You’ll need to consider your pensions, tax, life assurance, investments and healthcare arrangements in your new home. Please note that members of EU countries such as a UK national, a Dane, a Swede or Norwegian has the right to live in Spain by virtue of their countries’ membership of the European Economic Area.
If you are retiring abroad, you can continue to receive your UK State pension. If you are moving permanently to Spain, you should get yearly increases in your pension. Contact the Social Security Office to complete the correct forms.
- Before you leave the UK work out your retirement income by obtaining and completing a form BR19 from the Retirement Pension Forecasting and Advice Unit (RPFA) on 0044(0) 191 218 7585 and ask for a state pension forecast. This is available up to four months before you reach the UK pension age. The forecast you receive subject to your general entitlement will tell you what your pension is at the date received and whether or not you will get more by the time you reach UK pension age. Note that if you have already moved, and are paying local Spanish social security payments, that this forecast will not include your local contributions.
- You should write to The UK Pensions Service informing them that you are moving to Spain and give them your new address. Their address is International Pension Centre, Tyne View Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE98 1BA Telephone: +44 (0) 191 218 7777; Fax: +44 (0) 191 218 3836.
- Note that the state pension age and entitlements may vary between Spain and the UK. To check on your pension rights in Spain we suggest that as a first step you should look at www.ukinspain.com/english/. This is a UK government website dedicated to providing information for those re-locating to Spain from the UK.
- To obtain your UK State pension in Spain you will need to complete a claim form from the Pensions Service. This is also normally available four months before you reach the UK pensionable age. It asks you if you want to claim a UK retirement pension and for details of any periods of residence and state insurance you have in other countries. If you are living in Spain and claim a pension from that country, the UK Pension Service will pass details of your claim to the Spanish authorities who will process you pension in Spain. Personal and company pension schemes can usually be paid anywhere. The experience of others has shown that some company schemes, for example, will pay a pension only to a UK bank. Further, some annuity companies levy charges for each overseas payment, although others do so for free. You may consider transferring your pension fund abroad. This would eliminate the Euro/Sterling exchange rate risk if your fund were maintained in Euros. Please note that all such international transfers must receive the prior approval of the Inland Revenue and specialist advice should be obtained from a pension’s expert.
Personal circumstances vary greatly but you may cease to be liable to UK tax if you cut all ties with the UK and become domiciled abroad. However you will technically be a UK resident if you spend a requisite number of days in the UK and will consequently suffer UK tax on your income. Obtain more information on tax and your domicile status from the Inland Revenue’s document called IR20. If you do change you residency cash held offshore may still be liable to tax in Spain depending on local tax rules. Please note that Spain imposes a wealth tax on your world-wide assets. However, as Spain and UK have a double taxation treaty you should be given relief for double taxation. Please remember that if you are proposing to rent out your UK property this will attract a UK income tax charge.
Step #3 Making the move
Once you have decided on where in Spain you are going to, you need to decide on how to get there. You will decide which way is best for you, depending on what you are taking with you. If you decide to drive, make sure you read the section on driving in Spain. You can catch a car ferry at many English ports and buy a one way or return ticket. [we were once told that a cheap day return to France can be bought cheaper than a one-way ticket]. A point to note is that if you bring a caravan over with you, most ferries will not sell you a one way ticket so you must use the tunnel. Consider carefully the cost of a crossing to Calais and the additional cost of petrol and tolls as opposed to a crossing to Santander or Bilbao. Driving through France can be a long nightmare and very expensive on tolls. Flying over is a cheap alternative if all you have are a couple of cases. Cheap flights can be booked over the internet at as little as £50 each ! But, consider how you are to get about once you get here. Spain is a big country and a car is a must. Whichever way you get here, there are several things you must bring with you. Driving licences/Car insurance papers Birth/Marriage certificates Passports Bank books/cheque and credit cards Enough money to get home Important medication Form E111 and remember to make several photocopies of all your documents !
Step #4 Travel documents (see here for Spanish Tourist Office Guidelines)
Because Spain is part of the EU, if you live in an EU country, you do not require a visa to enter the country. You have almost equal rights in Spain as you do in your own country. Make sure you have a full ten year British Passport well before you leave. Make several photocopies of it and make sure you keep at least one copy in a safe place. Losing your original passport in Spain would be a bad move. Losing all record of it would be worse. Consider taking out travel insurance for your journey over. its money well spent if your luggage vanishes or your car is stolen with all your belongings inside. Make sure children have their own passports. its also a good idea to go the post office in England and collect a form for renewal of a passport and a form for replacement of a lost/stolen passport. These are forms you can't get in Spain. Make sure you have all your birth/marriage certificates with you and again, make sure you have several photocopies of each which you should keep separate from the originals.
Step #5 On arrival in Spain - N.I.E. Number
As a foreigner living and/or working in Spain, the first thing you MUST do on arrival is obtain an NIE number. This is a simple process providing you follow the guidelines. You can get a Gestor to apply for you but it will cost you about 100€. To do it your self, go to the National Police station and collect an application form, or you can download the form here. You can complete the form in English and it is FREE. You will need Adobe Acrobat to download the form. Download this program, free of charge, here.
HOW TO FILL IN THE N.I.E. APPLICATION FORM
1 DATOS PERSONALES means PERSONAL DETAILS
1er Apellido: Surname
2º Apellido : (second Surname) Write three chiffons instead (---)
Nombre : Christian Name (make sure to use same as in passport)
Fecha de Nacimiento: Date of birth (use two digits for day and month)
Lugar de nacimiento: Place of birth
Sexo : Gender “H” for Male (Hombre) and “M” Female (Mujer) . X cross the one applicable
Estado Civil: Status. S for single C for married. V for widow and D for divorced
País de nacimiento: Country of Birth
País de nacionalidad: Current Nationality
Nombre del padre: Father´s name
Nombre de la madre: Mother´s name
Domicilio en España: Address in Spain (if you have one, otherwise leave blank) - Localidad: Town, CP: Postcode, Provincia: Province
Reasons for application:
Economic, Professional or Social (Tick professional for work reasons or social for house purchase)
3) DOMICILIO A EFECTOS DE NOTIFICACIONES
Sign the form at the bottom, under 'firma de solicitante'.
Complete the form and take it back to the National Police station, along with a photocopy. You also need to provide your original passport and a photocopy. That's it ! You will then be told to return in approx. 4 weeks time when your number will be ready to collect. You need this number to do anything fiscal in Spain such as open a bank account [this can also be done with your passport number].
How to get a Social Security Number:
The process of getting a social security number is now very easy.
Simply go to any social security office, with your original passport and copy of the passport. You will have to fill in a form, which is in Spanish, but its quite easy as the normal questions are asked like, name, address, names of parents etc. They issue the number there and then and give you a temporary card. They send on the plastic card at their leisure. It is not necessary to have a job, or even a NIE to get a social security number.
Why do you need a Social Security Number?:
- You need a social security number to work in Spain. I am sure that you are aware that if you are self-employed you have to pay into the social security, but also if you are employed you pay and this should be deducted by your employer before payment.
- You are entitled to social security benefits, but pro rata to what you have paid in.
- You also are entitled to medical care i.e. you can sign on with your local doctor.
- You only have to pay if you are earning money in Spain, i.e. not on any pension from the UK.
Step #6 Looking for work
If you have not already found work or intend to work for your self, you will now need to start job hunting. See more about working in Spain here.
Step #7 Residencias
A residencia is a form of permit for those who intend to reside in Spain on a permanent basis. It is NOT compulsory for EU citizens, however, there are advantages. They are issued by the National Police dept. You may wish to employ the services of a gestor for your application. Failing this, visit your nearest police station and collect the application forms.
Go to the police station and collect the forms. Complete and return them along with the documents they request and usually you can collect your certificate one month later. Residencia cards are no longer issued as EU courts ruled that they were illegal. Now it is just an A4 piece of paper. You MUST by law carry this with you at all times. Failure to do so can result in a fine on the spot.