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Our Advice for Expat Retirement in Spain



Expat retirement in Spain offers you pleasant living conditions without having to go to the other side of the world. However, this new stage of life requires good preparation and the respect of certain obligations.

Why Would You Retire and Move to Spain?

Spain Expat Retirement Offers Sunshine and a Good Quality of Life

Those who choose to retire and move to Spain are often motivated by the country’s climate. Spain’s sunny and welcoming reputation is well established among the Europeans, who have long made it one of their favorite vacation destinations.

It is therefore an excellent choice for a quiet retirement while enjoying the gentle way of life, the landscapes, and the local gastronomy.

It Might Allow You to Stay Close to Your Loved Ones

Moving to Spain for retirement means enjoying the advantages of a change of scenery without most of its disadvantages.

Spanish is an accessible language even for novices, so it is easy to make friends and integrate into the local population. And the country is well-connected with all Europe and America. This means that it will be easy to visit your loved ones and family members often.

A Lower Cost of Living Than in Other European Countries

Spain expat retirement also allows you to take advantage of a cost of living that is on average cheaper than most of the western European countries. Your pensions will be more than enough to offer comfortable living conditions.

The savings made on daily expenses (housing and food) make it possible to go out to restaurants or the cinema on a more regular basis. Or to take vacations abroad.

Retired Expats in Spain: Some Formalities to Be Completed

Procedures to Complete Upon Retirement

Expat retirement in Spain is quite simple, as there are almost no mandatory customs formalities.

But as with any expatriation, you should not wait until the last minute to get organized. Among the essential steps to be taken from your home country, you should think about:

  • Notify the authorities of your move (taxes, pension funds, Social Security, etc.)
  • Contact a mover and/or a furniture storage company
  • Cancel all contracts that you will no longer need once you are settled in your new country of residence
  • Update your vaccinations
  • Identify your pets if you choose to retire in Spain with them
  • Etc.

The Steps to Take in Spain

Retired expats in Spain do not have to take any particular steps to enter and reside in the country if they are European Union citizens, and are going to be there for less than three months.

On the other hand, for those who wish to live in Spain for a longer period, there are some important formalities to be completed:

  • Obtain a certificate of registration as a resident from the Foreigners’ Office of the province of residence
  • Obtain a foreigner’s identification number (NIE), which is essential for many procedures such as:
    • Buying real estate
    • Opening a bank account
    • Subscription of services
    • Registering a driver’s license
    • Etc.
  • Registering for the municipal census gives access to Spanish social benefits and electoral lists.

Taxes and Healthcare for Retired Expats in Spain

Taxes for Expat Retirees in Spain

There are many conventions to avoid double taxation between Spain and many countries in the world. You should check the specific case of your country before leaving.

It is important to find out your tax residence status when preparing to move. This way you will be sure if you need to pay taxes for expat retirees in Spain or if you have to do it in your home country.

Some pensions are still taxable in your country of origin. But they are taken into account in the calculation of the Spanish taxes when they are due. In any case, it is important to find out about your situation.

What Insurance Do I Need for an Expat Retirement in Spain?

People who have chosen to move to Spain upon retirement might be able to transfer their health insurance rights to their new country of residence. But the coverage offered by the Spanish health insurance (SNS) is generally insufficient, especially for dental and optical care.

Healthcare for retired expats in Spain can be improved by getting private insurance. Among the most popular are the ones called “from the first euro/dollar”. They cover health expenses worldwide and are managed entirely in your language.

To find one that suits your specific needs and individual situations, you can use an online comparison tool. It will make the process easier and much faster.

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This is also interesting:

What countries should I move to? The best countries to move to are not the same for everyone! Finding the ideal destination depends first of all on what is expected on a personal level.


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