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From The Baltics To The Med: The Ultimate Moving Guide

Spanish architecture when Moving from the Baltics

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Recently more and more people from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia started to move to southern Europe. People are swapping the Baltics and moving for life in the Med.

Since the contrast between the Baltic States and Spain is substantial, there are some key things that a future ex-pat should know. You can find differences not only in nature but also in manners, food or lifestyle. If you want to experience Mediterranean culture, read this article!

Social differences when moving to the Med

The first thing you can expect when moving from the Baltics to Spain and the Med is a warm welcome. People here are much more open and friendly than in Central or North Europe. This cultural nuance is what makes Spain so attractive to foreigners. Social events, discussions with strangers, and long dinners with friends are commonplace in Spain.

The last major difference is “la siesta”. In the Baltics, people work hard and labor after lunch, while in Spain, they take it easy. Don’t be surprised if the shops and cafes are closed at that time because some Spanish employees take a break in the afternoon!

E-Resident’s digital ID

Unlike Lithuania or Estonia, Spain doesn’t have the option to have an E-Resident’s digital ID.

E-Resident’s digital ID is the modern digital identity and status in an electronic environment first created in Estonia. Now E-Residence has spread to other nine countries. This smart ID card provides great benefits to entrepreneurs because it allows them to digitally sign documents, make secure transactions and establish a company online when not being in Estonia.

Additionally, the E-Residency will facilitate the process of acquiring VAT, OSS, and EORI and will be provided in only two months.

If you are Lithuanian or Estonian and planning to moving to the Med and become a citizen of Spain, you will lose your first citizenship since these countries don’t allow dual citizenship. In this case, E-Residency can be a great option for you. After losing your citizenship, you still will be able to run a company completely online in your home country.

Lawful immigration when moving from the Baltics to the Med

In order to live in Spain for more than three months, you have to obtain an EU registration certificate. Since the Baltic States are part of the European Union, the process is straightforward and simple. You can get the certificate the same day you attend the police station premises. To get an EU registration certificate, you have to meet some requirements. 

You have to:

– Work as an employee or as a self-employed person or study at a Spanish academic institution

– Have sufficient financial needs to support yourself and your family

– Have healthcare coverage, either public or private

If you are considering bringing your family member with you, there are some conditions too. The following are defined as family members:

– Spouse

– Registered domestic partner

– Children younger than 21 years of age

– A spouse with children that are younger than 21 years of age.

– Partners with children that are younger than 21 years of age.

– Parents

– A spouse’s parents

– Parents of partner

As for the parents, if you want to bring them and apply for them as dependants, you must prove that they are financially dependent on you and that you have lived with them for two years prior to the application.

If you’re a student:

– Spouse

– Registered domestic partner

– Children younger than under 21 years of age.

– A spouse with children that are younger than 21 years of age.

– Partners with children that are younger than 21 years of age.

The process of obtaining the certificate starts with having a permanent address in Spain. As you rent or buy the property, it is necessary to register it in the Town Hall, or Empadronamiento. Then you can obtain an EU certificate which is a residency card.

Buying or renting a property when moving to the Med

Finding a perfect home might be hard, but there are ways to facilitate the process when moving from the Baltics to the Med. Considerate real estate agents will help you to find what you’re looking for in Spain. The problem is that the majority of them don’t speak English. In that case, we recommend working with English-speaking lawyers.

As for prices, keep in mind that they are moderately higher than in the Baltic region, especially in Barcelona and Madrid. Málaga, Almería, or Granada could be a great option for more affordable housing.

If you’re interested in a more spacious apartment, you should look into properties around the city. And if you are looking for a one-bedroom apartment, then good chances are you’ll find one in the city centre.

While looking through websites of real estate agencies, you can come across properties called chalets. Chalets are detached cottage houses usually paired with a garden. This kind of property isn’t common in Baltic countries. Seldom can you see an apartment with a private garden somewhere in the city centre of Riga or Vilnius. So, maybe this kind of authentic Spanish property is worth purchasing.

Here are the typical steps for buying a property:

1) After you visit the property you’re interested in, you can sign a reservation document to ensure that no one else can make an offer on it.

2) After you reserve the property, we will ask you to sign a deposit contract or Arras in Spanish. We strongly recommend that you have a lawyer review this in detail before you sign it to understand the obligations under the contract. The deposit contract establishes the terms of sale, sets a date for formalization before a notary public, and transfers 10% of the sale amount to the seller.

3) Before making any payment, check how you will make that payment. The way some Arras contracts are written could make you lose the deposit if you do not sign the purchase deed before the notary in the established time frame, even for a justified reason. We recommend that a lawyer review the contract to add the necessary safeguards.

4) There are also a number of certificates that must be provided to be able to sign the purchase deed before a notary that real estate agencies do not usually provide unless the buyer specifically requests it.

Real estate agents normally ignore these points, sometimes because of their ignorance of the law.

Remember that they are primarily interested in selling the property, whereas a lawyer is focused solely on the best interests of their clients.

Taxes when moving from the Baltics to the Med

Real estate taxes differ in Spain compared with Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. In Spain Transfer of Assets Tax is called ITP, or “Impuesto sobre Transmisiones Patrimoniales”. The percentage of tax depends on the Autonomous Community you are planning to stay in.

It usually varies between 6% and 10%. In comparison, the Transfer of Assets Tax in Lithuania it is 0.5% to 3%, in Latvia is 0.2% to 3% and in Estonia is 0.1% to 2.5%. Clearly, the tariff is significantly higher in Spain, and it’s a principle thing to consider.

Other things to consider are VAT which is from 8% to 10% for new properties, and notary costs which go between 6% and 10%.

Lastly, we strongly recommend opening a Spanish Bank Account since it would be easier to convert your bank account when you move here. Although it is not strictly necessary to have a bank account to reside in Spain or to buy or rent a property, it is nevertheless strongly advisable and will greatly facilitate the payments and direct debits that you will have to make once you become the owner. In addition, there are many Spanish banks that offer good conditions for ex-pats.

Conclusions and Reflections

Taking everything into consideration, Spain is a marvelous country to move to. Such benefits as warm weather and fresh food can really charm one. The moving process for EU citizens is relatively easy, and housing options are wide. Considering these factors, a person can come to a conclusion to move here.

In order to make the moving process easier, Lexidy can help you!

At Lexidy, we specialize in all services required when investing in Spanish Real Estate. We draft and negotiate reserve and arras contracts and perform Due Diligence Reports on the dwelling and other essential property checks before purchasing, like settling taxes.

We aim to provide a complete service to our clients for a smooth, efficient, and safe purchase, always focusing on proximity and communication with the customer. If you’re planning on swapping life from the Baltics to the Med anytime soon, you should speak with the team at Lexidy after reading this ultimate moving guide.

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