Moving to Spain

I currently run a Uk LTD company and have for many years wanted to live in Spain and run my business from there. I am now in a position to buy a property in Murcia and would appreciate any advice with regard visas, residency and in particular any advantages if I was to expand my business into Spain by way of a foreign office or subsidiary company.

Contact Spanish Consulate London.

First, I agree with the comment on contacting the Spanish consulate. I think they would be able to provide and direct you on the best course of action.

I'm an American looking to move to Spain and have been doing some research on needs as well. I am not sure if it is the same for the UK, but, in looking at the rules for Americans living in Spain, it appears that the type of Visa required is dependent on work status. If I were to work for a non-Spanish company, I can get the non-lucrative Visa, would would allow me to live in Spain, and work for a company outside of Spain, but no a Spanish company. If I am looking to work for a Spanish company, I would require a Spanish work Visa and would need to find a job and someone to sponsor my Visa prior to moving. My guess would be the same rules may apply based on what you decide to do with your company and if it stays as a UK-based company, or if you expanded into Spain. This would further impact your taxation and hiring policies as well, I would assume. The consulate should be able to direct you to the appropriate business offices to determine what is the best course of action for you.

On a personal note, what type of business do you own and by chance are you hiring? As I mentioned, I am looking to move to Spain, and finding it "easiest" to go the non-Spanish work route. While I support the hiring rules and understand them, they don't personally bode well for me as a non-local, but again, I support their goals to hire Spaniards so can't complain. I would assume I may run into the same issues though with your company being UK-based and needed to have a UK work Visa. I haven't much explored that route, but thought I'd check and see if there was an opportunity. At the very least, I am as well trying to build my expat network to gather as much insight as I can into the best may to make the move to Spain.

Thank you for any insight and best of luck on your move.

Hi. I moved to Murcia roughly 2 years ago and like you i own a uk ltd company which i run remotely and in collaboration with trusted key uk staff.  In addition i also employ a Spanish person here to help with prototyping products. The move has been fairly straightforward re the uk business. My wife moved from being an employee to automino as this was tax efficient. I simply pay tax on my uk income but not dividends. Starting the Spanish arm of your business however will need careful consideration and planning. The operation and tax burden is very different here if you move to the Spanish equivalent. I would strongly recommend talking to a Spanish accountant about this as this is one country where you don't want to make tax errors of any kind! The government is not as reasonable or understanding on any subject and that is saying something. Doing business in Spain has been a lesson in patience and even with a Spanish employee i can truly see why businesses find it hard to grow here, for all our moaning in the UK i now fully appreciate how western governments help young or startups businesses navigate the early years, whilst here governments seem to hamper and penalise entrepreneurship,  which i find frustrating and sad for budding Spanish Bransons…  regardless im here for the lifestyle and in that regard i love my life here and cant recommend it enough…  i wish you the very best of luck…


Thank you for your comments, I run a small distribution company, specialising in polished concrete flooring chemicals and tools. I assumed it might be of benefit to branch into Spain commercially as a passage to gain residency, however, as you mentioned, I could simply continue with my operations in the uk and obtain a non lucrative visa. Alas, we are not looking at hiring anyone just yet.

Thanks Mfurber
I really appreciate the advice on this, the more I hear about the Spanish tax system, the less inclined I feel to expand. I think my original plan of simply living in Spain and running my Uk business is the most likely to pan out.
Glad you are enjoying the lifestyle and cannot wait myself to be over there.
All the best!

It's very expensive to start and run a business here in Spain. They get you with taxes and permits and inspections up the kazoo ... you will find it hard to pay the expenses . You really need a very solid business with a huge initial investment and expect to lose money in the beginning. People here tend to create relationships and affiliations with businesses so new places are often avoided, and even given a hard time . At a minimum viewed suspiciously. Once you have broken through that mentality and you have a good rep , you get loyal customers for life .
I wouldn't recommend trying to use your business as a way to get citizenship more easily.
Rather just get a non-lucrative visa if you can.

Thanks Kev5446

I'm giving a shout-out to Bulgaria. Flat tax rate of 10%, and pretty forgiving if you have a good accountant. If you're considering a European operation, might be worth including it on the list.

There is a fairly easy way to get residency for non-EU citizens if you have an existing, trading UK company (the TRO or Trade Representative Office). Once you have residency here, the clock is ticking... it's 5 years to permanent residence. And this gives you freedom of movement to live, work, or retire in Spain or any EU country, on the same basis as EU passport holders. (The only difference is you can't vote.)

So even if you have a BG company, or BG residence, you can still spend time in Spain and UK. And, of course, EU allows companies incorporated in any EU country to trade across the entire bloc.

We have a place in Spain, and I think it's a beautiful country. But I am more relaxed in Bulgaria, and I have ended up spending most of my time here.

Thanks gwynj

very interesting how varied the procedures are from country to country. Spain has always been top of my wish list though.


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