There are many reasons why US citizens decide to move to Spain. Whether it is the weather, the charm of the country itself or the search for new job opportunities, Spain is for many Americans the country of their dreams and one of the best places to move in. In fact, not only does it have all the necessary conditions for a special holiday, but it also offers a more relaxed lifestyle compared to the hectic life in the United States.
As Bcn Advisors is a luxury real estate agency in Barcelona, we are going to focus on giving you all the relevant advice if you are determined to move to Spain as an American, from the point of view of one of the fastest growing cities in the world: Barcelona. And the fact is that living in Barcelona, offers many advantages: from its privileged location near the sea, having also incredible technological centers in current growth as is the neighborhood of Poblenou.
How to live in Spain as an American
Do you know how many Americans live in Spain? There is no doubt that Spain is a country characterized by a rich and diverse culture, amazing landscapes and a dreamlike climate, characteristics that have made many people consider the idea of living there. If you are one of these people, read on to find out what you need to do to move to Spain if you are a US citizen.
What are the legal procedures in the United States for living in Spain?
If you want to come and live in Barcelona as an expatriate, the main procedure that a US citizen must follow in order to move to Spain is to apply for a visa. Americans are allowed to enter Spanish territory and stay there for a period of no more than 90 days as tourists, but if the desire is to stay longer than that, it is necessary to apply for a visa.
This visa must be renewed according to the requirements of the visa, once the time has expired. An American who has resided in Spain for five uninterrupted years is eligible for permanent residency, and having lived in Spain for ten years can apply for Spanish nationality.
However, there are a wide variety of visas for which the applicant may apply, the most well-known of which are:
- The work visa: any non-EU citizen can apply for this visa. Basically, this visa authorizes the citizen to work in Spanish territory.
- The investor or entrepreneur visa: a highly recommended option for those who wish to obtain a permanent residence visa. However, in order to opt for it, there are numerous conditions that must be met, specifically related to the amount of investment in the country.
- The non-lucrative visa: allows an American citizen to reside in Spain as long as he/she does not work in Spanish territory. In other words, he/she has to support him/herself with income from his/her home country.
- The student visa: this type of visa allows students to work and reside in Spain once they have finished their studies.
- The golden visa: this is a very special type of visa, where the American citizen must make an investment of at least €500,000 in a Spanish property.
What are the steps to follow to migrate from the United States to Spain?
The steps to follow vary depending on the type of visa for which you are applying.
The first step is to go to the Spanish embassy in the United States to find information about the necessary documents. Subsequently, you should fill out the visa application form and present it along with the required documents at the Embassy. Finally, the Embassy will send the documents to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Spain.
Once the application is approved, the applicant must collect his/her visa within the period of time specified by the Embassy. Once in Spain, the immigrant must report his/her presence at the police station in the province in which he/she is going to live and immediately apply for the corresponding foreigner identification number, as well as the residence permit.
This identification number is extremely important because it allows the immigrant to open bank accounts, enter into employment contracts, start a business, acquire property, register with the national health care system, apply for driving licenses, enter into utility contracts and pay taxes.
Three important things to evaluate before moving to Spain
Moving from the United States to Spain is a life decision that you have probably been mulling over for some time, and like any decision it is important to weigh up the pros and cons to determine whether it is worth taking the risk of moving to Spain.
When it comes to changing your address of residence as abruptly as moving to another country, there are three important aspects to consider:
The Spanish national health system (SNS) is one of the best in the world. It is highly developed and quite modern. If you are a citizen with legal residence it means that you will contribute to the health system by paying social security, which will allow you access to it. Illegal immigrants can only access emergency medical care.
The SNS offers an excellent service, covering almost all specialties and medical services, completely free of charge. If desired, health insurance can also be taken out. However, there may be additional charges for doctors’ visits, visits to the emergency room and the pharmacy.
Job Offers in Spain
In case you have already decided to move from the United States to Spain, and you are looking for a job in Barcelona, you should know that job opportunities in Spain are limited even for its own citizens. Due to the economic crises it has faced in the last decade, the immigrant population who see Spain as a possible country of residence do not do so precisely because of its job market.
Currently, the unemployment rate stands at 20 per cent. However, it is possible to find work in agriculture, construction and especially in the technology sector. You can even find a job if you don’t speak Spanish, although it is true that Spanish language can open more doors.
Professionals with excellent, highly qualified CVs, executives and systems engineers can opt for job opportunities in multinational companies located in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Seville.
Buying or Renting Housing
After moving from the United States to Spain, it is important to be concerned about housing, and knowing how to do it with the best realtor in Barcelona, is a good way to start. Property costs in Spain are very similar to those seen in the United States. They even experience the same fluctuations depending on what region the property is located in. An average flat located in the city center can cost around $2760 per square meter, compared to $2211 per square meter in the United States.
However, rents are particularly cheaper than in North America. Excellent rental properties in Barcelona city can be found for at least 50% less than they would cost in New York.
In our real estate agency, we have the best real estate agents in Barcelona, who will help you with everything you need: first of all, since they are professional experts in real estate markets and in particular, in the Catalan city of Barcelona, they will understand your needs to know what can best suit your particular case, as they know in depth each of the areas and neighborhoods. Then, they will accompany you with the process of how to search and find an apartment in Barcelona, so that you can enjoy a unique experience of your residence in this incredible cosmopolitan city.
On the other hand, you can also take a look at all our luxury apartments in Barcelona for sale, and browse through the different areas that this city has to offer. Doing a little research, you will quickly discover that we can find from luxury homes in the upper area (say you are looking for houses in Pedralbes or apartments for sale in Sarrià, considered 2 of the best areas in the upper area of Barcelona), or you want to be immersed in the technological development offered by the area closest to the sea, and look at apartments in Poblenou).
One-bedroom flats can cost between €250-500 in smaller cities, and €500-1000 in larger cities. Respectively, renting a 2-bedroom flat can cost between 900-€1800 (with the exception of Seville, where they can be found for €400); while the cost of renting a 3-bedroom flat can fluctuate between 1000 and €2000.
At Bcn Advisors, we are experts in offering solutions that adapt perfectly to your needs. In fact, we are real estate experts in the best areas to live in Barcelona.
As a luxury real estate agency in Barcelona, we manage the most prestigious properties in the city, choosing the areas that best suit each of our clients. If you have just arrived in Spain and want to buy or rent a property, we can be your allies.