Learn more about retiring to Spain from the UK in this in-depth guide about the types of visas, processes, and other important necessities. It's time to move!

Retiring to Spain from the UK


Before Brexit, retiring to Spain from the UK was simpler. UK nationals were only required to obtain their EU registration certificate. Now that they are viewed as non-EU citizens, the process has become more complex.
Despite that, more than one million of them have moved to collect their pensions in other countries, such as Spain. It has kept British citizens from continuing to choose Spain as their retirement destination.
Why wouldn't you want to retire in Spain? The weather is beautiful year-round, and there are many activities for expats, including retirement clubs for both men and women.
Perhaps you're seeking some relaxation time? Spain also offers tranquil areas with peaceful atmospheres.
If you still see yourself retiring in Spain from the UK, this extensive guide will assist you with the knowledge you need to pursue this endeavour.
Learn about the types of visas available for you, documents you may need, and other requirements that help you plan your next move.

A Guide for Retiring to Spain from the UK

How Can You Retire to Spain?

The first thing you should look into is how the changes of Brexit affect your retirement and the types of visas to consider.
For example, you need to consider the days you will spend in Spain before applying for any visas. If you want to spend more than 90 days (about three months) every 180 days (about six months), you must have a visa or Spanish residency.

Has Brexit Affected Retirement to Spain?

Yes, the days of moving freely throughout the EU are done. British citizens have been classified as non-European citizens since 2021 with the passing of Brexit. It's impacted things such as the entry requirements, your duration of stay and what activities are legally allowed.

Note: Other changes may apply to you depending on your circumstances. If you have any questions regarding relocating to Spain, you should seek advice from a highly skilled legal counsel.

Spain Retirement - Visas and Residency Permit
Fortunately, British citizens may still consider retiring to Spain from the UK with the proper legal documentation for the correct process.

The process includes:
  1. Receiving your residence permit within 30 days of your arrival.
  2. Getting your NIIE Number (foreigner tax identification number).
  3. Registering yourself at the city hall to receive your certificate de empadronamiento.

To complete the process more smoothly, you would need these documents:

  • Valid Passport: Your passport must be valid and unexpired.
  • Bank statements: You must show sufficient funds to live in Spain at the income level for one year and for any family member take. This can be shown in a lump sum or by regular pension payments. The sum amount depends on the visa or residency you are applying for.
  • Medical Certificate: You must prove that you do not suffer from any illness that may risk the public.
  • Private Health Insurance: You must show proof of private health insurance until your S1 application (EU insurance) is approved.
  • Proof of Accommodation
  • Other: Depending on which visa you apply for, there might be specific documentation that you may need to submit.

Note: Any foreign documents must be legalised or apostilled. Some may require translation into

After getting the documents in order, you will be able to apply for one of the two types of visas that
Spain provides non-EU citizens.

The Golden Visa

Spain’s Golden Visa (Investor Visa) allows you to live in Spain by investing a certain amount in real
estate, your personal business or to Spanish companies. Aside from the initial investment cost, you must
provide sufficient financial means to fund your stay in Spain.
The minimum amount to provide is 400% of Spain’s Public Multiple Effects Income Indicator (IPREM).
This is about 28,000 euros. Additionally, you must add 100% (approximately 7,000 euros) of the IPREM
for each family member you intend to bring over.
The Golden Visa has many benefits to consider. For example, it allows your family to come along with
you, and it’s a more feasible way to obtain the permanent residency and citizenship. The Golden Visa
has its own permit without having to apply for the residency permit after obtaining it. You are also able
to travel visa-free through the Schengen zone.

Non-Lucrative Visa

If you do not have the capital to choose the Golden Visa, the Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV Visa) is the next
best option. This visa does not allow you to receive any gains from employment in Spain.
You must be able to have the financial means to support yourself and any family member who
accompanies you. The proof of means to provide is the same as the Golden Visa, about 28,000 euros of
income for a year, and if you add a family member, it is an additional 7,000 euros of the IPREM.

Tax Requirements

With Spain, the UK has a double taxation agreement, so you do not have to pay tax on the same income in both countries. Nevertheless, as a Spanish resident you become a tax resident. This means you must declare your global income to the Spanish authorities. If you're not a resident, you will only pay income tax that came from Spain.


If you decide to retire in Spain, you can claim UK Pensions, new UK State Pensions or pensions from other European Union countries you've worked for. Once you spend more than 180 days a year in Spain, you will become a tax resident and must pay tax on your worldwide assets. This includes state and private pensions.

Note: Consider seeking professional help when paying your taxes in Spain from a lawyer or a "gestor" or "gestoria". They are private, experienced agents who specialise in Spanish administrative tac and accountancy for their clients.


Since you are planning to live in Spain for more than 90 days, you will need to take out private medical insurance for at least the first year. After that, a few ways to access health insurance in Spain exist.
  1. UK-issued S1 form: Being over 65 and older allows you to have state healthcare.
  2. Entitlement to healthcare if you become a permanent resident after living there for five years.
  3. Paying directly into the public health insurance (Convenio Especial) with a monthly fee.

How Much Does It Cost to Retire in Spain?

According to current estimates, a decent retirement costs an average of 24,000 EUR each year. That works out to over 2,000 EUR each month. A budget of 20,000 EUR per year is also feasible for budget-conscious spenders.
Living further away from city centres and as a minimalist always helps to save money. If you consider buying a property, there is a low property tax rate. Property in Spain is valued and perceived differently than in other countries.
As stated, the cost of housing is affected by the property's location. On average, a one-bedroom apartment in a large city such as Madrid will cost 900 EUR per month. However, if you move far enough outside of town, the cost can be reduced to around 500 EUR.
Many retired expats relocated to Madrid, Valencia, Alicante, and Barcelona. That means they're subjecting themselves to a more costly cost of living. Others move to less expensive areas, such as the Spanish-controlled Canary Islands, where the cost of living is lower.

Should You Rent or Buy?


Whether you are deciding to rent or buy for your retirement plan in Spain, it's good to question how long you plan to stay. If it's clear that you will remain in Spain and become a permanent resident, making the country your new home and buying makes sense. In this case, it's good to remember that the Golden Visa grants you a residence permit if you purchase a valued property over 500,000 EUR.
Unfortunately, buying a home might take longer than expected, but there are no restrictions to foreigners buying property in Spain.
As a potential buyer, you must make an offer through the seller's estate agency. If accepted, you and the seller must sign a preliminary contract and then pay a deposit. The deposit should be at least 10% of the purchase price. We also advise you to have the services of a notary, follow the correct processes and procedures of signing, paying taxes and completing other bureaucratic tasks, such as registering the property.
If you decide to rent, keep in mind that the minimum lease period is from 6 months to a year. Another important factor is preparing to give one to two month's rent as a deposit, plus the rent for the first month in advance.
All these factors depend on the landlord. Therefore, keep track of your finances and ensure you have the money to give ready and upfront.

Pros and Cons of Retiring in Spain

spanish beach

Even if you're closer to packing your bags to retire in Spain, weighing the pros and cons is important. Carefully analysing the situation helps to plan and ensure a smooth transition.


  • Weather: Moving from the UK to Spain is like doing 180 degrees. Even on winter days, Spain is the perfect getaway. If you retire there, you won't have to worry much about the gloomy days.
  • Culture and Food: With such a rich culture, you'll enjoy retirement in an atmosphere of vibrant food.
  • Scenery: Whether it's a beautiful village or beach, the landscapes will give you your ideal view. This allows you to explore and relax.
  • Communities: Since there are so many expats, there are retirement communities and clubs for men and women to join. This all helps you to meet and connect with others around you.
  • Language: You may want to improve your Spanish or learn it. Either one will help you to integrate yourself into the local's life.


  • Language:Unfortunately, if you don’t know the language, you might find it challenging to communicate daily, depending on where you move.
  • Bureaucracy:In general, and with Brexit, the challenge of dealing with administrative and documentation processes can be frustrating.
  • Cultural Shock:If you haven't travelled to Spain often, it's time to do so before retiring. If not, you might experience some cultural shocks you are not accustomed to.
  • Distance from Family:If you and your partner are the only ones retiring for an extended period or indefinitely, it can be a significant change for you and your loved ones.

grandfather and child on the beach in Spain

Wrap Up

Once the administrative processes for your visas come to be finalised, your removals to Spain from UK begin.
Relocating for your retirement is an exciting stage that can also be an overwhelming and complex process. Choosing a reputable removal company to move to Spain is crucial to ensure an effortless move.
Gentlevan Removals, based in Banbury, Oxfordshire, understands the process. They provide professional and cost-effective removal services to Spain, catering to your circumstances and budget.
Leave all your worries behind and start relaxing by contacting us now!