Moving to Spain from UK: The Definitive Guide

Relocating to Spain from UK

The time has come: Moving to Spain from UK.

The dream.

Living in Spain.

In the sun.

The beautiful weather.

The Spanish sunrise.

The Spanish sunset.

You in the middle, in control of your life.

Think about it.

You… living a happy life in Spain, every day, between each sunrise and each sunset.

Your spouse next to you.

Seems unbelievable?

No, it is not. So many British citizens have made…

You will make it to.

Because you are moving to Spain from UK.

It is meant to be.

It is the beginning of a new exciting chapter in your life.


Before we start… Yours Free

Spain 101 is a free ebook full of unique tips that will save you thousands of Euros when moving to / living in Spain.

Would you like to get it now?

Please click / tap on the image below:


But there is a problem

You don’t know where to start.

Tons of websites.

Conflicting information.

Hundreds of anonymous people contradicting themselves on Facebook.

The official websites say one thing.

The professional websites say something different.

The smiley bloggers say something totally different.

You feel like you want to scream.

Sometimes you even feel anxious.

Because you are scared of being scammed.

Because you are scared of taking the wrong path.

Is it that complicated moving to Spain from UK?

Well, it is not.

What happens is that you are trying to do things on your own.

You are trying to understand something that spreads into many directions.

As if you were trying to build your own TV.

Reading endless articles for endless hours and endless days.

How to assemble the parts.

The screen.

The internal panels.



Asking other people where this tiny part goes in…


Why don’t you buy the TV?


(After 40 years of work, this is the kind of TV you would have built in 2020)


Before we start

This article is full of links to other useful articles I have been publishing over the years on Torrevieja Translation.

Please, read through until the end of this article, you will love the information I will be sharing with you :-)

Otherwise, it will be easy to get lost clicking and jumping from one article to another.

There are two things I would like to mention before we start:

1. This article is NOT about:

  • Nightlife in Spain
  • Bars and restaurants
  • Nice cities to visit in Spain
  • Cost of living (this goes up and down)
  • A place to moan and criticise Spain (there are lots of forums and Facebook groups for that purpose)

2. Instead, this article is about:

  • Practical tips for moving to Spain from UK
  • A compilation of the most important legal aspects and documentation to take into consideration for the big move
  • Useful advice you will need to keep in mind to avoid getting scammed
  • How to access to my personalised services for British citizens for relocating to Spain from UK (the fastest way to move to Spain from the UK and peace of mind)

At the end of this article, I will show you how I can help you through my service “Moving to Spain for British citizens”:

All right, let’s start!


How to move to Spain from the UK

I want to be crystal clear with you.

If you really want to move to Spain from the UK, you need useful information… and not any “apparently” useful piece of information.

First step, you need to take these three variables into consideration :

  1. Your group (pensioner, worker, business, self-employed, own financial resources)
  2. The specific requirements for your group when you apply for something (i.e. Spanish residency, NIE number, tax, etc).
  3. The Spanish region where you live (there are 17 regions + Ceuta and Melilla)

You must have read tons of websites already about how to move to Spain from the UK.

Nice pictures of Spanish food.

The Spanish buildings.

Interesting (and non-practical) information about the Spanish way of living.

But no one really gives you actionable and useful information to keep you away from trouble and to avoid:

  • Being scammed
  • Wasting your time because you do not know the right procedures or the right requirements
  • Wasting money in unnecessary professional services
  • Paying expensive fines to the Spanish tax office

What happens?

Read between the lines.

  • You are reading blog posts from people sharing personal experiences, which may have nothing in common with your own personal situation
  • There are lots of empty articles designed to rank higher on Google (and perhaps some get commission through ads)
  • Official websites providing vague information
  • Companies offering services that have nothing to do with relocating to Spain

Simply because they have no idea about what’s important for moving to Spain from the UK.


You are at the right place because I have been helping UK citizens moving to Spain since 2010.

So, before you think I’m bragging, let’s go through the most important parts you will need for living in Spain :-)


Moving to Spain from UK: The 9 pillars

Here is a list of the 9 most important steps, documents and actions you will need for when you decide to move to Spain from the UK:

1. NIE

It is the usual starting point.

The NIE number certificate is an A4 white document that contains your fiscal number for purchasing/selling anything legally in Spain.

The NIE number certificate is not the same document as the Spanish residency card.

They are independent documents with different functions (otherwise, why would there be two documents with different names but for the same purpose?).

Now, the question, will you need your NIE number if you are applying for residency?

It depends.

You can go directly for residency, which will generate a new NIE number if you did not have before.

If you are buying property or getting employed in Spain, for instance, without knowing yet whether you would like to become a resident, then apply for your NIE number certificate first.

(Pensioner? Worker? I got the two guides)

2. Spanish residency

After 31/12/2020, British citizens have to apply for Spanish residency starting with a visa in the UK (unless you are married to an EU citizen).

The hordes of misleading websites, forums and Facebook Groups are confusing everybody (well, they have always been confusing everybody).

A short summary:

Up until the 6/7/2020, the Spanish residency process was EU.

Then, the process became a hybrid process up until 31/12/2020 (non-EU with EU rights).

Now the process to live in Spain beyond 90 days is fully non-European.

Remember the three variables:

  1. Group
  2. Requirements
  3. Spanish region.

They will determine your Spanish application.

I will put a few interesting links within the Brexit section, in a moment.


3. Power of attorney

This can be a useful component so that your lawyer or fiscal adviser can act on your behalf for property and tax matters.

I don’t mean you must do it, but it will make your life easier.

The only thing I recommend you here is NOT to give power of attorney to whatever business you come across with.

I am telling you this because I have been working with lawyers and fiscal advisers for many years. I have seen many horrible things.

Protect yourself with some common sense. Here is my guide on power of attorney in Spain guide

4. Get a lawyer

But hire a good one, especially if you’re moving to Spain from UK to buy property.

Get a lawyer specialised in property law.

You will read tons of “free advice” on the Internet:

  • You don’t need a lawyer
  • You can do it yourself
  • You can save the money
  • My friend did it on his own
  • You should not pay more than x amount

Remember: none of those free advisers will pay a penny if you do something wrong. In fact, they will be gone from Facebook if you go back to tell them that their “free advice” wasn’t right.

Here is my recommendation: Do it.

Hire a lawyer.

You are going to spend a lot of money on property. You should reserve some money for legal services within the package.

For instance, if you are spending 100,000 Euros on property, I would save around 2500-3000 Euros on legal services (fiscal advisers, lawyers, relocation advisers).

Otherwise, you will be trying to save pocket money on something where you are spending a lot of money, which can end up in spending three (or four or five) times as much in legal services.

Remember, Mr Free Adviser from the forums and Facebook has the potential to create real horror stories in your life if you do whatever they say.

Use a Spanish lawyer to protect yourself from scammers.

Moving to Spain from UK

(Be careful: scammers in Spain won’t probably have thick sideburns and ugly ties)

5. Property

Many people buy property in Spain this way:

  • They put a finger on the map and travel to Spain to buy property impulsively… now… right now… after seeing the property not more than 10 minutes.
  • They were told by a friend that this area is really good, so they take a flight and buy property impulsively.
  • They watch the TV programs, read the magazines and search on the Internet. They contact whatever estate agency in Spain and buy property impulsively.

I have met over 10,000 EU and non-EU citizens since 2010, and it’s the number one mistake, buying property impulsively:

  • Without inspecting the area to see how far the basic services are (supermarkets, doctors, hospitals, public offices)
  • Without checking whether the property is well-constructed
  • Without checking whether the property is legal
  • Without checking whether the property has pending debt
  • Without looking around the neighbourhood
  • And paying big deposits to complete strangers as I describe on this article about emigrating to Spain from the USA

The usual outcome: buying the wrong property in the wrong place.

Another possible outcome: getting scammed by agencies that don’t exist.

Needless to say, no mention about:

  • A plan about legal documentation required (NIE number, power of attorney, Spanish wills)
  • A plan about healthcare (I will tell you in a moment).
  • A plan about applying for residency if they are spending more than 90 days in Spain.
  • A plan about tax (next section).

Would you like to know one of the sentences I have heard the most from British citizens?

“I wish I would have bought property in a Spanish town”

Not in a coastal area.

Not within an urbanisation.

Not a beautiful home with a gorgeous garden in the middle of nowhere… right at that point where the only noise heard is the wind.

They would have loved to buy property:

In a Spanish town, surrounded by Spanish homes, Spanish people, Spanish shops, everybody speaking Spanish, to have the real Spanish experience.

Isolated Spanish property

(Living in isolation in Spain will have a devastating effect, trust me)

6. Taxes

If you are moving to Spain to retire here permanently, but have not had Spanish residency, you will pay non-resident tax on property.

When you apply for your Spanish residency, you will pay resident tax if you live more than 183 days in Spain.

Don’t risk it here with cheap and doubtful tax advisers.

There are many businesses fighting a “price war”.

You will be tempted to go for the “reasonable one” that is charging 80-100 Euros a year, compared to the best fiscal advisers who many charge 150-200 Euros a year.

But here are three big questions:

  • What is reasonable?
  • Is it paying less money to someone who has less experience?
  • Is 150-200 Euros a lot of money for an annual service?

The Spanish tax office will not forgive that accidental mistake, the usual “I did not know”.

You will not be able to argue that you could not afford the 150-200 Euros service.

150-200 Euros is pocket money compared to the money you will spend in property (or potential fines from the tax office).

To read more about non-resident tax: A mini guide about non-resident tax Spain

To read more about residency tax: A guide about tax in Spain for residents

7. Healthcare

Here is another hot topic.

Many people believe that healthcare in Spain is free.

But it is not.

You can’t have public healthcare without having Spanish residency.

And guess what…

You won’t have Spanish residency unless you have some form of public or private health insurance.

It is all connected. I will explain it to you when you contact me.

Is there an emergency?

No worries, you will be treated.


If you go through a non-life-threatening health problem which requires ongoing treatments… things will begin to twist here.

Without a comprehensive health card, I’m afraid you will not get ongoing appointments.

Bad news: The European Union (EHIC) card will not be enough to have ongoing non-life-threatening treatments… actually, at some point the EHIC card will not longer be valid as it’s EU.

Healthcare in Spain

I will explain all the possibilities if we work together.

8. Spanish Driving licence

There are tons of articles on the Internet about this topic (most of them misleading, as usually), mixed up with tax, Spanish residency, moving to Spain from UK, the NIE number, etc.

There is only one thing clear: 31/12/2020.

The end of the transition period.

Beyond that, nobody knows how the driving licence exchange process will be. Neither the hordes of Mr Free Advisers know it.

My guess is that exchanging your UK licence will become harder.

As of today, you can still exchange your British licence through the usual EU procedure… but not until you have had Spanish residency.

Spanish driving licence

(I wrote this book to help you understand how the process works)

9. Brexit

It has become a reality.

This section had links to articles I wrote about Brexit.

On my website, you will not find any articles about the pros and cons, about the origin of Brexit, about the referendum.

There are many sources which covered those points.

In short, I only write about subjects for living in Spain from a practical point of view.

We are action takers, problem solvers.

We knew the solution for people who applied for residency before 31/12/2020… but now, living in Spain beyond 90 days has become a complete different process.

We still know the solution to live in Spain long term ?.

Here is a list of the most common visas: The definitive Spain visa guide and types of Spanish visas

And here is an article about the most common visa: non-lucrative visa.


How to move from the UK to Spain

My services are not NOT:

  • A piece of empty information
  • A guide written by somebody who has never helped anybody professionally relocate to Spain
  • Some kind of useless document written by somebody who does not even Speak Spanish
  • A book (no, it’s not a book)

Instead, my guide is:

  • A real action plan for moving to Spain from UK the right way
  • A personalised compass so that you don’t end up making the usual mistakes most British citizens make
  • Peace of mind because you will do things the right way.


In one sentence

My guide is a personalised service for moving to Spain from the UK.

Based on the three variables mentioned earlier, I will design the plan to move to Spain, exclusively for you.

Over the years, I realised it is much more efficient to take every personal situation in a unique way, as not everybody is in the same position.

Through my personalised services you will stop:

  • Reading confusing articles on the Internet
  • Wasting time on the Internet trying to figure out how to move to Spain from the UK
  • Giving credit to conflicting information from tons of Mr Free Advisers.
  • Worrying about failing and getting in trouble in Spain

I am here to assist you with the whole process of moving to Spain :-)


Who am I?

My name is David Ruiz. I’m a relocation adviser and I’m the man below:

David Ruiz

Since 2010, I’ve been helping EU and non-EU citizens getting settled in Spain.

My area of expertise is EU and non-EU Spanish residency, healthcare, as well as other subjects connected to these procedures and carried out at Spanish public offices.

However, I collaborate with the perfect professionals for other important aspects for living in Spain:

  • Lawyers
  • Fiscal advisers
  • Real estate agencies


Who I am NOT?

Just to make it clear, I’m not:

  • A removal company
  • A private health company
  • A free adviser
  • A funny blogger sharing his personal experiences and adventures about travelling and living in whatever Spanish region
  • Whatever random website about Spain and asking for donations on Paypal
  • The Wikipedia (the information on my website is free, but not my services or my premium guides)

I’m a professional relocation adviser and I’m here to help, professionally.

Please have a look at the Hall of Happy Clients. If you hire my services, I will love to have you there one day ?.


Yours Free

Spain 101 is a free ebook full of unique tips that will save you thousands of Euros when moving to / living in Spain.

Would you like to get it now?

Please click / tap on the image below:



Coverage areas

Alicante Province

Costa Blanca: These are my usual in-person coverage areas in Costa Blanca Spain,  Altea,  Calpe, Orihuela Costa,  BenissaGuadalest,  GuardamarJaveaMorairaAlicante, La Marina, DeniaVillajoyosa, Pilar de la Horadada, Benidorm, El Campello, Santa Pola, and, of course, Torrevieja; as well as other towns near Alicante.

Inland Alicante province: OrihuelaElche, Pinoso, Almoradi, Alcoy, Orba, Rojales, Biar, Crevillente, Los Montesinos, San Miguel de Salinas, Benijofar, Algorfa.

Murcia Province

Costa Cálida: including Costa Calida SpainSan Pedro del PinatarLos Alcazares, Santiago de la  Rivera, Mar Menor , San JavierMazarronAguilas.

Cities and towns in Murcia province: 

CartagenaYecla, Sucina, Totana, Alhama, Molina de Segura, Fortuna, Murcia city.

Other areas in Spain

I have collaborators almost everywhere all over Spain, so no worries, I can assist you anywhere you are in Spain, in cities such as: Zaragoza, Vitoria, Bilbao, Albacete, Almería, Logroño, Avila, Badajoz, Caceres, Majorca, Zamora, Barcelona, Burgos, Oviedo, Cadiz, Santander, Castellon, Pontevedra, Ciudad Real, Cordoba, Cuenca, Gerona, Granada, Guadalajara, San Sebastian, Huelva, Huesca, Jaen, Navarra, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Gijon, Leon, Lleida, Lugo, Madrid, Malaga, Orense, Palencia, Salamanca, Segovia, Sevilla, Soria, Tarragona, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Teruel, Toledo, Valencia, Valladolid.