When to move to Spain?

When to move to Spain? Does it really matter? Well, it does. A lot of thought is due when preparing to move to a new country, and specifically to Spain, one item to consider is what part of the year would be best for you to move. It involves a bit of strategy. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you decide when to move to Spain:

When to move to Spain
Picture by Bichtran on Pexels

Consider the school year

For people moving in with kids and aiming to put them in a public school, keep in mind that even though the school year goes from September to June, the enrolling process for the public schools happens in March (in Andalusia; other areas of Spain may have it different, but it tends to be in the beggining of the year as well).

As this process requires some documentation, particularly NIE and padrón, it is advisable to arrive at latest in the beginning of January, in order to prepare the documentation up to March, enroll and then start in the public school in September. This means that kids moving to Spain will usually need to go to private school at least for one semester before being enrolled in the public school.

I say usually because I have heard that some people managed to find a spot on a public school out of the right time, but these are anecdotal stories; it would depend on the local administration and luck. Private schools usually accept students all year long, provided that they have free spot in the adequate school grade, but it is advisable to choose and check ahead, by phone or e-mail, before making the move.

Remember that I said at least one semester? Well, unfortunately, some areas in Spain are deficient in school seats, and this means that you may not get a spot in a convenient (meaning close to you and desirable) public school. If that is the case, you may opt for keeping the children in the private school for longer than one semester only. For more information about schools and price ranges, check the section Schools in Spain. I’ve written a lot on that. 😉

Taxes differ depending on when you move to Spain

Another interesting topic are the taxes. You are supposed to pay income taxes in Spain if you spend more than 183 in a calendar year in Spain, consecutive or not. This means you are taxable if you arrive to Spain for the first time in a given year on or before July second but, just as a precaution, let’s make it not before July 5th, ok? Just to make sure.

Anytime later and you are good to go; you will have to pay your taxes for that year in your country of origin, but not in Spain as yet. It is recommendable to verify this information with a Spanish accountant, as rules may change and there may be some catch I’m unaware of. You should also check the rules in your country of origin, to avoid having to pay taxes in two countries for that year.

Keep in mid that the systems in place to avoid double taxation work in a way that you present your taxes to both countries and simply discount what you paid to one from the other – you still have to present taxes in both countries and will end up paying the amount required by the country that charges more. Therefore, if you can avoid this hassle in your first year and give you time to find a good accountant, this could be a good way to go.

When to move to Spain? Not in Summer

Spain is a huge summer destination; pretty much all of Europe come enjoy the sun in the sunniest time possible, and Spanish people take their vacations on this time too. This means that accommodation prices are through the roof and services, such as real state agencies, public services and notaries are all happening in a slower pace, as the workers are on vacation, enjoying the beach right next to you.

It is best to avoid moving between June and August; end of September is ok, October is better.

Neither close to the end of the year holidays

The two last weeks of the year may be a bit like summer, in that they are busy times, with few accommodations available and slow work procedures. Best to avoid moving in during this period, or through the whole December, as inevitably you will stumble on the holidays before you are all set.


In my opinion the best time to come would be either in October – after summer; no taxes due, low accommodation prices –  or in January – after holidays; taxes for the year are due in Spain but not in (most of) the countries of origin; lowest prices on hotels or vacation rentals and good time for school procedures. If school is not a concern for you, then February, March and April are also good, but from May on it starts getting a bit close to summer, and you may face the summer blockages. On a personal note, our family moved in January.

Final tip: once you know when you want to come to Spain, you are good to buy your tickets. If there will be more than one flight, choose flights that have an interval of at least two hours between them. This is particularly important when you are going through immigration between those flights, as it is time consuming. Shorter flight intervals also leave less time for your luggage to be transferred from one plane to the other – remember there are several luggage pieces changing airplanes at the same time (how do they do it? Thank you luggage teams at airports, you do magic!)

Next: Checklist before moving

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