Checklist for Moving to Spain: What You Need to Know?

Checklist for Moving to Spain: What You Need to Know?
15 May

When moving to Spain, it's essential to complete the basic checklist below to avoid any potential issues in the future.

1. Obtaining a residency or visa permit is necessary if you plan on living in Spain for more than 90 consecutive days. EU nationals and non-EU nationals have different requirements, with EU residents applying for residency permits and non-EU residents typically applying for visas.

  • If you are a resident of a European Union country: If you intend to stay in Spain for more than 90 consecutive days, you must obtain a residency permit, even if you are a citizen of an EU member state. Obtaining a residency permit in Spain is typically a quick, straightforward, and inexpensive process for EU residents. The process is fast-tracked and streamlined by law for all nationals of EU member states and usually takes less than 30 days to complete.
  • Non-European residents who plan to stay in Spain for more than 90 days consecutively need to apply for a visa to live and work legally in the country. The available visas range from tax-free visas like the Digital Nomad Visa to Golden Visas, which do not require renewal based on residency. The 90/180-day rule applies to those who have not obtained a visa, which means they cannot spend more than 90 days in Spain within a rolling 180-day period. Depending on the type of visa chosen, processing times can vary from under 30 days to well over half a year.

2. Opening a bank account is a fundamental requirement for any activity you plan to undertake in Spain. Spanish banks are required to comply with strict anti-money laundering regulations, making it essential to provide clear evidence of the origin of your funds. The following documents are necessary to open a bank account in Spain:

  • Passport in force
  • Payslips or tax returns
  • Your international tax code
  • Reference letter
  • Other.

3. A NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero) is an administrative identification number required for tax purposes in Spain. It is essential to have this number for almost any activity in Spain, and you will likely be asked for it by nearly everyone you interact with. Some of the activities for which a NIE is necessary are:

  • Buying/selling/renting property.
  • Inheriting assets in Spain.
  • Importing/buying/selling a car.
  • Importing/buying/selling a boat.
  • Taking out insurance.
  • Working in Spain (only short-term jobs <3 months).
  • Obtaining a mortgage loan.
  • Paying import tariffs on importing goods to Spain at customs (aduanas) in airports.
  • Some private foreign schools require a NIE number from parents and/or new (foreign) pupils to enrol them!

4. Work: If you are a resident of an EU country, you can work in Spain without needing a work permit. However, if you are a national of a non-EU country, you will need a work permit to legally work in Spain. Without a work permit, you will not be able to work in Spain, and both you and your employer will be subject to heavy fines.

5. Taxes. It is essential to ensure that you comply with the Spanish tax regulations. If you are a freelancer or self-employed, you need to register with the Spanish Social Security and file your quarterly tax returns, including personal income tax and VAT. If you are employed, your employer will enroll you in Spain's Social Security, and you may be required to file annual tax returns based on your income. It's important to keep track of your taxes and seek professional advice to avoid any potential fines or penalties.

6. Whether you are planning to buy, invest, or rent property in Spain, it is crucial to seek advice from a qualified real estate agency before committing to any route. This will help you avoid potential legal problems in the future. At DOM Tenerife Real Estate, we have years of experience in dealing with property sales and rentals, and we can provide you with the necessary guidance and support to ensure a smooth and successful transaction.

To conclude, it's important to note that if you spend over 183 days a year in Spain, you will become a tax resident. It's crucial to seek advice from a legal and tax professional to fully understand the legal and tax implications of this decision. At our company, we have a team of experienced professionals who can provide you with the necessary guidance to make informed decisions.

At DOM Tenerife Real Estate we have many years’ experience assisting clients buying, selling, or renting properties.  You can contact us by e-mail at, by telephone on (+34) 922 089 199, or by completing our contact form to book an appointment.

DOM Tenerife Real Estate - Buy safely!

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