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September 26, 2022

All You Need to Know Before Moving to Spain

Visiting Spain once, you are doomed to fall in love with temperamental Spaniards, outrageously delicious cuisine, and unforgettable beach parties in Ibiza. The standard of living in Spain is one of the highest in the EU. The mild, warm Mediterranean climate provides comfortable living almost all year round.

Lots of sunshine, unique landscapes, social security, and stability - Spaniards are proud of their homeland, no wonder why so many decide to move to Spain permanently. But before you start packing your bags to move to Spain, let's take a look at how to move to Spain and what to expect once you are there.

Spain is located in southwestern Europe and occupies about 85% of the Iberian Peninsula. The total area of the country is 505,990 km2. The land is divided into 17 autonomous communities that are subdivided into 50 provinces. Spain has a population of about 47 million people, almost 85% of whom are Spanish: Catalans, Andalusians, Castilians, Valencians, Galicians, Basques, and 15% foreigners.

Moving to Spain, consider the natural contrasts: while the northwest of the country has one of the highest rainfall rates in Europe, the south of Spain, is the driest area in this part of the world. One finds almost African semi-desert landscapes with thickets of fan dwarf palm, the only wild-growing palm in Europe.

How to Immigrate to Spain

Citizens of the EU, EEA, and Switzerland do not require a Span visa to work and live in Spain, only a Fiscal Identification Number (NIF) or the Foreigner's Identification Number (NIE). The following ways of immigration to Spain are solely applicable to citizens of non-EU/EEA countries.

Family Reunion


Receiving higher education is one of the ways to legally immigrate to Spain. Upon getting your certificate you will be eligible to stay and look for a job so your employer would make you a job offer and sponsor your work permit. Apply for a type D visa for studies that last longer than 6 months.


In order to move to Spain through a work visa, you have to secure an employment contract in Spain and your employer must apply on your behalf. First, you will receive a work permit, after which you are eligible for a work visa. If you are a freelancer moving to Spain, you are required to apply for a self-employed permit yourself.

Family Reunion

If you are looking to move to Spain through a family reunion and obtain a residence permit, or later citizenship, you must fall under one of the following categories:

  • If your parent or grandparent holds citizenship in Spain
  • If one of your close family members has already received a residence permit and works in Spain
  • Children born in Spain are eligible to receive Spanish citizenship
  • Your spouse is a Spanish citizen


The 'Golden Visa' for investors - a residence permit in Spain with the widest possible opportunities. Once you gain it, you and your family will be able to live and work in Spain. A golden visa does not require investors to stay in Spain for any particular time period to maintain their visa status.

  • Purchase a property in Spain costing more than €500.000
  • 1 million euros deposited to the bank in Spain
  • Investment in the share capital of a Spanish company from 1 million euros
  • Investments from 1 million euros in Spanish shares that are listed on the market
  • Invest 2 million euros in public debt
  • Launching and investing in a business project of importance to Spain

First Steps upon arrival in Spain

  1. Get Foreigner’s Identity Card - Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE).

    Once you have moved to Spain, the first thing you should do is get a TIE card. It is a document confirming your legal status as a foreign citizen in Spain. Every foreigner moving to Spain for longer than 6 months must obtain it.

  2. Get Foreign Identity Number - Número de Identidad de Extranjero (NIE).

    The Foreign Identity Number is a unique number of 7 numbers and 2 letters that each foreigner moving to Spain for longer than 6 months must obtain. This number will be shown in all of your documents. You have one month to apply for it after the move to Spain.

  3. Get Fiscal Identification Number - Numero de Identificacion Fiscal (NIF)

    The NIF is a Tax Identification Number in Spain that is required for anyone living in working in Spain for tax purposes.

  4. Open a Bank Account.

    To open a bank account in Spain you need to have a valid passport, TIE, proof of employment, and proof of residence.

Healthcare in Spain

The Healthcare system in Spain, called Instituto Nacional de la Salud, is divided into public and private sectors. Public healthcare in Spain is funded by the government through taxation, therefore, covers citizens and legal residents for free.

The main document required to receive free services in state clinics is the individual health card Tarjeta Sanitaria (TSI), which all working and living in Spain residents are eligible for. With a TSI card you will be able to:

  • Make an appointment with a doctor for a consultation
  • Get a prescription for a required medication ( frequently with a 5%-50% sale)
  • Receive required treatment
  • Ambulance services
  • Benefits for retirees

The only drawback of public health care in Spain is the waiting time and limited treatments option. Individuals who desire to have more coverage purchase private healthcare insurance.

Earning and Spending in Spain

Income in Spain
Taxation System
Cost of Living

As of July 2022, the minimum wage in Spain is €1,166 per month (if paid in 12 installments) working at a full-time position, which is €7.82 per hour. The average monthly salary in Spain is estimated to be about €18,000 - €21,000 per month.

The Spanish tax system is one of the youngest in Europe. The first step in its creation was the reform of 1845, which led to the unification of the tax system throughout the country. The personal tax rate in Spain is called Impuesto de Renta sobre las Personas Fisicas or IRPF.

A single person moving to Spain is estimated to spend without rent about €635 - €700. A family of 4 - €2,300 on average. The cost of living in large cities such as Barcelona and Madrid is 10% - 15% higher. Monthly utilities cost about €120 - €200, public transportation monthly pass is €40, and monthly groceries expenses range from €100 - €300 depending on your family size.

Renting vs. Housing in Spain


A contract in Spain can be either for a short-term rental signed for up to 12 months (with a potential renewal) or a long-term rental for 5 or 7 years if rented by the business. Prior to renting in Spain, request the owner documents that prove the ownership.

The average rent in Spain for a 1 bedroom apartment ranges from €600 - €750 per month, for a 3 bedroom apartment expect to pay about €930 - €1300 per month. Rent in big cities like Madrid and Barcelona is higher and ranges between €760 - €1,000 for 1 bedroom and €1,230 - €1,700 for 3 bedroom apartments.


Buying property in Spain as a foreigner is easy. Currently, there are no restrictions prohibiting or complicating the purchase process. If the estate exceeds €500,000 you will be eligible to apply for a Golden visa allowing you to work, live and do business in Spain without a national sponsor.

If you are looking into getting a mortgage, remember that the bank will cover up to 80% of the total price. Before buying a home in Spain, save up 35% of the property cost, 20% for the downpayment, and 15% for related expenses, fees, and taxes.

The average property cost in Spain heavily relies on the city and location within the city you are moving to. Costs for the properties vary from €304 per m2 in small towns to €5,078 per m2 in the city center of Madrid. The average house price in Spain ranges from €150,000 to €220,000.

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We had never used movers before and did a lot of research before deciding on Hercules Moving Company. The Calgary movers showed up early and were ready to go on time. They worked quickly and diligently and moved our entire house in 6 hours. I was very grateful for not having to do the heavy lifting ourselves and that everything was moved without damage and in good time. I would definitely use them again!
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I was very satisfied with these Calgary movers. They made it easy and stress free for us. Movers arrived on time and packed and professionally covered our furniture to go into storage, since we are in between houses. I was amazed by how these Calgary movers were able to efficiently pack and store a 5 bedroom, 2 living room, office and a gym into a storage unit where they organized everything to fit perfectly. I was 100% satisfied with their service and would recommend them to anyone looking for good quality movers. Thanks Hercules Moving company for helping us move!
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