11 steps to take when you move to Spain

Article by Marc Vervoort

Moving to Spain? It’s a great place with many digital job possibilities, a sunny climate and a high quality of life. Relocating to a new country is a big operation though. So get everything set for a successful move with the following 11 steps.

1. Find a place to live

If you already have a job, then you know in which city to look for a home. It’s smart to rent first since it gives you more flexibility. Once you’re in Spain and settled it, you can decide if you want to buy. Check here what you need to do to rent in Spain.

2. Get connected

As a digital expat, you can’t live without your internet connection. Even though the internet is the information superhighway, setting it up is more like a slow walk. So if you’re renting a place which doesn’t have internet, arrange it ahead of your move. It sometimes can take up to a few weeks before your router arrives. Many times, an installer from the internet provider will also have to come by to connect your home to the network.

3. Set up gas, water, and electricity

Again, if you’ve found a place, then you need to take care of this ASAP. In Spain, it can take weeks and quite a bit of bureaucracy to get you hooked up for gas, water, and electricity. Spanish utility companies are infamous for their lousy customer service and chaotic ways. Better get started now.

4. Decide what to do with your stuff

One of the costliest aspects of moving abroad is relocating your furniture. You can use a freight or relocation company to help you, but these aren’t cheap. Decide if it’s worth shipping your furniture, or that it might be more economical to buy new furniture in Spain. Another alternative is to rent a furnished apartment.

5. Health insurance

If you’re going to work for a business in Spain, social security contributions are automatically deducted from your income. As such you’ll have access to the free national healthcare system. Nevertheless, be aware that waiting times can be long. If you want extra comfort, speed and have the financial means, it can be beneficial to get an additional private health insurance plan.

6. Arrange your NIE

The NIE is your foreign residency number. When living in Spain, you need this for almost anything. It’s not that hard to arrange when you know the steps. Read how to get your NIE.

7. Open a Spanish bank account

Once you have your NIE, it’s quite easy to open a Spanish bank account. Pick a bank which has a robust online presence and an office nearby your place of work or home.

8. Renew your driver’s license and passport

If your driver’s license or passport is going to expire soon, you should renew them before you move to Spain. Since replacing them abroad is more expensive and a hassle. You have to go to your embassy or consulate to apply and come back a few days later to pick it up. For most expats, this means 2 trips to Madrid.

9. Pets

You’ll need to get an animal passport from your vet and proof that your pet has all the necessary vaccinations. Start preparing this a few months ahead of time if you can. Furthermore, check the airline if they allow you to transport your pet. Most of the time, your buddy will go below deck. For your pet, traveling and the change of environment can be stressful. To make the transition as smooth as possible, book a direct flight and have some of its favorite toys from home with you.

10. Get a gestor

The gestor is a Spanish phenomenon. It’s sort of a clerk who knows their way around Spanish bureaucracy. Most Spanish use a gestor if they deal with the government, like when filing their taxes or starting a new business. We suggest you do this also. Ask your employer or friends in Spain if they can recommend a gestor.

11. Look for an English speaking job

Unless you’re a pensioner or have saved up a lot of money, you’ll want a position in Spain. Don’t worry, you don’t have to speak Spanish. At Spain Digital Jobs we only offer English speaking digital jobs at the best companies in Spain.


Find your digital job in here.