Retire In Spain From USA – All You Have To Know

Photo Of Concrete Buildings With Small Shops Between Buildings

Do you love living in the sun and being at the beach? Do you like a country that has cheap food and accommodation and friendly people?  Have you thought of retiring to Spain? 

What do need to know to live in Spain:

  • Visas
  • Health Insurance
  • Accomodation
  • Safety
  • Weather
  • Food
  • Cost of Living
  • Entertainment
  • Language

Now that you know what you must know about moving to Spain from the USA let’s dig in a little deeper and discuss why.

What is the best place to retire in Spain?

Spain has many attractive cities and some of them have a very good combination of beaches and mountains. Cultural diversity and rich gastronomy have attracted many expatriates to Spain. Madrid and Barcelona are the most well-known cities but also the most expensive.  Most retirees go to the central or southern coasts of Spain as it is much cheaper and you can be within a small drive or even walk to the beach.

These are the best places to retire in Spain:

  • Barcelona
  • Valencia
  • Madrid
  • Malaga
  • Alicante
  • San Sebastián
  • Galicia
  • Bilbao

TIP: There are many UK shows that show you current towns and living standards as well as rental and purchase prices.  One such show is called “A Place In The Sun” and it has many spin-off shows.

Does Spain have a retirement visa?

Yes, Spain has a retirement visa and it is called a non-lucrative visa.  Having at least an income of roughly $2500 USD per month or $30,500 USD in your bank account.  This accounts for 400% of the IPREM which is an indicator that Spain uses for average living expenses.  For every additional family member on the same visa, this is only an extra $635 USD per month or 100% of the IPREM.

LINK: Spanish Living Expenses Current Amount (IPREM)

NOTE: These figures will change depending on the Euro to USD exchange rate and the monthly updates to the IPREM for Spain’s living costs.  You can check the current Euro amounts on the IPREM link above and then do a quick exchange rate conversion before applying for your visa.

The visa lasts for 1 year and then you have the option of renewing it every 2 years after that if you still have sufficient funds in your account or proof of income.  You can apply for citizenship after 5 years in the country if you really want too.  

To obtain a retiree visa in Spain it is necessary to have your paperwork in order like the application form, copy of your passport, recent photograph, proof of health insurance coverage, medical certificate, criminal record certificate, and proof of income.  

If you don’t know Spanish, you have nothing to worry about because the language test is not a requirement for this.  Once you get your local ID card on arrival this will allow you to attend free Spanish classes put on by most city council offices.

LINK: Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa Portal

Is retiring to Spain a good idea?

In short, retiring in Spain is a very good idea. Safety, good weather, and good quality of life are the aspects most valued by expatriates who choose to live in Spain. There is also a low cost of living which is to the same standard as the USA but 32% cheaper on average.  

Your living expenses can be much lower depending on the lifestyle you choose to lead.  There are heaps of activities to do and food from all over the world there as well.  You are bound to meet new friends from countries from all over the world as well while staying there.

The climate is fantastic with over 300 days of sunshine in most places in Spain… Generally, temperatures vary between 5 ° C – 40 ° C or 41° F – 104° F depending on the city. The winters are much milder in southern Spain where winter temperatures rarely fall below 10° C or 50° F especially if you are close to the coastline.  

Another advantage of living in Spain is the proximity of mountains and beaches. You can enjoy many maritime activities as well as hiking and other activities in the mountains.

Where do most American expats live in Spain?

The Spanish Labor Force Survey says that Madrid has roughly 11,634 people and Barcelona has 8358 Americans. This data is for the second quarter of 2021. If you want to know more about this beautiful beach city check this article Retire In Barcelona Spain: Beach, Culture and Lifestyle.

Do expats get free healthcare in Spain?

Access and care to the public health system in Spain are free for anyone who is legally in the country, including temporary and permanent residents and retirees.  The quality of this health care is world-class and better than the average health care in the USA. 

It is very important to clarify that you must be registered in the Public Health System of Spain since you must provide your social security number. For this you need:

  • Passport or valid identity document.
  • Residence certificate.

Once registered, you will be given your social security number with which you can access the benefits of free medical care.

Also, many of the Spanish citizens and expatriates have private health insurance policies, these usually cost between $ 60 and $ 240 USD per month depending on the coverage plan. Having private health insurance just means you get your own room in the hospital and get to skip the queue.  

Here are some national Private Health Care Providers in Spain if you want to get private cover:

Is it cheaper to live in Spain than the US?

Living in Spain is actually cheaper than in the US. It can be said that on average, the cost of living in Spain is 32% cheaper than in the United States. This can be divided into:

  • Rent in Spain is 45% lower than in the US.
  • Restaurants in Spain are 19% lower than in the US.
  • Groceries in Spain are 32% lower than in the US.

All these data are provided by Numbeo and may be way lower depending on your lifestyle and the city in which you choose to live in Spain.

Is US Social Security taxed in Spain?

The USA has an agreement to stop double taxation so if you are taxed in the USA and it goes into a US bank account you can withdraw this money in Spain with no penalty or tax.  It is always wise to check with your accountant to see if the rules have changed and at your Visa interview at the Spain consulate.

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