Moving to Spain

Spain is one of the most desirable countries to live in, thanks to its culture, climate, and cuisine, to name but a few. But what do you need to live in Spain? Is residency hard to get? We’ll answer these questions and more.
Spanish flag and barcode.

Your checklist on moving to Spain

Download your checklist here
infographic shows the needed 8 steps to move to Spain.

No two experiences are alike, which is why the information in the infographic above is for general reference only. Processes and procedures may differ depending on your situation, which is why it’s important to conduct your own research, and seek professional advice as needed. Oh, and the creators of this infographic are not liable for any errors or damages resulting from its use.

1. Apply for your residency permit

This is the first step—and perhaps the most difficult, as it depends on multiple factors to get residency in Spain. When it comes to duration, the residency may be temporary or permanent, and there are different types: residency as a student, an entrepreneur, and a highly qualified professional.You can opt for any of them if you meet the requirements—but whichever you choose, you must complete this process in order to reside legally in the country.
illustration of residency.

2. Check rental requirements

With your residency permit in hand, you’re ready to choose a place to rent. However, finding a place in Spain isn’t easy—and to rent a place safely, you’ll need several documents throughout the process.Madrid and Barcelona are among the most expensive areas to rent in Spain, with rentals starting around €850, while the most affordable apartments in the country are in Ourense (starting at €350) and Castellón (starting at €400).
illustration of someone looking for home.

3. Register for Social Security

Social Securityis how you access most of the benefits of living in Spain: free health care, pensions, etc.There are different ways of registering according to your particular situation in the country, so take a good look at your case and bear it in mind before emigrating to Spain.
illustration of health insurance.

4. Get an NIE

The NIE (Foreigner Identity Number) is the number identifying any foreigner residing in Spain. It is equivalent to the DNI (National Identity Document) for Spanish nationals.It’s a number that you’ll be asked for in order to complete most formalities in the country—for example, from opening a bank account to taking out medical insurance—so make sure it’s on your list of priorities.
illustration NIE.

5. Register on the Electoral Roll

If you’re not on the Electoral Roll, you don’t exist (at least not to the Council). This register keeps tabs on all the residents in an area, in addition to verifying the length of residence of each individual in Spain.Failure to register could result in a fine of up to €150, so keep this procedure in mind—both for your sake and the sake of your wallet.
illustration of italian visa.

6. Get a TIE

The TIE (Foreigner Identity Card) is the document verifying that you have permission to legally stay in Spain. It shows your photo, your details, and the type of residency that you have in the country.Although many people get them confused, the TIE is not the same as the NIE. The TIE verifies that you are a legal resident in Spain, while the NIE is just an identification number at the administrative level.
illustration TIE.

7. Understand the cost of living

Most people worry about getting to Spain but not about the costs, which are essential for making ends meet. Prices vary a lot depending on the area, mostly in terms of public transport and accommodation, but other expenses are more standard.To give you a ballpark figure, your new life in Spain could cost you between €820 and €1,100 per month, per person.
illustration of cost of life.

8. Get to know the special procedures for self-employment

If you’re an entrepreneur at heart, you should know that there are different procedures to register as self-employed in Spain. Like everything, there are advantages and disadvantages compared to working for a company.Being a foreigner, you’ll have to meet certain criteria such as not residing irregularly in the country, not having a criminal record, and having sufficient financial resources for your upkeep and accommodation, among other things.
illustration of a freelancer.

9. Learn about the different types of taxes

If you thought you’d see the end of taxes, we’re sorry to disappoint you: They’ll be part of your journey in emigrating to Spain too. Based on your situation in the country, you’ll have to pay some taxes but not others. Most types of taxes are paid by everyone, but other taxes relate to special situations (self-employed people, for example).Before landing, it’s worth starting to get to know them and doing the math.
image of two N26 subaccount showing the "main account" and "Taxes" spaces to budget money.

10. Get to know the different types of work contracts

Spain is a country with many employment opportunities and different ways to earn a living, which translates into different contract models. It’s a good idea to take a look at them and get to know which fits your situation best.The most important thing is to understand that you have the same labor rights and obligations as any Spanish national, beyond the fact that you have to present documentation related to your residency to be able to apply for a job.
illustration of working contracts.

Opening a bank account in Spain

If you’re planning to move to Spain, opening a bank account will almost certainly make your life easier once you get there. Even if you don’t need it for your day-to-day expenses, you’ll quickly realize that a Spanish bank account is a must for paying taxes and bills, receiving your paycheck, or buying real estate in Spain.

Find a plan for you

N26 Standard

The free* online bank account

The N26 virtual card.
Virtual Card


  • A virtual debit card

  • Free payments worldwide

  • Up to 3 free withdraws

  • Deposit protection

N26 Smart

The bank account that gives you more control

N26 You card, Teal.
N26 You card, Ash.
N26 You card, Wheat.
N26 You card, Petrol.
N26 You card, Rhubarb.


  • Free Virtual Card

  • Up to 10 Spaces sub-accounts

  • Support Center phone number

  • Round-ups


N26 You

The debit card for everyday and travel

N26 You card, Rhubarb.
N26 You card, Petrol.
N26 You card, Wheat.
N26 You card, Ash.
N26 You card, Teal.


  • Up to 5 free withdrawals in the Eurozone

  • Flight and luggage delay cover

  • Medical emergency cover

  • Winter activities insurance

  • Pandemic coverage

N26 Metal

The premium account with a metal card

N26 Metal - Slate Grey.
N26 Metal - Charcoal Black.
Quartz Rose - N26 Metal Card.


  • An 18-gram metal card

  • Up to 8 free withdrawals in the Eurozone

  • Purchase protection

  • Phone insurance

  • Dedicated N26 Metal line

Learn more about moving to Spain

a woman walking with a suitcase in the airport.

How do you move to another country? 6 steps to get you ready for moving abroad

If you’re thinking of moving abroad, read on to discover our checklist of what to consider before starting your big adventure.

A person carrying boxes during a move.

Moving Cost Calculator

The easiest way to get an estimate for your move with our moving cost calculator.

Man dressed in a casual style and crossing a street in Madrid.

An Expat’s Guide: how to open a bank account in Spain

Expats take note: read this guide to discover how surprisingly easy it can be to open a bank account in Spain.

Being expat in another country

German flag and barcode.

Moving to Germany: The Complete Guide and Checklist

From getting health insurance, to opening a bank account and renting an apartment: We got you covered with our guide on moving to Germany.

French flag and barcode.

Moving to France: a Practical How-to Guide

Planning to move to France? Read our articles to get the need-to-know info before you go — so you can focus on settling into your new home country.

Italian flag and barcode.

Move to Italy: 6 things to know before moving

Thinking of moving to Italy? Before embarking on the trip, you should read this guide, covering all the needs and obstacles you might face when moving to Italy.