While we don’t have a choice over the country we’re born in, these days we often do have control over whether or not we choose to stay.
And one of the most popular countries for expats these days is Spain!
Moving abroad is one of the biggest life choices you can make, so you do need to make sure you’re prepared. From where you’re moving, to making sure you have a work visa, there are plenty of things to consider in the preparation stage.
The following are the most important things to consider once you’ve decided you’re moving to Spain.
Things to Consider if You’re Planning on Moving to Spain
Decide Where You’re Moving
One of the first things you have to think about is where you are going to move to in Spain. Often, people choose a country they’ve dreamed about exploring, but then it becomes important to research the cities and communities to find a base.
There is a lot of choice if you’ve decided you’re moving to Spain, and it largely depends on whether you are going to move to mainland Spain, or if you would prefer to move to one of the islands.
Spain has a couple of island archipelagos, such as the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, and these are perfect for those looking for delightful warm weather.
Choosing whereabouts you are going to move in Spain involves considering things like climate, accommodation, job prospects, healthcare, crime rates, and plenty of other factors to consider as well.
So, ask yourself whether you want a slice of island or mainland life (keeping in mind that you can always travel to the islands if you base on the mainland and vice versa). Whether you want to live rurally, or in the city.
Image by Tommie Hansen (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
Source a Property in Person
The next thing to consider is choosing the right place to live when you move to Spain. You may want to start out renting somewhere until you have settled in and feel that you are ready to actually commit to buying a property.
Or, if you’re only there for a year, you might want to just rent all together.
Most people moving to Spain spend the first couple of weeks in a vacation rental anyway, so they can actually physically inspect potential homes as opposed to risking it by committing to something online you haven’t personally seen.
Check out villas for rent in Spain that you can stay in while you try to acclimate to your new life.
While the smart choice is to start your apartment / house hunt once you actually arrive in the country, it’s still worthwhile to undertake research before you go, so you already know what to expect in terms of house prices, amenities, and quality of life.
Plan on Working? You Need a Job Before You Move
Working in Spain is essential if you are going to move permanently, and there are a lot of different factors to keep in mind. One of the most important is organizing your work visa.
The process of getting a visa to work in Spain will be different depending on the country you’re from, so it’s important to (a) figure out which visa you need, and (b) organize the right paperwork.
If you’re from the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you can live and work in Spain without restriction. For everyone else, before you can get a work permit in Spain, it’s typical that you first need to get a job.
Typically, how this works is that you get a job, your employer requests your work permit, and then you can apply for a visa. Spain prioritizes jobs listed on the Shortage Occupation, or if there are no suitable candidates from Spain or the EU.
Work visas can take up to eight months, so if you plan to work in Spain it’s really important to plan ahead of time. Work visas are valid for a year and renewable. After five years you can apply for long-term residence (see Expatica’s guide to permanent visas in Spain).
So, before you move, look at the shortage occupation list and find out what sort of work is available, keeping in mind that you’ll have to secure work before you actually move.
Pro tip: If you're thinking of moving to #Spain on a work visa, you have to actually obtain a job before you move.Click To Tweet
Learn a Few Spanish Words
Some Spaniards especially those living in major cities such as Madrid do speak English. However, most of the population can only communicate in Spanish.
You’ll likely learn to become fluent from immersing yourself in the community after a couple of months of living there, but before you actually travel, learning Spanish can make your arrival a lot easier, even if it means mastering only few words.
For instance, you can practice how to say hi, and how to ask for directions in Spanish. You can practice general conversations with people you’ll come into contact with in the first few weeks; like your realtor, employer, school, etc.
GUIDES WE RECOMMEND FOR SPAIN: CLICK PHOTO TO LOOK INSIDE ↓