If you’re thinking of living the ex-pat life out in Spain, you may be wondering how different your life will be compared to your current one. Of course, there may be more good weather and perhaps a better lifestyle, but are taxes any different to what you’re used to? Are you going to need a Visa? How is the education system and what about healthcare? There are all questions which might have your mind racing. So, here a few pointers to help clarify a few things about living in Spain. Of course, you’ll need to do a lot more research before deciding to make the move, but this guide may help you start!
Healthcare in Spain
The Spanish healthcare system is funded by social security contributions. It combines public and private healthcare and people who pay their social security will automatically have the right to use the healthcare system for free or at a low cost. To benefit from the Spanish National Healthcare system, you will need to enrol with the General Social Security Fund. If you are thinking of retiring in Spain, this useful Telegraph article has some valuable information on healthcare.
Social Security Numbers
Every resident is issued with a social security number even if they are self-employed. This entitles that person to healthcare services, sickness benefits, unemployment benefits, and a pension. You have a social security number in Spain, it is valid for life.
There are various criteria you need to meet to become liable for paying income tax. These are listed here on the Angloinfo.com website. On this page you’ll find key information regarding the Spanish income tax rates.
Other taxes such as VAT are charged from 4 to 18% throughout Spain.
Citizens of EU member states that belong to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) or the European Economic Area (EEA) are allowed to travel to Spain without obtaining a visa first. When it comes to non-EU members, you can stay for no more than 90 days in a period of 180 days with a short-stay visa. This visa does not grant permission for the holder to work.
You will need to apply for a working visa, a student visa, or a working holiday visa. There are no visa restrictions for those people wishing to work in Spain on a voluntary basis.
Buying a car
If you want to buy a car in Spain, you will need to either have an official residency card (Tarjeta de Residencia) or proof that you are a Spanish home owner. You may also need to have documentation that proves you are a registered member of the local community, “certificado de empadronamiento” (available from the Town Hall) or have an NIE/NIF number (Foreigner’s Identification Number.) The site above links to Angloinfo.com, which provides a whole host of services to help you move to Spain with as smooth a transition as possible! Buying a car is just one aspect you’ll want to sort out asap.
You may want to buy a property before you move to Spain or while you are renting in Spain. There are many ways to search for properties: typically you could go to an estate agents or look online. Some will also offer an English speaking service. You can also find a number of short or long term rentals in Spain.