Any advice would be greatly received

Hi  I am planning to relocate to the western Costa del Sol in January with my 85 year old mother who lives with me. I am a successful slimming consultant here in the UK and hope to set up and run groups in this area. Any advice would be greatly received - as you can imagine I am nervous about Mum but she is all for it and the sooner the better ! So even if your advice is "Are you mad?"   :o  I would love to hear it.
Look forward to getting to know you

We´re a good way from you, (northern costa blanca) but I would say - go for it!  Slimming clubs in English are very well supproted here - if you´ve ever tried to buy plus size clothes in Spain, you´ll know why.  Care for the elderley is generally down to the family over here but having said that, the national health is wonderful.  Your mum will qualify for it, but unless you are already in receipt of a UK state pension you  do not.  Beware;  if you are self-employed and want to do things properly, you will be expected to pay the Spanish equivalent of national insurance every month (which gets you your state healthcare, plus some unemployment benefit and contribution to a pension).  It may be less in Andalucia, but in Valencia it runs at an across the board 175 per month!  If you want private health insurance, go for a Spanish company.  Ours is Valencia based, and at age 61 it costs 1100 per year - covers everything from GP to hospital care and includes existing conditions.  BUT if you only have private insurance,you pay full cost for all prescriptions.

If I ccan help with anything, give me an email on [email protected].

Good luck!


Hi Helen Lancs

I do not know how the system here works for under pension age, but through experience, I can comment on health care for pensioners.

If mum is on any treatment, make sure she sees the doctor/specialist just before leaving the UK.  She will be able to stock up on medication free of charge.  Although normally you can only get 30 days subscription, if she speaks to her GP and smiles nicely she may be able to get 60 days to see her over.  Also she (and you ) should ask for your medical records and contact the hospital for records of any current treatment being undertaken.  You will need to take them to your local GP in Spain when you register.

About six weeks before you leave mum should send a letter to or preferably phone the Dept of Pensions overseas office and request an application form for an S1.  This is a statement of her British pension and confirms she is entitled to NHS care.  This is essential for her to get free healthcare in Spain.  You will need to make a copy and translate the form.  This may not apply all over Spain, but did for my region.  Take both English and Translation with you when you apply in Spain.

When you arrive here you need to go to your local adjuntament (townhall) and get an apadronimiento (padron) for both of you.  This is proof you are living in Spain whether you are a resident or not.  (You must apply for residency after 6 months but that is another thing).  You will need to take a rental contract, or proof of ownership of your house.

Open a bank account as soon as you can, and then you must take your passport, the padron and proof of your bank account to the police station to obtain an NIE.  You will need your NIE to purchase certain items, and also for signing for recorded delivery etc at the postoffice..  Depending where you are living you may need to go to the regional town for this.  Any local Brit will be able to tell you where you need to go.  Ask your bank for a form showing proof.  You also need a green card proving citizenship of the EU for your targeta (at least in Catalunia you do) which you can get at the same time as the NIE from the police station.

Go to your nearest social services office and they will give you the telephone number or web address to apply for an appointment.  The one in my local town had the details up in the window, but it may pay to go in and also ask for the reference code for your area and the office reference code.  If you have good Spanish you could phone them, or if like me you needed to translate very slowly, look online for the address you have been given, and then look for appointments.  You will then receive an appointment to go to the local Social Services office to apply for the tarjeta sanitaria.  After your appointment your mum will receive a paper document in the post showing she is able to get free treatment, which she can use straight away.  Then she will receive a plastic card to use.  ( I believe some areas only send the card but am not sure).  She will have to pay for prescriptions but they are far cheaper than prescriptions in England.  My average cost is a couple of euros each.

I hope this helps.  It can be very convoluted applying through official channels in Spain, but you get there in the end.

Good luck with your move.

I should have added, in Catalunia you do not register direct with your local GP.  We had to take our tarjeta sanitaria to the local Cat Salut to register.  Any local Brit or English speaking local will know where it is.  I don't know if it will be the same where you will be.

Best wishes

Hi Wetherbycat

Thanks for the advice, we have actually brought forward out move to October so I am in the middle of packing and sorting out the house etc so sorry for the delay
Helen :)

Hi Campogirl

Thank you so much for all the information I am sure it will prove invaluable

Helen  :)

Hiya HelenLancs and I hope it goes well that social security payment mentioned by Wetherbycat is a real bane to people who want to run a legit business. A pal in cartagena told me they were paying 268 (I think) but it was definitely over 250 and it costs more to add in any real benefits.

Wetherbycat are you certain about the health care thing? I know that in the past the only people entitled to state health care were either EU pensioners or people working and paying into the social security system. I though thought that had  now changed principally because of the number of Spaniards who had been out of work so long that they had "run out" of health cover. In order to cover them the Spanish Government had to afford the same rights to all EU citizens. I understood that anyone from the EU and resident was now entitled to state healthcare whatever their age.

It's not something I've ever bothered about much as I work and pay into the system.

I did check though after making this post and you're right or at least you're right in HelenLancs case.

The website is pretty clear but there's a joint UK/Valencia thing which is really easy to use and works as a sort of flow chart.

Hi Helen,

No worries!  If you need any help before/after/during, just drop me an e-mail at [email protected].  We live in the northern Costa Blanca, and you´ll soon find that Spain isn´t a country at all, it´s a collection of 19 (I think!) autonomous communities, all of which like to do things slightly differently.  But there are a lot of common areas, and you need to think carefully about taxes, driving, buying ... all different to the UK!  But good luck, I´m sure you´re doing the right thing.  When we were preparing to move, it was our intention to bring my mother (who was then 92) with us.  Unfortunately, she died the year before we came over, but I was making exactly the same plans as you are now.  We´ve lived here 8 years now, and never regretted it for  a single moment.

Lots of luck


Thanks for this I will check out the website, I have been advised to fine a Gestor when we get to Spain to help with all the forms and bureaucracy any thoughts?

Hello there Yvonne

I came across your post, and noticed that you are in Pego.

I am moving to Oliva in Nov/Dec 2014, and would love to meet up with people who live in the area.

I look forward to hearing from you