Capital City: Madrid
Population: 48 Million
Official Language(s): Spanish
GDP per capita: USD 32,218 (2015)
Time: GMT +1
Internet domain: .es
International dialing code: +34
We are pleased to provide you with our guide on moving to the Netherlands from Dubai, UAE. Please make note of the special links at the foot of this page.
With a landmass of 505,000 square km including the Canary and the Balearic Islands, Spain is the 51st largest country in the world.
The history of Spain is rich and varied, with discovered remains dating back to 30,000 BC. North African and Celtic tribes settled in Southern Spain around 3,000 years ago whilst other areas of Spain were colonised by Romans and Greeks, among others.
By 800 AD the Moors established the only Muslim territory in Europe but within 700 years the Spanish inquisition saw a reunified Spain drive out the Moorish army’s in an attempt to re-Christianise Spain.
By the late 15th century Spain was a leading nation in the age of discovery extending its empire globally especially in the South and Central Americas.
In the 1930’s backed by Fascist Italy and Germany, General Franco’s Nationalist forces opposed to Communism ruled Spain until 1975 when King Carlos was anointed Head of state. Three years later the transition to democracy began with the introduction of the Spanish Constitution.
Today the government comprises 17 autonomous communities and two autonomous cities, which are accountable for culture, health and education. Spain is the 9th largest world economy.
Expats in Spain
The lure of wonderful climate, rich history and a laid-back, unhurried lifestyle, combined with a cost of living considerably lower than pre-financial crisis, have made Spain a very attractive destination for many expats.
Spain offers amazing food, culture, sport and leisure, beaches among other things, and also averages more than 3,000 hours of sunshine per year making it one of the warmest countries on the continent.
The crime rate is relatively low – around 35% lower than the European average, although figures are slightly higher in the tourist areas of the country.
Since 2002 the migrant population has doubled to around 6 million with many of these coming from Europe especially Britain, Germany and Romania. With the worlds second largest tourism industry, almost 60 million tourists per year visit Spain.
It is not all positive, Spain can be a bureaucratic nightmare, with long lines, endless waiting times and normally lots of phone calls required, especially if you do not prepare well in advance.
Cost of living (Madrid)
A meal at the standard restaurant is likely to cost roughly Euro 12-15 per person with a beer priced around Euro 3 and soft drinks around Euro 2 per can. A reasonable bottle of wine costs approximately Euro 7 and a coffee typically sets you back around Euro 1.90
At the local supermarkets a loaf of bread is priced around Euro 1, a liter of milk approximately Euro .80 and a dozen eggs roughly Euro 1.75.
Public transport in Madrid (and Spain in general) is very good. A monthly pass in Madrid is likely to cost around Euro 55. Taxis start around is Euro 3.5 and then around Euro 1.25 per kilometer thereafter. Petrol is relatively expensive at around Euro 1.21 per liter.
Accommodation is reasonable, although a little higher in Madrid. A typical 1-2 bedroom apartment in a prestigious area of the city would be approximately Euro 800-1,000 per month. Less desirable areas would reduce monthly rent to around Euro 600-700.
Basic utilities for an average two-bedroom apartment will be around Euro 150. Prepaid mobile phone charges are approximately Euro .17 per minutes and broadband Internet us roughly Euro 35 per month.
Education is taken very seriously with Spain proudly able to boast literacy rates of over 97%. The school year runs from mid September to mid June, with three terms in 11-week blocks. State run schools tend to have fairly large classes in excess of 30 pupils.
Schooling is compulsory for the age of 6-16. Children generally have more homework than the European average.
Primary education generally last 6 years. The school day start at 9am until 12pm after which there is a 3 hour lunch /siesta period with lessons then resuming at 3pm – 5 pm. Classes tend to be taught by a class teacher for 2 years and then a new teacher for 2 years. Kids are taught the normal, maths, science, geography, history, as well as a second language.
Secondary education is compulsory from 12-16 years old. School starts around 08:30 and ends at 15:00 however this can vary from region to region. After these four years, students can attend an upper secondary school from 16-18 years old where they study for the ‘Bachillerato’ certificate. If the student obtains the certificate, the overall performance in the exams help to determine which degree the student can study for. A Masters degree is a 2 year course whereas a Bachelors or PhD takes 3-4 years.
Special subsidies are provided by the Spanish government to private schools who have at least 25% of Spanish students, this is know as colegios concertados. The class sizes are smaller and children wear school uniform.
International schools are fee paying establishments offering multi lingual / multi curriculum education. Generally the enrollment process begins online. Previous educational records and certification will be required and once reviewed you will be contacted for an interview. Many schools have waiting lists so it is important to apply early.
The national health care system in Spain is well resources with many facilities throughout the country. Hospitals and clinics can be public or private, or in some cases both. Your eligibility for free/discounted healthcare in Spain depends on your status.
Entitled to free/discounted public healthcare:
- A person under 26 and studying in Spain
- A person staying in Spain temporarily and with an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card)
- Child who is a resident in Spain
- Woman who is with her child in Spain
- Spanish resident self employed/employed who makes social security contributions
- Recently separated/divorced person from a partner registered with social security
- Spanish resident receiving state benefits
The standard of healthcare is excellent and does not differ greatly between public and private institutions, however everything is accelerated dramatically if you pay to go private. You will suffer considerably longer queuing times and slower referrals should you choose a public hospital or health center.
Generally dentists are never free, although they are much cheaper than private dentists in most of Western Europe. A check up with x-ray and cleaning will cost around Euro 50-70. Other work is quoted by the dentist after a consultation and needs to be paid in advance.
When moving to Spain from Dubai, importation of Household Goods and Personal Effects
- Copy of passport
- Original Residence Permit
- Original Change of Residence (issued by Spanish consulate at origin)
- Detailed Packing list in Spanish with values (for customs)
- “Alta de Empadronamiento” issued by local authorities in Spain
- Duty Free Import application form
- Bill of lading / AWB
Certain areas of Spain can differ from above, please check with your mover.
Note: This document is provided as a guide for people moving to Spain from Dubai, UAE and for information purposes only. Customs regulations can and do change at any time, usually without notice. Your mover will provide you with more information.