“Whats it REALLY Like Living And Working In Spain “
Below are a few important things that you must know and have when moving to Spain as well as a few tips that i have picked up along the way after moving here over 12 years ago now and being married to a Spanish girl for the last 3 years. Spain is a great place to live and it has so much to offer but if you do not do a little homework First….it could all go bad…..
If you are worried about how the UK exit will effect you in Spain see this video below..
My morning view and breakfast in my local beach bar
Me out on my bike enjoying the sun in winter…
1: Learn Spanish.
About 90% of the British people i know here don’t speak any Spanish apart from the very basics and i mean basics. Even though they have been here for many years. They mix with other British expats and therefore don’t even practice what they do know.
If you are going to live in a new country you should learn their language even if it takes time.
There is a British club here and they all meet every week and chat about life in general but they are really just in their own little world. The main topics are how to get English TV here and where is the cheapest bars and restaurants.
I understand that it is not in our nature as Brits to learn a different language but will really need to start learning if we really want to enjoy the Spanish way of life and not just the sun.
Many British come here to live without doing any research on the area they are going to live in. They see it on TV or maybe have a weeks holiday here and then just pack up and move here.
When i first moved here i worked as a builder for many of these new arrivals and they all seem to think that they were going to have no problems starting a new business or finding work here.
The area i live in is seasonal and in the winter months it is very quiet here so things like this are important if you are starting a business or looking for work.
With the internet now it is possible to find out a lot about the place you are going to long before you move there.
Its hard to know just what the place is going to be like until you actually live there so why not rent first for at least a week and don’t spend that time in the local bar but get out and about to see what is really like there and maybe come in the winter and not summer as things may be very different then.
3: Mix with the locals.
Now i am married to a Spanish girl and see both sides of life here both the British and the Spanish and have found that most Brits stay with Brits and don’t have many Spanish friends, maybe because they don’t learn the language.
You need to mix with Spanish people like going to their clubs and bars and joining in activities that they do not just the weekly days out with the British crowd. By meeting and joining in with these locals you will see a new side of Spain.
OK so what do i mean by this.
Well i remember the first year i was here and went to a bar near the beach that is right in the middle of the square and has many visitors from all countries. I had a bit to eat and a beer but when looking through the menu didn’t really see much there i fancied but it was all good.
As i sat there i saw a crowd of Local people about 12 all sitting at a long table and having all kinds of different dishes, I thought it was a birthday party of some kind.
Anyway several years later I found myself at the same bar in the village square but this time i was with about 10 Spanish people who were part of my walking group that i had joined.
We stopped there for lunch and out came all the different plates of food one by one. As the table filled up with food of all sorts and jugs of beer, I look over to the side and saw 4 English people sitting there with a burger and chips in front of each of them and they were looking at us just as i did all those years ago.
We had a great time and amazing food, this is the side of Spain you are missing out on if you don’t mix with locals.
These are my tips that i have found really helped me to see and enjoy a better life style here and if you take these tips and use them i am sure your stay will be a lot different.
Me skiing just 2 hours up the road from the beach..
If you are a British citizen or British subject with right of abode in the UK, you do not require a visa to enter Spain. Other British nationals should confirm the current entry requirements with their nearest Spanish Embassy.
A valid British passport must be held for entry to and exit from Spain. There is no minimum passport validity requirement but you should ensure that your passport is valid for the duration of your visit.
This guide sets out essential information for British nationals residing in Spain, including British and Spanish pension and benefits entitlements, and vehicle and driving licence laws.
You Need An NIE:
What is an NIE and who needs it?…
Now the NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero) is a Spanish tax identification number assigned by the Spanish authorities to any foreigner.
This number is unique and personal and is used as a way of tracking an individual’s financial and official activities in Spain. It is a legal requirement for all resident and non-resident foreigners with financial, professional or social affairs in Spain – regardless of whether they are EU citizens or from a non-EU country.
The NIE is the equivalent of a Spaniards Número de Identificación Fiscal (NIF) which serves as a fiscal identification number. The CIF number (Certificado de Identificación Fiscal) is equivalent to the NIF, but applies to companies rather than individuals.
The NIE is essential for any fiscal transactions in Spain where money is paid to the Spanish Inland Revenue office. The NIE should be quoted in all dealings with tax authorities. The number appears on all documents issued in Spain and always starts with an ‘X’ followed by seven numbers and a letter. The number is non-transferable and it does not expire.
This is what you need the NIE For:
- Open a bank account
- Buy, sell or insure property
- Arrange credit terms or a mortgage
- Pay taxes
- Be paid for employment
- Use short-term employment agencies
- To study
- Apply for a business permit and start a business
- Register with social services and arrange receipt of social security benefits
- Apply for a driver’s licence
- Arrange any utility account except for pre-paid mobile phones
- Inherit assets
How to apply for residencia
In order to obtain your residency and NIE, you have to apply at the nearest Oficina de Extranjeros. You then receive your Tarjeta de Residencia in a few weeks, although this process can take many months.
Since each Oficina de Extranjeros processes candidates locally, the time spent both waiting in line at the office and waiting for your Tarjeta de Residencia can vary tremendously, even within the same city. It is therefore worth to ask people who have recently applied for a residency about their experiences.
A complete list of Oficinas de Extranjeros is available on the website of the Ministerio del Interior.
Also, note that the NIE can often be processed faster than the physical Tarjeta de Residencia, since it is issued before the actual production of the physical card. If you are in a hurry, it might therefore be worth to apply separately for the NIE and the Tarjeta, so you receive your NIE faster.
Documents needed for application
Below are some documents you’ll probably need to bring in order to apply for your residency. However, we haven’t found any official listing of these, and you might be asked for different things in different locations (or even on different days). The best thing is to check with the local Oficina what they require exactly.
Documents needed by all applicants (EU and non-EU-citizens):
- Current passport and one photocopy 3 recent passport style photos with your name clearly written on the back
- The completed application form, plus 3 photocopies of it
Further documents that might be requested could include:
- A medical certificate depending on country of origin and recent residency
If a member of the family is Spanish (or has residency):
- Your Libro de Familia and DNI (or Residency Card) of that family member
- Medical insurance
For specific circumstances, the following may apply:
- If you will be working for someone: a contract of employment. If you will be self-employed: documents that prove you fulfil the requirements necessary to undertake that activity.
- If you will not be working: documents that prove you have enough money to live during your time in Spain, plus medical insurance.
- If you are studying in Spain: proof of matriculation in an accredited school, plus documents that prove you have enough money to live during your time in Spain, plus medical insurance.
Looking For Work In Spain
The Normal working hours in Spain are from 7:30 -2pm with about 2 hours for lunch and then from 4pm until 9 or even 10pm. Form the British a working day is from 9-5 with a few short breaks thrown in along the way but most finish at 5pm or 6pm at the latest.
The money also here is much lower than that of the UK so it takes some getting use to when you first start working here.
1. The most important thing above all in my mind, is to learn some Spanish, even before you come and live here. So many people don’t even bother to learn the basics and that is what really holds them back. OK there are many Spanish people who now speak English but you will have a greater chance of finding a job if you just learn some Spanish.
2. Even before you decide on moving to Spain, do some research on the area first, as many areas in Spain tend to shut down for the winter months and there are fewer jobs in these areas that are all year round, plus even if you get a job in that area, you will have to reapply again the following season for the same job.
3. Your CV needs to be in English and Spanish as even if your new employer speaks English, his partners may not and companies always keep a copy of your CV on file so making it easy for others to read is important, also a great idea that I have used in the past is this, if you see a company or place that you think that you would like to work for, even if they are not advertising for staff, send them a copy of your CV and follow it up a few days later with a visit or call. So many times I did this and it seemed to make the company think that may be they could use me for something and I got a job that was not even advertised.
If you lay out in your CV just what you could do for that company and your past skills that would benefit them, you will be surprised at how many calls I got for an interview.
Remember that moving to Spain is great and sitting on the beach all day at the weekends with a cold drink is nice but when you come here and are looking for work here you need to change the way you are thinking and it is possible to enjoy the sunny warm days and nights here as well as living a better way of life but just by following my 3 Things To Do When Looking For Work In Spain, you will stand a better chance of finding that perfect job and living the life you want in this amazing part of the world.
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Is it true that all Expats Are Sheep? or is there out there are expats that have broken away from the mould.
OK so what do I mean ” Expats Are Sheep”? Well I moved here to Almeria in Spain over 12 years ago now and have seen many British people come and go in that time and this week I met up with 2 Retired British couples that i have known here as long as I have lived here.
They are really nice people and I have known both couples for the 12 years but in the last few years have not seen much of them.
This is why I say that Expats Are Sheep...
There are about 200 British expats that i know living here in Almeria, ok so there may be more than that but these 200 are in a small club that meet up every week here.
From time to time i bump into these people out in the street or bar or shop and every time i meet one of them they all have the same things to tell me.
- Here is example 1:Here in Almeria a few months back the British tv became hard to get for some reason and everyone was talking about what they could do to get a better signal, The 3 weeks after this tv problem I kept getting the same question, “What have you done to get a better tv signal” Well i am now married to a Spanish girl and watch spanish tv most of the time so if i cant get British tv its not the end of the world for me.Instead of trying to get British tv here in Spain, why not try and learn Spanish as most of these expats have been here for over 10 years and still haven’t bothered to learn the Langauge.
Expats Are Sheep
The British speaking garage. Here in my town there are many local garages that repair cars and do services but nearly all the expats here go to the same garage where they have an English guy working for them. The first year I arrived here i too went to this garage and after getting ripped off for work that was done badly, I never returned. This garage is well known by the local Spanish as being very expensive and as the expats know now better they keep on going to the same garage. The other day i heard 2 different people tell me that they had trouble with their cars after this garage had done the work so they went back and he did more work to fix the problem and charged them again. “AND THEY PAID..Again.”
This is where learning some Spanish would have been a help and given them more opportunities.
At first i felt sorry for these people when they tell me the problems with the car, but they still go back, I guess its because they are afraid to go elsewhere.
Expats Are Sheep
British Bars In Spain: Ok so if you have a local thats great and i too like certain bars here where i go more often than others but Many of these expats here go to the same bar for coffee in the mornings and a beer at lunch time and again in the evening day after day week after week.
There is one British bar that is very popular here but just next door to that bar is a Spanish bar that has REAL taps and the price is cheaper too but none of the expats ever go in there and try it WHY????
Spain is a great place to live and has so much to offer if you just try and get out of the flock.
The first 2 years I lived here i did go to these places too but soon found them boring and full of the same old gossip. Now being married to a Spanish girl we never go to these places except if one of my Spanish friends wants to try an English breakfast or practice their English which is about once every 2 months or less.
The main reason these expats are not venturing out to greener pastures is because they won’t learn some basic Spanish and this i think is sad.
Just by getting away from the expat crowd once in a while is going to open up new opportunities to meet and make new Spanish friends. Why is it that expats always seem to go with the crowd….Are they just sheep or are they afraid to try new things.
Where is the Conquer the World British spirit? did they leave it back in Britain?
Will you fall into the “SHEEP MODE”
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