Learning national language may be one of crucial points of diving into the social life in Spain. The only language with official status throughout Spain is Spanish or Castilian. Various other languages have co-official status in specific parts of Spain and there are also a number of other unofficial languages and dialects spoken. Nearly everyone can speak Castilian either as a first (89%) or second language. For around 9% of Spanish people Catalan or Valencian is the first language, Galician is spoken by 5%, and Basque by 1%. All these have publishing and media interest and in the cases of Catalan and Galician, they are the main languages used by the Catalan and Galician regional governments and local administrations.
There are also many dialects around the country — but as almost everyone can speak and understand Castilian they can communicate quite easily with each other.(more…)
If you exclude the popular tourist destinations in the season, you’ll find that the cost of living in Spain is much lower than in the UK. To compare Barcelona and London:
Consumer prices are around 30% lower in Barcelona.
Rent prices are nearly 70% lower in Barcelona.
Groceries are around 20% cheaper in Barcelona.
Apartment prices are around 80% lower in Barcelona.
And altough properties seem rather affordable, keep in mind that legal regulations in Spain are an adequate counter-weight for that.
Buying a House in Spain
Buying a house in Spain appears to be quite straightforward — but you must be prepared for the expenses — translator, notary, lawyers and taxes. You must also be aware of the notorious Valencia Land Grab Law, where the government seizes land from owners of property, without compensation. The idea was to facilitate low cost housing — but the result has been catastrophic for many British expats. (more…)
Once you are registered to work in Spain and make National Insurance contributions, you’ll be entitled to state-run healthcare on the same basis as a Spanish national. For further information, visit the Seguridad Social website (http://www.seg-social.es/Internet_6/index.htm) which gives up-to-date information, appropriate for you.
If you’re a beneficiary of a UK state retirement pensions in Spain or long-term incapacity benefit, you may be entitled to state-funded healthcare paid for by the UK. You’ll need to apply for form S1 from the International Pension Centre (tel: 0191 218 7777). You need to register your S1 with Spanish authorities. This entitles you to an EHIC issued by the UK. Which in turn allows access to medical care in other EEA countries, including Britain.(more…)
Driving can become your favorite mean of transportation in Spain. There is spectacular scenery and little, or no congestion, but speed limits often change.
Don’t even consider drink driving, unless you like the thought of incarceration in a Spanish prison. The blood alcohol level is 0.5 per mg ( which equates to one small beer), dropping to 0.1 mg for drivers who passed their test within two years.
Documents you MUST carry
Insurance certificate — obligatory at least for third party
There are around 90 000 fewer UK nationals registered in Spain in 2013. This means that nearly a quarter of Britons who dreamed of a life in the sun have had their dreams shattered. The rising cost of living, the loneliness, and possibility of losing a partner, together with the seemingly endless struggle to legalise the ownership of their homes, has caused many Britons to return home.
Spain joined the EU in 1986 and has been a member of the Schengen area since 1991. The capital city is Madrid and the currency is the euro. With its high plateau and dramatic mountain ranges, the Pyrenees and Sierra Nevada, together with a stunning coastline, Spain is a land of drama and contrast. It can be very windy in the south-west, and not for nothing is a café there called “The Hurricane”. The Canary Islands are an autonomous part of Spain.(more…)
Britain is not a member of the Schengen area, and therefore customs formalities apply. However because UK is a member of the EU, there is little of consequence to concern the average Briton relocating to Spain. You will need prior permission if you wish to bring arms in, and there is no free import of technical drawings. Otherwise you can bring in most things, with no currency restrictions. That’s including a limited quantity of alcohol and cigarettes. You can check this site for more information: http://www.iatatravelcentre.com
The Spanish are famed for bureaucracy, which can be difficult to deal with. However, there are some things you have to do, and one of them is to apply for your national identity card.
You must register in person at the nearest Office for Foreigners (Oficina de Extranjeros) which is normally part of the Town Hall (Ayuntamiento), or at specific police stations.(more…)
Emigrating is a serious decision so take your time before deciding to relocate your family to Spain. Every year holidaymakers return home in love with Spain – but what would it be like to actually live there? The article describes common traps you should avoid when buying a house in Spain.
Although the process of buying a house is relatively straight forward there are some pitfalls to avoid. You do need to be prepared to pay for any extra expenses that may arise. Apart from the potential mortgage expenses you also have to think about paying for the notario (notary), translators, a legal adviser and taxes.
The notario is the one who will draw the deed and help you with the tax dues, tax register, and the registration of your name as the owner of the house at the Spanish property register. The notary actually charges both the buyer and the vendor, so make sure you understand all charges.
Unless you can speak Spanish fluently you should get the services of a translator so he or she can assist you. There are several local translation companies available, so there’s plenty to choose from. Do not rely on the translator provided by the real estate agent who just wants to sell the property at the highest possible price. To avoid problems when moving to Spain, get your own translator, and whatever you pay for will be worth it.
It can be troublesome to keep looking up the exchange rates of your currencies, as these things change quickly. If you don’t want to be bothered by the fluctuating exchange rate, consider paying for an exchange company that, for a fee, will get the best deal possible. For instance, these companies can offer spot transfers, which is perfect if the rate is favorable to you. (more…)
Moving to Spain is an exciting prospect for many but it can also be a huge culture shock. However if you are prepared to embrace the culture, lifestyle, people and customs, and immerse yourself in it then you can reap so many rewards. Here’s what I found…
First Experiences – Culture Shocks
Shopping – Some of the best seasonal produce in the world is grown, caught, or sourced here, but if you are looking for something that isn’t typically Spanish, it can be hard to find. Unlike UK supermarkets where you can buy anything and everything under one roof, you will need to be prepared to shop around. In addition to this, apart from the larger supermarkets, most of the shops close in the afternoon and open again early evening and all shops are closed on Sundays. This took a bit of getting used to at first I have to admit. (more…)