Spain Explained

Moving to Spain from the UK: What you should think about

There are many obvious reasons to think about moving to Spain from the UK. Counting excellent weather, famously good cuisine and a wonderfully relaxed pace of life, it is easy to see why it is the choice for so many. Over the course of this article, we give some practical guidance on making the move as easy as possible. We also take a glance at some of the great things you have to look forward to when you are finally settled.

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Why would you think about moving to Spain from the UK?

The UK is a good country to live in with an enormously influential culture and a great human spirit. However, everybody knows the weather could certainly be a lot better. Many cities in Spain, on the other hand, boast year-round sun and an enviably low rainfall count. Coastal cities such as Valencia and Murcia have a fantastic beach culture as a result and offer many activities. It depends on your lifestyle; you could choose to lounge on the sand while soaking up the sun. Or, you can unleash your adventurous side and enjoy some of the country’s finest watersport offerings.

Away from the beach, Spain has some of the most culturally rich cities in Europe full of restaurants, museums and more. Barcelona enjoys extraordinarily unique architecture while showing off cutting edge cuisine, design and art. Madrid, Spain’s capital is a notoriously flashy fashion hotspot. Along the country’s northern border, the Pyrenees stand tall providing a wealth of activities for every season. 

Where should you live?

One of the great advantages of moving to Spain from the UK is the apparent abundance of affordable property. There are, of course, regional variations; cosmopolitan Madrid is up there with some of Europe’s most expensive cities. However, if you try a bit further down the country, coastal getaways like Alicante combine the allure of the Costa Blanca with city lifestyle and some pretty reasonably priced homes.

Furthermore, Alicante is blessed with a great variety of English language schools and other businesses that cater to the large British population. Málaga, down on the Costa del Sol offers the same advantages.

Buying a property need not be a struggle if you employ the help of expert advice. At Ábaco Advisers we pride ourselves on being able to guide would-be Spanish homeowners before, during and after they find the perfect home.

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Obtaining a residency 

As it stands, Spain has not asked for any extra complicated visa applications for Brits in the wake of Brexit. People from the UK have until December 2020 under a transition period to apply for residency. To permanently settle in the country for longer than three months you have to register for a residence certificate with the National Police. People settled for longer than five years are then eligible for a permanent residency.

Where will I work?

Spain is a great place for retirees looking to spend their retirement years in the slow-paced, relaxed environment of Southern Europe. Spain can be a difficult place to find work unless you have a particular skill and are well versed in Spanish. If you are lucky to be of working age, consider remote jobs that only require a good internet connection.

How much does it cost to live?

The cost of living in Spain is widely regarded as noticeably lower than other Western European countries. Compared to the UK, it costs about 20% less to live in Spain. However, if you are planning on working here then you should expect to earn less. Therefore, a lower salary may reduce your spending power.

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Make sensible decisions for a bright future

All in all, you can expect a high quality of life with great public services. Count on free high-quality healthcare (if you pay national insurance), good public transport service and reliable infrastructure. With its great combination of culture, food, music, weather and relaxed lifestyle, moving to Spain from the UK is a decision you will not regret.

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Graham Cross

1 August, 2020 12:38 pm

If you to buy a holday home in Spain today but did not want to live there more than 183 days can you stay for 90 days return home and then return after say 4 months and stay a further 90 days and all you would need is a Nie number and if you are a couple do both need Nie numbers and if to leave after 31 December would the above stay the same ?

Oscar Paoli

4 August, 2020 9:46 pm

Hi Graham,
Sorry, I am nor sure we understand completely you query, but if you purchase a property in Spain you will need an NIE number, all owners of the property will need one.
Regarding the stay, you can do so under the 183 days as you please.
To visit Spain as a tourist you do not need an NIE number, but you do need an NIE number if you are an owner of a property.
Please do not hesitate to contact us shoul you have any further queries.
With kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers

Andrea Hatfield

1 October, 2020 12:37 pm

Hello hope you can help me please I’ve just sold my house in the UK its not complete yet but we are wanting to come live in Spain we will be buying a property in Spain and living off our equity from uk sale and savings the question I have is about CGT how will this work with us .
Your help will be much appreciated.

Oscar Paoli

1 October, 2020 4:09 pm

Hi Andrea,

Provided the property is sold before the end of the year and you do not have your TIE card yet it will not have any Capital Gains Tax Liability in Spain as you will not be a Tax resident in 2020, nevertheless if sold in 2021 this will have an effect.

Should you wish any further information or assistance please do not hesitate to contact us at or by phone at 0034 966 703 750.

With kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers

Liz Kirk

29 March, 2021 11:33 am

If I’m resident in Spain and self employed renting out Spanish property what amount of tax will I pay? Is it 19% or 25% and can I claim utility bills and cleaning off this. I know this has changed since Brexit and non residents can’t claim expenses if they rent out their property.

Oscar Paoli

30 March, 2021 2:22 pm

Hi Liz,
We are not specialized in self-employed tax returns, but the taxes depend on whether the house is the reason for your job or not.
If you are a Resident living in Spain and renting property out then you are allowed to deduct costs. The Tax paid depends on the rest of your income, as the income is added together.
Hope this information can be of assistance.
With kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers