moving to spain

Moving to Spain from UK | What you need to know 

Are you considering moving to Spain from the UK? With an average 300 days of sunshine per year, we’re not surprised why. We’ve gathered some of our most helpful advice to get you started below. 


Due to Brexit in UK, the rules for travel and residency have changed. Starting January 1, 2021, any British citizen wanting to emigrate to Spain will need to apply for a visado nacionale (long-term visa). 

The main visas/residence permits for UK travelers are:

  • Visado de trabajo y residencia: a combined residence and work visa. 
  • Visado de estudios: a student visa.  
  • Visado de residencia: a visa for family reunification or retirement. 

Upon Arrival 

  • Book an appointment to get a número de identificación de extranjero (NIE number). This is the legal number identifying you as a foreign national living in Spain. You can access the application form and more information here. 
  • Obtain a tarjeta de indentidad de extranjero (TIE card). This is a foreigner identity card that acts as your residency card. You need to apply for an appointment within 30 days of arriving in Spain. 
  • Obtain a certificado de empadronamiento. This is proof of your legal Spanish address. Head over to your nearest Padrón Municipal (town hall) for more information. 

Even in foreigner offices and banks, Spaniards are notorious for not speaking English. Bringing someone who can speak Spanish is always a good idea.

For more information on the application process and documentation required, visit the Spanish government’s residency Q&A.

Travel and health insurance 

All residents in Spain need to register to access healthcare. Once registered basic state services are free. However, you will still have to pay for some things. Private health care is also an option and usually starts at around €50 per month. 

Cost of living 

Spain is one of the cheapest places to live in Western Europe. That said, some cities are more expensive than others. Madrid, Barcelona, and San Sebastián are a few of the most expensive. Valencia, Granada, A Coruña and Alicante are a few of the cheapest. 

When comparing the overall cost of living between Madrid and London (UK), Madrid is 43% cheaper.

Eating and drinking out is very affordable with many places offering a glass of wine or beer for just 1€. Stay away from touristy areas as prices can more than triple. 


Spain is home to the world’s second longest high speed rail network. It is extremely well connected by metro, bus and train making it easy to travel within Spain itself, and beyond. If you are taking public transportation in a big city, make sure to keep a careful eye on your belongings. Pickpockets like to target busy tube rides.  

If you plan to drive while in Spain, you may do so without exchanging your UK license for a Spanish one until October 31, 2021. Head over to the official website for information on how to exchange it.

Moving to Spain from UK: Removals Companies

If you’re moving to Spain from UK and require removals assistance, our Spain Removals service can help. We’re a friendly team with over 20 years of removals experience. We’re backed by South London Movers, London’s finest removals company covering the whole UK.

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