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Moving to Alicante from Melbourne Australia 2018/19

Thank you for allowing us to join your group.
My husband and I in the process of looking for an apartment to purchase with the view to moving out to Alicante soon.
I guess we are interested to hear from other expats about their experiences in getting residency, we hold British/Australian passports. How do we meet new friends who enjoy life in the sunshine.

What are the good areas to live in Alicante or the surrounding suburbs, looking for flat areas as we are getting a little older and stairs and steep hills may be an issue in the future.   

We are very interested to hear all the good stuff and any horror stories this group maybe willing to share with us.

Thank You

Deb

Hi there.I live in Sydney but have dual citizenship.All I can say is get ready for Spanish bureaucracy which is a nightmare.It takes months to get anything done.
I wish you well in your endeavour.
Marie-Christine

gorillapassion :

Hi there.I live in Sydney but have dual citizenship.All I can say is get ready for Spanish bureaucracy which is a nightmare.It takes months to get anything done.
I wish you well in your endeavour.
Marie-Christine

Hi Marie-Christine,
As we are planning to retire to Alicante/Spain, could you go into more detail about Spanish bureaucracy?  Have you tried to purchase property?  What exactly is the nightmare?
Thanks
Mary

Just to reply to the point about Spanish bureaucracy. It's true that some things can take a long time. Our local town hall in Alicante wanted to widen a road and they had to wait four months after the road was basically finished for the power supply company to move a pylon. A friend who wanted a divorce was bogged down in the courts, because her husband was fighting over the break up of assets, for about five years as I remember. Changing my UK driving licence took about three months but as I had a temporary one it didn't really matter much.

On the other hand many of the day to day things, renewing a driving licence, buying a house, getting an ID document, getting a phone installed, registering on the padrón, signing on to the social security are all, in my experience, very straightforward.

I work with youngsters for instance and getting a "sexual offences check" I did online in fewer than 10 minutes though, in order to do that, I had needed a digital signature. Getting the digital signature was a pain. It could only be done between 8.30 and 10.00 Monday to Friday in a particular office. So I had to drive to the office 25kms away and wait for maybe 10 minutes to get served. The document took another ten minutes and, once I was home I needed to put the code they'd given me onto my computer. No dout about it that's a faff but it's hardly a nightmare.

For the stories about life here you should have a look at the blog section. Mine is there but there are others about living in Alicante and the area.

I

Thanks Culbronchris,

Nice to receive a reply!!   Well hopefully the day to day bureaucracy will be straightforward.   Really in any country dealing with government offices can be at best a slow process.
Having looked through the blogs... many haven't been updated recently. 
Many questions on this forum are viewed but few receive comprehensive answers, sadly.
Again thanks for your reply.
Mary & John

Hi, I have  lived in NZ and holiday in Aussie  some  years ago, cannot compare, if I could I would go back to NZ o Aussie on a permanently basis, I would not think twice. Things are much easier no bureaucracy as far a paper work,  cost of living, housing, etc... I have been living in Spain for 14y, unfortunately due to family issues cannot move.  Best of luck.

Bugger :

Hi, I have  lived in NZ and holiday in Aussie  some  years ago, cannot compare, if I could I would go back to NZ o Aussie on a permanently basis, I would not think twice. Things are much easier no bureaucracy as far a paper work,  cost of living, housing, etc... I have been living in Spain for 14y, unfortunately due to family issues cannot move.  Best of luck.

Hello Bugger,
Wow, well we've been hearing that cost of living in Australia is sky high. 
Perhaps NZ is behind in that regard? 
Why have you to deal so much with bureaucracy after 14 years? 
It's very stressful to live as an expat in a country that you don't enjoy.
Hopefully you'll get a chance to find your way home!!
Best Regards

Great name that "Bugger"

Just on the blogs I live in Culebron so you can guess which mine is. It has changed style over the years because things change.

I was amazed the first time I went to get gas cylinders and they gas people asked me for ID, for proof that I was renting or owned the building that I was living in, that there had been a safety check on it etc. Nowadays that wouldn't surprise me at all. Indeed when I booked a couple of free tickets by email the other day I added my ID number alongside my name just like a real Spaniard,

I think one of the things about dealing with anything is the language. I had to ring the UK tax office the other day and the woman on the phone was very pleasant, She said that she too was hard pressed to keep up with pension changes and for some reason she used the expression pull their socks up. Now, just imagine I'd been a Spanish speaker with a decent level of English - would I know hard pressed, keep up with or pull my/his etc socks up? My Spanish is OK, I can usually say what I need to say but I can't always say what I want to say.

So I also made a phone call to a credit card company in Spain because a website had told me my card wasn't set up for Internet transactions. It had been. The woman on the phone was very pleasant (just like in the UK) but I turned up the phone volume because I was missing some of her words. We sorted out the online stuff easily but the card company has just sold out to another and they are in the middle of changing the plastic. The woman wanted to know if I had my new plastic - I do but I haven't yet received the PIN number and without the PIN number the card is basically useless. So I said no I didn't have the card. I did that to avoid the more complicated conversation that would have ensued if I had said  yes I have the plastic but I don't want to activate it yet.

The language and our lack of culture in the broadest sense conditions everything. Spaniards don't know who Barry Humphries/Dame Edna/Sir Les is and I don't know anything about Tip y Coll so having a conversation about comedy becomes more difficult. It's not easy to explain to the plumber what you want exactly so better to get an English speaking plumber or to fix it yourself. And so things become more difficult. And if you are lost a good explanation is not that your Spanish is a bit inadequate but that the system is inadequate.

Spain's different to the UK, for instance, but not in anything important. You are religiously free, taxes are collected, the roads are Europen safe, the schools are free and available, there are beggars alongside the Mercedes, the supermarkets have whatever you need and it is not the sort of place where you need to slip the official the banknote along with the completed form.

In reality it's a dead easy country to deal with. You can walk into an estate agent and they will sell you or rent you a house. You can get a car new or secondhand. Water comes out of taps, electricity is available at the plugs. The ice cream is fine. They have beer in bottles and on draught.

As to finding a flat place, a nice place, the right place I don't think you're going to be able to do it all from a distance. The old thing about rent for a while so you can scout around is great advice. Alicante is nice but, for instance, Cartagena has a similair character without quite the same style of tourist and it's cheaper. The coast is warmer, much busier and more expensive than inland. Inland Alicante has some towns with visible expat/immigrant populations (In Pinoso our town there are 500 Brits from a poplulation of 8,000) but  where I work in Cieza I think there were 14 Britons on the padrón out of 35,000 people or so. As you might imagine we have more influence on one place than the other. But I can drive the 60kms from Culebrón to Cieza in45 minutes because there is absolutely no traffic. It took me longer to dothe first kilometre of a journey from Murcia to home than it did to drive the other 64kms. On the other hand in Murcia city I can buy sushi, go to the opera or to see a pop concert. In Pinoso things are a little less frenetic and there's no sushi.

You pays your money and you takes your choice.

Hi again, the cost of living has been going up every month,  with 2700 NZ dollars, I was paying rent (house in New Brighton), had a car, food, etc  and still lived. In Spain rent alone can cost u 1000/2000e in Madrid, etc. Electricity very expensive around 200e (2 months), water around 50e, etc... and I live in a small town (around 4900 people).  Do not know costs in Alicante, but should be a bit cheaper then Madrid (perhaps but being a coastal city?).  Bureaucracy in certain aspects is quite bad. Just be sure about your medical care, here in Sp you get some free medical, but not entirely, my dad passed away about 8 months ago (Alzheimer) and we had to carry the costs (about 127000e) in a 6 y period. Left us quite bit and dry. So just be careful.  DO NOT COUNT ON HELP O SUPPORT FROM GOV etc... we had none. ( my dad had a foreign pension and we paid taxes here SP)
. Best Regards, carlos

Bugger :

Hi again, the cost of living has been going up every month,  with 2700 NZ dollars, I was paying rent (house in New Brighton), had a car, food, etc  and still lived. In Spain rent alone can cost u 1000/2000e in Madrid, etc. Electricity very expensive around 200e (2 months), water around 50e, etc... and I live in a small town (around 4900 people).  Do not know costs in Alicante, but should be a bit cheaper then Madrid (perhaps but being a coastal city?).  Bureaucracy in certain aspects is quite bad. Just be sure about your medical care, here in Sp you get some free medical, but not entirely, my dad passed away about 8 months ago (Alzheimer) and we had to carry the costs (about 127000e) in a 6 y period. Left us quite bit and dry. So just be careful.  DO NOT COUNT ON HELP O SUPPORT FROM GOV etc... we had none. ( my dad had a foreign pension and we paid taxes here SP)
. Best Regards, carlos

Hello Bugger
I certainly agree that anyone thinking about renting would really need to do careful research.   Rents are increasing everywhere here in Ireland as well.  Monthly rents are over €500 in rural towns/villages.  City rents well over €1000.  Utilities such as electricity are more expensive than your quote for a family. Heating costs are really high (€1000-€2000 per year) because we have to heat our homes for at least 9 months of the year!!
Health:
When retired, over 66 years, health care for EU citizens is supposed to be "free" in all EU countries.  Nursing Home care is not free anywhere I believe, unless you have no means, property or family. 

Unfortunately Alzheimer's patients care is one of the most expensive just for the fact that 24h care is often needed for many years.  After the persons death here, a percentage of the total cost of care has to be returned to the Government from their estate.  So many families could have  to sell their parents home/farm to meet those bills.   Again, how much money needs to be repaid is based on how big a persons estate is in the first place.   
"Our health is our wealth"
Regards
Mary

One tip, if you only have an Aussie drivers license then you will be required to take the whole tests and lessons again here. It is costly and time consuming, if you have a British license then it is a straight forward swap for now.

I agree with Mr Bugger, I wouldn't want to retire here if I had AU/NZ at my door step. I'd like a bit of sanity, logic and common sense in my final years. Heck I wouldn't mind a bit of it these days to be honest.
Spain is nice enough but do not burn your bridges in one go or over commit yourselves for the first years or two, make sure you have a fall back plan to return if you need to because frankly if you don't you may wish you did.

Hi Mary,
I think (my own personal opinion), it does not pay to move to any country, unless its imperative for any reason.  My personal story, its I am 60 y.o., had  my own savings, pension plans, had a future. With my late father illness, everything changed. As per Spain, a recommendation, do not work for yourself (self employed) what they call autonomo, because u have no rights to any sort of help (RAI, RENTA BASICA, unemployment, etc....), it does not count what you brought or bring into the country, for them while u bring foreign funds, etc....its all okay, if something goes wrong (in my case my father illness), u are left high and dry. Even the so called EU food program, that u entitled to they sometimes forget to let u know when its time to collect, but they do not forget to know they friends know the day and hour. Its better to come as a refugee then as a  normal citizen. They (refugees), get a monthly allowance, housing, food, etc.... on the meantime people that lived here for many years (me 14 with my parents), and a fully fledged EU citizen as  much less rights then a refugee. I am not writing about all the communities (Province) in Spain, but my about my own Province Extremadura. Regards Carlos.
Note. I am a IT Engineer, serviced a 4y apprenticeship with Siemens, other qualifications  and fluent in 5 languages.

Bugger :

Hi Mary,
I think (my own personal opinion), it does not pay to move to any country, unless its imperative for any reason.  My personal story, its I am 60 y.o., had  my own savings, pension plans, had a future. With my late father illness, everything changed. As per Spain, a recommendation, do not work for yourself (self employed) what they call autonomo, because u have no rights to any sort of help (RAI, RENTA BASICA, unemployment, etc....), it does not count what you brought or bring into the country, for them while u bring foreign funds, etc....its all okay, if something goes wrong (in my case my father illness), u are left high and dry. Even the so called EU food program, that u entitled to they sometimes forget to let u know when its time to collect, but they do not forget to know they friends know the day and hour. Its better to come as a refugee then as a  normal citizen. They (refugees), get a monthly allowance, housing, food, etc.... on the meantime people that lived here for many years (me 14 with my parents), and a fully fledged EU citizen as  much less rights then a refugee. I am not writing about all the communities (Province) in Spain, but my about my own Province Extremadura. Regards Carlos.
Note. I am a IT Engineer, serviced a 4y apprenticeship with Siemens, other qualifications  and fluent in 5 languages.

Hi Bugger,
Thankfully we will have retired from work before we retire to Spain.  Having had personal experience of a loved one who died after a long battle with Alzheimer's, I do know the high personal and financial cost of dealing with a long term illness.  Nobody can see what's ahead.
As for EU Food Program, what is that?   
Last time I looked we were in the EU but no food program here that I know of. 
Mary

Mary, its a food program for people who need help. because cannot afford to buy it, depends on the person or family situation.  Its basic pasta, rice, tomato frito, marie biscuits, milk, green beans, peaches in tin, tuna tins. The amount depends on the number of family members. But, no veggies, bread, meat, fish, etc.... should be available in every community, contact the social worker of the Ayutamiento. Regards Carlos

Hi JB80, tks
You do not know how sorry I am of leaving NZ, but I had no choice. I can twist my ear and the blood spills.  But do to facts of family I had to come back to Spain. Regards Carlos.

Mary if u need contact me at ***. Regard Carlos

Moderated by Priscilla 6 months ago
Reason : Do not post your personal contact details on a public forum for your own security

Thanks Carlos
You've helped to clarify some stuff.
Mary

Thank you for such a detailed reply. Chris and I are going to rent an apartment for 3 months next year and scout the area as you advised.

I am planning on booking an appointment with the Spanish consulate in Melbourne to arm my self with as much information on the process of gaining residency.

My husband and I are both very sociable people and are hoping to meet new friends for coffee/lunch/dinner and maybe a round or two of golf.

We feel Australia is still a great place to live, but would also like to be closer to family and dear friends and think Alicante would fit the bill.

Look forward to hearing more about living in Spain.

Thank You

Deb & Chris

Well, as we have loads of Catalan mates, theyve advised us to just be ourselves, Escocia and Australie, not Brittanic or Englese....
And we'll be alright ;)...perks they reckon

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