Before you pack your bags to enjoy your retirement in Spain, or to continue your career there, it is important that you have full information on the potential pitfalls and costs which you may encounter.
There are a number of very important issues to consider before making your move. Some of these are as follows:
Where in Spain do you want to live and why?
This is key. Spain is a very large country and has a great variety of climates and topology. Different regions of Spain have very different cultures and in some regions Spanish is not the only language spoken. If you are hoping to work in Spain, whether on your own account or for a third party, the area of Spain you choose to live in may be governed by the type of activity that you are hoping to continue. There is a lot published on the subject, so be certain that you are well informed before you make your move.
Will you rent before you buy?
If you are not very familiar with the area in which you intend to live, it is very sensible to rent before you buy, if only for 3 to 6 months, to be sure that you are comfortable with the area and to give yourself a real opportunity, without any pressure, to understand the property market. Rash decisions can often be taken when one has limited time. Rent is not high in Spain, so do consider this option.
How much do you expect to spend on your purchase including all expenses?
Be certain that you can afford your purchase including all expenses. You ought to take independent advice to determine this. It is not sufficient to rely on what the estate agent tells you, as he/she is primarily interested in selling to you and earning a fee from the transaction.
Do you intend to carry on a business activity from your home, whether rented or purchased?
Find out whether you will be allowed to work from wherever you are living. Some developments restrict certain working practices through the constitution of the community of property owners. Again, this can be checked by your independent adviser.
How much tax will you pay on your income and will your foreign income be taxable in Spain?
Take independent tax advice before you decide to become tax resident in Spain. You will become liable to tax in respect of your worldwide income and you will have to declare any significant assets that you own outside of Spain. Be certain as to the extent of your tax liability, so that there are no nasty surprises.
What are the ongoing expenses of living in Spain, in terms of tax, service charges, business activity licences, etc?
Again, make sure that you will be able to afford to live in Spain once you have purchased a property there. This can be best determined by taking specific independent advice.
What is certain is that whatever you do and wherever you do it, you will need to take advice from a specialised independent legal adviser, qualified in Spain and with the experience necessary and time available to advise and assist you, so that you avoid the pitfalls often experienced by those unfamiliar with Spain's laws and business culture.
If you are a non-EU national and are hoping to gain residence in Spain, there are now more options open to you than before, following new rules and regulations introduced by the Spanish government.
Residence visas for non-EU nationals
Thanks to the Spanish Entrepreneurial Support Act (2003), it is now possible for non-EU nationals to obtain a Spanish Residence Visa and, subsequently, a Spanish Residence Permit if they make a significant investment in Spanish real estate (one or more properties) with a purchase price equal to, or higher than, €500,000 (500,000 Euros).
The Residence Visa is granted for a period of one year and the holder is entitled to apply for a two-year Residence Permit, also known as the ‘Spanish Golden Visa’, that can be renewed provided the level of investment is maintained and the holder has made at least one visit to Spain during each Residence Visa period.
How we can assist you
E&G Solicitors in Spain have extensive knowledge and experience in helping foreign investors to apply for visas and residence permits in Spain. Our team of solicitors in UK and Spain can advise on the process of investing in Spain, making sure you comply with the necessary visa requirements and establishing lasting roots in the country.
Foreign and Commonwealth Video Guides
The FCO in Spain have prepared a number of useful video guides. You can watch the videos below.