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Immigrating to Spain from UK: Guide to a Brilliant Adventure

Immigrating to Spain from UK with your family

Are you thinking, “What’s it like immigrating to Spain from the UK and living a care-free life of beaches and blue skies?”

Well, you’ve come to the right place! Spain is a marvelous country of contrasts, from stunning coastlines to snowy mountains to desert conditions where the water runs red, and from charming little villages to laidback hippie enclaves to bustling city scenes. In short, there is no lack of opportunity for adventure. 

But before you embark to this epic destination, you’ll want to sort out the legal and financial stuff. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

In this guide, we’ll give you all the essential info for making the move to Spain from the UK. From taxes and visas to healthcare and adapting to Spanish culture, we’ll cover everything you need to know to make this move a smashing success.

To clarify, get in touch with our expert Spanish immigration gurus for some cracking help today!

Table of contents
Understanding Tax Requirements
Business Ventures and Taxes – Sorted!
Double Taxation Woes for Brits
Spanish Visas – Time to Sort It
Bringing Your Kids Along for the Ride
Healthcare Matters – Staying Healthy
Buying Property in Spain – Find Your Dream Abode
Finding Employment Opportunities – Making a Living
Adapting to Spanish Culture
Final Tips for a Brilliant Move – Cheers!

Understanding Tax Requirements

Once you wrap your head around the tax requirements when moving to Spain from the UK, you’ll know if the move is financially doable. So, make sure you’re clued up on the tax laws that apply to your situation.

Brits Earning Salaries from Companies Outside of Spain

Firstly, if you plan to be a Brit living in Spain and earning your salary from a company outside of Spain, you will likely pay taxation on your worldwide income. This means that you will be required to report and pay taxes on your income earned from foreign sources (including the UK).

To clarify, Spain follows a progressive income tax system. So, your tax rates increase as your income increases. These tax rates range from 19% to 50%, corresponding with your income level (detailed below).

Your taxable income is divided between the general base and the savings base:
The General Base consists mainly of the employment income and real estate income and the progressive tax rate ranging up to 50%. 
However, the final tax rate depends on the autonomous community of residence of the individual.
The Savings Base consists mainly of investment income (i.e. interests, dividends and capital gains) and the tax rate is progressive from 19% to 28%

These tax rates apply to your taxable income after deductions, exemptions, and allowances have been taken into account. It’s interesting for lots of Brits that Spain offers various deductions and allowances. They help reduce your taxable income, such as deductions for mortgage interest, and contributions to pension plans.

That said, income tax rates and salary ranges are subject to change due to legislative updates or government policies. Therefore, it’s essential to consult the official sources or seek advice from a tax professional. This ensures accurate and up-to-date information based on your specific circumstances.

UK Citizens Earning Salaries from a Spanish Business

If you are from the UK earning your salary from a Spanish business and residing in Spain, you will be subject to Spanish income tax. Your employer will deduct the tax from your salary through the Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) system.

Additionally, you may also have Social Security contributions deducted from your salary. These contributions go towards healthcare, pensions, and other social benefits. As a UK citizen, you may also have UK tax obligations. However, you can take advantage of the foreign earned income exclusion and the foreign tax credit to mitigate double taxation.

UK Business Owners Living in Spain

Following, if you are a UK business owner living in Spain, you will need to understand the tax requirements for your business. The tax obligations will depend on the legal structure of your business. Examples include a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation.

As a business owner, you will be subject to corporate tax on the profits generated by your business. The corporate tax rate in Spain is generally 25%. However, specific tax incentives and deductions may apply based on the nature of your business activities.

It’s crucial to comply with the reporting and filing requirements for both Spanish and UK taxes. Depending on the nature of your business and the income earned, you may need to file additional forms.

To navigate the complex tax landscape as a UK business owner in Spain, it is advisable to consult with a tax professional who specializes in Spanish taxation. They can provide guidance on optimizing your tax position and ensuring compliance with both Spanish and UK tax laws.


Immigrating to Spain from UK- Owning Property in Spain

If you own property in Spain, you will be subject to annual property tax, known as “Impuesto sobre Bienes Inmuebles” (IBI). The tax is calculated based on the cadastral value of the property. It is an administrative value assigned by the local authorities. The tax rates can vary depending on the municipality where the property is located.

In addition to the IBI, if you rent out your property, you may also have rental income tax obligations. Rental income is subject to progressive income tax rates, ranging from 19% to 50%, depending on the income level.

Rental income in Spain is subject to progressive income tax rates. This means that the tax rate increases as your rental income increases. 

For unrented properties not considered habitual residences in Spain (i.e. second homes), a presumptive income tax must be paid. The taxable base is calculated as 2% or 1,1% of the cadastral value. Please keep in mind that rates are subject to change based on future tax reforms or updates to the tax legislation.

It’s essential to keep track of your property-related expenses. Consult with a tax professional to ensure proper reporting and compliance with the tax obligations related to property ownership in Spain.

Business Ventures and Taxes

If you’re thinking of starting your own business in Spain, first you must understand the tax requirements. Corporate taxes and VAT (Value Added Tax) are just some of the taxes you’ll have to contend with. 

Some of the taxes you may have to pay as a Brit– depending on your situation– include the following. Familiarize yourself with the specific tax obligations and regulations based on your business type.

Corporate Taxes

When starting a business in Spain, you will pay corporate taxes on the profits generated by your business. To begin, the corporate tax rate in Spain is generally 25%. 

However, you might be able to take advantage of certain tax incentives and deductions, depending on your business activity. 

Value Added Tax

Value Added Tax (VAT) (the Impuesto Sobre el Valor Añadido or IVA), is a consumption tax you pay on your sale of goods and services in Spain. The standard VAT rate is 21%, although reduced rates of 10% and 4% apply to specific goods and services. 

As a business owner, you’ll be responsible for charging VAT to your customers. You will collect it, and submit it to the Spanish tax authority.

Social Security Contributions

Additionally, as a business owner in Spain you’ll contribute to Spain’s Social Security system. Social Security contributions cover healthcare, pensions, and other social benefits. These contributions are typically calculated based on your business’s activities and the salaries paid to your employees. It’s important to understand the specific requirements and rates applicable to your business.

Local Taxes

Apart from the national taxes mentioned above, you may also be subject to local taxes depending on the location of your business. These taxes can vary from one municipality to another and may include taxes such as business tax (Impuesto sobre Actividades Económicas or IAE) or property tax (Impuesto sobre Bienes Inmuebles or IBI).

Double Taxation Immigrating to Spain from UK? 

The idea of double taxation often scares away the international community from moving abroad. But is double taxation a problem for UK citizens in Spain?

Not really. The United Kingdom and Spain have a tax treaty in place called the “Convention between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Kingdom of Spain for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income and on capital gains.”

This tax treaty helps prevent double taxation. It provides rules for determining which country has the primary right to tax specific types of income. It includes provisions for various types of income, such as dividends, interest, royalties, and capital gains.

Under the tax treaty, residents of one country may be entitled to certain reliefs or exemptions in the other country to avoid or minimize double taxation. For example, if a UK resident is earning income in Spain, they may be able to claim a tax credit or exemption in the UK. This will help them avoid paying taxes on the same income twice.

It’s important to note that tax treaties are updated and changed at times. Therefore, it is recommended to consult with a tax professional or the relevant tax authorities in both the UK and Spain for the most up-to-date information and guidance on taxation between the two countries.

Chat with a Tax Lawyer who specializes in Spanish Law.

Spanish Visas – Time to Sort It

Before you set sail across the Channel, prepare the paperwork you need for the future life that awaits. The first step is to sort out all your travel documents and legal requirements. Ensure your passport is up-to-date, pack your visa paperwork, and make a checklist of the necessary paperwork for your immigration process. Don’t forget to get a headstart on paperwork for immigrating to Spain from the UK, ideally with a professional– it’s the ticket to your Spanish escapade!

Wondering about the right visa for immigrating to Spain from the UK? Popular options for UK citizens include the Digital Nomad Visa, the Non-lucrative Visa, which allows you to reside in Spain without working, and the Entrepreneur visa, designed for those planning to start a business. 

Delve further into the visa category of your choosing to better understand the requirements, limitations, and application process.

More on the Digital Nomad Visa

More on the Non-lucrative Visa

More on the Entrepreneur Visa

More on the Student Visa

Bringing Your Kids Along for the Ride

If you’re looking to relocate to Spain from the UK with your family and children, their well-being and education will likely be among your top priorities. Spain offers quality education options, both in public and private schools, catering to families coming from the UK. While International Baccalaureate (IB) schools with an international curriculum often appeal to families from various backgrounds, there are also several schools following the British educational system spread across the country.

Enrolling your children in a British school ensures they can obtain a British diploma, which can be advantageous if they plan to pursue higher education in the UK in the future. Moreover, many UK universities accept the IB diploma as well, although the curriculum is typically designed for more independent students. Before making a decision, it’s important to thoroughly research schools in your desired location and consider any potential language barriers your children may encounter.

Applying to these private schools can be a time-consuming process that involves research, testing, interviews, and navigating waiting lists. While it may require patience, the end result will be worthwhile.

Healthcare Matters – Staying Healthy

You’ve got a range of healthcare options as a UK citizen relocating to Spain. In Spain, you’ll have access to a renowned healthcare system, and as a UK citizen, you can access it through the public system as a resident or by contributing to it. Private health insurance is also available, offering additional benefits and flexibility.

Spain’s public healthcare system is the Sistema Nacional de Salud (SNS), which provides healthcare services to residents and legal residents who contribute to the system through social security contributions or other means. Take a look at the pros and cons below to weigh whether you’ll have the coverage you need:

Public Healthcare System Pros and Cons

Pros of the Public Healthcare System:Cons of the Public Healthcare System:
Universal Coverage: The public healthcare system offers universal coverage, ensuring access to healthcare services for residents.

Quality of Care: Spain’s healthcare system maintains a high standard of care, with well-trained medical professionals and modern facilities.

Cost-effective: Compared to healthcare costs in the UK, public healthcare in Spain is more affordable and has lower out-of-pocket expenses.

Comprehensive Services: The public system provides a wide range of services, including primary care, specialist consultations, hospital care, and emergency services.
Waiting Times: Depending on the region and timing, it might take longer to see a doctor or specialist compared to the UK.

Language Barrier: While many healthcare professionals in Spain speak English, language barriers can occasionally pose challenges, especially in smaller towns or rural areas.

Limited Provider Choice: In the public system, you are assigned a primary care physician, and referrals are required to see specialists, limiting your choice of healthcare providers.

Private Healthcare System Pros and Cons

Private health insurance is also available in Spain and offers additional benefits and flexibility. If you’re considering purchasing private healthcare as a UK citizen, here are the pros and cons to consider:

Pros of the Private Healthcare System:Cons of the Private Healthcare System:
Choice of Providers: With private health insurance, you have the freedom to choose your healthcare providers, including doctors and hospitals.

Shorter Waiting Times: Private healthcare often provides quicker access to specialists and procedures.

English-Speaking Services: Some private insurance providers offer services in English, making communication easier for non-Spanish speakers.

Additional Coverage: Private health insurance may include benefits such as coverage for certain elective procedures or access to premium facilities.
Cost: Private health insurance premiums can vary depending on coverage and insurer, and they are often higher than those in the public system.

Exclusions and Limitations: Private insurance plans may have exclusions or limitations on coverage, so it’s important to carefully review the terms and conditions.

Alternatively, it’s worth noting that some UK citizens in Spain opt for a combination of public and private healthcare. They may rely on the public system for routine care and use private insurance for faster access to specialized services or specific preferences.

Regardless of the healthcare option you choose, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the specific coverage, costs, and procedures associated with your chosen healthcare provider or insurance plan.


Buying Property in Spain – Find Your Dream Abode

Obviously, Spain is a treasure trove of breathtaking landscapes, vibrant cities, and captivating history. From the sun-kissed beaches of Costa del Sol to the majestic architecture of Madrid, there’s an abundance of places to explore. 
Take advantage of your time in this diverse country and embark on thrilling adventures. Whether you are hiking in the Pyrenees, exploring the Alhambra in Granada, or sipping sherry in Jerez, every corner of Spain has something remarkable to offer.

But where to settle down? 

When it comes to snagging a slice of paradise in Spain, brace yourself for a whirlwind of diverse landscapes and vibrant cities that will make your heart race. If you’re a UK citizen with dreams of making Spain your new home sweet home, get ready to embark on a thrilling property hunt. 

Picture this: Barcelona, Madrid, and the Costa del Sol – the tantalizing trifecta of Spanish real estate dreams. Nonetheless, these hotspots have UK citizens swooning left, right, and center, offering a tantalizing variety of properties that cater to every taste and (some) wallets.


Barcelona, oh la la! Known for its cosmopolitan vibe, this city beckons you with its lively streets and cultural wonders. Take your pick from trendy neighborhoods like Eixample, Gràcia, and Sarrià-Sant Gervasi. But be prepared, my friend, because property prices in Barcelona are as diverse as the city itself. Brace yourself for a rollercoaster ride, with average prices per square meter ranging from around €3,000 to €7,000.


Now, let’s jet off to the majestic capital, Madrid, where history meets modern marvels. Immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant energy as you explore coveted areas like Salamanca, Chamartín, and Chamberí. But hold onto your hat, dear Brit, because property prices here can stir up some excitement. With a range of approximately €2,500 to €6,000, you’ll need to keep your wits about you to find the perfect pad.

Costa del Sol

Finally, let’s make a splash on the Costa del Sol, where the sun-drenched beaches beckon you to dive into a life of coastal bliss. Marbella, Estepona, and Fuengirola are just a few gems waiting to be discovered. From beachside apartments to charming villas, the options are as refreshing as a dip in the Mediterranean. Property prices along this dreamy coastline can send your pulse racing, with a wide range of about €1,500 to €6,000 per square meter. 

To conclude, the property market can be as unpredictable as British weather. Prices can sway with market conditions, demand, and other mysterious factors. So, before you embark on this thrilling journey, arm yourself with knowledge. 

Seek guidance from local real estate gurus, navigate the legal requirements like a true explorer, and conduct your research to ensure a smooth and exhilarating buying process.

Finding Employment Opportunities – Making a Living

Unless you’re planning on leading the life of a flamenco dancer or a sangria taster, you’ll need to secure employment to fund your Spanish escapades. The job market in Spain may differ from what you’re used to, so research the industries that are thriving and tailor your CV accordingly. 

Networking is key here, so attend local business events, join professional organizations, and make connections with the locals. Remember, a charming smile and a spot of British wit can go a long way in winning hearts and landing that dream job.

Navigating Spanish Bureaucracy

Brace yourself for a slightly convoluted journey through paperwork and administrative processes. Immigrating to Spain from the UK entails dealing with various authorities, obtaining residence permits, and registering for healthcare. Patience and a pinch of British perseverance will be your allies during this bureaucratic odyssey. Remember, it’s worth it at the end of the paperwork maze.

Como Se Dice…?

While English may be your mother tongue, embracing the local language will make your Spanish adventure even more spiffing. Brush up on your Spanish skills by enrolling in a language course or using language-learning apps. Fluency in the lingo will open doors to deeper connections with the locals and make your day-to-day life a breeze. Furthermore, immigrating to Spain from the UK means taking on the challenge of mastering “Por favor” with true British finesse.

Adapting to Spanish Culture

Now that you’re well-equipped with your documentation, it’s time to make your way to the land of jamon serrano. From the bustling streets of Barcelona to the enchanting shores of Ibiza, Spain has it all. Choose your destination wisely, considering factors like lifestyle, climate, and work opportunities. Immigrating to Spain from the UK means embracing the vibrant Spanish culture. Be prepared to immerse yourself in the local way of life and brush up on a few more phrases than just “hola” and “gracias.”
As you settle into your new abode in sunny Spain, blending in with the locals will make your transition smoother than a pint of ale on a summer’s day. Brits may be known for their stiff upper lip, but that won’t do when immersing yourself in Spanish society. We find that Spaniards particularly enjoy a good British accent. Therefore, indulge in some tapas while making friends at the local bars. By embracing the local customs and traditions, you’ll feel right at home in no time.
One of the greatest joys of immigrating to Spain from the UK is the tantalizing food and beverage scene. Bid farewell to fish and chips. Prepare your taste buds for a culture that prides itself on culinary know how. From regional paellas to Iberian meats and tangy patatas bravas, Spanish cuisine is just plain fun. Be adventurous and try new dishes. Moreover, and don’t forget to pair your meals with a glass of delightful tempranillo or an ice-cold cerveza – it’s practically mandatory!

Festivals and Fiesta Fever

Spaniards certainly know how to throw a shindig. You’ll most likely find yourself immersed in a whirlwind of festivals and fiestas throughout the year. From La Tomatina’s tomato-throwing extravaganza in Buñol to the spirited Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain is a nation that loves to celebrate. 

Above all, you should embrace the spirit of these lively events, dress in traditional attire, and join the locals in merrymaking. Just be sure to pack your sense of adventure and a waterproof poncho… You never know when you’ll get caught up in a tomato fight!

Final Tips for Immigrating to Spain from UK – Cheers!

In conclusion, immigrating to Spain from the UK offers a thrilling opportunity to explore diverse landscapes, immerse oneself in rich culture, and seize countless prospects. To ensure a smooth transition, it is vital to handle legal and financial matters diligently. 

Understanding tax obligations and seeking professional advice will optimize your financial situation. Additionally, navigating the paperwork and visa requirements, researching schools for children, considering healthcare options, and exploring the Spanish property market will pave the way for a successful move to Spain. Embrace the adventure, plan wisely, and embrace the vibrant lifestyle that awaits you in Spain.

If you’re from the UK and want to make the move to Spain, contact us with the form below. Our team of multilingual experts will provide you with the specific guidance you need, up-to-date information, and assistance with all the paperwork involved. Lastly, entrust our seasoned legal professionals to take care of everything so you can focus on making your transition a breeze. 

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