Removals & Storage Spain / UK / Ireland / France

7 Biggest Mistakes

Avoid these 7 big mistakes when moving to Spain. Start your new life smoothly with Indalo Transport's expert guidance and experience.

Table of contents

Moving to a new country is an exciting adventure, and Spain offers a blend of vibrant culture, breathtaking scenery, and a relaxed lifestyle. In this comprehensive guide to the 7 biggest mistakes when moving to Spain, we will help you to avoid things going wrong. From culture shock to the complexity of visas and permits, we’ll explore these common missteps and provide valuable insights and advice to help you avoid them.

To avoid any mistakes, use Indalo Transport for your Spain move

Visa and Residency Mistakes

Underestimating the complexity of Spanish Bureaucracy

When considering a move to Spain, one of the 7 biggest mistakes people make is underestimating the complexity of visas, permits, and residency requirements. Navigating the Spanish immigration system can be daunting, and ignoring this can lead to difficulties in getting your residence permit.

Are you going for the Golden Visa program, or for a work visa, or a Non lucrative Visa? It’s vital to gather all the correct paperwork, such as proof of employment, financial accounts, and health insurance coverage, to support your application. Changing from being UK Citizens to EU Citizens means taking care of this vital step.

Not obtaining the necessary visas while in your home country

When planning on moving to Spain, you need to obtain the right visa while you’re still in your home country. By forgetting the visa application process or delaying until you’re already in Spain, you’re putting yourself at risk of difficulties and potential deportation.

To avoid this situation, get in touch with the Spanish immigration office. They can guide you through the visa process, provide valuable advice, and ensure that you have all the required documents

By taking care of the visa application in the UK, you can save yourself from stress and complications upon arrival in Spain.

Spain visa mistakes

Arriving in a Foreign Country before a permit is given

One of the biggest mistakes to avoid when moving to Spain is leaving the country before your permit or residency is officially accepted. This mistake can have severe consequences and potentially jeopardize your legal status in Spain.

It’s crucial to be patient and wait until you receive your NIE number and any visas, before making any plans to leave the country, even for a short trip. While we can move your goods to Spain at any time, Transfer of Residence tax relief will only be granted after you have the necessary documentation. Therefore it may be a good idea to keep everything in our secure storage in the UK until you are ready to go.

Trying to apply for Residency after moving to Spain

One of the most significant mistakes people make is trying to apply for residency after they have already moved to Spain. It’s important to start the process in the UK, especially if you are going for a golden visa.

Indalo Transport advises our clients to begin the residency application well in advance. This allows for sufficient time to gather the necessary documents, complete any required translations or certifications, and submit the application within the designated timeframe. By following this approach, you can ensure a smooth transition and avoid unnecessary complications.

Accomodation Mistakes

Failure to secure a place to reside before arriving

It’s a common mistake to assume that finding a place to live will be easy once you reach your destination. However, the reality can be quite different, especially in popular areas where demand is high.

To avoid this mistake, it is advisable to start your search for accommodation well in advance. Explore various online platforms, consult with local real estate agents, or consider engaging in expat communities to find suitable housing options.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the rental market may have different customs and requirements compared to your home country. Familiarize yourself with the local rental laws, lease agreements, and necessary documentation.

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Buying a house without getting a feel for the area

Purchasing a new residence in Spain is a significant decision, and it’s crucial to approach it with care. One of the most common mistakes people make is buying a house without getting a feel for the area first.

Indalo Transport understands the importance of finding the right location. We recommend our clients to visit the area they plan to buy a house in before making a final decision. Exploring the neighborhood and understanding the local amenities will help you make an informed choice. It allows you to experience the local lifestyle, connect with the community, and make an informed decision that you won’t regret in the long run. One of the nicest places in the whole of Spain is Mojacar, but we are biased, as we are based there.

Buying a House before renting

Another common mistake when moving to Spain is buying a house before renting. While purchasing a Spanish home may be your long-term goal, rushing into buying a house without experiencing the area through renting can be a decision you may regret.

Indalo Transport advises our clients to always consider renting in the desired area first. Renting allows you to get a firsthand experience of the neighborhood. You can assess whether it meets your expectations and requirements.

Furthermore, renting allows you to establish a more solid foundation in Spain before making a significant financial commitment. It gives you time to acclimate to the area and familiarize yourself with the local housing market.

Employment and Language Mistakes

Assuming you can find a job easily

When moving to Spain, it’s important to approach your job search with realistic expectations. Assuming that finding work will be easy upon your arrival in Spain is a misconception that can lead to significant challenges. It’s essential to be prepared for the competitive nature of the Spanish people and the job market.

At Indalo Transport, we understand the importance of financial stability when moving to a new country. That’s why we recommend you get an employment contract before moving. Use online job portals, connect with professional networks, and consider recruitment agencies that specialize in assisting foreigners in finding employment.

Additionally, it’s essential to be prepared and proactive in enhancing your employability. This may involve learning the basics of Spanish, which can significantly improve your chances of finding employment. Some professions may have specific certification or licensing requirements, so ensure you have the necessary qualifications or are willing to pursue them. Furthermore, having a well-prepared and tailored resume/CV that highlights your relevant experience and skills can enhance your job prospects.

By investing time and effort in developing marketable skills, you’ll increase your competitiveness and improve your prospects of finding employment in Spain.

Not Learning the Basics of the Language

Language plays a crucial role in adapting to Spanish life. Not learning the basics of Spanish can be one of the big mistakes expats make in fully embracing the culture.

Fortunately, there are several resources available to help you learn to speak Spanish. Consider enrolling in courses, both in-person or online, to gain a solid foundation. Practice regularly, immerse yourself in Spanish media, and engage in conversation exchanges with native speakers. Taking these steps will not only improve your skills but also show your commitment and respect for the local culture.

Learning Spanish is a valuable investment when moving to any of the many European Countries. It will enable you to connect with people on a deeper level and make the most of life abroad.

speak spanish mistakes

Cultural and Integration Mistakes

Not Visiting the Area You’re Moving to First

It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming that a place will be perfect for you based solely on pictures and descriptions online. However, making assumptions without actually visiting the area you plan to move to can be a big mistake. Each region in Spain has its own unique and diverse landscape, charm, culture, and lifestyle, and what may seem appealing on paper may not align with your preferences.

Visiting the area beforehand allows you to assess factors like accessibility to amenities, proximity to schools or workplaces, and overall suitability for you and your family members. It also provides an opportunity to connect with other expats and gain insights from their experiences.

Not Researching the Cultural Differences

Spain has a rich cultural heritage, diverse traditions, and social norms that may differ from what you are accustomed to. For all EU Citizens visiting Spain, as well as Non EU citizens like us, taking the time to educate yourself about Spanish customs, etiquette, and social norms will help smooth interactions and foster positive relationships with locals.

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Additionally, learning about the local festivals, cuisine, and cultural events can enhance your experience in Spain. Embracing the Spanish way of life and actively participating in cultural activities will help you immerse yourself in the vibrant way of life in this beautiful country.

Respecting the local customs and traditions in your new environment demonstrates your openness and willingness to integrate into the Spanish community. It fosters a sense of mutual understanding and appreciation between you and the locals, paving the way for a more fulfilling experience in your new home.

Embracing the Spanish culture shocks to fit in like a local

It’s essential to embrace any shocks as opportunities for personal growth and to help fit in like a local.

Embrace new traditions, delicious food, customs, and ways of doing things, and be respectful of the local culture. Engaging in cultural activities, participating in local festivals, and interacting with the community will help you integrate and feel more at home in Spain.

Understanding that cultural differences exist and appreciating them will enhance your experience in the country. Embrace the opportunity to learn from locals, share your own culture, and forge connections that go beyond the surface in your new life.

Lacking knowledge of basic Spanish before arriving

One of the biggest mistakes when moving to Spain is for you to lack knowledge of basic Spanish before your arrival. While English may be widely spoken in popular tourist areas, being able to speak Spanish is essential for day-to-day interactions. Taking language classes, using language learning apps, or even practicing with native speakers can significantly improve your ability to speak in Spain.

Financial Mistakes

Ignoring finances: budgeting & a Spanish bank account

Budgeting: Creating a realistic budget to control your money is essential to ensure that you can comfortably cover your living expenses in Spain. Consider factors such as housing costs, utilities, groceries, transportation, healthcare, and leisure activities. It’s also advisable to set aside some savings for unexpected expenses or emergencies.

Taxes: Familiarize yourself with the tax system in Spain and understand your obligations as a resident. Seek advice from tax professionals to ensure that you are aware of the tax regulations, deadlines, and any applicable deductions or exemptions.

Bank: Opening bank accounts is an important step to manage your finances effectively. It allows you to receive your salary, pay bills, and handle day-to-day financial transactions more efficiently. Indalo Transport can provide guidance on opening a a local bank account.

Euros mistakes Indalo Transport

Not having a budget for the cost of living in Spain

Underestimating the cost of living in Spain is a common mistake that can lead to financial strain and difficulties in maintaining a comfortable lifestyle. Consider factors such as housing costs, utility bills, groceries, transportation, healthcare, education (if applicable), leisure activities, and any other expenses specific to your situation. It is time consuming but important, and you may well find some things have a cheaper cost than you are used to.

Keep in mind that you can save money just by deciding on the region in Spain you want to move to. Major cities and popular tourist destinations may have higher living expenses compared to smaller towns or rural areas. It’s important to account for these variations in your budgeting process.

Having a clear understanding of your income, expenses, and potential savings will enable you to make informed decisions and ensure that you can comfortably afford the lifestyle you desire in Spain.

Administrative Mistakes

Submission of application without help & late organisation of paperwork

Submitting your application for visas, permits, and residency without seeking professional help and leaving the organization of paperwork until the last minute can lead to potential complications.

At Indalo Transport, we highly recommend seeking assistance from experts who specialize in immigration processes. Their knowledge and experience can prove invaluable in ensuring that your application is accurate, complete, and submitted at the right time. Professionals can guide you and ensure that everything is in order.

Not arranging paperwork immediately after arrival

Upon your arrival in Spain, it’s crucial to arrange your paperwork promptly. Failing to do so can lead to unnecessary delays, administrative issues, and challenges in accessing essential services.

The local authorities will expect you to obtain the necessary identification documents in a timely manner. Taking care of things such as healthcare, utilities, and banking immediately will save you time later. We have a checklist on what to do, with all the steps clearly laid out.

Being proactive in arranging all the different documentation demonstrates your commitment to complying with Spanish regulations and facilitates integration into the community.

Additional Considerations

Failure to conduct thorough research about the area you plan to reside in

It’s essential to conduct thorough research about the area you plan to call home. 

Indalo Transport encourages our clients to dedicate time and effort to researching potential areas of residence. Consider factors such as climate, cost of living, proximity to amenities, safety, and access to transportation. Each region in Spain has its own unique characteristics, and what suits one person may not necessarily align with your preferences and needs. We can move you anywhere in Spain, but you need to be sure it’s the right place before you take the plunge.

spain market Indalo Transport

In addition to online research, it’s a great idea to visit the area personally, as we mentioned earlier. Exploring the neighborhood and interacting with locals will provide valuable insights that cannot be gained solely through online resources. Furthermore, reaching out to expat forums can offer experiences from individuals who have already made a similar move.

Renting an Airbnb and not having a proper lease agreement

Opting for short-term rentals like Airbnb may seem convenient when initially moving to Spain. However, relying on such accommodations without securing a proper lease agreement can be a mistake.

Indalo Transport suggests considering long-term rental options and entering into a formal agreement. This provides you with legal protection and clearly outlines the terms and conditions of your tenancy. This then ensures stability during your stay in Spain. Long-term rentals often offer better pricing and allow you to establish a sense of community and routine.

When searching for rental properties, consult with local estate agents who have a thorough understanding of the market.

What should I look out for when purchasing a property in Spain?

Purchasing a property in Spain is a significant investment for expats, and it’s important to be aware of the following:

  1. Engage the services of a reputable real estate agent who specializes in the local market. They can guide you through the buying process, help you find suitable properties, and negotiate on your behalf.
  2. Conduct a thorough property inspection to identify any potential issues or repairs that may be required.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the local regulations, taxes, and fees associated with property ownership in Spain. The local city hall can help here.
  4. Consider the location carefully, taking into account proximity to amenities, transportation, and potential future developments.
  5. Seek legal advice to ensure that all paperwork and contracts are in order. Make sure that you have a clear understanding of your rights and obligations as a property owner.
7 biggest mistakes when moving to spain Spain fingerprint


How does the government work differently from my birth country?

Understanding how the government works in Spain can help you navigate administrative processes and ensure compliance with local regulations. Here are a few points to consider:

  1. Spain operates under a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, with a King or Queen as the ceremonial head of state.
  2. The government consists of a Council of Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister.
  3. Spain has a decentralized system, with regional governments responsible for certain areas of governance, such as education and healthcare.
  4. Familiarize yourself with the requirements for things like residency, taxes, and healthcare, as they may differ from your birth country.
  5. Stay informed about any changes in policies, regulations, or procedures. 



Indalo Transport can provide you with everything you need and make sure that you don't make any mistakes. An example of our stress free Spain moving service is here.

In conclusion, don’t let the complexities of moving to Spain hold you back. At Indalo Transport, we’re here to make your transition seamless and stress-free. Ready to embark on your Spanish adventure? Get in touch with us today and let us handle the details. Your new life in Spain awaits – let us help you make it happen!

One of the most famous places in all of Spain, Marbella. Read about it here.

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