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How to Move to Spain from the US

How to Move to Spain from the US

Why Should Americans move to Spain?

There are many reasons why US citizens might want to move to Spain. Spain particularly entices those interested in immigrating there among all of Europe’s fascinating destinations. 

The remarkable international standing of Spain comes from its delicious food, breathtaking landscapes, and rich culture. Situated in the southern part of Europe, this democratic nation enjoys sunny weather and a relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle. 

Here’s what US ex-pats can enjoy when living in Spain:

¨We will be with you each step of the journey.¨


Spain is a safe and easy-going country.

Spain is one of the most progressive nations in the world, as same-sex marriage has been permitted there since 2005. In addition, the European Social Survey found that 80% of the Spanish population can be described as “liberal.” 

Few people have trouble blending into the country’s culture as an ex-pat. After that, everything will run smoothly, and you won’t have to modify your cultural habits.

There are many different groups in Spain, each with its characteristics and differences. As a result, the country has a diverse and divided culture.

It is pretty simple to adapt to such a place. The nation is home to people from all corners, so every little distinction is accepted and commonplace. 

You can create your social circle with ex-pats to minimise culture shock. Some choose to befriend Spanish citizens, but others connect with other foreigners. We recommend broadening your community to include locals as they can help you integrate and even learn Spanish.

Being the preferred destination for many EU and non-EU citizens has consequences, you’re likely to encounter ex-pat communities everywhere. 

You will come across many people who share your exact thoughts and experiences. These people also left their home country to create a new future in Spain. 

You can benefit from their help because they all underwent the same process. 

Most find it easy to meet and make new friends after moving to Spain.

The landscape in Spain is thoroughly diversified. In the north, there are many mountains and a verdant view, making hiking and mountain biking a lot of fun. 

The Mediterranian coastline in the south will delight you with its beaches if you seek a more relaxed and chilled ambience. 

The country’s cuisine is excellent in all parts of Spain. After trying the country’s cuisine, you will never want to eat any other type of food again.

Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre in Spain costs around €600 versus $1,200 in the US. Renting a one-bedroom apartment outside the city centre in Spain costs about €500 compared with $900 in the US.

Foreigners can purchase property in Spain without restriction. In addition to buying a house worth over €500,000 ($590,000), you can receive a Golden Visa, which allows you to live in Spain. 

A Golden Visa permits you to live in Spain for two years. Like conventional visas, Golden Visas grant permanent residency in Spain after five years of living there and Spanish nationality after ten years. You may learn more about obtaining a Golden Visa in the Spain Visa & Work Permit guidance here.

The price of fruit and vegetable is much less in Spain than in the United States. In addition, because Spain is a significant European producer of fruit and vegetables, you may buy fresh foods at a bargain price. 

Meat, wine, and cheese are all less expensive in Spain than in the United States and are well known for their excellent quality. Be sure to try Spain’s local specialities like Serrano ham and vermouth. 

It is well known that Spain has an excellent culinary heritage. Eating out in Spain is significantly less expensive than in the United States and Europe. You may find fantastic items and restaurants at highly economical prices in Spain. A two-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant will cost around €40.

How US citizens can move to Spain

This step-by-step guide explains how you start enjoying life in Spain.


Choose a visa or residence permit that meets your requirements


Work with a lawyer to understand the details and whether your circumstances match the visa requirements.


Apply from Spain as a tourist or file your application from your home country of residence.


Gather all of your documents and send them to the correct Spanish embassy or consulate.


Collect your visa and board a plane to Spain.

A non-EU citizen may work in Spain with the help of an employment visa.

The entrepreneur and investor visa is a good option for Americans seeking permanent residence Spain.

A US citizen can move to Spain using a non-lucrative visa, but they cannot work here. 

US citizens can move to Spain with a student visa. Then, after their education, they can remain in the country and look for employment.

Step 1 – Understand Your Situation.

In Spain, there are various types of residence permits, and each one has a unique procedure. For example, a work permit differs from a non-lucrative visa in that obtaining one requires a different journey. 

Your first step should be understanding which visa is best for you and your circumstances.

As Americans are not EU citizens, the process is trickier. It might be challenging to meet all the requirements and conditions, but don’t worry. We are here to assist you and make things easier. 

Our team speaks Spanish so that we can help the immigration officials. We can also advise you on the pros and cons of Spain’s residency visas.


Step 2 – the immigration procedure

Most visa processes start in your home country. However, there are exceptions like the entrepreneurship visa or highly skilled professional visa.

Firstly, you must apply to the Spanish Embassy or Consulate in your home country or the location where you are legally resident. 

Once your application is accepted, the Embassy or Consulate will provide you with a visa so that you may travel to Spain and enter the country.

Ensure that you travel within the 90 days following the issuance of your visa. 

Once you’ve got an NIE number, you must apply for a residence permit once you have entered the country.

You may live in the country for a year with this residence permit. After the first year, you may renew it for two more years, provided you still meet the exact requirements.

After living in the country for ten years, you may apply for Spanish nationality after renewing your permit.


Step 3 – Working in Spain

Some foreigners who want to live in Spain are interested in obtaining a work permit. In addition, anyone who wants to live in Spain but cannot meet the strict conditions and requirements for other types of residence permits may find the work permit a suitable option.

  • You cannot apply from Spain in most circumstances.
  • A job offer in Spain before immigrating is required if you want to obtain a work permit.
  • Work Permits are only granted to roles on the government’s list.


Step 4 – Moving to Spain but not working.

You can move to Spain on a non-lucrative visa as an American citizen without working. 

If you have enough money to live in the country, this visa would be your best option. In addition, this visa is standard for those who retire in Spain as they can use their private or state pensions as their passive income.


Step 5 – Getting an NIE

Once you obtain a visa at the Spanish Embassy in your home country and arrive in Spain, the first thing to do is to get your NIE number.

You need an NIE for everything in Spain. It’s an ID number for foreigners and is necessary to open a bank account, buy a property, and much more.

Applying for the NIE is relatively straightforward, provided you know the steps. First, you need to complete this process at your local police station.


Step 6 – The paperwork

Each residence permit has its documents, but you will need the following. 

  • A clean criminal record in Spain and your home country
  • Full public healthcare coverage
  • A passport and two photo IDs
  • Proof that you can financially support yourself if you are applying for a student visa or non-lucrative visa

Other visas require additional paperwork. For example, the Golden Visa requires proof that you have bought a Spanish asset. In addition, the entrepreneurship visa requires the applicant to produce a business plan. 


Step 7 – Translate the documents. 

All the documents you submit must be legally translated into Spanish and then certified with the Hague Apostille. Some clients submit documents in their native language. These are rejected. Everything must be translated into Spanish.


Step 8 – Move with your family.

You can apply for a residence and work permit for your family if you have lived in the country for more than one year. Family includes:

  • Your parents
  • Spouse or unmarried partner
  • Your spouse’s parents
  • Your children

The family member you wish to bring to Spain cannot be in the country during the application process, as you will be applying for the family reunification residence permit.

Permanent residence

Many US citizens who stay in Spain for a year or more often seek permanent residency immediately afterwards. The attractive climate and opportunities available in Spain make the country appealing to people from across the world. The initial step towards obtaining a permanent residency permit is living here for five years.


Golden Visa

To become a permanent resident of Spain, non-EU citizens may participate in the Golden Visa Program, which is also open to American citizens. This program’s investment requirements are available in various activities and real estate.

All foreign citizens interested in immigrating to Spain can benefit from the assistance of our lawyers under the Wealth Visa programme. US entrepreneurs can also begin and operate their businesses using this programme.



One of the most significant advantages of the Wealth Visa programme is that US entrepreneurs can start and operate their businesses. In addition, this programme provides US citizens relocation to Spain the opportunity to obtain citizenship.

Although time frames vary depending on how the foreign citizen moved to Spain, US citizens seeking Spanish citizenship must wait at least five years. Still, this timeframe might be significantly reduced for US citizens married to Spanish citizens or those with Spanish ancestors.


We are a department formed by qualified legal experts who have been trained in the field of immigration law. We work on these residency permit requests every day. It’s our passion. Our work goes beyond having a general interest.

For us, Lexidy is a way of life and what excites us the most is to be able to deliver the happiness and satisfaction of a successful immigration process. We want to help you achieve your goals and dreams, whether it’s residence in Spain or simply an investment.

Laura Fusté - Lexidy TechBoutique

Laura Fusté

Head of Immigration Department
David Planes - Lexidy TechBoutique

David Planes


Cristina Negro Vizoso

Mónica López - Lexidy TechBoutique

Mónica Isern López

Associate - Lawyer Immigration Department
Maximiliano Agazzi - Lexidy TechBoutique

Maximiliano Agazzi Paulet

Gabriela Baly

Gabriela Baly

Francesca Coluccio

Francesca Coluccio

Luisa Rivera

Luisa Rivera

Paola Cavalleri

Paola Cavalleri


See what our customers have to say about our services

Comment from Radostin and Kaloyan Bulgaria:We could recommend working with Lexidy and especially with Juan Diego Muñoz to everyone. Our assessment is defenitely 10 out of 10!Strict professional who cover full end-to-end journey in buying real estate and successful relocation to Spain in our case. We highly appreciate efficient and effective approach and providing us and supporting us in each step of the journey in buying property in Spain. Without support of Juan Diego we would be lost, he provides us with daily support in most critical days before finalization of the deal and also there was not even a single question to which he could not provide us details in most structured way.Thank you Juan Diego Muñoz, thank you Lexidy we will be happy working together in the future.We wish you lots of success in your innovative and trustful approach in supporting your customers in a holistic way.Radostin and Kaloyan
Radostin Denev
Radostin Denev
09:47 27 Oct 22
I worked with Juan Diego de Muñoz for my real estate lawyer. His help was invaluable to me! He worked with the sellers and real estate agents who were reluctant to engage in the due diligence process for the property I bought. He smoothed that over and helped me obtain a thorough check of my flat and the building it’s in, which yielded important information. Juan Diego made sure my every question and concern were addressed the same day that I raised them. Metaphorically, he held my hand through the whole process, but also made sure I was the one making informed decisions. I highly recommend him and Lexidy Law Boutique!
Linda Sparling
Linda Sparling
15:32 04 Oct 22
We are working with Lexidy for our immigration and real estate needs. Our real estate lawyer, Juan Diego Muñoz, has been amazing to work with throughout the entire process. His diligent communication during the real estate purchase has not only kept us informed every step of the way, but helped us to understand the differences and intricacies of purchasing property in Spain. We can't say enough great things about Juan Diego and the team at Lexidy.
Rick Estrada-Stone
Rick Estrada-Stone
15:05 16 Jul 22
I am looking to to buy my first property in Spain and had my intro call with Alejandro today- very pleased with the valuable insights gained and your guidance on the legal aspects of the Spanish property market, sales cycle, mortgage application process and risk mitigation. Alejandro, thank you so much for your advice and invested time, I'm genuinely looking forward to working together on this exciting project:)
12:34 04 Jul 22
A great group of very knowledgable lawyers. They've been very helpful in matters of immigration, international taxation, and real estate. Very highly recommended!
Matt Pavlovich
Matt Pavlovich
11:18 15 Sep 21
Great full service firm that provided our family professional legal services surrounding our move to Spain. Included assistance with both Visa application and real estate purchase. Highly recommend
Don Ellis
Don Ellis
15:16 08 Sep 21
Yet another amazing experience with Lexidy. My boyfriend and I are going to start the pareja de hecho process together in Madrid. Cristina has been so knowledgable and helpful in answering my questions about the process, and has even taken the time to investigate more complex questions that I had about different approaches to this process. She has also been extremely responsive via email, which has been much appreciated. Feeling very reassured that I am in great hands with her, and with Lexidy.
Casey Maher
Casey Maher
17:44 18 Aug 21
Lexidy have been a godsend. As a British freelancer in Spain, I felt uncertain about the wealth of complicated paperwork, especially as my Spanish still needs improvement. Lexidy have been helpful with setting up my status as a freelance, organising my tax information, as well as guiding me on immigration issues due to Brexit. The team has been brilliant, if I ever have an issue or need know something, they will be patient and responsive (very quick) with accurate and useful information. For the services and professionalism they offer, it is very well valued. I plan on using Lexidy for all my legal needs. Highly recommended.
Sam Dale
Sam Dale
11:16 29 Jan 21
I couldn’t be happier with my experience with Lexidy and their excellent attorneys. After months of trying unsuccessfully to navigate the maze of Spanish bureaucracy, I finally got the help I needed. Max Agazzi Paulet and his team were extremely professional and knowledgeable and were able to quickly give me the information I needed to successfully move forward with my application. Without hesitation, I would recommend Lexidy to anyone dealing with Spanish immigration law and/or real estate issues.
Daniel Zuckerman
Daniel Zuckerman
15:04 10 Nov 20
I have had the pleasure to work with a lot of Lexidy's departments. Working with Max Aggazi Paulet to achieve everything needed for my residency was incredible. he help endlessly until everything was accomplished. Soon after i began working with their Real estate department. It has been a journey and they have stuck with me every step of the way. They have gone beyond the scope of their duties to help my dreams of purchasing a property in Spain come to fruition. I would like to thank Alejandro Cano and Jordi Aranda for for everything. Last but not least through the entire Process I have had the absolute pleasure to work with Camila Broderson. She is a Gem. She has guided me in every step to work on opening my LLC in Spain and has also gone beyond the scope of her duties to assist and be available at any time. I plan to continue to work with team at Lexidy and would highly recommend them to everyone. Thank you Lexidy team for everything that you have done so far! I look forward to continuing our partnerships and friendships!
Michael Sandoval
Michael Sandoval
16:44 19 Oct 20

Frequently Asked Questions

Americans in Spain should choose big cities like Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia. There are also the Balearic Islands, the Costa del Sol and smaller Spanish cities like Malaga, Granada and Bilbao.

With the correct visa to stay in Spain, Americans may retire here. The Spain retirement visa or the Spain Golden Visa is the one they can apply for.

The cost of groceries, rents, the healthcare system, and eating out is significantly lower in Spain than in the US. In addition, Spain has a solid social security system, which makes many public services more affordable and higher than their American equivalents.

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