Britain choosing to leave the EU has complicated many things from trade to travel to international security and more. So it’s natural to get confused about the process of moving your belongings to Spain, whether you have held property there for years or are looking to retire in sunnier climes soon. 

While you can still move to Spain for work and retire in Spain at the end of your working life, there are now more regulations in place regarding moving your belongings over the border, buying property, and staying in Spain for more than 90 days at a time. 

Fortunately, with expert international removal companies like Weston and Edwards, you can trust that your belongings will be transported securely and according to the appropriate regulations. 

We’ll cover every pressing question about moving your belongings to Spain post-Brexit in our ultimate guide. 

Can You Still Move to Spain Post-Brexit?

Before Brexit, you could move to any EU country to live, work and study with no restriction, however, since Brexit, there are many regulations in place restricting British people’s residence in EU countries and European’s residence in the UK. If you had property in Spain before Brexit and gained Spanish residency before the post-Brexit deadline, you won’t have any problems moving to Spain to live full-time. However, if you want to move to Spain now, it will be more difficult for you – although not impossible. 

Moving to Spain to live there for up to 90 days in a 180-day period is still relatively easy. You will need to open a bank account in Spain first to purchase property, and some banks still allow non-residents and those without a NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero) i.e. a foreign identity number, to open accounts. Then, once you have bought your property, you must register with the local authority (Padron) and apply for your NIE. 

The NIE does not grant you residency in Spain, however, as a British citizen you can only spend up to 90 days within 180 days in the EU. Therefore you cannot spend a day in Gibraltar and reset the 90 days, nor can you spend time in France or Portugal and return to Spain, as your 90-day limit is for all EU countries. 

This makes retiring to Spain more difficult, so if this is your intention, check the regulations carefully before attempting to sell your UK property and making a move abroad. 

Buying property, however, may help to gain residency in Spain as residency applications require meeting financial requirements and a declaration of intention to live in Spain. So by purchasing a house in Spain, you’re removing the cost of rent which would be factored into your income or savings, and show your intention to retire in the country. 

Homeownership in Europe Post-Brexit

Many European countries, including Spain, do not grant permanent residency simply by owning property in the country, and you’ll need to have an income or savings over a certain threshold to prove you can sustain yourself in Europe without needing to access public funds. 

However, some countries do make it easier to buy property and live full-time in the country, including: 

  • Portugal, which has a popular program called the Golden Visa, which allows non-EU citizens to obtain residency by making qualifying investments, including real estate.
  • Greece, which offers a Golden Visa program, where investors can obtain residency by purchasing property meeting specific criteria.
  • Malta, which has a Citizenship by Investment program, and property investment can be one of the qualifying criteria.

Check the requirements of each visa program before buying property and moving your belongings to Europe, however, as the financial threshold changes for each. 

How to Move Your Belongings to Spain

When planning to move your belongings to Spain, hiring a professional international moving company is your first necessary step to ensure you meet all necessary regulations regarding the export and import of personal items, and ensure your things are handled with care. 

Any professional international mover will know which forms you need for which country, in this case, you need a customs clearance for your export of goods from the UK, and one for importing goods into Spain. There is no customs clearance import form for moving to France, so make sure you know each country’s regulations before trying to move your things yourself. 

You then need to complete an inventory of all your belongings for your removal team, which, as of Brexit, needs to include:

  • The number of items
  • A description of each item
  • The weight of each item
  • The value of each item
  • The address of where the things are moving from and to
  • Proof of ownership
  • Proof of length of use

The value of your items must be based on their second-hand retail value, not the price at which you bought them. However, when moving your personal items, there are some exceptions to what you need to value them at for them to pass through customs. 

Customs and Paying Duty on Your Belongings

Although you must declare each item you are bringing into Spain on your customs declaration, you don’t usually need to pay any customs duties and taxes on your personal items. 

To qualify for duty-free importation, ensure that the items have been owned and used by you for a specified period, usually more than 6 months. Some items may be subject to restrictions or prohibitions, and specific regulations apply to certain items like vehicles.

Check with Spanish customs and your moving company for specific requirements, to ensure accuracy and completeness for a smooth customs clearance process and relocation.

What You Can and Can’t Move

If you’ve got your house in Spain and your residency has been approved, it may be tempting to simply load up a van with all your things and get straight over to start organising your new home. However, there are customs and immigration restrictions regarding things you can move to Spain, so you need to make sure you’re only bringing what you’re allowed when you make the move. Your removal company can also spot anything prohibited on your inventory. 

Generally, you cannot import the following items to Spain:

  • Prohibited items including drugs, counterfeit goods or offensive materials
  • Restricted items including firearms, some medicines, plants and cultural or historical items
  • Alcohol and tobacco products above certain quantities

If moving plants or pets into your new home, make sure they meet the necessary requirements such as having vaccinations or approval documents before trying to cross the border with them. 

Average Prices of Moving Your Belongings to Spain

 

So if you don’t have to pay much in terms of customs and duties costs for your personal items that are older than 6 months, the price of moving your belongings to Spain shouldn’t be so much, right?

Well moving house can be costly, and moving abroad can cost even more due to the increased mileage, customs and import fees and how many trips you need to take all of your things. So before you start packing everything up into a removal van, consider whether it’s cost-effective to transport all of your belongings or whether it might be cheaper to sell some furniture and buy new ones for your property in Spain. 

Bear in mind that you’re advised to pay for insurance for your items that are being transported, and you may need to pay extra for storage if your house isn’t ready when you arrive or for your removal company to unpack into your Spanish house. 

So when moving to Spain post-Brexit, make sure to get a few quotes from different reputable businesses before getting ahead of yourself. Each company should tailor their estimate according to your individual case, so you can choose the best according to their expertise and price. 

Weston and Edwards – International Removal Experts

Whether you want to export a full lorry or a part load, Weston and Edwards are expert intentional movers that can get your belongings safely from A to B, even if that means Aberdeen to Benicassim – or even Beijing.