Published On: Thu, Mar 28th, 2024
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‘I’m an expat and Brits should know these things before moving to Spain’ | Travel News | Travel

James Smith

James Smith moved to Spain from London. (Image: Learn Spanish with James)

Brits looking to start their new lives in have been warned of these six things before planning their relocation. An who moved to Spain from London has shared some insights and advice for Brits to help them have a smooth transition when moving over to Europe.

According to figures from epdata, more than 300,000 British live in the Mediterranean country. Areas such as the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca are top of the wishlist for many UK residents.

James Smith, a Spanish speaker from London has been teaching Spanish for over a decade. He has shared eight key points to keep in mind before considering the move.


Spain is a popular destination for British expats (Image: Getty Images)

One of the initial steps in your moving process involves grasping the legal and visa obligations for residing in Spain, especially after Brexit, as British citizens now confront altered regulations when relocating to EU nations.

James said: “Dealing with the paperwork might seem overwhelming, but it’s crucial to understand the visa choices and residency criteria.”

Depending on your circumstances, you might need to request a visa or residency permit to legally live and work in Spain. For instance, individuals intending to stay for over 90 days within a 180-day period must apply for a long-stay visa or residency permit. Conducting research and organising the required paperwork beforehand can simplify the application procedure and avoid potential setbacks.


According to figures from epdata, over 300,000 British expats live in the Mediterranean country. (Image: Getty Images)


While living in Spain might appear ideal, it’s crucial to recognise that expenses can vary greatly based on where you live and your lifestyle choices. James added: “Researching living costs in different Spanish regions will assist you in choosing the right place to settle. While some areas may have lower property prices and living expenses, others may be pricier but offer more amenities.”

Creating a budget and accounting for expenses like rent, utilities, groceries, and transportation will help you determine if you can afford to live in Spain before relocating. Don’t forget to factor in additional expenses like healthcare and taxes when estimating your overall costs.

Regional dynamics

Choosing to move to Catalonia may lead to future complications as it pursues independence from Spain, so keep this in mind when deciding where to live.

Being aware of the political situation and regional differences can assist expats in making informed relocation choices.

Additionally, other regions like the Basque Country and Galicia have unique cultural identities and political goals that may affect daily life.

Weather is not always sunny

James said: “Not all parts of Spain are equally sunny, so it’s crucial to research the weather in each region based on your preferences and needs.”

Coastal areas, such as Andalusia and the Balearic Islands, tend to have milder winters and hotter summers, while inland regions, like Castilla-La Mancha and Aragon, may experience more extreme temperatures.

Additionally, mountainous areas, such as the Pyrenees, have distinct microclimates, so research carefully and consider climate variability when choosing your destination.


Spain weather is not always sunny (Image: Getty Images)

Driving rules

Ensure you understand what you need to legally drive in Spain, including licenses and insurance requirements. British citizens can drive in Spain with their UK driving license for short visits, but those planning to reside in Spain long-term will need to exchange their license for a Spanish one.

Familiarise yourself with local traffic laws and road signs to navigate the roads safely.

Additionally, consider the option of using public transportation, such as trains and buses, which are efficient and widely available in many parts of Spain.

Embrace the new culture

Spain boasts a rich and diverse culture, from flamenco dancing to siesta traditions. Embracing these cultural nuances is key to fully integrating into Spanish society.

James advises fellow expats: “Take the time to learn the language and immerse yourself in the local culture. Building relationships with your Spanish neighbours and colleagues can enhance your experience and help you feel more at home.”

Learning Spanish not only facilitates daily interactions but also demonstrates respect for local customs and fosters meaningful connections within the community. Additionally, understanding social etiquette, such as meal times and greetings, can help newcomers navigate social situations with ease.

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