The decision to move to our lovely Andalucian house for 12 months was an easy one, and we took it a year ago, so lots of time for planning all those things that need to be done. Not just because we are moving house, but moving to another country, with different ways of doing things, and a language that is spoken so fast that it’s impossible to believe that anyone could say so many words in one sentence!
Things to do before moving to Spain
So our planning started last year, in a very gentle way, with creating some lists. We simply wrote down all those things we would need to do to make our plans a reality. And it seemed all relatively straightforward and easy. You just follow the list, and the work gets done. True, though we didn’t quite realise how long things would take. For us to be able to spend a year in Andalucia, we would need to let out our UK home, and in order to do that, we’d need to clear our house of 24 years’ worth of accumulated stuff. The attic was a particular challenge, and 14 weeks away from our big move, we have only just now managed to clear out children’s toys, books, records, clothes, bits of furniture, old curtains, camping gear, and all that stuff that you think may be useful one day – but isn’t!
That very simple original list that we created a year ago is getting longer and longer, and it seems that there is no end to it. Not only do we need to clear out our UK home, and give it a fresh coat of paint, tile the patio, and all those things that may make it more lettable – we also started our research on all the legal and official registrations that are inevitable when you move from one country to another, even if both countries are in the EU (for the moment, anyway …).
The best information source to answer all your questions about moving to Spain
The best source of information has been the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) Spain https://www.citizensadvice.org.es/, who have a very active Facebook page, where questions and answers from Brits and other nationalities living in Spain come pouring in. It’s a real insight into people’s lives, and topics range from ITV for cars (equivalent to MOT in the UK) to legal issues, housing and healthcare. But if you prefer more individual and private advice, you can become a member by making a small donation, and get your questions answered via email. One at a time, though, I have realised. You can only send in a second question once your first one has been answered. Ah well, we have another 14 weeks until we go, so if they answer at a rate of 1 a week, we have the opportunity to ask 14 questions. And nothing can be so complicated, can it?
Well, actually, it can … We are just going for a year, and because that is more than 183 days, we will have to apply for residency. We need to get our car registered with Spanish number plates. We will need to register with the Padron (I haven’t quite worked out what that means yet, I am sure it will become clear over time). We will need to pay tax in Spain instead of, or perhaps as well as, the UK, although we have no income in Spain. Further complicated by Spain and the UK having different tax years. We will need to get access to health care and think about insurance.
I can see I will be writing to the CAB a lot. And then there is the wild card of Brexit, of course – when everything can change – very quickly, and in a major way. None of our lists have plans for Brexit!
So how can I survive the next 14 weeks? By dreaming about being in Spain. The sunshine, beautiful nature, our lovely neighbours, enjoying long balmy nights with a glass of wine, welcoming our friends and family to our piece of paradise, exploring the beautiful villages and cities, and relaxing into a very different world that will be mine for a whole year. I can’t wait!