Calculating the Hidden Costs of Moving to Spain

Have you always dreamt of leaving your old life in the UK behind you and moving to Spain? Or perhaps you’ve worked hard for decades and are ready to retire to Spain, and indulge in a life of laidback relaxation? Many people are attracted by the affordable cost of living in Spain, the year-round sunshine, and the wealth of affordable properties offered in the country. But they forget the calculate the hidden costs of moving to Spain, which can quickly add up! 

As well as the obvious expenses, such as finding somewhere to live and then buying a plane ticket, there are also plenty of extra expenses too. Right Casa Estate Agents are trusted property specialists on the Costa Del Sol, and to ensure the costs of moving don’t come as a total shock to you here is a full breakdown of all the hidden costs involved in moving to Spain:

Moving Your Possessions

If the only thing you’re bringing to Spain is yourself and a suitcase, then the cost of your move could be as cheap as buying a plane ticket. But if you want to move a lifetime of possessions (and the memories that come with them) then you’ll need an international removal company. The costs involved in this will vary dramatically, depending on how much stuff you want to move: it’s size, weight, as well as the transportation method you choose will all have an effect on the final expense.

To give you an idea, the UK price comparison website ReallyMoving suggests that it would cost between €4,400 to €6,000 to move the entire contents of a three-bedroom house from Birmingham to Alicante in Spain by road, taking 3 to 5 days. Using the same route and locations, a smaller one-bedroom apartment would cost between €1,900 to €2,600. Something to consider when you’re deciding if you really need to keep all those books you’ve never read!

If you're buying a property in Spain and want to know the full costs of buying a house in Spain, then be sure to read our comprehensive guide that outlines all the costs associated with purchasing a property.

The Cost of Securing a Visa

Something that you now have to consider if you’re moving to Spain after Brexit, is the cost of securing a visa to live in the country full time.  A Golden Visa would require you to invest at least €500k in property in order to remain in the country, whilst applicants for the Non-Lucrative visa need to demonstrate that they have access to €27,115 (£23,436) a year to support themselves (or €33,894 (£29,300) if applying as a couple). This can be in the form of savings or a fixed monthly income, such as a pension or investment.

Bear in mind that you may need to go to Madrid or the Spanish consulate in your country if any issue arises with your application that has to be handled in person: if you’re granted residency then your application often has to be completed in person so your finger prints can be taken. This will also add extra travel costs that you need to consider.

And don’t forget that, if you meet the criteria to apply for a Spanish residency visa, the application fee is usually $67 (€57).

The Legal Requirement to Secure Health Insurance

As a tourist in Spain, you can rely on a combination of your travel insurance and the E1111 card (or the new Global Health Insurance card) if you have any health concerns whilst in the country. As a resident, it is a legal requirement that you secure health insurance: and this isn’t always a cheap endeavour.

If you work in Spain then it is likely that you will have access to Spain’s public healthcare through social security contributions. Otherwise, you will need to factor the cost of private healthcare into your moving costs: Private policies are legally required to be just as comprehensive as what is offered by Spain’s public healthcare system, which can dramatically increase the price for older people and those with pre-existing health conditions. 

Opening a Spanish Bank Account

There is no such thing as a free bank account in Spain! In fact, all accounts come with monthly charges just for opening and using your account, and many also have hidden costs associated with them that you may not except. As a result, before you open a Spanish bank account and engage with the Spanish banking system, it is important to go through any contract with a fine-tooth comb. Don’t sign anything until you know exactly what you’re signing up for, or you could find yourself paying banking fees you weren’t expecting, and for things you don’t need, every month!

Moving With Your Pets

We’re a nation of animal lovers, and many Brits consider their pets to be a part of their family. If the idea of leaving your beloved feline or canine companion behind is a step too far then beware: there are many costs associate with moving with your animals.

You will have to factor in the price a pet passport, microchipping, vaccinations, a pet-friendly transporter and flight or other transport costs (which can vary greatly) as well potential health certificates depending on where you’re moving from. Your pet may even need to be quarantined on arrival in Spain: and this would be at your expense too. It is certainly something to research and put aside a significant sum for, if the thought of travelling without your pet is impossible.

Paying Your Taxes

Finally, You may think it is none of the Spanish taxman’s business what assets you hold abroad, but if you have money in a foreign bank account, private pensions, property, shares or any other assets back home that are over €50,000 in value you have to declare it to Spanish tax authorities. This is true regardless of what kind of residency visa or citizenship you have: if you don’t declare this then you could be fined, so it’s important to be aware of any declarations you are expected to make.

 If moving to Spain has always been your dream then our local property experts can help.  Whether you’re looking for golden mile properties in Marbella or bargain property in Andalucia,  we’re perfectly placed to turn your dreams into a reality. Why not get in touch to find out more about how we can help you.