Are you thinking of moving to UK from Spain?
For decades, Spain has been one of the top contenders for Brits leaving the UK to retire.
Since 1995, over three-quarters of a million people from England have left and headed to sunny Spain.
Goodness, so much has changed in the last few years. As the tide turns, thousands have or are planning to move back home.
The brutality of the recession and the loss of jobs in Spain has impacted people’s finances. Some have been forced to sell their homes at a big loss.
It is, therefore, no wonder that people are starting to review the things that are important to them.
For many this may be seeking new experiences, reconnecting with friends and family or getting onto the property ladder.
Whatever your reasons for considering moving to the UK from Spain, we are here to help make the transition a little easier to cope with.
As we have seen some drastic changes to the moving process for EU citizens thinking of moving to the UK, here we focus on those thinking of repatriating to UK from Spain.
We hope to provide you with all the top tips needed to ensure the move runs smoothly.
We hope you find our moving to UK from Spain guide helpful!
UK House Prices
House prices are typically higher in the UK than in Spain.
No matter where in Spain you have been living it is almost certain that property prices are cheaper there when compared to the UK.
Whereas, according to Government figures, the average price of a home in Britain now stands at almost £291,000.
Depending on where you are going to settle, it is likely that you will not get as much property for your money as you did when you moved out to Spain.
It is a good idea to ensure that before you leave Spain, you have sold your home there.
This will mean that you will know exactly where you stand financially.
However, there is nothing against looking.
You can get a head start on the house-hunting process well before you leave Spain.
By browsing popular property sites such as Rightmove you will get a rough idea of what to expect price-wise and where to look to suit your budget.
The UK housing market has been through a period of soaring house prices over the past two years, and this is set to continue.
Rising inflation has made the Bank of England push the button on base rate rises, potentially resulting in higher mortgage costs for all homeowners.
The mere threat of mortgage rate increases has had the desired effect and the housing boom has significantly slowed.
Is a Slowing Property Market a Good Thing?
You may have a better chance of finding a good property in the UK.
Slower price rises will provide some respite to prospective first-time buyers.
You might find they have a better chance of getting on to the property ladder in a less frenzied environment.
If you are struggling to save a deposit, it has become very popular in the UK for buyers both first-time and those wanting to move up the property ladder, to purchase a home via an assisted purchase scheme.
One of the most popular is the part buy or shared ownership scheme.
This method allows you to own a share of a property and pay rent on the rest.
For more information on shared ownership and whether it would suit your circumstances, visit the Which website here.
Rushing into purchasing a property within a short period of arriving home means you could end up making a costly mistake.
To avoid any mishaps, renting short-term will give you all the time you need to re-establish yourself and your family.
Letting a home offers the best opportunity to re-evaluate several things.
Where is best for you to live long-term, and how much you can afford to spend on your new UK home.
No matter what, in the long-term owning your own home in the UK is still a good investment.
If you are interested in finding out more about what the UK housing market may do in 2024, Zoopla has published a very interesting article on the matter.
Cost of Living in the UK
The cost of living is typically higher in the UK.
It probably won’t come as any surprise, unless you have been living in one of Spain’s large cities, that as well as the cost of a new home, the general cost of living in the UK is going to be more expensive when compared with Spain.
The cost of living does vary from region to region and as a rule, the further North you go, the cheaper it becomes.
Here are a few price comparisons to consider before your move to the UK
- Groceries cost as much as 21% more in the UK
- Housing on is average 72% higher
- Renting a home is 38% higher
- Clothing costs at least 25% more
- Fuel costs are 10% higher
- Eating out, cinema and general entertainment costs 47% more
- Utilities are between 130% higher in the UK
Although these increases in the cost of living seem daunting, it is important to remember that earnings in the UK are almost double that of Spain.
Depending on your skills and experience, in the end, the cost of living may be overall cheaper for the Spanish, but with luck, your wages in the UK should more than compensate for the shortfall.
It is all relative as they say.
Changes After Brexit
We know that post-Brexit, travelling between the EU and UK will no longer be as straightforward as it once was.
Since you left for a new life in Spain, there have been some very substantial changes in the wake of Brexit.
Whilst large numbers of Brits have chosen to apply to stay in Spain, many have opted to return to the UK.
Of course, you need to make sure that before you have departed from Spain you have notified and de-registered from any services and local authorities.
This will help tie up any loose ends in Spain and allow you to quickly re-register in the UK.
After Brexit, those returning with UK citizenship or settled status can live permanently again in the UK.
You will not need to take further action to do so.
If you gave up your UK passport and became a Spanish citizen this isn’t the case.
You will need to apply for the right to permanent residency, subject to immigration rules as would any other non-UK citizen.
The UK Government website has all the information you need to make the transition legally and with minimum disruption.
While there are some things you can deal with later, ensuring that you and your family have immediate access to the UK healthcare system again is one of the most urgent.
Where possible, have your health and dental records sent back to the UK.
As soon as you have found an appropriate place to live, you will need to register with your local doctor’s surgery as soon as possible.
For people who have been out of the UK for more than a year, you will need to complete an HS22X form.
You may also be asked for a copy of either your passport or birth certificate.
Alternatively, since the outbreak of Covid, many surgeries allow you to register online.
Your medical records will then be transferred to your new practice. Once received, they can be entered into the NHS data system.
This will create a more complete picture of your health profile.
NOTE: In many cases, medical records are written in Spanish. If so, you will need an official translator to transcribe your files into English. The NHS does not accept documentation in other languages.
There is an excellent company called Translation Pal.
They offer reasonably priced translation services for all your medical records as well as other important documents you may want to be transcribed such as legal papers or academic documentation.
Shipping Your Goods
Like going to Spain, shipping your personal effects back to the UK will require some well-organised planning as inevitably there is always some red tape to overcome.
The first thing to consider is are you going to bring back all your belongings?
Most people tend to bring everything back with them as covering the cost of replacing everything you own is expensive.
In this case, you need to contact a reputable European Moving Company.
Although there are plenty to choose from, you need to ensure that they are fully registered with FIDI, BAR, and Omni.
Using a registered removal company that is a member of these organisations gives you added peace of mind that you are not using a “fly by night” removal company.
To remain members, you can rely on the fact that your mover will be regularly audited to very high standards, so you know that you are going to get the best possible service.
Contact White & Company in the UK
They have reliable partners in Spain whom they have worked with for many decades. White & Company is happy to pass on the contact details of their trusted Spanish partners.
Your Spanish removal company can explain the export process to you and assist with any UK import documentation you need.
If you shipped all your effects out with you to Spain, the process is the same just reversed.
You need to book an appointment for a surveyor to come and calculate the volume of your shipment and then he will arrange for a quotation to be issued.
If you have owned and used your belongings for at least 6 months in Spain, you can arrange to have them imported without having to pay any tax or duties.
As changes to the import regulations happen at short notice, to be sure you are not landed with a hefty duty bill upon your arrival in the UK, you must familiarise yourself with the UK customs clearance documentation.
Here are some very useful websites to explore which explain more fully what you can and cannot import into the UK:
Points Based System
If you are an EEA/EU national and are thinking of moving to UK from Spain long-term (longer than six months), you will be required to apply for a points-based immigration visa.
This point-based system has been in place for some time for non-EEA/EU nationals.
Before Brexit, EEA/EU citizens were free to move to the UK without a visa.
However, moving to UK from Spain has become more of a challenge for those who require a long-term visa.
The visa-free movement only applies to short-term stays for visiting such as tourism or visiting family.
Anything longer and you must apply for the points-based immigration visa.
UK Family Visa
If you are moving to UK from Spain and have family members living here, you may be able to join them much easier than expected.
If this is the case, you will have to apply for a family member visa when moving to UK from Spain.
Of course, there are a number of different types of visas within this subcategory.
A family permit is typically valid for two and a half years.
However, the validity may change depending on what type of visa you have.
So if there are any changes to your family status, such as getting married, be sure to apply for another visa ASAP to avoid any awkward situations.
Returning to the UK With Pets
If you are moving to UK from Spain and have a pet this is the section for you.
Regardless of whether your pet was also originally from the UK or was acquired whilst you were living abroad, there are several steps to follow when it comes to moving them to UK from Spain.
You can bring your pet back to the UK if:
- It has a valid microchip.
- It has a valid passport or health certificate.
- It’s vaccinated against rabies.
Various other rules apply to specific types of pets when moving to UK from Spain.
For example, if you are travelling with a dog, it must have had treatment for tapeworm no less than 24 hours and no longer than 120 hours before you travel.
Should your pet not fulfil any of the requirements, it will be quarantined for four months at a government-sanctioned property.
Are You Ready to Get Moving to UK from Spain?
Moving anywhere in Europe can be hectic for all involved.
That’s why White & Company are here to help your move back to the UK run as smoothly and as stress-free as possible.
With a reputation built over decades, White & Company has positioned itself as the international removals firm of choice for removals worldwide.
Our experience is second to none. As members of BAR, FIDI and OMNI, White & Company have been relocating people to destinations worldwide for 150 years.
Our experienced teams located across the UK will pack and prepare your valuable, fragile, and bulky furniture ready for export. No matter what you intend to export, we have invariably shipped it before.
To find out more about how we could get your dream move underway, don’t hesitate to give us a call today.
Alternatively, fill out a quick quote form or chat with our bot and we’ll get in touch with you straight away.
Max is a seasoned writer and blogger in the real estate and home moving sectors, as well as a knowledgeable source of information for expatriates living and working abroad. His detailed insights have helped thousands of people move and live abroad with greater simplicity and ease.