Checklist Moving to Spain from the UK

Spanish emigration ranks second in the world among British emigrants. Most British emigrants live permanently in Spain, excluding vacation homes and tourist rentals.

The following checklist outlines all of the steps that are unconditionally necessary when moving to Spain, regardless of whether it is for pleasure or business purposes. The following steps should be taken either before or as soon as you arrive in Spain.

These phases constitute the initial and transitional phases of your move to Spain. As an official British citizen, you are subject to both legal and tax obligations in the UK and Spain during this period. It is often recommended that you seek professional advice to assist you with this process.

The requirements checklist moving to Spain from the UK has been particularly created by us to help you complete these basic steps. This is to make your move to Spain as smooth as possible.

What to do next?

The first thing to do is to make sure you have your documents in order. This includes your passport, UK driving license, and any other relevant documents. It is also important to check if you need any additional documents, such as a visa or a work permit, in order to live and work in Spain.

You should also start researching what type of accommodation you’d like to live in and how you’re going to fund your move. Spain has a wide range of residential options, from traditional apartments to beachside villas, so it will be important to figure out what kind of lifestyle you’d like to lead once you move.

1. Spanish NIE Number


A Spanish NIE number is the identification of a foreigner, and you will need it before you travel to Spain. If you can’t apply for an NIE before you go to Spain, then you can apply for it while there.

To register for an NIE, all you need to do is:

If you are unable to apply ahead of time, you can also apply for it when you are in Spain, where it is processed through your migration office.

2. Spanish Residency

Since 1st January 2024, the United Kingdom has now been considered a third state, changing the circumstance for obtaining residence in Spain. From this date onwards, there will be a variety of options to get residency in Spain, including:

Tie Card

If you have been a resident in Spain since before 31 December 2020 and you fulfill the above-mentioned conditions, and you apply for the NIE card as from 01 January 2024 and demonstrate the proof of residence to receive this document, which guarantees your right to reside in Spain, free movement, and access to Spanish Social Security.

Visa Residence

The General Foreigners Scheme will apply to British nationals entering Spain from 01 January 2024. The subsequent visas are obtainable for you to choose from

  • The Residence Visa or Non-Lucrative Residence
  • The Golden Visa

3. Tax Residence in Spain


To obtain residency and avoid liability in Spain as a Spanish tax resident, you must comply with the following tax obligations:

  • Personal Income Tax (IRPF)
  • Declaration of Assets

4. Informing the British Healthcare System

British citizens who visit Spain temporarily (less than 90 days in 180 days) are covered by their existing European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) under Royal Decree-Law (RDL) 38/2020. If the card exceeds its expiration date, it will remain valid until 30 June 2024. The Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) must be applied for once your EHIC card expires.

The United Kingdom and Spain are expected to sign a bilateral agreement after this date, providing healthcare protection to citizens.

You can, however, access the free healthcare system as a Spanish citizen as long as you meet the following requirements:

  • By submitting the S-1 form issued by your country of origin, pensioners who receive pensions from their country of origin will be able to access Spanish healthcare.
  • Spain offers free public healthcare for self-employed and employed individuals, as well as their families.
  • If you do not qualify for any of the above, you can join the Convenio Especial, a monthly fee scheme that provides you with access to the Spanish health system (other rules apply), or you can buy private health insurance

5. Validate your passport and driving license

If you do not exchange your UK driving license for a Spanish license, you will be able to continue driving using your UK license for 6 months

6. Register your new Spanish address

If you’ve ever dreamed of living in Spain but have been put off by the idea of having to register your property there, we have good news for you.

Once you arrive in Spain and secure a Spanish property, we recommend that you go to your local Town Hall Office as soon as possible to notify them of your new address. This process is known as the ‘padrón’ – once registered, you start earning certain rights in Spain even if you haven’t yet received full Spanish nationality.

7. Set up a bank account

You will need different documentation depending on the bank you choose to open an account within Spain. However, the following are the must-have documents that are required:

  • Passport
  • Personal and economic information; Personal Income Tax or pension certificate
  • Your Spanish NIE number

The above steps will help make things easier for you and let you concentrate on other practical aspects, such as carrying your belongings, finding accommodation, and organizing your trip.

Staying in touch with family and friends back home


One of the toughest things about moving abroad is staying connected with your family and friends back home. Fortunately, there are a lot of technologies that make it easy to keep in touch no matter where you are in the world.

Skype and Facetime are great for video calls, while WhatsApp and Viber are great for messaging. And don’t forget about social media – it’s a great way to stay in touch with the people back home


Moving to Spain from the UK can be a daunting experience, but it’s also one of the most exciting journeys you can take. By following this checklist, you can make sure everything is taken care of and that you’re well-prepared for the big move.