How to retire to Spain from the UK?

What’s on this page?

  1. How to retire to Spain from the UK: obtaining a visa
  2. Financial aspects you should know if you retire to Spain from UK
  3. Where is the best place to retire in Spain?
  4. Navigating Healthcare and Insurance for retirees in Spain
  5. Legal and Administrative Procedures
  6. Maintaining UK Connections, adapting to a new lifestyle in Spain

As a British citizen, you have long dreamed of living after retirement in a warm country with many sunny days, well-equipped sea beaches, beautiful nature and delicious food. Such a country is beautiful Spain, which also has a lower cost of living than in the UK, developed infrastructure, rich history and culture. And here the question arises for you: can I retire to Spain from the UK? The answer is clear: absolutely yes.

Pensioners in Spain

An elderly person strives for comfort and peace, warmth and the friendly attitude of others. All this can be obtained if you retire to Spain. There are a lot of undeniable advantages that British people receive after moving to this country for permanent residence:

  • relatively low prices for housing, goods and services;
  • salubrious climate;
  • calm measured rhythm of life;
  • friendly locals;
  • one of the best healthcare systems in Europe;
  • organic products grown by local producers;
  • the possibility of transferring a British pension to Spain;
  • the opportunity to travel around Europe after receiving a visa;
  • high level of security, etc.

How to retire to Spain from the UK: obtaining a visa

When answering the question: “can I retire to Spain from the UK?”, first of all, you need to carefully study the options for obtaining a Spanish visa. Following Brexit, British citizens wishing to stay in Spain for more than 180 days will need to obtain a visa. To retire to Spain from the UK, it is possible to obtain the following types of visas: Golden visa and non-income visa.

Visa to Spain

Foreign citizens wishing to obtain a Golden Visa must invest a certain amount of money in the Spanish economy, depending on the direction of investment:

Investment object Amount of funds
purchase of real estate from € 500,000
purchase of shares of Spanish companies, shares in investment funds, deposit into a deposit account in a Spanish bank from € 1,000,000
purchase of government bonds from € 2,000,000
business investment amount is not determined

When investing in business projects, innovation, contribution to the socio-economic development of the country and region, creation of new jobs, etc. are important.

The benefits of obtaining a Golden Visa are:

  • quick processing and receipt compared to other types of visas;
  • free residence in Spain and the possibility of free movement within the EU countries;
  • the possibility of the investor’s family members coming for permanent residence;
  • subsequent receipt of a residence permit and citizenship of Spain;
  • persons who have received a Golden visa retain the right to work.

The concept of “retirement visa, Spain” also includes a non-lucrative visa, the main requirements for obtaining which are:

  • refusal of employment;
  • sufficient funds to live in Spain without working.

The required amount of funds for a UK immigrant is calculated on the basis of IPREM - a public indicator of income, which is the basis for determining subsidies, unemployment benefits, etc. In 2024, IPREM is equal to € 600 per month, the amount of funds for the main applicant must be at least 400% of IPREM (€ 2400 per month or € 28,800 per year), for each member of the applicant’s family another + 100% of IPREM per month.

To obtain a retirement visa, Spain, you must collect a package of documents, which include:

Golden visa Non-lucrative visa
A completed application form A completed application form
Photos Photos
Valid passport with biometric data Valid passport with biometric data
Documents about your financial status Documents about your financial status
Document proving no criminal record Document proving no criminal record
Medical insurance Medical insurance
Documents on financial investments Application for a Non-Income Visa (Form EX-01)

The application processes for these types of visas are slightly different:

  Golden visa Non-lucrative visa
Where do you apply for a visa? At the Spanish Consulate in your country of residence or directly in Spain Only at the Spanish Consulate in your country of residence
How long will it take to receive a response? 20 days from the date of application 3 months from the date of application

A retirement visa, Spain, is issued for one year with the right to extend for two years, then for another two years with the subsequent possibility of submitting documents to obtain a residence permit.

Financial aspects you should know if you retire to Spain from UK

The question: can I retire to Spain is associated with solving, probably, the main problem - financial support for yourself and your family members. The source of income will primarily be British pension that can be received in Spain. Given that the average British pension is £ 1590, and many have much more, this will be enough for most immigrants to provide for themselves. Golden visa holders can find employment in Spain and earn income.

For non-lucrative visa holders, the main requirement is to have passive income. This type of income includes personal savings, pensions, dividends, etc. At the same time, you need to remember about providing for family members who are subject to the requirement for mandatory financial support.

One of the main reasons why people choose to retire to Spain is the relatively low cost of living in this country. There cannot be a definite answer to the question: how much money do I need to retire to Spain, since the amount of money needed depends on many factors such as:

  • region of residence;
  • rental or purchase of housing;
  • certain requirements for living conditions, food, medical care;
  • usual way of life, etc.

The most important expense item is the cost of renting or purchasing housing. Before making a decision, you should study information from Internet sources and communicate with friends living in Spain. But the best solution would be to contact specialists who will help you navigate the intricacies of the local real estate market. The WTG Spain agency has been active in the Spanish market for a long time and has a high reputation. With its help, you can easily make the right choice.

Villa in Spain

By comparing prices for basic goods and services, you can see that, in general, retirement living in Spain will cost significantly less than in the UK:

Expense item Spain Great Britain
Average cost of 1 sq. m of housing € 3100 € 4200
Minimum cost of renting an apartment/month. from € 500 from € 700
Lunch at a mid-price restaurant from € 10 from € 30
Travel on a city bus € 1.4 € 2.5

Compared to the cost of living in London, the cost of living in Spanish cities is:

  • Madrid and Barcelona – 40% cheaper;
  • Valencia – 46% cheaper;
  • Seville – 52% cheaper.

On average, to live in Spain, excluding rental costs, you need about € 700 per month per person. For a family of four you need about € 2400 per month.

If you obtain (Spain) retirement visa and move to a permanent place of residence in the rural hinterland, then living expenses will be significantly different compared to a large city or resort on the Mediterranean coast. Inexpensive housing and cheap food from local producers will allow you to significantly save money, which can be spent on travel, including abroad, traveling within the country to get acquainted with historical and cultural monuments, etc.

Where is the best place to retire in Spain?

Many people's plans to retire to Spain are related to the desire to settle in a beautiful place with a good climate, developed infrastructure, proximity to the sea or opportunities to visit museums and theaters in large cities. Of great importance is the presence of immigrant communities in the chosen locality, where you can find a social circle. Cities in the northern part of Spain are closest to the British in terms of climatic conditions with high rainfall.

Those who prefer an active lifestyle, should choose Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, where a large number of British people live. In coastal cities you will have more than 300 sunny days a year, beach holidays, and sports. In the rural outback you can enjoy peace and take part in national festivals and holidays. It is difficult to definitively determine the best place to retire in Spain. The choice should be made depending on your preferences and financial capabilities.

Sunny Madrid

The most popular retirement destinations in Spain are:

City, province Benefits of living
Madrid Active life, historical and cultural heritage, developed infrastructure, large community of immigrants from Britain and other English-speaking countries
Barcelona A large seaside city, combining the features of a metropolis and a seaside resort, rich in architecture and culture
Valencia A city on the coast, characterized by a calmer pace of life and lower prices, developed infrastructure, a large historical and cultural center of the country
Alicante A resort town on the Costa Blanca with a warm mild climate and comfortable beaches. Very popular among those wishing to retire in Spain
Cities of the Costa del Sol For those seeking a quiet lifestyle, beach holidays, and lovers of Andalusian cuisine
Canary and Balearic Islands For those who prefer to spend a lot of time outdoors in a quiet environment
Small towns and villages in the provinces of Cordoba, Toledo, etc. Quiet provincial life with low prices for housing, goods and services, quality products

By analyzing information about different regions of possible residence, assessing your financial status and preferences, you can determine the best place to retire in Spain.

Navigating Healthcare and Insurance for retirees in Spain

One of the reasons to retire to Spain is the high level of healthcare in this country and the highest life expectancy in Europe - 83.3 years. The Spanish healthcare system is divided into public and private healthcare. To use public health care, you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • pay social security contributions;
  • be a resident of the country over 65 years of age;
  • receive government benefits;
  • be a state pensioner.

Spanish Medicine

If you cannot use public healthcare, then you need to take out private health insurance, the cost of which is in the range of € 50-200 per month. To register with the Spanish healthcare system, you must apply for a health card at your local health center.

Legal and Administrative Procedures

To legalize in Spain and be able to carry out various types of transactions, first of all, you need to obtain a foreigner identification number NIE. To do this, you need to pay a fee of € 11 and contact any police station, providing:

  • original and photocopy of passport;
  • two photos;
  • NIE application.

It is also advisable for you to open an account in a Spanish bank to carry out financial transactions.

Resident status for those wishing to retire in Spain is issued for 1 year with the right to extension.

You should be concerned about transferring your UK pension to Spain by contacting the UK pension fund regarding the reason for the transfer. It is necessary to familiarize yourself with the Spanish tax system. Passive income of foreigners retiring in Spain is subject to income tax, so your pension will be taxed at a progressive rate from 8% to 40%.

Maintaining UK Connections, adapting to a new lifestyle in Spain

How to retire to Spain from the UK without losing contact with family and friends at home? There are many ways to do this, from broad opportunities for communication through various means of communication to the involvement of many communities of immigrants from Britain, located in almost all regions of the country.

Sunny Spain

There are many benefits to moving to Spain permanently, but it also comes with a major lifestyle change, which can be particularly challenging in later life. To successfully integrate into the local community, you first need to start learning Spanish. You should adapt to the local daily routine with a long afternoon siesta, late dinners, noisy and long conversations. However, if you accept this, you will soon begin to enjoy the surrounding beauty and the friendliness of the local people.

Retiring to another country is a difficult decision that requires radical lifestyle changes. Spain is a country that welcomes immigrants and provides excellent living conditions. With proper planning of your move, including a good choice of place of residence, financial security, learning Spanish, and a positive attitude towards a change in environment, you will get an excellent result. And the new stage of life will bring you joy and peace.


Can I retire to Spain from the UK?

Yes, UK citizens can retire to Spain, but they need to meet certain eligibility requirements and obtain the necessary visas or residency permits.

How can I retire to Spain from the UK?

To retire to Spain from the UK, you need to apply for a residency permit or visa, fulfill financial requirements, and complete any necessary paperwork.

How much money do I need to retire to Spain?

The amount of money needed to retire to Spain varies depending on individual circumstances and lifestyle preferences. It's important to consider factors like living expenses, healthcare costs, and leisure activities.

What is the best place to retire in Spain?

The best place to retire in Spain depends on personal preferences, such as climate, amenities, and cost of living. Popular retirement destinations include coastal towns, cities, and rural areas, each offering unique advantages for retirees.


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