Moving to Spain - need some help please!


we are moving to spain in the very near future after securing employment in Gibraltar.  We are aiming to live in Duquesa but have a few issues we need advice on please?

1 where would we open a spanish bank account? Can this be done online?

2 We have 3 children aged, 9,2 and 1.  The 9 year old will need to be in school.  How do we go about registering for school.  Can anyone recommend schools near Duquesa and who we might contact etc.

3 Internet provider - we have a family apartment that we will be living in temporarily when we get there but we will be looking to rent a larger place further down the line. Who can provide internet access and how do we go about this?

4 We want to bring both UK cars over to Spain.  What do we need to do about this, i.e. tax, insurance etc.

5 Do we need to apply for spanish driving licences?

6 could anyone possibly recommend a one way transit van hire from North East England to southern Spain?

Many many thanks for any help! :-)


I can answer some of your questions, or at least point you in the right direction.

It only takes a few hours to open a bank account.  If you take proof of your job contract or rental contract, and passport,  it should not be a problem.  Alternatively find an English branch for a Spanish bank and open the account before you leave England.

For internet, it will depend on whether your accommodation is connected to mains phone.  If not there are quite a lot of wireless internet companies.  If you look on the internet, you will be able to find a load of English speaking companies in the area you will be living.

As for cars, you can drive on British tax in Spain for a limited time.  And your insurance company will tell you how long you can drive on your current policy (usually three to six months).  After this you will have to either buy Spanish registered cars, or have your cars matriculated to Spanish plates.  This can be quite expensive, but cars in Spain are more expensive than in the UK, so it depends how much your cars are worth.  If you go online you can find companies in Spain that will carry out the matriculation process for you.  You can get a quote and then decide which way to go.  The only problem with not matriculating is you then have to drive or send your cars back to the UK which costs again.  The approximate cost per car will be:
Inspection from independent technico 120 to 140 Euros.  This provides your conformity certificate.
Itv (MOT) 80 euros.  This provides the first half of log book.
Second part of log book 95 euros
matriculation company fee up to 200 euros.
Import tax. This varies by the value of the car (which will be more than the value in the UK).  This will be about 20% of the value of the car.
On top of this you will have to pay local annual road tax and insurance.

I had a quote for an old Toyota Landcruiser to use on my land and for emergencies if my other car was off the road, and this would have been 670 euros plus tax and insurance.  If you do not already have adjustable headlights on your cars, you will also need to have continental headlights put on the cars for the IVT.

It might pay to rent your van for a week and buy Spanish cars when you get here.  Sorry if that has frightened you silly, but better to know in advance. 

Spain is a great country so best wishes for your move.

Brits moving to Spain have a big advantage. We are Europeans so our driving licences, car insurance etc. work for a limited period of time without having to do anything too radical. My advice would be to wait until you're in place. You may end up paying a little more in the short term for using UK services in Spain but in the end you will probably save time and money by checking out your new locality before you "sign up" for any particular service.

Bank accounts are best opened in person. No rush, it's a bit expensive on commission charges but your UK bank cards will work for a while. Better to check out which banks have machines and maybe offices near where you intend to live before committing to any particular bank. Using bank machines that belong to other banks for instance can be very expensive and you often have to go through the charges with a fine tooth comb to decide which account to open even with the same bank.

I have no idea about schools but if you walk into your local state school they will know. If you're thinking of going private then the Internet will tell you how much.

Internet will be a faff if you are going to move in somewhere and then move on. It's easy to sign up with a Spanish phone company but much more difficult to end a contract. The combined mobile, ADSL, landline packages are often quite good so signing up for a mobile with someone whose landline service you like the look of can work out quite well. You buy into the mobile service, use your tablet or mobile phone on as much free wifi as you can till your house is sorted and then you use the same company to increase your contract to landline, ADSL,tele, extra mobiles etc.

Cars are a difficult decision. Again if you are not worried about the miles on your current vehicles then why not drive them down, check out the local car market, look at the re-registration costs (Campogirl is dead right, it costs a lot to reregister,) and then decide? My partner felt she made a mistake selling her car in the UK. Things like the RHD/LHD issues are different for different people.

Driving licences is yes and no. You can drive legally on your UK licences for quite a while. You can also register a UK licence with the Spanish people if you want to hang on to your UK licence or you can swap it for a Spanish one. But there's no hurry.

No idea about the one way hire but when we did it we looked at all the options and decided that buying space on one of the removal firm lorries worked out best in the end. if you can find the local expat press for your new area there will be lots of man and a van type people offering their services.

You will need an NIE - the foreigners ID number to do almost anything but I presume you know that.

Hi and thank you for the quick replies!

Over the course of the 6 months... could yo do these things gradually?

Inspection from independent technico 120 to 140 Euros.  This provides your conformity certificate.
Itv (MOT) 80 euros.  This provides the first half of log book.
Second part of log book 95 euros
matriculation company fee up to 200 euros.
Import tax. This varies by the value of the car (which will be more than the value in the UK).  This will be about 20% of the value of the car.
On top of this you will have to pay local annual road tax and insurance.

I should add we have 2 cars:
1 BMW worth £18,000
1 Ford S-Max worth £6000


I found this information:

The easiest way to avoid this unnecessary hassle is to.... (within 6 months)
■Re-register your car.
■Change your driving licence to a Spanish one.
■Buy Spanish insurance.
It really is a simple as that.

If you are still in any doubt as to the legality of your car then simply ask your insurance company for a letter stating that they are aware that you are a permanent resident in Spain but that you are still driving a UK registered car with no Tax or MOT but they are quite happy to carry on insuring you on a fully comprehensive basis until the policy expires.

Once you have that letter, keep it with you at all times.

There are many Specialist Car Importation Companies that can do this for you, but most Gestors are also able to undertake this kind of work.

A special registration Tax of around 12% is payable which is calculated on the Vehicles Current Value (based on the vehicles original market value in Spain)

Don't make the mistake of thinking that Santander bank UK has any connection to Santander Spain. It doesn't and they don't talk to each other!

rosbentley wrote:

Don't make the mistake of thinking that Santander bank UK has any connection to Santander Spain. It doesn't and they don't talk to each other!

Hi, Not sure I understand that? have I said something which relates to Santander? sorry If I have missread somethin


Legally you can only drive a British car for six months before matriculating it.  But the time will depend on your insurance company which may only allow 3 months abroad. You will need to start matriculation before this all expires, but once you start you will be given a piece of paper to say it is being done so you can drive the car.  You cant do it in bits.  I am afraid if your cars are worth 22K in the UK, they will probably be valued at least 26K in Spain, so could cost over 5,000 euros for import tax on top of the IVT etc.

I agree that it may be better to hire a car locally in Spain and make buying a Spanish registered car a priority.  An alternative is to look around in the UK.  If you put LHD Spanish registered cars for sale on the search you will find plenty of places selling them.  Or if you think you would prefer RHD Spanish registered there are plenty of those about as well (not recommended if you do a lot of motorway driving as toll machines are on the left, and car park machines). It would also pay to go to a seller who offers to do your owner transfer as well.  You can find Spanish insurance companies on line as well so could just drive the cars to Spain and be legal straight away.   Make sure the car comes with all the documents, IVT, and emissions certificate and road tax.   One advantage is they come much cheaper in the UK as trade ins are worth less due to being LHD and the lower UK prices. 

Important warning.  If buying in England make sure you get all the documentation from the seller.  Or you may have to start again when you get here.  But it may save you a lot of money in the long run.

Just a last tip.  In some areas some schools give one to one lessons in Spanish till the child can manage in the general classes.  But this seems to be less common now due to the recession.  Unless your children already speak Spanish may be worth checking first.  Another option is for them to go to a school in Gibraltar if possible. They can then learn in English and learn Spanish before going to a local Spanish school.

Its NOT at all simple Mrupnorth.  And definitely not cheap.

Please reread my tips to see how complicated it is to matriculate(re-register) your car.  And in particular how expensive it is.  Even getting a professional company to matriculate your car will cost around 200 euros per car for the service on top of all the other costs.  I forgot to add on my last comment, you also need continental plates if your car does not adapt.  This can cost up to 500 euros per car depending on the make and model.

Thanks Campogirl!

This is great advice...

Can you confirm what documentation items I need to ensure I get, I like the idea of getting a LHD car in england!

Kind regards
Luke Davis


You will need an IVT (MOT), up to date emission certificate, and proof of transfer of registration plus insurance.  Also a road tax certificate (you don't put this in the window as in UK, but keep it in the car).  If you really fancy a car that cant be transferred to your name by the owner, perhaps because it is a private sale, there are sites on the internet advertising this service by English speaking companies.  But if buying from a private owner you MUST get the documents when you hand over the money.  If someone has lost them, and left them in Spain, however legal the car is, you will not be able to transfer ownership.

It saves all the expense of matriculation.  And you will be dealing with an English speaker.  As long as you carry out the usual precautions of buying a second hand car you should be ok.

I have an English car at present which I will have to take back in July as my six months are up, and I am seriously looking at buying a LHD Spanish registered car while I am back in England, rather than buying one here in Spain.

Hi hope you will enjoy new home over Spain and great life and about a van to hire is enterprise is the best I think best wishes
Sam .

Hi Campo Girl,

I now live in Spain and love it. I wish I had thought about car/bike before.

I brought a lhd spanish registered ford focus 1.6 tdci manufactured in 2009. White with aircon and sony music system. Not a dent or scratch on it. The previous owner was an English and in her older ages so it has been really looked after. Tinted windows also which I think always helps in the heat over here.

Its such a great car all new tyres break pads and disks. I then personally serviced it using castrol oil and air filter and flushed the radiator fluid for new decent coolant.. expensive yes but I like to know the engine is looked after. It has 60,000 km on which is like 40k miles!

But! I wish I knew about the Gibraltar boarder issues before. I am now looking to buy a motorbike and sell my lovely focus.

If anyone is after a very good focus with all the itv previous owner passport and contract in place please point them in my direction.

Im in no rush to sell but would rather it went to a fellow expat.

Would love to buy it but cant afford this manufacture year.

Best luck with looking for a bike.

You talked about opening a bank account and campogirl added some comments about Spanish bank accounts.


if you open a bank account with the BBVA bank there are no fees as long as you open it online and not in person.
you can also request a debit card online at the same time.

to summarise :iif all your transactions are done online this account is free of any charges.

i live in australia but i was in tenerife a few weeks ago and this is exactly what i i know it works.

oops forgot to say that when you are on their website there is an option for you to choose to do it all in english which is great if you are not fluent in spanish.

all the best.