Moving To The Costa Blanca
Living in Spain is appealing to many people, either to work or retire here. With 320 days of sunshine a year, stunning beaches and mountains, and the fabulous quality of life, it’s no wonder Costa Blanca North is popular with expats.
Moving to the Costa Blanca from overseas requires a lot of paperwork – and patience as you fill in forms, collect documents, get photocopies and go to appointments.
It can be a minefield, especially when it comes to knowing what the legal requirements are and what documents you need to take with you. VillaMia recommends using a professional company such as Impley international tax and law specialists based in Jávea.
Remember to talk to us if you’re moving to the area are looking for a long-term rental, winter let or property to buy. We cover coastal towns such as Javea, Moraira, Denia and Benissa and more inland including Jesus Pobre. We can help you find the perfect property and the best place to live that suits your requirements.
Below is a brief guide about things to do when moving to the Costa Blanca.
Registering As A Resident In Spain
- The Spanish have a DNI – Documento Nacional de Identidad
- Foreign people have a NIE – Número de Identidad de Extranjero
- Non-EU foreigners need a TIE – Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero – if they have been authorised to stay in Spain for longer than six months. That is, they have permission to work, study or live here
- EU citizens need to register and will get a Certificado de Registro Unión Europea if they are staying in Spain for longer than six months
Every foreigner who lives in Spain or has a close relationship with Spain – such as owning property – needs an NIE identity number. You apply for your NIE using form EX15.
You will be surprised at how often you are asked for your NIE number. When a parcel is being delivered to your house. On your electricity or phone bills. When buying a phone. When buying a car or opening a bank account. You’ll soon know it off my heart you have to recite it so many times.
Residency for British citizens living in Spain before 2021
British citizens who were legally resident in Spain before January 1, 2021, have their rights to remain protected by the Withdrawal Agreement.
Although you can hold on to your NIE residencia certificate or card, it is advisable to exchange it for the TIE. This should be an automatic process and the biometric card will state it has been issued under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement.
However, Brits who registered as a resident after July 6, 2020, and were living in Spain before January 1, 2021, need to apply for the TIE. Children also need to be registered and obtain their own TIE.
For this, you need to make an appointment, fill in the EX23 form online and pay Modelo 790. When you fill in the form it explains what documents you need.
If you were living in Spain before the New Year but don’t have the legal paperwork, then obtaining your TIE is a two-pronged process. First you need to fill in the EX20 form. If this is accepted, you can then apply for the TIE.
Residency for non-EU citizens
Foreign nationals wanting to stay in Spain for more than 90 days, without working, need a Non-Lucrative Visa from the Spanish consulate in their country of origin. This does not apply to residents from the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland.
You need more than sufficient funds to prove you can support yourself and won’t be a burden on the State. You also need private health insurance.
Within a month of entering Spain, you need to apply for the TIE using form EX17.
Residency for EU citizens
For EU citizens, it is a much simpler process to live and work in Spain. You still need proof of finances, but this is much lower than non-EU residents need and healthcare. But if you are working in Spain, you will be paying into the Spanish healthcare system and won’t need private health insurance. You need to fill in form EX18 to register as a resident and get your Certificado de Registro Unión Europea.
Investing in a Golden Visa Spain
The Spanish Golden Visa (or Property Visa) grants residency in Spain when you purchase property for €500,000 or more. This can be any type of property: residential, commercial, land, or a combination of properties.
If you have the funds to invest, this is a super way to fast-track your Spanish residency – decisions can be made between 10-20 days. Your family can join you in Spain, and you can live and work anywhere in Spain.
Get in touch with us to discuss investing in real estate to obtain the Golden Visa Spain.
How To Register On The Padron
What is the padron? Padron is short for empadronamiento, which is a register kept by the local authority so they know how many people are living in the locality and can allocate funds for local services and town improvements.
By registering you can:
- Have access to public services and social care
- Vote in local elections
- Register for local healthcare
- Enrol children in school
- Register a car with a Spanish number plate
You need to update your details if you move house. If you move to another municipality, you need to register with your new local authority. If you decide to leave Spain, you should de-register.
Healthcare in Spain
Expat pensioners and people working in Spain have access to the State health service. Other people, such as early retirees or people moving on a Non-Lucrative Visa will need insurance to cover private healthcare. Private healthcare is much more affordable than in many other countries. Get in touch with Hermanos Chorro for health insurance and other insurance matters.
State healthcare in Spain for UK pensioners
Pensioners may be entitled to Spanish State healthcare paid for by the UK if they are a Spanish resident and have a UK State pension or certain ‘exportable’ benefits.
You need to phone the Overseas Healthcare Services on +44 (0)191 218 1999 to ask for an S1 application form. This needs to be registered at your local INSS office – Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social – or online to get a Social Security number. You have to take this to your local healthcare centre to register and receive a medical card.
You will also be entitled to a UK-issued EHIC card – UK European Health Insurance Card – for travel. The EHIC card covers you for medically necessary healthcare or emergencies. The GHIC – UK Global Health Insurance Card – replaces the existing EHIC for new applications. This provides the same access to healthcare in the EU. Neither card replaces travel insurance.
Healthcare for expat workers in Spain
If you are working in Spain either with a contract or freelance – autonomo – you will be paying Social Security which entitles you to access the State healthcare system. You need to get a Social Security number and register at your local healthcare centre to receive your medical card known as a SIP card.
You will also be entitled to the Spanish-issued EHIC, the TSE – Tarjeta Sanitaria Europea – which you can apply for online or at your nearest INSS office.
You must also buy comprehensive travel insurance to cover anything not covered by your TSE, EHIC or for travel to countries outside the EU.
Private healthcare in Spain
Some expats are entitled to join the State healthcare system by paying a monthly fee, the Convenio Especial. However, many expats who are early retirees or are not working in Spain will need private health insurance. This is a lot less than you might think – it can cost from €50-200 a month – so get in touch with Hermanos Chorro for a quote.
Some people who can access the State healthcare system also take out private insurance to get access to quicker appointments and/or English-speaking doctors. You will also need health insurance as a condition for Spanish residency or getting your TIE.
Your health insurance provider will tell you which clinics are covered by your policy.
Schooling and education on the Costa Blanca
Children in Spain go to school from the age of three until they are 16. There are 3 types of schools:
- public schools – colegios públicos – which are State-funded
- semi-private schools – colegios concertados – which are part-funded by the State and part-private
- private schools – colegios privados – which are wholly privately funded
The school hours vary. Some schools run from 9am to 5pm with a long lunch break. Others run from 8am or 9am until 2pm.
Students can leave school at 16 or stay on for another two years to study the Spanish Bachillerato. Once they pass the Bachillerato, they can sit the university entrance exam or opt for vocational training.
Many expats send their children to the State schools, including colegios concertados, because they integrate better and become fluent in castellano and also valenciano here on the Costa Blanca.
On the Costa Blanca, there is also a wide range of international schools, such as The Lady Elizabeth School in Cumbre del Sol, and Xabia International College in Javea. Students can follow the British and/or Spanish curriculum although you will be paying fees every term.
If you want to follow your dream and live in Spain as an expat, get in touch with us so we can help you find a long-term rental on the Costa Blanca North.