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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

I joined the forum a little under a year ago as my boyfriend and I are looking at moving to Spain. Well, the big scouting trip is almost upon us, as we are going for 16 days in November to check out the 3 main places we are thinking about living in for our first year, which are Nerja, Alicante, and Valencia.

I was wondering a few things. A) how is the best way to go about the fact finding "mission" if you will? I have told my boyfriend that one of the best ways is to meet actual Spaniards on our trip, as I would trust recommendations from them more than just searching about online. Of course this will require socializing etc.

B) would anyone recommend visiting real estate agents while we are there in the respective cities, and perhaps setting up a day to visit apts so we know what to expect so to speak. We would not be moving for at least another year and a half, but when applying for a visa it is my understanding that we should have a place lined up, or at least a very good idea where we would be getting one.

C) anything else we should do while we are in Spain in order to best decide what will be our plan of action once we are able to move.

All advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks so much everyone!!!!!

PS- if there is already a thread on this, I apologize, I could not find it.
 

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Whilst in Nerja, and if you are interested, I can PM you with some advice about estate agents here...

If you require work when you move over that could be a big problem as there really isn't much available, and what little work there is tends to go to the Spanish. Make a list of the things you would like to do when you live here and also whether you think you would like urban or campo living. Try and experience both while you are here, especially urban living as it can be quite noisy. Do you need to be close to an airport? I can answer lots of questions about Nerja and the surrounding area if you need it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Whilst in Nerja, and if you are interested, I can PM you with some advice about estate agents here...

If you require work when you move over that could be a big problem as there really isn't much available, and what little work there is tends to go to the Spanish. Make a list of the things you would like to do when you live here and also whether you think you would like urban or campo living. Try and experience both while you are here, especially urban living as it can be quite noisy. Do you need to be close to an airport? I can answer lots of questions about Nerja and the surrounding area if you need it.
Thrax,

Hi and thanks for your help!

Long story short re: work situation-my boyfriend got hurt on the job (NYPD) and he will be collecting 3/4 of his top pay disability-which will be around $85,000 USD. So work will not be an issue (however, I plan to volunteer immediately and work eventually should the Spanish economy turn around).

That being said, we "think" we want to live in a smaller city (alicante/valencia) or larger town (Nerja) for at least the first year, on or near the coast. Keep in mind that we consider Valencia small bc we are coming from NYC, I realize it is the 3rd largest in spain. We figured that it would be easiest to acclimate in a place that has access to most of the things we are used to-at least for the first year. I do think that my boyfriend will prefer a place like Nerja.

I plan on volunteering at a stable of some sorts, but I hear they are not hard to find no matter where you go (esp Nerja-I already looked that up).

Thrax, do you like Nerja? The prices seem right there for us. How is it in the winter months? I know it can be a tad touristy in the summer. I am under the impression that there are plenty of bars and restaurants. We don't need to be super close to an airport- from what I understand Malaga is not that far away from Nerja in terms of airports. Any airport that takes less than an hr to get too is pretty close in my book given NYC and it's traffic.

If you have a contact for a reputable real estate agent in Nerja that we can visit while we are there, I would really appreciate it.

One last question-How do you feel about Frigiliana? I know it is much smaller than Nerja, but the prices for 4 bedroom apts and cortijos are out of this world cheap ( we pay $1450 for a one bedroom in an outer borough of NYC). It seems very accessible to Nerja as well. Thanks in advance, much appreciated!
 

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Hi,


I'm living in Alicante city the past 6 weeks and it is beautiful. Very close to the airport and great transport(if you don't intend on driving). It hasn't been too touristy since I arrived especially compared to other places I've been.

Maybe others would have a bit more experience with estate agents as I only dealt with a couple and found my apartment in two days. Alquiler sin riesgos is the estate agent that I dealt with and I found them to be very helpful.

However, I used websites such as idealista.com, pisos.com and think spain.com to set up viewings but I wouldn't bother ringing until you arrive. But just to get an idea, it is good to look into it.

Best of luck :)
 

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I joined the forum a little under a year ago as my boyfriend and I are looking at moving to Spain.
Hi Katiebelle

What is your visa situation? Non-EU citizens can only spend a maximum of 90 days in EU Schengen countries at a time.

Are either you or your boyfriend an EU Citizen? Because if not, you're going to have residency permission problems living in Spain full time.

I'd strongly suggest you look into the visa situation for Non-EU citizens before you get too excited about looking for places to live.
 
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We figured that it would be easiest to acclimate in a place that has access to most of the things we are used to-at least for the first year.
If you think that you are going to find most of the things that you are used to in NYC here in Spain - forget it, unless you are referring to things like McD.

But why go and live in a foreign country to have what you have already? - come and see what is here, you may find it is way better than what you are used to. A must is to go round a few supermarkets and see what is on offer and the prices you will have to pay - look especially at the fresh fruit and veg, the fish, the meat. You may not find the same sort of range of fresh foodstuffs because, here in Spain, they do not believe in flying stuff halfway round the world just so they can eat something out of season. What you do get are foods that are really fresh and so full of flavour. When you go back, take Spanish olive oil - it really is the best in the world (if you are used to being told that the Italian stuff is the best, forget it, they import most of what they sell from Spain, add a little drop of their own and relabel it as Italian!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Leanne, thanks!!! So wonderful to have a name of someone to speak with, as well as someone who used them and had a good experience.

ZenKarma,

There is a lot that has to happen before we move there (including marriage)- we just want to get a sense of who/what/where we should talk to while we are there, should the entire situation come through ( in at least a year if not two down the road).

We would have to apply for permanent residency. We have already looked into this, and I have visited the Spanish consulate here in NYC to speak with them. If all goes well, we would have well over the minimum income required for a residency visa. However, we do know what steps we need to take to get one, and there is certainly the prerequisite spanish red-tape etc. One of those things is already having a place you will be living, so thats why the real estate agents were of interest to us.

This trip is to see if Spain is where we would want to be, and to establish a clear idea where we would want to be, and how to get situated there if we are granted a visa. Want to have all my ducks in a row, so to speak.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If you think that you are going to find most of the things that you are used to in NYC here in Spain - forget it, unless you are referring to things like McD.

But why go and live in a foreign country to have what you have already? - come and see what is here, you may find it is way better than what you are used to. A must is to go round a few supermarkets and see what is on offer and the prices you will have to pay - look especially at the fresh fruit and veg, the fish, the meat. You may not find the same sort of range of fresh foodstuffs because, here in Spain, they do not believe in flying stuff halfway round the world just so they can eat something out of season. What you do get are foods that are really fresh and so full of flavour. When you go back, take Spanish olive oil - it really is the best in the world (if you are used to being told that the Italian stuff is the best, forget it, they import most of what they sell from Spain, add a little drop of their own and relabel it as Italian!)
I didnt mean "things we are used to" in NYC so much-but like- an easily accessible market, pharmacy, dr offices that sort of thing. The reality is, nowhere on the planet can you really get things like you can in NYC- and I don't need/want those things anyway (like mcdonalds delivery-no thanks!!!!) Basically, the first year, with no car, we would want to live within walking distance to the necessities, instead of in the country.

One of the things I am most excited about is having seasonal fresh produce. I try to eat like that here, but its much easier when you don't have a choice.
 

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If all goes well, we would have well over the minimum income required for a residency visa.
And you realise you will not only be paying American IRS taxes but Spanish Hacienda taxes on your income as well? You'll also need health insurance cover as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
And you realise you will not only be paying American IRS taxes but Spanish Hacienda taxes on your income as well? You'll also need health insurance cover as well.
We are going to consult a tax attorney that specializes in this as soon as he knows for sure how much he will be getting. This is probably the most complicated thing we will deal with. However, two things. It is a government disability pension which is different from "income" if you are working-in both spain and america. The US and Spain have a tax treaty, so you cannot be taxed twice. If his income is taxed at all in america, it will be less than 10%. If he will be taxed to death by Spain instead of America (if America doesn't tax at all, which isnt likely), then we will have to research other options. What I do know is that you cannot be double taxed by spain and america, both at 20-30%. That would certainly be pointless for either country to have such a setup. Ideally, we would pay a small tax in America and not at all in spain. We will see though.

Health insurance yes, that is one of the requirements for a visa, however, that is unbelievably cheap (compared to the US), so as two healthy young adults, we are not too worried about that.
 

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Ideally, we would pay a small tax in America and not at all in spain. We will see though.
Not at all in Spain? You'll be lucky!

I don't know how Spain would treat a 'disability pension' but I doubt very much whether it would get any favourable treatment. At worst you could be potentially looking at a personal allowance of €5150 - 9,000 approximately and the rest taxed at 24.75% and rising depending on exact income level. You could deduct (or claim back) whatever taxes you may have paid to the IRS.

You have to investigate this really before you get too carried away looking at areas to live.

Just my opinion of course.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well I understand what you are saying of course, but we cannot do any of this until we know how much he will get and when he will be finished. All of this is in review by the NYPD.

However, in the mean time, since we are going there in November for over two weeks, certainly some other groundwork can be laid, which were mostly my questions here. Make no mistake, I was on this board in Jan and Feb and have gone through this with others, so I know what we are up against, and I know what sort of research I needed to do. Disability pensions are treated differently in spain as well as America, so, we will see how the two match up. I do know for sure there is a double taxation agreement between spain and america, and it was just updated recently actually. However, trying to figure out the legalities is not going to be my job, and we will hand that off to a lawyer as soon as it is all said and done.
 

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I plan to volunteer immediately and work eventually should the Spanish economy turn around).
Will you be applying for a non-lucrative visa or for a retirement visa? You should be aware that with either visa you are not allowed to work. But you can always volunteer.

Sorry I can't help you with advice about the cities you've mentioned. I live inland, near Seville.

Pension income is taxed differently than earned income both in the US and in Spain. Be very, very careful to get correct information when you look into how you would be taxed in Spain. Yes, there is a double taxation agreement but that doesn't mean you wouldn't pay tax in both places. Spain's tax rate is generally higher than the US's, and you'd have to pay the difference. It could be a considerable amount.

Good luck getting that visa! I think that will be your biggest hurdle by far.
 

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Government pensions in UK are not taxed in Spain. I don't know if the same applies to US Government pensions.
 

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Government pensions in UK are not taxed in Spain. I don't know if the same applies to US Government pensions.
Some UK government pensions are not taxed in Spain. The UK government state pension is taxed in Spain for example.

It's generally the UK government occupational pensions that are not taxable in Spain.
 

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Not at all in Spain? You'll be lucky! I don't know how Spain would treat a 'disability pension' but I doubt very much whether it would get any favourable treatment. At worst you could be potentially looking at a personal allowance of €5150 - 9,000 approximately and the rest taxed at 24.75% and rising depending on exact income level. You could deduct (or claim back) whatever taxes you may have paid to the IRS. You have to investigate this really before you get too carried away looking at areas to live. Just my opinion of course.
It seems to me, based on the information that KatieBelle has posted, that it would be considered a government pension under Article 21 of the Double Taxation Agreement, and taxable only in the US. You get extra allowances for a disability, in Spain ranging from €2316 - €7308, depending upon your level of disability.

KatieBelle, have you posted about before, either here or on another forum. ? I seem to recall a similar post. It was the amount of pension that rang a bell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
CapnBilly-
Yes! Good memory. Last Jan/Feb I joined since that was when we first found out they would be forcing him off the job due to his injury, and we were looking at places outside america that would be a good place to relocate.

I have lurked since, as I dropped off posting and should not have. I met some wonderfully helpful people on this forum. Since our two week trip is now upon us, I thought it would be a good idea while we are there to do a little research at the very least, in addition to soaking up Spain as a whole (which frankly, in my opinion, is the best way to do this research but I knew people here would likely be helpful with names of businesses/people!).

Yes, his pension is a government pension, and in addition to that is a disability pension, which is why I am very confident it will be treated differently-just HOW much differently is the key from what I can tell- and Zen is right, it is something we absolutely need to know, but just can't before we go in November.

Kalohi-Very good question. We would go with the retirement visa I think as you do not need as much liquid capital. For the non-lucrative visa you need $75,000 in the bank. While we will probably have a little over half that, and a guaranteed monthly income, a retirement visa is far cheaper. Obviously, if I decided to work, I would have to go through the process again, but I don't see that being an issue in Spain in the near future. If I don't need a job, and the economy is bad, I can't justify taking it away from a Spaniard, who understandably has first rights anyway. I do however want to volunteer.

If it turns out we will be taxed over 20%, than it probably won't happen at all, as we are better here with me staying at my job in new york city.
 

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Some UK government pensions are not taxed in Spain. The UK government state pension is taxed in Spain for example.

It's generally the UK government occupational pensions that are not taxable in Spain.
Generally the State pension is not referred to as a government pension (although of course it is) but Government pensions refer to any pension received by civil servants, teachers, nurses, police etc. They are not taxable in Spain and are always taxed in UK. I was wondering, as the OP's husband is receiving what we in UK would call a Government pension, if the same rules applied between US and Spain.
 

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Generally the State pension is not referred to as a government pension (although of course it is) but Government pensions refer to any pension received by civil servants, teachers, nurses, police etc. They are not taxable in Spain and are always taxed in UK. I was wondering, as the OP's husband is receiving what we in UK would call a Government pension, if the same rules applied between US and Spain.
Think i answered that yesterday.
 
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