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6 Best Places To Live In Spain As An American In 2022

Ex-pats from Spain are attracted to Spain for many reasons. They love Spain’s rich history, beautiful cities, stunning mountains, and delicious cuisine. While some beaches are over-built with concrete highrises, there are still beautiful seaside villages. And Spain off the beaten path is a surprise: A gracious, fulfilling, traditional way of living that has survived despite modern advances.

How to get a Spanish Residency Visa

Tourists can stay for up to 90 days in Spain. After that, you must leave the entire Schengen Zone within 90 days. A residency visa is required to stay in Spain for longer than 90 days consecutively. These are the types of residency visas that you can get:

  • Permit for Student to Stay
  • Non-Lucrative Visa, Residency Permit (sometimes known as Retirement Visa)
  • Residency Permit and Employment Visa
  • Residency Permit and Self-Employment Visa
  • Residency Permit and Entrepreneur Visa
  • Investor Visa and Residency Permit (also called the “Golden Visa”)
  • Long Duration (Permanent) Residency Permit
  • Family Roots Visa and Residency ( Arriba).
  • Rumors suggest that the Digital Nomad/Remote Worker Visa will soon be available. It should be available sometime in 2022

You will be most successful with the Investor Visa/Golden Visa or the Non-Lucrative Visa/Retirement Visa.

Non-Lucrative/Retirement Visa Requirements

  • $27,792 per person / in a bank account
  • Income from investments and pensions of $2,316 per month plus $579 per month for spouse/dependent children. For a couple, this is approximately $35,000 annually
  • Renting income or salary is not acceptable
  • Spanish proof of private insurance
  • Clean FBI Report
  • Letter from the doctor
  • Consulates may also be able to add additional requirements
  • It is against the law to work anywhere in the world
  • You must apply to the Spanish Consulate in America

“Golden”/Investor Visa Requirements

  • Purchase a Property in Spain for $500,000 and more
  • You, your spouse, and any dependent children can reside in the same place as you.
  • Included is a permit to work in Spain
  • Required documentation: Financial documentation, FBI Report, Private Health Insurance
  • $500,000 must not be encumbered/no loan
  • The purchase must be made no later than 90 days before the application.
  • Can be multiple properties
  • From Spain, You can be able to apply for a visa to the united state.

You will need to visit the website for the Spanish Embassy in Washington DC to determine which Spanish Consulate is serving your location. Next, print the requirements and procedure for applying for the visa that you desire. You should check back every month as requirements may change.

Private Spanish Health Insurance

These residency visas require that you purchase private Spanish insurance. This must meet certain requirements, including no deductibles or co-pays and reparation coverage (having your body returned to the U.S.). Even with all this, private Spanish insurance will likely be cheaper than Medicare, Medigap, and Plan D. While some companies require that you pay for the whole year upfront, others allow you to start paying monthly after approval of your visa. Some companies won’t accept clients over 75. Certain pre-existing conditions may be disqualified from some companies. Google “Spanish private insurance brokers” if you run into one of these issues. Brokers will know which companies will accept you. Talk to several brokers. There will be one that can help you.

There are several private insurance companies in Spain that offer health coverage.

  • Asisa
  • Mapfre is Spain’s largest insurance company.
  • Sanitas: Sanitas is a Spanish subsidiary of Bupa International.

Many Spanish-speaking affiliates are found in international insurance companies. These three are:

  • Allianz Insurance, website:
  • DKV Seguros, website:
  • Generali,

A policy that meets visa requirements for a healthy couple of 64-year-olds living on the Costa del Sol in 2022 would cost $272 per month from Sanitas. That’s $136 per person. So, be aware that, the cost of insurance increases  As you get older.

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After one year in all locations, and five years anywhere else, you can apply for membership to Spain’s exceptional public healthcare system. You will need to pay a monthly fee to join the public system if you haven’t paid income tax in Spain for your entire life. The monthly fee for those under 65 is $60. It is $157 for those 65 and older.

Paying Of Taxes In Spain

You become a tax resident if you reside in Spain for more than 182 consecutive days per year. Spain taxes your worldwide income at higher rates than the U.S. You will also need to continue paying U.S. taxes. You are protected from double taxation by a treaty. First, you pay your U.S. taxes and then you file your Spanish taxes. The U.S. pays you the U.S. taxes, while Spain pays the difference. Spain has a wealth tax for assets exceeding $750,000 per person. However, it is not applicable in the Valencia or Madrid communities. Spain taxes capital gains. If you are thinking of moving to Spain, it is a good idea to sell your U.S. house before you do. Although property taxes in Spain differ by community, they are significantly lower than those in the U.S.

Obtaining a Spanish Driver’s License

The U.S. driver’s license will expire six months after you have moved to Spain. It can be costly and difficult to get a Spanish driver’s license. No matter your driving experience, you will need to take theory classes and practical driving lessons. Although the English translation is based on British terminology, you can take the written exam in English. However, the practical test must still be completed in Spanish with an instructor in their car. Automatic transmissions are permitted in some locations, but you will not be able to get your license for automatic transmissions. This is a challenge when choosing where to settle. Spain has a great public transport system that makes it easy to get around without a car.

Spanish Vaccinations Requirements

You must show proof of vaccinations, a certificate of recovery, or a negative test if you are coming from the U.S. To get to the airports, you will need to fill out the Health control form in Spain (here’s a link Acceptable are either rapid antigen or PCR test that is taken within the 72-hour period or 48 hours prior to arrival.

Moving your pets to Spain

If you comply with international protocol, your pets can travel to Spain without difficulty. You must microchip your pet with a Euro-compatible chip that can be read using EU scanners. This means that the microchip must comply with ISO standards 11784 and 11785. Your pet must have the microchip installed before they receive a rabies vaccine. Even if the rabies vaccine is still valid, it doesn’t count. the injection should be given to the pet at least 21 days before the travel date. You will need a bilingual health certificate that is valid for Spain for your first trip with your cat or dog to Spain.  There is an Animal as well as Plant Health Inspection Services visit their website to fill out their form. This form must be submitted within 10 days of your departure to Spain. If you are traveling with your pet, you will need to either accompany them or send an authorized representative. For more information about restrictions and procedures, check with your airline. To obtain a European pet passport, your pet can be taken to Spain by a Spanish veterinarian once you have arrived in Spain.

Searching for Accommodation in Spain

Search on websites such as  to find a place to rent or purchase. You can hire a specialist to assist you in making appointments, attending the showings, and reviewing the rental contract. The Google “relocation specialists” can help you obtain your embadronamiento so you can go to the immigration office. It is worth it.

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Banking in Spain

Online banking is required to open a checking account. This will allow you to pay for your housing costs and other expenses in Spain. Ex-pats are not allowed to open accounts at all Spanish banks. However, there may be one that is available in your area. You can ask your relocation specialist for the best one, or search on a Facebook ex-pat group. Before you get your residency card, your passport should suffice to open an account. Tell your broker in the U.S. that you are planning to move to Spain. If they refuse to sell ex-pat business, you might consider moving your account over to Charles Schwab, which has an exp-pat department.

Checklist On How To Move To Spain

Best Places To Live In Spain As An American

  1. Spain is a great place to explore. You can take several scouting tours at different times throughout the year. Before you can start planning your move to Spain, you need to be clear on where you want to live.
  2. Renew your passport. You will find your visa there so don’t forget to renew it soon after you arrive.
  3. You can convert dollars into euros and transfer them to the Spanish checking account that you will open.
  4. Get your documents together and apply for your visa.
  5. If you are planning to ship items, make sure to research shipping companies and their procedures. It is much cheaper to pay for additional baggage when you fly than it is to use a professional shipping company. Be a minimalist. Try to ship as little as possible. Everything you need can be bought in Spain.
  6. After your visa has been granted, you can move to Spain in 90 days.
  7. You have 30 days from the date you arrive in Spain to apply for your residence card at an immigration office. You will need to submit the same documentation as for the visa application. Your empadronamiento is a document that your local municipality issues that confirm that you are a resident of that area. You will need to present your lease or deed to the city hall in order for them to issue that document.
  8. Find a place where you can live.

Things you should know  about Living in Spain

Spanish people are kind and friendly and they love North Americans. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, you can still use a few words: please, gracias (thanks), perdon [excuse me], and no entero (I don’t understand). Most Spanish speakers can speak English fluently, particularly those under 30 years old and those who work in tourist areas. They are often happy to practice their English with you.

Spain’s climate

Spain’s climate is not very stable. The northernmost region, called Northwestern Spain, borders the Atlantic. It has mild summers and heavy winter rainfall. It is mountainous with the hills dropping to the sea. The Bay of Biscay’s chilly waters is warm enough to swim in the summer. The temperature range of “green Spain” isn’t extreme. If you like a cool climate all year, like Oregon, this area will be a good fit.

The interior of Spain has a continental climate with hot, dry summers followed by cold winters. Temperatures can reach 90 degrees F in summer, and dip to freezing during winter.

On the eastern Mediterranean coast, you will find moderately cloudy, rainy conditions with some spring and fall rainfall. The Balearic Islands experience cool, wet winters with warm, dry summers. Meanwhile, the Canary Islands off Africa’s coast have a tropical climate.

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How to get to Spain

Air Iberia, the Spanish national airline, offers flights from U.S. cities such as New York and Miami to Spain (Madrid. Barcelona. The Canary Islands. And more). Other airlines that are based in the U.S. also fly to Spain.

There are also many budget airlines that fly to Spain from other European destinations, such as Iberia.

Some of the most popular airports that serve coastal areas include the ones in Valencia, Alicante, and Malaga. These airports are located along the Mediterranean coast. The airport in Jerez de la Frontera serves Cadiz and the south Atlantic coast west to Gilbraltar. Santander and Bilbao are along the northwest Atlantic coastline.

Spanish Language

English is not as common as you might think, even away from Costa Rica. Although Spanish fluency is not required to move to Spain, you will need to be able to speak some basics. If you decide to move to Spain, you will need to be able to communicate in Spanish. While real estate agents are happy to provide property listings, their focus is on local interests and can ignore the language skills required to attract international clients.

While Spanish is the best language to learn for Spain, it’s not the only one. For example, most Catalonian people prefer to speak Catalan while Basque Country is home to a third of the country’s northern Atlantic coast Basque speakers. Galicia is home to Gallego, which can be found in the far northwest. Valenciano is located in Valencia (the provinces of Valencia, and Alicante) and Valenciano in Valencia. All Spaniards can speak Spanish fluently. However, shop and street signs in these areas are often in Spanish.


6 Best Places To Live In Spain As An American


Barcelona is a vibrant hub of culture, fashion, food, and sport. It is Europe’s highest standard of big city living. This modern second city in Spain is well-known for its 24-hour lifestyle. It’s also a popular destination for weekend getaways with Europeans.

 Costa Brava

The Costa Brava, Spain’s most stunning coastal scenery, is located between the snow-capped Pyrenees mountains and the Mediterranean. It is a beautiful area of pine-covered cliffs, and hidden coves, and the name “Wild Coast” means.

 Costa Blanca

The Mediterranean coast, between Alicante and Valencia, is warm and sunny for most of the year. It’s also home to small beach communities. Valencia, Spain’s third largest city, has a large-city feel with a beach to the side. Alicante is more known for its beach-tourism appeal, but a few blocks further inland you’ll find a traditional Spanish town with village-style friendliness.


The hub of the Costa del Sol is Malaga, an ancient port city located less than 100 miles from North Africa’s coast. Malaga boasts a vibrant, pedestrianized center, many museums, shops, and Moorish ruin ruins. It offers an affordable lifestyle and a warm, sunny climate year-round. It is easily accessible thanks to its international airport and quick rail connections.

Andalusia Rural

The hills behind Costa del Sol’s bustling resorts and condominium golf courses offer a glimpse into a more authentic Spain. The 31 villages and towns of the mountainous Axarquia region, high up in the foothills above Malaga, are great places to house hunt.


Granada, an Andalusian baker, pleasantly taps into both the emotions and the senses. It bridges Islam and Christianity and combines Jewish and Gypsy traditions. It’s hard to imagine a more spectacular setting for a city or a palace of a sultan than the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Foreign buyers love the compactness of Granada’s center.


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