Moving overseas is one of the biggest changes you can experience. You’ll want to make sure that the transition is smooth and that you can settle into your new life with ease. We’ve put together a list of the 7 biggest mistakes that people make when moving to Spain so that you can avoid them!
1. Underestimating the complexity of visas, permits and residency
Spanish bureaucracy can be overwhelming and the amount of work involved in applying for your visa, residency and/or permit is often more than anticipated. One of the biggest mistakes when moving to Spain from the UK in 2022 is thinking that the process is quick and easy. It can take months, sometimes even years for all of your paperwork to be completed, particularly now that Brexit has taken place and regulations have changed.
It is important not to book your flights or make the final preparations for your move until you have applied for your visa. Without the correct paperwork in place, you will be unable to work or earn money in Spain and you will not be able to exceed the maximum duration of 9o days for your stay.
Once you arrive in Spain, you need to apply for your residency either online or at the immigration office. Once your residency has been approved, you will need to apply for your TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero), your Spanish identity card. You should aim to do this as quickly as possible following your arrival.
2. Failing to begin learning the language
You won’t be expected to be fluent in Spanish when you first move to Spain, but it will make your transition far easier if you can understand the basics. Nearly 94% of the Spanish population can speak the language and failing to pick up a few Spanish phrases can have an impact on you settling into your new neighbourhood.
If you’re thinking about moving to Spain in the future and are currently unable to speak any Spanish, it will be worth your while to take a short course so that you don’t fall victim to this mistake when you move.
3. Assuming you can find a job when you arrive in Spain
Following Brexit, Brits are now subject to non-EU immigration regulations. This means that if you are planning on working in Spain, you will need to find and secure a suitable job role before you can apply for your visa, and even that can be difficult.
You’ll need to find a role that the government lists in their job shortage catalogue, apply for a vacancy and then provide your prospective employer with enough information to help them prove that you are more qualified for the job than the locals. This information will help your employer to apply for your work visa, which will need to be approved before you can move to Spain.
4. Failing to speak to other expats
At the end of 2021, there were over 407,000 Brits living in Spain. This represents a huge community that you can learn from before, during and after your move to Spain.
Reaching out to these people through online networks and at face-to-face events allows you to benefit from the invaluable experience of others who have been through the move that you are about to make. You may also find that you can make some great friends who reside in your new local area, which will make you feel more at home almost instantly.
5. Buying a house without getting a feel for the area
It can be tempting to buy a property before moving to Spain so that you have a secure new home ready for your arrival. However, this can be a big mistake when you have no prior experience or understanding of the area.
To get a real feel for a neighbourhood, why not consider renting first? Take the time to learn about the locals, the area, and the facilities nearby and ensure that you are certain about the place before taking the plunge.
Of course, there are situations where this may not apply, such as if you are looking to obtain a Golden Visa and need to purchase a property as your investment.
6. Being unprepared financially
The cost of living and salary in Spain is different to what you may be used to in the UK. Many Brits make the mistake of assuming that the cost of living in Spain is far lower, which isn’t always the case. You also need to take into account that generally, the average salary in Spain is lower than what you may be used to.
You will also need to ensure that you open a Spanish bank account as soon as possible. You will need this to pay your utility bills and to make other local payments. You will also find that it will soon become expensive to use ATMs to draw cash from your English bank account.
7. Misjudging the cultural shock
Moving to a new country, with a new language to learn and new friends to make, is bound to be a culture shock in one way or another. Failing to embrace this new way of life could be one of the biggest mistakes you make when moving to Spain.
The Spanish lifestyle is slower and more laid back, rest is important and family time is sacred. This can be a huge change if you are moving from a big, fast-paced city in the UK with a culture of working too hard. Relax, enjoy it and take it in your stride. We’re sure you’ll soon feel the benefits.
If you are currently thinking about moving to Spain from the UK in 2022 or beyond, take a look at our international moving advice for everything you need to know about international relocation. Being suitably prepared for your move will ensure that you do not make any big mistakes that can impact your quality of life when you arrive in Spain.