How to Retire in Spain? - Step-by-Step Guide

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6 Steps to Retire in Spain

By | 2019-08-14T16:43:45+00:00 June 25th, 2019|Tips|

No one wants to admit getting old! Not even when the retirement time approaches and our back pains get more frequent. But that time comes, and when it does, we all tell ourselves “Retirement doesn’t look bad at all!”

After years of working, everyone deserves a good rest. For this particular reason, in recent decades, people are looking forward to retiring not in the country where they have spent most of their life, but elsewhere. In exotic countries that offer you the pleasure of sunny days, and evenings with warm breezes. Countries with sandy beaches that kiss the sea, historic villages, green forests, delicious foods, and good wine, and why not, even a vibrant nightlife. After all, the soul never gets old!

No other country in the world fits this description better than Spain, the second Westernmost European country. The quality of life, a healthcare that is among the best in Europe, low cost of small houses and apartments, and affordable flights, make Spain a desirable place for retirement.

If you already have made up your mind to retire in Spain, then follow our ultimate guideline of 6 steps how to retire in Spain:

Step 1: Ask yourself: Do I have enough money to retire in Spain?

If you do not have enough money, you cannot retire in Spain. It is sad, because after working for years and years everyone deserves to spend the remaining years wherever they want. But laws and rules do not permit you to do so, unless you have the necessary means to support yourself.

You must have at least about €25,000 per year, so you can cover your expenses. You will be able to stay in Spain for as long as you have this much money per year. As soon as you run out of money, you will have to leave Spain, and go back to your home country.

Step 2: Decide where you want to spend the rest of your life

Do you want to live in the noisy center of big cities like Madrid or Barcelona? Maybe you want to settle at a coastal village or one near the forest.  Or, something in between, like a Spanish town.

Before starting any procedure to move to Spain, you should check where in Spain you want to settle. There are endless possibilities, form the big to smaller cities, coastal towns and villages to the ones in the mountains.

If you are a bit tight with your budget, then we recommend you to check the smaller places. Accommodation in big cities as Madrid, Seville, Valencia or Barcelona, is way more expensive, sometimes twice the price compared to towns.

Step 3: Get Private Health Insurance

You may not like to admit it, but if you are retiring, you are old. Moreover, “old” usually means fragile health, and need for a doctor. Because of that, you are obliged to get health insurance for Spain, even if you do not want to.

The Spanish authorities will not permit you to move to Spain without health insurance. As public health insurance is available only for Spaniards, you will have to purchase medical insurance from a private authorized provider in Spain.

Step 4: Get the Necessary Visa

If you are not a national of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, then that means you need a long stay visa for Spain. So, if you need a visa for Spain that means you need a visa to retire there.

You should apply for a non-lucrative visa in your home country. The process is a bit of energy consuming, but it is worth it. Here you can learn anything you need to know about a Spain non-lucrative visa, which often is called a Spain retirement visa for retired applicants.

Step 5: Travel to Spain, and get a residence permit

Once you have the visa in your passport, you have three months to travel to Spain. If you do not, the Spanish authorities will cancel your retirement visa.

As soon as you arrive in Spain, within a period of one month you need to get your Foreigner Identity card and apply for a non-lucrative residence permit. While your visa is valid for three months and 15 days, the retirement residence permit is valid for two years, and extendable.

Step 6: Learn Spanish!

When in Spain, do as Spaniards do! Which in our case means, learn Spanish. It will be hard to survive with only English, German, or by making gestures all the time. In particular, if you choose to settle in a part of Spain with fewer visitors.

It is never too late to learn. At least, not if you will be meeting people that speak that language every day, at the mall, the cafeteria, the hotel, the market, and even your neighbors.

Additional Tips for Retirement in Spain

Here are some extra tips for those wishing to retire in Spain:

  • Be careful with the sun. Heat can have more impact on elders, and the sun in Spain can be super hot. Most Spaniards take a nap at the hottest hour of the day, even closing their shops and businesses at that hour. Check which the hottest hour of the day is and take a nap at that time, too!
  • Always check the weather. Sometimes it can be very sunny even in spring and autumn. Yet, depending on which part of Spain you settle there can be heavy rains too. Always check the weather so you wear appropriate clothing and carry an umbrella.
  • Pay your bills on time. You may be old, and even rich, but that does not justify not paying bills. Even if you simply forget to do it. Paying bills in Spain is quite easy since most of them you can pay online. Just learn how to, and make sure to pay each bill as soon as they arrive.
  • Travel the country. Spain is a land of wonders. It would be a shame if you missed the historic Alcazar Castle, the city of Cordoba, or the Spanish national parks, while actually living in Spain. There are a lot of tourist agencies that organize trips for people of all ages, so you can check them for more experiences.
  • If you are living alone, keep in touch daily, with at least one person. Especially if you have an illness, you must keep in touch with someone, or ask him or her to check on you daily. So that if your health is worsened, they can figure it out, and alarm your neighbor or health insurance provider.

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