Taking Advantage of Spain’s Cheap Holiday Scheme for Pensioners

The Spanish government operates an affordable holiday scheme for pensioners, known as the Imserso scheme, which allows both foreigners and Spanish citizens to access four-day breaks for as little as 115 euros and longer ten-day holidays for as little as 455 euros, provided they meet the eligibility criteria. Wondering if you could take advantage of this incredible offer? Here’s everything you need to know about the Imserso scheme, including who is eligible, how to apply, and what type of holidays you could go on:

What is the Imserso Scheme?

The Imserso scheme is a social scheme that’s primary objective is to offer affordable holidays to the elderly residents of Spain. It is hoped that by subsidising trips for pensioners, their health and quality of live will improve whilst their dependence on others will decrease. As well as benefiting pensioners the scheme will also benefit the wider community by incentivising economic activity and increasing employment within the tourism sector during the quieter winter months. Applications for the 2022/2023 Imserso programme are now open and this year there are around 816,000 Imserso spots available.

Can Foreigners Use the Imserso Scheme?

The Imserso scheme is only intended for Spanish residents, but if you are an ex-pat who permanently resides in Spain then you can take part in the programme provided you meet any of the following criteria:

  • A person who is retired and part of the Spanish public pension system.
  • A person who receives a widow’s or widower’s pensioner and is aged 55 or older.
  • A person who receives unemployment benefits or subsidies, and is aged 60 or older.
  • A holder or beneficiary of Spain’s Social Security System, aged 65 or older.

How Do I Apply for a Holiday Using the Imserso Scheme?

Applications to apply for a holiday using the Imserso scheme are now open, and the best way to apply for a holiday is to do so online. You can access the Imserso website here. Before you access the website you should ensure that you have your Cl@ve, digital certificate or NIE to hand as you will need these to complete your application.

If you are not particularly web savvy, it is also possible to submit your application in person by visiting the offices of the Imserso Tourism Programme. Find out from your local town hall where they are in your region, or you can also find these online by checking under the Atención Presencial category here. The application form sits under the ‘Documentos’ heading of the site. Regardless of whether you complete your application online or in person, you will need to provide documentation and proof of your identity, residency status in Spain and details of your Spanish pension and social security payments. To make the application as smooth and efficient as possible, you should ensure that you have these documents to hand when completing your application.

Will I Be Accepted?

Applying to the scheme does not mean that you are guaranteed to secure a holiday The Imserso scheme prioritises applications from applicants who are older, have fewer financial means, have a degree of disability or are from large families. Those who have never participated in the scheme before are also given priority. You may find that you are also more likely to secure a holiday if you are prepared to travel in low season, as demand for low season holidays is less.

If you are accepted then you are free to travel alone, however you can also be accompanied by your spouse or common law partner, even if they do not meet the requirements outlined above. You may also be accompanied by children with disabilities as long as they travel with you and stay in the same room. If you would prefer your disabled child to have their own room then you would need to pay a supplement for this.

How Much Will You Pay For an Imserso Scheme Holiday?

The aim of the Imserso programme is to subsidise the cost of holidays considerably for those pensioners living in Spain, so the price of holidays in the scheme are very affordable.  Depending on the dates you go and the type of accommodation you stay in, you will usually have to pay between €115 and €455 for the trip.

The cheaper Imserso holidays are usually four days long and are to ‘mini break’ locations in the inland provinces in Spain  whereas the €455 holidays are for longer ten days in coastal areas or on Spain’s islands. Options include:

  • If you choose a mainland coastal break you can visit Catalonia, Andalusia, Murcia, Galicia, Asturias, the Basque Country, Cantabria or Valencia regions for stays of between 8-10 days.
  • If you choose a mainland interior break you can visit Extremadura, Aragon, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León, La Rioja, Navarre for a culture or nature themed break for between four and six days.
  • If you choose an island break you can visit any of the Spanish islands for stays of between 8-10 days.

You are not simply getting access to accommodation for this price! The scheme also includes meals on either a full or half board basis, transport, access to a group insurance policy and a socio-cultural programme. These prices can be reduced for individuals who have economic resources equal to or less than the amount of non-contributory retirement and disability pensions in social security.

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