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How to make your Spain move as easy as possible

How to make your Spain move as easy as possible

 Alastair Johnson, one half of thpower couple behind Moving to Spain explores ways to make your Spain move as easy as possible in this guest post for Therapy in Barcelona.

We moved to Spain in 2015 with little planning and preparation. And that cost us time, money, and heartache. We got tangled in red tape, hired terrible service providers, and made a ton of stupid mistakes – but we learned a lot along the way. Here are the five areas we’d recommend getting help with to make your life easier, giving you more time to enjoy the fantastic lifestyle in Spain. If you want to see our recommended partners for all these services and more, please visit Moving to Spain.

 

Immigration and Residency

Spain welcomes Expats from around the globe with a wide range of visas, work permits, and residency options. There are options for many people, from students to retirees, EU citizens, and family members. Each option has pros and cons, responsibilities, and restrictions that can impact your new life in Spain. The application process is complex in many cases, and guidelines are vague, with requirements often changing.

Solution

An excellent Spanish immigration lawyer offers two significant advantages. Firstly, they’ll listen to you and help you choose the perfect immigration option that meets your short-term and long-term goals. Second, they’ll help you negotiate the paperwork, ensuring you have everything you need for a successful application (and nothing that you don’t).

 

4 Things to look we look for in an immigration partner

 

  • Their advice is tailor-made to your situation and takes into both short-term and long-term planning.
  • The pricing is clear, transparent, and complete.
  • They are Spanish immigration law experts with an outstanding track record of success with multiple immigration solutions.
  • Their communication and customer focus are excellent.

Click here for our Spanish Immigration Lawyer Partner

 

Taxation

Understanding your tax obligations can save you a heap of money. Spanish tax rates, deductions, allowances, and special regimes are legion. If you live in Spain for more than 183 days a year, the Spanish government will consider you a tax resident. This ruling means you’ll submit a Spanish tax return and pay tax on your global income. However, you may still have tax responsibilities in your home country.

Solution

A cross-border taxation expert will put a plan in place that makes your life as straightforward as possible while meeting your obligations. While a Spanish tax lawyer may cover Spanish tax effectively, cross-border experience can offer better outcomes.

 

4 Things we look for in a tax partner

  • Your accountant has good cross-border experience dealing with Expats from your home country.
  • They understand Spanish taxation law, your home country’s law, double taxation agreements, and other impacts.
  • They have clear, open, transparent pricing and services.
  • They respond promptly to your questions and issues, communicate and hit deadlines, and proactively ask for everything required to meet them.

Click here for our Spanish Tax Specialist

 

Financial Planning

A long-term move to Spain means you should overhaul your finances. Everything from investment strategies, currency movements, estate planning, insurance, and pension structures should get attention.

Solution

Much like with taxation, your financial planner should understand that an Expat may have different opportunities and complexities than someone who has always lived in Spain.

 

4 Things we look for in a financial planner

  • You get genuine independent advice tailored to you and your goals.
  • Your advisor has a good understanding of maximising cross-border opportunities.
  • The firm has an ethical reputation with long-term clients and advisors.
  • You understand how the firm makes money – through commissions, fees only, or a hybrid.

Click here for our cross-border financial planning partner.

Health Insurance

Most Spanish immigration options require a private health insurance policy. Many Expats use private health coverage even when they are eligible for public healthcare. Policies that qualify for immigration have specific attributes – you need to get a policy that the immigration officials will accept.

Solution

Get your policy from a company that issues guidelines targeted at immigration requirements and delivers the healthcare solutions you need.

 

4 Things we look for in a health insurance policy

  • The company offers enough healthcare centers and professionals in the area you intend to move to.
  • You can get help, support, and care in your language if your Spanish isn’t good enough to handle complex health conversations.
  • The policy meets your requirements for immigration, and your healthcare needs – and the company pays out reasonable claims without fighting you.
  • The policy inclusions, pricing, and conditions are clearly and transparently communicated to you in a quote before you sign up.

Click here for quotes from our partner Spanish Private Healthcare companies.

 

Cultural and Language Integration

Spain’s culture and language can be a big adjustment for many Expats. Plowing through Duolingo will only get you so far. Join a language class in person or online. Try to find a language exchange partner to talk to and have little conversations wherever you shop or eat out.

If you have a hobby or interest, you’ll probably be able to find a group to do it with. In many areas, there are Expat Meetups if you want some familiar voices or local groups where you can practice Spanish in an informal setting. I’ve made great friends after finding a local bar that shows rugby matches – it seems like a little thing, but it was an easy way to meet people with a common interest.

Solution

Be patient and kind to yourself and make time to make connections. Spanish people will generally be patient and understanding when you make some effort, and there are often Expats who have experienced what you are going through. Take time out if it is all becoming too much, and don’t be afraid to find a good therapist to chat with if you are having some adjustment issues.

Our recommended Expat English-speaking therapist service.

How we find brilliant service providers (and how you can too)

We skip fancy websites, advertisements, and social media posts. We head to Expat forums, groups, and gatherings for first-hand recommendations and get a short list of options. Try Reddit, Facebook, and Quora and search terms like Expats in XXX and English Speakers in XXX or specific topic Q&As. We then look up customer satisfaction ratings on sites like Google Reviews or TrustPilot. We talk to clients who have used the service and know the real pros and cons from their experience. We have one other strategy you don’t have – we check with every single client who uses a recommended service provider to know that our partners continuously deliver 5-star service.

 

Can you move to Spain without help?

Yes, you can. Some people do everything themselves and manage the project. However, it is time-consuming, can be expensive, and will be frustrating. Finding great partners to help frees you up to experience the parts of Spain you love rather than government offices, complex websites, and endless forms.

Alastair Johnson has lived in Spain since 2015 and is a co-founder of Moving to Spain with his wife, Alison. A serial Expat he has lived in South African, the UK, and Australia and worked in Asia and the Americas. When he’s not helping people with their relocation to Spain he’s often hiking or kayaking around beautiful Catalunya.

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