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How to Move to Spain from the UK Once You've Retired

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The thought of spending your retirement years in the sun, feet in the sand, laidback without worrying about the hustle and bustle of city life is literally the dream! This article will discuss what you need to know if you're considering retiring to Spain from the UK and what you should look out for.

Benefits of Moving to Spain

Spain possesses a vibrant culture as well as stunning scenery, and there are a number of additional benefits that come if you retire to Spain from the UK.

Spain offers retirees a quality of life that is affordable without compromising their lifestyle. With a lower cost of living than many other European countries, this Mediterranean nation is a good place for retirees and those on fixed incomes to budget and save money. Additionally, Spanish healthcare is considered to be among the best in the world, and retirees over 65 can benefit from even lower out-of-pocket costs due to subsidies from the government.

Visa Requirements

Without a residency visa, British citizens can spend only a limited amount of time in Spain. The current limit is 90 days in any 180-day period. For legal residency after 90 days, you must obtain the appropriate visa.

A retirement visa allows residents from non-EU/third countries to retire in Spain. Retirement visas, however, do not entitle you to work in Spain or to engage in any business-related activities.

Visas are initially granted for one year. This is then renewed twice for a total of four years. Upon completing this initial five-year period, you may apply for permanent residency.

Income requirement

If you intend to apply for a retirement visa, it is not allowed for you to work. Therefore, it is essential that you demonstrate to the Spanish government that you will be able to support yourself and your family.

Coverage for healthcare

Spanish retirement visas require that you and any family members be insured privately. It is also necessary to provide a medical certificate to certify that you do not suffer from any diseases or illnesses that could negatively affect public health.

Checks for criminal records

A criminal record check certificate for the past five years must be provided by any applicant of legal age.


When applying, you will need to provide the following documents

  • Visa application form
  • Form EX-01
  • Form for payment of fees
  • A private health insurance policy
  • Certificate from the bank
  • Original passport
  • Criminal records
  • Certificate of health
  • Payment of the visa fee

Cost of Living in Spain

The good news is that compared with other European countries, Spain has relatively low living costs. The country’s housing market has been buoyed by foreign investment, which has lowered prices in comparison to Germany and France. The cost of groceries and utilities in Spain is also generally cheaper than in the UK. Transport expenses vary depending on where you live, but in cities like Madrid or Barcelona, public transportation is often cheaper than private transportation.


Spanish healthcare is publicly funded, free and accessible to all residents. Public healthcare is available to most people in most cases unless they have health insurance outside the country.

Medical staff in Spanish public hospitals are generally well-trained and highly qualified. Medical centres and hospitals in Spain are among the best in the world, with some of them ranking among the best in the world. As part of the public healthcare system, beneficiaries' immediate family members are also covered, including spouses, children under 26 and siblings.

However, wait times for surgeries, procedures and specialist doctor treatments are commonly cited as the main issue with public healthcare in Spain. The staff at public hospitals or care centres may also have difficulty speaking English.

Deciding Where in Spain to Live

It can be challenging to decide where to live in Spain; each city and village has its own unique characteristics. To determine where in Spain is best suited to your needs, take climate, local culture, cost of living and proximity to tourist attractions into account. The sunny beaches of the coastal areas draw many tourists. However, people may find it more exciting to socialise and enjoy cultural events in larger cities such as Madrid and Barcelona. Meanwhile, people on a budget are likely to find cheaper housing in rural areas or less expensive cities.

Making the Move: Tips for UK to Spain Removals

Before you can begin your life abroad, there’s one major task that must be done: moving your furniture and valuables to Spain. To streamline the process as much as possible, we've gathered a few tips for you.

Plan ahead

Moving between countries is daunting for many, especially if the move is an international one. This is especially true when it comes to making removals to Spain from the UK; not only must you leave a beloved home and familiar culture behind, but you will also have to deal with the logistics of moving. However, planning ahead and organising can make the transition from Spain to the UK a lot less stressful.

For those considering this move, planning ahead and organising early is essential. Take all aspects of your removal into account: preparing a budget for packing materials, storage and other costs; scheduling shipping services in advance; preparing the right paperwork; organising insurance coverage; allowing ample time for packing up your belongings safely.

Hire a reliable mover

Secure a reliable moving company ahead of time to avoid last-minute scrambling. Research different companies for services they provide, such as assistance with packing and unpacking or storage. Make sure you ask about any potential restrictions or fees that may apply before signing a contract for transporting large items like furniture and appliances.

Decide what to bring and leave behind

Consider whether bulky items such as furniture should be brought over or left behind. When deciding what things to pack for your move, weigh usefulness against sentimentality. To prevent lost or damaged items in transit, secure boxes should be packed with items that have special significance, such as photographs.

Starting a New Life Abroad

Cotswold Carriers offers comprehensive and reliable England to Spain removals services. Our team is experienced and knowledgeable in all aspects of international removals, so you can be sure that your move will run smoothly. Contact us today.

Cotswold Carriers is a family run business, based in Oxfordshire, with over 40 years’ experience in domestic and commercial removals – both in the UK and Europe. As a member of the British Association of Removers (BAR) you can feel confident that when you employ any of our removal services, you are using a reputable, professional and financially protected company. All BAR Members are also monitored by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute. Contact us today for a free, no obligation quote.

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