license becomes necessary. This process involves passing both theoretical and practical exams. Once obtained, the Spanish license requires renewal every ten years until the age of 65, after which renewal is required every five years.

Tax Residence 

As you transition to permanent residency in Spain, meeting your tax obligations as a Spanish tax resident is pivotal, particularly for obtaining your TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero). Article 9 (Personal Income Tax Law) states that individuals residing in Spanish territory for longer than 183 days or with primary financial interests in Spain must become tax residents in Spain. To fulfil this requirement, adherence to the following tax obligations is necessary:

Model 100 – Personal Income Tax (IRPF): Your global income, including capital gains, dividends, rental incomes, etc., will be subject to taxation in Spain. Establishing a double taxation agreement between Spain and your country of origin is essential to prevent double taxation.

Form 720 – Declaration of Assets: Completion of Form 720 is compulsory for individuals and legal entities to declare overseas assets that exceed €50,000 outside of Spain. This measure is crucial to avoid allegations of tax evasion.

Wealth Tax – This tax applies to worldwide net assets surpassing 3,700,000 euros.

Remaining informed and staying abreast of these obligations is paramount to fully embracing your residency in Spain.

Spanish healthcare

The Spanish healthcare system is well-known for its excellence and is free for those who are affiliated with and contribute to Social Security. As an Australian citizen in the process of obtaining a visa for Spain, it’s important to note that most visa types require private health insurance.

However, once you are living in Spain and have become a tax resident, you can access the healthcare system at no cost, provided you are employed, either as a self-employed individual or as an employee, and regularly contribute to Social Security.

On the other hand, for those Australian citizens who establish their residence in Spain and cannot opt for healthcare coverage, there are two options: they can apply for inclusion in the special agreement of Social Security, through which, if accepted, they will have the right to benefit from it in exchange for a monthly fee, or they can continue with the initially contracted private health insurance.

Rosana Tejada
Tax Advisor – English Speaking
Retire in Spain from Australia info

Utilities in Spain

Once you’ve purchased or rented a home, the following step involves setting up essential utilities, including electricity, water, gas, internet, and phone services. If these utilities are not already connected, you’ll need to initiate their activation; otherwise, you can simply update the account holder information.

Typically, fundamental utilities like electricity and water are invoiced every two months. We recommend arranging direct debit payments with your bank for these services. In contrast, other utilities such as gas, internet, and phone services are usually billed monthly.

Opening a bank account

If you plan to settle in Spain, opening a local bank account is crucial. This account will be necessary for various activities, such as purchasing property, paying for health insurance, gym memberships, and more.

To start this process, ensure you have your Foreigner Identification Number (NIE) ready. The required documentation can vary between banks, but you will generally need your NIE, passport, proof of income, and a declaration of whether you will be a resident of Spain. The complexity of the account opening process can depend on your residency status.

We recognize that opening a bank account in Spain can be bureaucratic and occasionally tedious. At Tejada Solicitors, we are here to assist you and simplify this procedure.

Register your new Spanish address

Upon arriving in Spain and securing a property, whether through purchase or rental, it is crucial to promptly visit the local Town Hall office to register your new address. This registration process is known as the “padrón.” By registering, you will begin to access certain rights in Spain, even before obtaining full citizenship.

Do you need a professional help for moving to Spain from Australia?

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

With its breathtaking beaches, delectable cuisine, iconic architecture, and renowned hospitality, Spain has become a preferred destination for many Australians looking to relocate. Prime locations include Madrid, a dynamic economic and cultural centre perfect for those with entrepreneurial dreams. Barcelona, celebrated for its stunning architecture and picturesque landscapes, offers a seamless mix of tradition and modernity. Alicante, known for its sun-drenched beaches and friendly locals, is a true haven and a tempting place to settle down. Málaga, often dubbed the Silicon Valley of southern Europe, features excellent global connectivity, diverse beaches, and upscale dining, making it a highly desirable residence due to its welcoming community and wonderful climate.

Spain’s regions each provide unique cultural experiences, ranging from lively urban settings to laid-back beach towns. Conversely, Australia’s cities like Melbourne and Perth vary in their cosmopolitan feel and pace, while smaller towns across the country show more uniformity.

Opting to live in Spain allows you to experience a wide variety of locales within the country, whereas regional differences in Australia tend to be less distinct.

Interesting read  How to move to Malaga

Tax lawyer for Australians in Spain

Cost of living in Spain

The cost of living is a crucial factor for many individuals considering relocation. A comparison between the average cost of living in Sydney, Australia, and Madrid, Spain, highlights the financial differences between these two major cities.

According to Numbeo, Australia is ranked 13th in the cost of living index, whereas Spain is positioned 54th. Australia’s cost of Living Index is 72.8, while Spain’s is significantly lower at 48.4.

Rent indices further emphasize the disparity: Australia has a Rent Index of 36.6, compared to Spain’s 23.6. The Cost of Living Plus Rent Index is also higher in Australia at 55.6, while Spain’s stands at 36.6.

Spain enjoys lower indices in several key areas:

  • Groceries: Spain – 45.1, Australia – 73.9
  • Restaurant Prices: Spain – 44.0, Australia – 66.9
  • Local Purchasing Power: Spain – 78.2, Australia – 93.6

The average gross monthly salary in Spain is 2,128.44 euros, reflecting an increase from the previous year, as reported by the National Statistics Institute (INE). The Basque Country, the Community of Madrid, and the Balearic Islands boast the highest average salaries in primary employment. Conversely, Extremadura, the Canary Islands, and the Region of Murcia have the lowest averages. Although the average wage in Madrid and Barcelona is lower compared to Sydney, individuals in high-demand professions or those running portable businesses might find significant savings over time.

For low-income earners, Spain’s Minimum Interprofessional Salary (MIS) is 15,876 euros annually, divided into 14 payments of 1,134 euros each.

The percentage of the minimum wage spent on essential food items is 13.12%, indicating challenging conditions for Spanish minimum wage workers. Despite this, Spain performs better than countries like the United States, France, Poland, Portugal, and Romania in this regard.

Interesting read Tax consultant in Spain 

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

The cost of international removals is influenced by several factors. Firstly, the volume of belongings significantly impacts expenses, with more items leading to higher costs. Moving a vehicle overseas also contributes to the overall expense. Additionally, the destination within Spain is crucial, as accessibility to homes can affect pricing.

While shipping by sea is generally more cost-effective than air freight, air transport offers faster delivery. Timing is another important consideration, as rates tend to be higher during peak seasons, necessitating early booking. Optional services like transit protection and packing come with additional charges. Shipping speed and container options also play a role in determining costs.

Finally, the choice of moving company is significant, as different companies offer different levels of service, which can affect pricing. For example, one removal company offers prices starting at A$13,000, or approximately 8,000 euros, for a one-bedroom flat, while prices for larger properties range from A$21,000 to A$28,000.

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

Handling the nuances of tax, immigration, and real estate matters in Spain can be daunting for expatriates without the proper support. At Tejada Solicitors, we offer a comprehensive approach tailored to your needs. Our team includes specialists in immigration, tax law, and property conveyancing, who collaborate to assess your situation thoroughly. We aim to streamline the process, minimize stress, and ensure a smooth transition to life in Spain. Trust our experienced lawyers to guide you through these intricate procedures with confidence.

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