Moving to Spain as an EU Citizen

Moving to Spain is fairly simple if you are an EU citizen. But you must make sure to bring the right documents and to do the process correctly. Here is a guide that may help.

Moving to Spain

It’s not difficult to move to Spain if you are a citizen of a European Union country.

And it’s very appealing as well: Spain is a wonderful country with great weather and plenty of things to do.

But even though it’s not particularly difficult, there can still be some confusion, and we are writing this article to clear out this confusion.

Documents you need

If you have decided to move to Spain, you need to prepare some documents before you arrive.

Make sure you bring the following:

  • Passport
  • Your national health insurance card
  • EU health insurance card (the blue one)
  • Driver’s license or other license that you may need for practical purposes
  • Documentation of work (if you have a job prepared in Spain)
  • Documentation of studying (if you are going to study in Spain)
  • Documents of your medical informations (not absolutely necessary, but good to have)

Find a place to live

You need a place to live in Spain. If you’re studying on an exchange program, this may or may not already be taken care of.

If you are working for a company and was hired before you reached Spain, there is a chance they can help you find something.

Otherwise you have to find a place on your own!

For a short stay, Airbnb is good. You can rent a holiday apartment to stay in for the first couple of weeks while you settle things.

For long term apartments in Spain, check Idealista. This is the place you want to look if you want to find a more permanent place to live in Spain. Idealista covers all the country and there are plenty of options. You can find houses, apartments, rooms, everything.

When you apply for apartments in the bigger city, it can take a while to get one. Often you have to be approved by an insurance company before they rent out a place to you. A good way to be approved is to have a steady salary that you can document – or, instead, a couple of thousand euros on a bank account that you can show a transcript of.

In a city like Madrid, it may take 2-3 weeks to find an apartment through Idealista. In smaller cities it is easier and cheaper to get the deal done, but because of a smaller variety of apartments, the time can vary a lot.

Get a Spanish phone number

A Spanish phone number is good to have. You will save a lot of trouble. And you will save money since you don’t have to pay extra on your current subscription for calling Spanish numbers.

Authorities, apartment owners, banks, and so on – they will all be more likely to respond well when you have a Spanish number to use.

To get your phone number, you can go into almost any phone or electronics store and get it done immediately.

Popular choices: Movistar, Orange, Vodafone, Yoigo

Sign up for a bank account

You also need a Spanish bank account. For paying bills in Spain, having subscriptions, and so on.

You have plenty of banks to choose between, because in Spain, you can go into almost any bank and open an account.

The most reasonable choice for foreigners is the Sabadell bank. They have good deals for foreigners, and it’s very straightforward to open an account. They only require your passport number to open a basic account. They also give you an advisor with English speaking skills, and other languages are also possible at times. Go into any Sabadell bank and say you want to open an account.

Other nationwide bank choices could be: Santander, BBVA, CaixaBank

Sign up for private health insurance

As a foreigner in Spain, you will likely not be covered by the state’s health insurance right away. And even if you are – a private health insurance will still be good.

When you apply for your NIE number, you most likely need a private health insurance.

Get it at Sanitas – it lives up to all expectations and give you access to several private hospitals. A full Sanitas package might cost from 64 and up, but there are also smaller packages. For example around 30 euros per month, but here you have to pay a small nominal fee for your consultations (perhaps 3 euros extra for each private consultation).

Get your NIE number and residency

We are not going to dive deeply into that right now, because we already have an article that covers everything about getting the NIE number.

Check out our NIE guide right here!

Inform that you are living in Spain

You have to inform the local authorities in your city that you are living in Spain. You can book an appointment online and show up at your designated time. Very simple and straightforward.


This article covers a lot of the stuff you have to do when you move to Spain. Any comments or additions? Let is know in the comments. Thanks for reading!

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