About a year ago, I thought about immigrating to Spain. Living in Madrid for this time has taught me so much about moving to and living in Spain.
You might think that after you received your visa from your home consulate, that all the work is done and that once you arrive here, you will not need to do anything until it comes time to renew.
Unfortunately, that is not the case.
There are some hoops to jump through once you get here.
But don’t worry, I can honestly tell you that life in Spain is 100% worth it.
Here are my top 5 tips to help you get settled and enjoy after immigrating to Spain
1. Make an appointment to get your TIE card before you move
You will quickly learn that everything in Spain is backed up and that appointments sometimes book up months in advance.
After you move to Spain from the USA, you only have 30 days to get your fingerprints and drop off the documents to get your TIE card.
Your TIE card is your permission to be a resident here in Spain, and you will need to make sure that you can have your first appointment on time. Before you leave the US, make that appointment online.
This can be quite the process and if you hired David to help secure your visa, this is something he will help you with. I highly recommend working with David on all of this. He simplified my life so much!
2. Start looking for housing right away
Depending on where you are moving in Spain and when you are arriving, finding housing can be difficult.
It is important that you have a place to live as you will need to be on your local town’s padron to apply for your TIE card.
Don’t sign a lease without seeing the flat because there are a lot of scams here.
It is especially hard if you are not familiar with the local rental laws, which vary city by city. but you really should start looking as soon as you arrive.
If you are not a native speaker, I highly suggest bringing a Spaniard friend with you on the apartment hunt. And make sure someone goes over your contract before you sign anything.
(Be careful, you never know!)
3. Learn Spanish (if you do not already speak it)
This is a big one.
Not only will your life here in Spain be a million times easier if you can speak Spanish, but in my opinion making an effort to learn it is a sign of respect for your new home.
Can you get by without speaking it?
Sure, in certain parts of the country it is possible.
But trust me, everything will be much harder if you do not have a basic level of Spanish.
Many Spaniards do not speak English, so it really comes in handy in your day to day life.
Consider taking a Spanish class or hiring a teacher for private lessons.
4. Get involved in your new community
And by that, I do not mean only getting involved with other expats.
There is nothing wrong with having expat friends and an expat community, but since you moved to Spain, make an effort to meet Spaniards too!
Join local groups for things that interest you.
For example, if you enjoy hiking find a local hiking group.
Facebook is a goldmine for these types of things.
Join “intercambios” to practice your Spanish with Spaniards.
Make an effort to meet the proprietors of your new local cafe, grocery store, etc.
You will feel like part of the community in no time.
5. Travel in Spain!
Now that you live in this beautiful country, explore it!
Visit the cities.
Go to places off the beaten path, that only the locals know about.
Find your favorite Spanish beach town.
Eat and drink your way through the regional specialties.
There is a reason (or a million) why so many travelers from all over the world come to Spain! And if you need a professional travel planner for Spain, that’s where I come in.
With nearly 20 years in the travel industry, my specialty is handcrafting unique itineraries for traveling in Spain. Every puente (long weekend) is the perfect excuse to find your favorite Spanish destinations.
Are you thinking about immigrating to Spain from the USA?
Spain is wonderful and we can’t wait to welcome you here.
In my opinion, the crucial first step of immigrating to Spain is to reach out to David.
He can help you decide which visa to apply for as well as how to secure it.
And once you are here, he will make your life a million times easier with the Spanish bureaucrats.
Once all of that is out of the way, I am sure you will enjoy living in Spain as much as I am!
Karen is a travel consultant specializing in Spain, from California. She has 20 years of travel industry experience with travel companies like Airbnb and STA Travel. Karen now lives in Spain and through her, Spain Less Traveled site, she helps clients who want to experience Spain more authentically with personalized itineraries and individual travel consulting. Additionally, she founded and administers fast-growing Travel Spain! Facebook Community.
Ready to move to Spain from the USA?
Please click on the image below: