So, you’ve done it. You’re taking the leap and looking for a property for sale on the Costa del Sol. Congratulations! Once you’ve decided on the perfect location for your new home, gone through the process and exchanged the contracts on your new home, the major decisions are out of the way. The process of creating a new life is a big one, even if you’re only going as far as Spain from Britain; there is a lot to think about and even the most organised of lists may be missing one or two important items if you’re moving to a country that you’ve never been to before.
It is easy to assume that things run in similar ways to those that we’ve become accustomed to in the societies of our home country, but there are often variants to take into consideration when looking at villas to buy in Spain. Some will seem positive, and some will undoubtedly seem unnecessary. Of course there are going to be things on your list that are a chore and the desire to procrastinate can be strong when you have 101 other things to sort out before the big move. We don’t want to tell you how to suck eggs, so we’re offering a couple of reminders that we think are important, but that you may not have thought of yet.
Healthcare is certainly an important consideration. It’s easy to overlook until something goes wrong, but by this time it may be too late and a whopping bill unavoidable. It is wise to check out the rules and regulations of the health care system before you leave your home country so as not to get caught out. For example, Abu Dhabi require you to have private medical insurance organized in advance, or you won’t be allowed in. Spain isn’t so strict with this, but it is better to get familiar with the run of things just to be on the safe side. The EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) is worth acquiring for European citizens as this will mean that they can receive state treatment or reduced cost treatment in an emergency, although it is safer to take out medical insurance.
Also consider that drug regulations may not be the same as your home country so if you are reliant on a particular prescription and Spain doesn’t allow it’s administration, you will need to first determine it’s legal status here and then make arrangements in your home country to bring over (or have sent in) what you need for the longer term.
Each country will be slightly different of course, but there is a chance that you’ll be required to register with your local authority. Another good idea is to inform the embassy if you intend to be in your new town or city long term. In Spain, those who wish to stay for more than ninety days must apply for residency status (known here as residencia). EU nationals are permitted to live and work here – they still need to register as it is what is known as a ‘requisito’ – but it just permits them to function as a Spanish citizen would. If you plan to be in the country less than six months a temporary resident permit must be applied for. Six months plus necessitates a full residency permit, which is normally issued five years if you’re from outside the EU. If you’re coming in from an EU country, these certificates need not be renewed.
Know your tax requirements
The tax authorities in your home country will want to know that you’re planning to emigrate. If you don’t let them know about this you could find tax bills mount up while you are away, or you lose the right to claim benefits in the future – this could also apply to state pension, so it is wise to research the details and make sure that you are covering yourself for a potential return your home country. We are sure this will be the last thing on your mind when you’re on your way to an exciting new life in Spain, but life is unpredictable and as they say, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If you are coming over from Britain, the form P85 must be completed and submitted to HMRC, along with a P45 form from your last employer if applicable. If you’re really lucky, you might even be entitled to a tax rebate from the previous year.
The type of residency you apply for may affect your tax requirements in Spain too; non-residents may be required to make contributions for National Insurance, and pay income tax on income earned in their home country. The last thing anybody wants is to be paying tax in two countries from one income source, so it would be prudent to seek professional advice. A good local accountant should be able to advise.
Driving licences and regulations
Some countries require an international driving license if you are to be permitted to drive a vehicle of any kind. Dependent on where you are coming from, the rules can vary, and it may be easier to acquire a local driving license, although this could include taking exams. Spain has regulations to follow so it would be sensible to find out what applies to you before you set off, in case there is paperwork that should be acquired in your home country first.
At Europrestige it’s not just a portfolio of amazing properties we have on offer; if you’re confused and need a bit of friendly advice about any aspect of your forthcoming move, give us a shout. We have a wealth of experience and knowledge and we’d be happy to lend a hand if we can.