Your Checklist for a Successful Move to Spain

Moving to a new country is an exciting adventure however a smooth transition requires careful planning and organization. To help you on your way, our partners at have compiled a comprehensive checklist to guide you through the process of moving to Spain.

Posted on
October 27, 2023
Moving to Spain

Moving to a new country is an exciting adventure, and Spain's vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and rich history make it a popular destination for expats. However, a smooth transition requires careful planning and organization. To help ensure your move to Spain is a success, our partners at have compiled a comprehensive checklist to guide you through the process.

1. Motivations 

It's crucial to lay a solid foundation by defining your project: ask yourself why you want to move to Spain. Is it for career advancement, a change in lifestyle, academic pursuits, or other personal reasons? Understanding your motivations will help you set clear objectives for your relocation. It is also useful to establish a timeline for your move. This includes setting specific milestones for tasks such as visa applications, language courses, job searches, and accommodation arrangements.

By meticulously defining your expatriation project, you'll have a clear roadmap that outlines your objectives, resources, and necessary steps. This thoughtful preparation will not only streamline the process but also increase your chances of a successful and fulfilling expat experience in Spain.

2. Visa and Legal Documentation

Before packing your bags, ensure you have the necessary visa and legal documents to live and work in Spain. Research the specific requirements for your nationality and situation, and apply for the appropriate visa well in advance to avoid any last-minute complications. Familiarize yourself with Spain's legal procedures for expats, and ensure all your documents are in order. Remember to consult the official Spanish government website or your local Spanish consulate for the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding visa requirements and application procedures.

Here are some of the most common visa options to live in Spain:

- Tourist Visa (Schengen Visa)

- Student Visa

- Work Visa

- Entrepreneur Visa

- Residence Visa for Family Reunification

- Non-Lucrative Visa

- Golden Visa

3. Accommodation

Decide on your preferred type of accommodation, whether it's renting an apartment or house, or consider shared housing options depending on your budget. Start your search early, especially if you're looking for accommodation in Barcelona or Madrid. It is helpful to:

- Start with thorough preliminary research and consider your everyday criteria ;

- Arrange on-site visits to evaluate the practical aspects of potential accommodations ;

- Set a budget limit to narrow down your options ;

- Consider seeking professional assistance from local real estate experts ;

- Get clear on the lease terms before making a decision ;

- Plan for transitional accommodation if needed.

4. Language Skills

While many Spanish people speak English, especially in urban areas, having a basic understanding of Spanish will greatly enhance your experience. Consider enrolling in language classes or using language-learning apps to get a head start.

5. Financial Preparation

Open a bank account in Spain and ensure you have sufficient funds for initial expenses, including rent, deposit, and daily expenses. Familiarize yourself with the local currency and banking procedures.

6. Healthcare

Research the Spanish healthcare system and understand your options for health insurance. Determine whether you'll rely on private insurance, public healthcare, or a combination of both.

7. Schooling (if applicable)

If you have children, research and enroll them in a suitable school or daycare. Ensure all necessary paperwork and documentation are completed for their enrollment.

8. Networking and Social Integration

Join local expat groups, attend meetups, and engage in social activities to meet fellow expats and locals. This will not only help you build a social circle but also provide valuable insights into the local culture.

9. Employment and Career Opportunities

If you're moving to Spain for work, ensure all employment contracts and paperwork are in order. Familiarize yourself with Spanish labor laws and regulations.

10. Transportation

Consider how you'll get around in Spain. Research the public transportation system, obtain a driver's license if necessary, and familiarize yourself with local driving regulations.

11. Cultural Sensitivity and Adaptation

Learn about Spanish customs, traditions, and etiquette to help you integrate seamlessly into the local community. This includes understanding meal times, greeting gestures, and respecting local traditions.

Moving to Spain can be a life-changing experience, but thorough preparation is key to a successful transition. By following this checklist, you'll be well-equipped to navigate the challenges and embrace the opportunities that await you in this beautiful country. Whether you're drawn to the beaches of Costa del Sol, the historic streets of Seville, or the cosmopolitan lifestyle of Barcelona, Spain is sure to offer you an enriching and unforgettable expat experience.

Expat Estate specialize in supporting foreign nationals to purchase property in Spain.  If you’d like to see how we can help you secure your dream property, please reach out!