Spanish legal advice in plain English

Moving to Spain

Moving is said to be one of the most stressful life experiences and moving to a new country brings with it its own set of challenges.  While the path from the UK to Spain is a well trodden one, that does not mean that moving to Spain is always as straightforward as moving down the road.  

>> Download your free guide to Buying Property in Spain

Although the pull of sun, sea and sand is strong, when moving to Spain it is important to bear in mind that if you intend to make Spain your permanent home, your residence must be lawful in order to provide you with security and certainty. Now that the UK is no longer part of the EU, now more than ever it is important to seek independent Spanish legal advice at an early stage about your move to Spain. You may find our Brexit pages useful.

Moving to Spain - practical considerations

As well as considering the legal basis for your residence in Spain it will be important to consider the practical steps you need to take in relation to the move.  Clearly you will need to consider where in Spain you intend to make your home.  If you are moving to Spain as a result of your job then that decision may well have been made for you but if you are retiring to Spain then the world, or more specifically Spain, is your oyster.  Consider carefully where your base will be when you move to Spain and whether the area you have chosen will still hold its appeal if the sun is not shining.  

As well as considering where, you should think about whether you intend to rent a property in Spain or whether you intend to buy a property in Spain.  You should also consider the financial implications of your move to Spain.  How will your tax position be affected by becoming resident in Spain?  If you intend to run your own business in Spain what do you need to consider from a legal perspective?  

Seek specialist advice that is tailored to your specific circumstances before you commit to making a move to Spain.  

Find out more about buying property in Spain after Brexit.

Moving to Spain - becoming legally resident in Spain

If you want to become a permanent resident in Spain you need to consider the best way to put that into effect.  There are many different routes to becoming a Spanish resident.  If you are currently an EU resident you can make use of freedom of movement and simply make Spain your home, but for many others it is not quite so straightforward.  

Non EU residents, including Brits, can become permanent residents of Spain so long as they meet the criteria set by the Spanish authorities and provide the correct documentation. It may be that you have a right to reside in Spain, or to obtain a Spanish passport through your ancestry or the place of your birth. It may be that you need to make an application for residency through a different route.   

Non EU residents can also take advantage of the so-called Investor Visa, also known as the Golden Visa, if they are able to make a significant investment in Spanish property.  

Whatever route you take to acquiring Spanish residency, seeking specialist legal advice at an early stage is the best way to ensure that you make the right application for you and that your application for residency in Spain succeeds.  

Please see our note on Capital Gains Tax liability in Spain if you are expecting to sell your property in the UK once you are resident in Spain.

Retiring to Spain

If you wish to retire to Spain, from the UK or any other country, you will need to apply for a specific form of residency and to submit a great deal of documentation to support that application.  Expert legal help and guidance will ensure that your application progresses smoothly and that you avoid delay.  

Working in Spain

In our increasingly global economy it has become more and more popular to make the move to sunnier climes within one’s working life.  As such the practicalities of working in Spain may be a consideration. 

What will need to be put into place to comply with the legalities will depend upon whether you work in Spain as an employee or whether you are self employed.  In any event you should seek specific advice in relation to your situation to ensure that you meet all of your obligations in relation to tax as well as residing legally in Spain.  

Brexit and moving to Spain

At the time of writing the UK is in the transition phase in relation to Brexit.  As such arrangements have been made for those UK nationals who are already residing in Spain.  If you are a UK national residing in Spain and you have not already applied for your TIE card, you should do so as soon as possible.  

What will happen after 31 December 2020 is to be decided but close attention should be paid to the rules if you intend to move to Spain after the end of the transition period.  

Seeking specialist legal advice in relation to Spanish immigration law will be the best way to ensure that you are able to reside in Spain legally after Brexit.  

For more information about the effects of Brexit on moving to and living in Spain, please see our living in Spain after Brexit article.

See how an immigration lawyer in Spain could help.

Moving to Spain - common problems

As with all legal matters in Spain the most commonly encountered problems when moving to Spain are delay and the need to provide excessive documentation.  You will almost certainly encounter difficulties if you attempt to navigate Spain’s immigration system without specialist assistance in Spanish immigration law.  

At E&G Solicitors in Spain we have been helping people to move to Spain for over 17 years.  We can help you obtain Spanish residency, obtain a Spanish passport or help you to manage your retirement to Spain.  Our specialist team will guide you through the process of making a successful application for residency in Spain from beginning to end.  

Find out more about Spanish property law.

Cost information

Applications by people not nationals of an EU member state

In relation to Spanish immigration matters, we charge according to the type of application that is to be made and the number of applicants and the relationship of the applicants to each other.

Our fees are as follows:

Non lucrative visa and Spanish residence permit

One adult - £1,750 plus VAT and disbursements
A couple (married or in a civil partnership) - £3,000 plus VAT and disbursements

Investor visa and Spanish residence permit

One adult - £3,000 plus VAT and disbursements
A couple (married or in a civil partnership) - £4,500 plus VAT and disbursements

We are able to provide quotations for people or couples who are hoping to apply for visas for themselves and other family members. Please be in touch with us for more information.

The Spanish Consulate General will charge a fee for the visa, which is subject to change.

There will also be a small government fee to pay in Spain in relation to the residence permit.

Employment visa (working on own account)

In relation to applications for a visa and a residence permit where you intend to work in Spain on your account, the work to be carried out will depend on a number of factors, including the commercial activity that you intend to undertake in Spain. We charge a fee of £500 plus VAT to consider your application and to provide you with our view as to the best way to proceed and our likely fees in relation to the application.

Application for residency in Spain for a national of an EU member state

If you are a national of an EU member state and you would like to apply for residence in Spain, which is yours as of right, then our fee to advise and assist you relating to your application will be £750 plus VAT and disbursements.

If you are a national of an EU member state and you would like to reside in Spain with your spouse or civil partner, then our fee for advising and assisting you and your spouse or civil partner with the application will be £1,600 plus VAT and disbursements.

The disbursement is a small fee to be paid to the Spanish authorities, which is subject to change. Please contact us for information as to the current fee charged.

The timescale for applying for a visa to reside in Spain depends upon the speed with which the Spanish Consulate General responds, which is not a matter over which we have any control. It may be a month or it may be three months, depending on the amount of work that the Consulate is doing at any given time. If the application is made in Spain by a national of an EU member state, the entire matter can be completed within a month, but may take longer depending upon the speed at which the Spanish public administration handles the matter.

Either Josep Grau or Jonathan Eshkeri will have conduct of the matter. They may delegate elements of the matter to colleagues, who have considerable experience of Spanish immigration.

Moving to Spain - next steps

If you are considering moving to Spain and you are not sure how to proceed, we can assist.  Contact us today on 020 3478 1420, by email at or by completing our contact form.  


E&G Solicitors in Spain handled our matter very efficiently. Their communication was excellent, professional and timely and I was very happy with the service provided. 24/09/2021

Bernadette, Zaragoza