Moving to Spain from Ireland

What’s on this page?

  1. Do you need a Spanish visa?
  2. What to know before moving to Spain?
  3. The process of obtaining a certificate of registration
  4. Accommodation
  5. Healthcare and insurance
  6. Where to start once you moved

As an Irish citizen, you know what it means to live in a country with a high standard of living, unique nature and rich culture. The birthplace of Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde and James Joyce secured a high position in the ranking of the developed countries of the modern world. However, the thought of moving to Spain does not leave you. What could be the reasons for this decision?

You love the sun and heat. In Spain, on average, about three hundred sunny days a year, and the average annual temperature is +18. It can get very hot on the south coast, but cool breezes make for a comfortable experience.

Many are attracted by the Spanish historical and cultural heritage. In almost every corner of the country you can enjoy the masterpieces of architecture, painting, music and poetry. The Basilica of La Sagrada Família in Barcelona, the flamenco festival in Seville, the Prado Museum in Madrid have always been a dream for many connoisseurs, and the opportunity to see them often encourages them to move.

Old town in Spain

The cheaper cost of living in Spain can be a serious argument for changing your place of residence. Compared to Ireland, prices for many goods in Spain are significantly lower:

Index Ireland Spain
The average cost of 1 square. m of housing € 3816 € 2533
The minimum cost of renting an apartment / month. from € 700 from € 500
Lunch at a moderately-priced restaurant from € 30 from € 10
City bus fare € 2.5 € 1.4

Next, we will consider the main stages of preparation for moving to Spain from Ireland and describe the process of moving.

Do you need a Spanish visa?

You, as an Irish citizen, need a Spanish visa because Ireland and Spain are members of the European Union, but Ireland is not part of the Schengen area. If you intend to stay in Spain for no more than 90 days (three months) within 180 days, then you do not need either visa or registration.

Spanish visa

If you have arrived in Spain for a longer period (more than 90 days), you need to obtain a visa and prove your right to live and work in Spain, for which you need to obtain a Certificate of Registration (Certificado de Registero de Ciudadano de la UE). This document contains an Alien Registration Number (NIE) which allows you to perform many activities, including the purchase of real estate, a car, or applying for health insurance. You will also need to register with the local Office for Foreigners (Oficina de Extranjeros).

What to know before moving to Spain?

When planning to move, you should plan your budget in advance for the time of moving and adaptation, as well as for buying or renting a home. It would be a nice idea to choose a future place of residence also in advance, and we will talk about this below. You also need to decide whether you will study or work. If you do not plan to find a job, then you must have a confirmed amount of money corresponding to the living wage. In 2022, it was € 579.02 per month. Learn Spanish as this will greatly facilitate your first steps in a new country.

The process of obtaining a certificate of registration

To apply for a certificate of registration, you need to do the following:

  1. make an appointment with the local office for foreigners;
  2. prepare a package of documents that must be translated into Spanish and legalized:
    Category Documentation

    Confirmation of enrollment in an educational institution

    Proof of health insurance

    Confirmed availability of the necessary amount of money for living

    Employed Work contract or application for the conclusion of an agreement with the employer
    Self-employed Registration of a participant in economic activity or trade
    Unemployed or retired

    Medical insurance

    Confirmed funds

    Family member

    Proof of family relations with an EU member

    Proof of financial dependence on an EU member or sufficient financial means

    All categories Passport and valid ID
  3. pay the fee in advance in the amount of € 12;
  4. appear at the predetermined time at the office and, in case of correct preparation of documents, receive a certificate of registration.


  1. The certificate of registration does not replace an identity card.
  2. This Certificate cannot be laminated.
  3. Register with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Having your details, they will be able to provide you with assistance if necessary.


Moving from Ireland to Spain involves solving a very important issue such as renting or buying property. If you have not resolved this problem beforehand, then it is worth starting with a lease, even if you have the funds to buy an apartment or a house. And if you know exactly in which city you will live, since you became a student or found a job in this city, try not to rush into a purchase. Explore the local real estate market and rent an apartment to "immerse yourself in the environment". It will be a shame if, after buying a house, after some time you realize that a penthouse would have been more suitable for you in another area of the city.

Real Estate in Spain

Be smart and start studying information about real estate in Spain while still in Ireland. There are many online sources with up-to-date data to help you in your search. The best option would be to contact a Spanish real estate agency that has a reliable reputation. Professional agents will help you find the property you are looking for and provide a range of services for drawing up a purchase agreement.

Property for sale in Spain is represented on the market by a large list of different types, located in any region of the country. The most popular are apartments, both in the secondary market and in new residential complexes, as well as townhouses and bungalows. And the high price segment is represented by villas and penthouses.

A large number of foreigners choose to live in large cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Valencia and it is there that they find themselves in the familiar environment of megacities, where they can easily find a community of compatriots. And those who have chosen resort settlements on the Mediterranean coast, on the Balearic and Canary Islands, will fulfill the dream of the sea and the sun, of relaxation and entertainment.

If you still want to immediately immerse yourself in Spanish authenticity, feel the vibe of real Spain, then take a closer look at the small rural settlements where people grow vegetables and fruits and hold colorful festivals. Buying property in these areas will save you a lot of money.

Healthcare and insurance

Many emigrants are concerned about health issues, especially those with children and elderly relatives. There is no doubt about the high quality of medical care in Spain, because the Spanish healthcare system is on eighth place among the developed countries of the world. The state cares not only about its citizens, but also about emigrants, having created a high-quality health insurance system. Any person living in Spain is advised to have health insurance, mainly to save money.

Health insurance in Spain

Such insurance may be public or private. Spanish citizens and working foreigners make contributions to the state social security system, and this gives the right to receive state health insurance. National health insurance entitles you to free doctor visits and substantial discounts on prescription drugs. State health insurance also covers the spouse of a working emigrant and children under 15 years of age.

If you are unemployed and do not contribute to the social security system, then you can take advantage of private health insurance or the Convenio Especial system, which allows you to receive free medical care for small monthly contributions.

It should be mentioned that there are also such types of insurance as home insurance and civil liability insurance. Taking out such insurance will protect you from unexpected expenses due to damage to your home or causing unintentional damage to third parties. By concluding an agreement with an insurance company, you will pay insurance premiums, the amount of which depends on many factors. For example, the annual insurance premium for an apartment of 80 sq. m in Alicante will be € 125-135.

Where to start once you moved

If you are employed, then it is important to do the following:

  • register with the tax authority, pay taxes on time. The Spanish taxation system is quite complex, so you should look into it in advance, for example, with the help of a qualified lawyer;
  • apply to the social security authorities and pay contributions on time. This will allow you to have state medical insurance, parental leave, and make pension contributions.
  • You need to register at the city hall and get a registration (empadronamiento). Also open a Spanish bank account. This will allow you to start your own business, pay insurance and social contributions, and utility bills. To open an account, you need the following documents:
  •   passport with a copy
  •   empadronamiento
  •   alien identification number (NIE)
  •   confirmation of your studies or employment

Again, study Spanish diligently. Spaniards are a warm and friendly nation. Everyone is ready to help you in any matter, but they will do it even more heartily if you show some knowledge of the language. In all major cities in Spain there are schools for learning Spanish, as well as courses in the basics of the language, private tutors, as well as online learning. If you studied online while still in Ireland, then when you arrive and plunge into the language environment, you will feel how much easier it will be for you to adapt to new conditions.

For Irish moving to Spain, there are a lot of everyday tasks, from getting a Spanish SIM card to meeting neighbors or visiting a local dance club. You can get a SIM card by showing the following:

  • passport
  • empadronamiento
  • alien identification number (NIE)
  • bank account details

Bank in Spain

You can use your Irish driver's license in Spain before it expires. Then you can get a Spanish license. Or you can immediately exchange your valid driver’s license for a Spanish one. To obtain a Spanish driver's license, you need to provide the relevant authorities with the following:

  • passport or identity card
  • empadronamiento
  • Irish driver's license
  • two photos
  • document on psychophysical fitness
  • service receipts

So how do you get to know your neighbors and make new friends? The main thing is not to be shy. Of course, the temperament of a citizen of a northern country is radically different from that of a southern Spanish. Loud speech and active gestures of local residents may initially cause misunderstanding. Therefore, to begin with, find communities of your compatriots and find like-minded people in them.

People in Spain

But then be sure to try to communicate with the locals. To do this, communities of interest, sports organizations, and even dance clubs work in any locality. And trust that your interest in flamenco lessons will be welcomed by Spanish dance lovers. Moreover, the desire to speak with them in Spanish will immediately be a huge plus for you.

To sum up, be determined and consistent. Prepare carefully for your relocation by starting to learn Spanish, getting in touch with a Spanish real estate agency, and having planned a budget. After moving, be in contact with a qualified lawyer, get a SIM card, open a bank account, get a job if you plan to work, solve housing issues and apply for health insurance. And then attend cultural events, breathe fresh sea air, communicate with new friends, and just enjoy life.


Do I need a visa to move to Spain from Ireland?

Since you are a citizen of one of the EU countries, but Ireland is not part of the Schengen area, you need a visa or residence permit to move to Spain if you plan to stay in Spain for more than 90 days within 180 days.

How easy is it to find accommodation in Spain?

The market in Spain is characterized by high supply and demand. You can find accommodation in Spain on your own by studying online resources, or contact a Spanish real estate agency.

What is the healthcare system like in Spain?

Spain has one of the best healthcare systems in Europe, which is available to both residents and non-residents. The country has a public health insurance system, but in certain cases it is necessary to apply for private health insurance.

How can I meet people and make friends in Spain?

Making new acquaintances in Spain is easy. In many cities there are communities of immigrants from Ireland. To communicate with the local population, there are many clubs and organizations that unite lovers of sports and culture. Be sure to attend Spanish courses, not only for the purpose of learning it, but also to expand your circle of communication.


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