7 reasons to immigrate to Spain
Who hasn’t dreamed about spending endless days in the sun, surrounded by beautiful nature or Mediterranean architecture? Whether you’re thinking of starting over in a new country to work or study, or planning ahead for a relaxing retirement, immigrating to Spain can offer all this and more.
According to the most recent figures, more than 415,000 foreigners chose to immigrate to Spain in 2020, with many of them moving from nearby countries like Morocco, the UK, and Italy. According to Google searches in 2020, Spain is in the top three of countries that people would like to move to.
In this blog by Manzanares Abogados, we discuss seven of the best reasons for moving to Spain, and how an immigration lawyer can help you to make your dream a reality.
1) Comfortable climate
One of Spain’s biggest draws is pleasant weather, especially in areas like Costa del Sol in Andalucía. While Spain has distinct seasons and several wetter and colder regions, its coastal areas promise hot summers with less humidity, and even winters are warmer than most countries in northern Europe.
While places like the UK average between 1100 to 1400mm of rainfall and 1400 to 1600 hours of sunshine a year, Spain boasts over 3,000 hours of sunshine in most areas, and averages around 600mm of annual rainfall. Not only is Spain twice as dry and sunny, but those who live there can also enjoy average temperatures of 25°C+ in summer – at least 6°C warmer than the UK average.
Of course, it can be colder in mountainous regions like Andorra and the Pyrenees, and rainier in the ‘Green Spain’ region of northern Spain along the Atlantic coast. Whether you prefer green nature, inland city life, or sandy beaches with fresh sea air, you can find the perfect place to live in Spain.
2) Easy access to Europe
Another reason that Spain is such an attractive prospect for immigration is its prime location in Europe. With several international airports and a good public transport system, it’s easy to travel into, out of, and around Spain. As part of the Schengen Area, you’ll gain freedom of movement throughout 26 countries by immigrating to Spain – you’ll have most of Europe at your fingertips.
As part of mainland Europe, environmentally-friendly travel between countries is much easier, as Spain not only has high-speed rail connections from coast to coast, but also with neighbouring France, where you can catch a connecting train to numerous other European countries. It’s even possible to catch a ferry from the coast to Morocco or several Spanish islands.
That’s if you somehow get bored of the variety of landscapes available to explore within Spain itself. From metropolitan cities to rural retreats, beachside resorts to rugged hills, Spain already has it all.
3) Lower cost of living
Along with its neighbour Portugal, Spain has the lowest cost of living in western Europe. This means your money can go further than in other places, allowing you to have a comparable standard of living to high-ranking countries in northern and western Europe without the equally high price tag.
Not only is Spain one of the more affordable places to live in Europe, the cost of living there is also among the lowest out of the developed countries around the world. The cost of living in Spain is lower than the majority of places on the Forbes Top 10 Countries for Moving Abroad (Spain is #3).
For your comparison, consumer prices are:
- – 45.83% higher in Canada (#1)
- – 18.3% higher in Japan (#2)
- – 23.92% higher in Germany (#4)
- – 51.48% higher in Qatar (#5)
- – 58.12% higher in Australia (#6)
- – 124.37% higher in Switzerland (#7)
- – 32.02% higher in the UK (joint #9)
- – 39.28% higher in the UK (joint #9)
So, whether you’re a student or retiree, single or a small family, the cost of rent, food, and everyday items are likely to be more affordable in Spain than most other popular destinations for immigration.
4) Better quality of life
The temperate weather and lower cost of living combine to create a better quality of life in Spain compared to many other countries. Spanish quality of life is either higher than or roughly equivalent to most of the countries on the Numbeo Quality of Life Index. Where some other countries place higher for quality, Spain balances this out with its lower living costs and more attractive climate.
That’s not all, either. Spain is one of the top countries with the best healthcare provision in the world, and is also among the countries with the lowest crime rates. Being quite a safe country with an effective healthcare system, Spain is in the top five of countries with the highest life expectancy.
Contributing factors to these healthy life expectancies are the weather and diet in Spain. Being able to spend more time outdoors and stay active is better for everyone’s health, and Spain offers many opportunities in this regard. Spanish cuisine is also rather healthy, with the Mediterranean diet considered one of the best in the world to follow thanks to its focus on fresh fruits and vegetables.
Due to the warm and relaxing weather, Spain is also known to have a slower pace of living, with longer days and later evening meals. Though afternoon siestas aren’t as common anymore, Spanish working hours still tend to feature lengthier breaks to split up the day. This also allows people to spend more time with friends and family and on activities they like, contributing to better mental health overall.
5) Vibrant culture and community
The famously ‘al fresco’ lifestyle of many Spaniards encourages laid-back socialising. Spanish nationals are generally very accommodating, making newcomers feel welcome and part of their community. This aligns with the family-oriented values and love of food and music that Spanish people are known for.
Even if you don’t speak the language well and miss your original country, there are also thriving expat communities in Spain. You should be able to find friends in a similar position through various expat groups, either online or in person, if you need some help with assimilating to life in Spain.
That said, Spain has a rich history with cultural diversity across its many regions, so there is plenty to explore while you find your feet. You’ll find it enriching to dive right into local gastronomy, modern and historical architecture, traditional festivals, and more. From castles and cathedrals to flamenco dancing and religious holidays, there’s nothing dull about Spanish life – despite how easy-going it is.
6) Strong real estate market
City apartments, semi-detached townhouses, coastal villas, countryside farmhouses, urbanisations (purpose-built residential communities) – there are plenty of different types of properties to choose from when moving to Spain. You’re sure to find a property that suits your size and style preferences.
Traditional Spanish homes feature white stucco walls, terracotta roof tiles, and exposed wooden beams. Even new builds tend to emulate this classic look, though some modern developments may use different materials. You can even choose to buy undeveloped land to build your own home in Spain if you want a truly custom place to live, though you must be sure to comply with Spanish construction laws.
With such a wide range of housing, there’s something for every budget. The average price of housing is 2,551€ per m2 in Spain, compared to £2,954 (3450€) per m2 in the UK. However, this applies to newer properties in Spain, and existing housing has a lower average price of 1,577€ per m2 – while both old and new properties are more expensive in most western and northern European countries.
Applying for a Spanish fiscal number is fairly straightforward, and even foreigners can apply to Spanish banks for a mortgage loan. Foreigners who immigrate to Spain follow the same process as Spanish nationals do when it comes to house-hunting and closing a sale. However, if you aren’t familiar with Spanish property laws, it might be best to hire a Spanish real estate lawyer to help you.
7) Various Spanish Visa options
If you want to move to Spain either temporarily or permanently, there are several routes open to you. While it can take ten years of living in Spain to apply for full Spanish citizenship, you can still reside in Spain legally with a range of short-term visas and residency permits. Among these are:
- – Student visas for academics completing a course of study in Spain
- – Work visas for foreigners relocating to Spain for employment opportunities
- – Non-lucrative visas for self-sufficient foreigners or pensioners retiring in Spain
- – Investment visas for those starting businesses, funding research, or buying property in Spain
It’s also possible for foreign nationals to seek family reunification with relatives living in Spain, or for refugees to seek asylum in Spain. Whichever route you’re taking, Spanish immigration lawyers can be invaluable in helping you to complete the legal paperwork and obtain the right documentation.
If you have the funds to invest at least 500,000€ into purchasing real estate in Spain, then a Golden Visa could help you to gain residency and eventual citizenship much faster. The Spanish Golden Visa allows you to bring legal dependants to live in Spain, too, which is ideal for families wanting to immigrate there.
Need a Spanish immigration lawyer?
Now you know why it’s the best country to move to, you can start thinking seriously about your future in Spain. Whether you’re immigrating to Spain for a career change, pursuing education, or raising a family, it’s a good idea to book a consultation with a Spanish lawyer to plan things through.
When you hire experts like the team at Manzanares Lawyers, you’ll receive professional guidance on the best visa options for your situation, information on the required legal documents and assistance with preparing them, and obtaining the legal residency and work permits to finally move to Spain.
Immigrating to Spain will no doubt be a major life change, but if you contact us for help, we’ll make sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible for you. Call Manzanares Lawyers at either of our offices on +34 952 82 41 12 (Marbella) or +34 952 59 50 42 (Alhaurin) to get started, or write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a timely response to your enquiries.