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Spain Expat Forum

Where to Live/Spanish Visa,

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bmcgeez4
11/20/2018 08:07 EST

What are some of the better communities for Ex-Pats in Spain? Neither my husband nor I speak Spanish so we would need an area where that wouldn't be a problem.

I have looked at the Embassy website regarding the Visa process and it is very confusing. Can anyone give any tips on how to begin this process? We are looking at relocating for 2-3 years.

drpack
11/26/2018 18:46 EST

I'd spend the next 2-3 years learning Spanish.
Moving to a country without having some ability to converse in the local language is just plain disrespectful, unless you are in dire straights and are seeking asylum.

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bmcgeez4
11/26/2018 19:15 EST

There are plenty of areas in Spain that speak English. I speak a little bit of Spanish and we are taking Spanish lessons right now. We do not have 2-3 years to spend learning the language so I guess we will just have to be disrespectful.

dbarnwell
11/28/2018 12:25 EST

drpack:

Estoy de acuerdo.

Though to be fair, these folks wouldn't be the first to move to Spain with no knowledge de la lengua.

dbarnwell
11/28/2018 12:28 EST

"There are plenty of areas in Spain that speak English"

I've been knocking around Spain for near 40 years now, and I have yet to find an English-speaking town, city, or village.

Gibraltar, maybe?
Not Spain, though it should be.

PeraEspanol
11/28/2018 14:48 EST

I am currently living in Jávea - it's on the Costa Blanca, south of Valencia. I struggle to learn Spanish because there are so many English-speaking people here. Maybe a third of the population.

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PeraEspanol
11/28/2018 14:55 EST

If you are in the US, the first step is to find the Spanish consulate for where you live. It should list all the requirements for the visa you are requesting. The longest time is getting the FBI clearance, but you can get clearance from your state's Dept. of Justice, which is probably faster. When I started the process, my first step was requesting FBI clearance. Supposedly that would be 6-8 weeks - but it was about 14 weeks! I was fortunate in that I could get DOJ clearance from California in just 2 weeks. The other major thing is that everything must be translated into Spanish - and then you have to get the translators' affidavits "apostilled" - which you can do at your state's secretary of state office. I started my process in early August (San Francisco consulate) and had my approval by Dec. 1.

sisepuede
11/28/2018 17:07 EST

For all it's worth, I found out in May that I would need to relocate to Spain. At that time I knew almost no Spanish. Since then, I have spent some time everyday with the language, and I can now read it somewhat. Writing, listening, and speaking will take more work. ;-)

I have also found Google Translate to be an incredibly competent crutch (good enough for me to communicate with my Spanish attorneys, who do not speak English). However, it must be used with a good work ethic -- the resolve to learn a few new words each day, so that we don't have to use this crutch forever. It does an excellent job translating from English to Spanish, but it is not as good at doing the reverse (commonly confusing pronoun references in the subject of a sentence). Once you understand something about the language, you will understand why this happens. There is also a surprisingly competent Google Translate smartphone app you can use when you're out; however, it does not work well in noisy environments, unless you type in the text.

FAIW, I think there may be a lot of Americans struggling with unfamiliar languages in foreign lands over the next 2-3 years (or perhaps 6 or 7 or more). From what I can tell, there are many Europeans who are understanding and who will try to accommodate us with our initial awkwardness. I have corresponded with numerous Spaniards about my situation, and they have all been wonderful, even despite our language barriers.

sdamazo
11/28/2018 17:23 EST

Many people speak English and I don't see why the distress over the need to learn Spanish at this point. I met a lot of foreign people enjoying Spain and having a great connection with Spanish. Probably your job offer doesn't need a great knowledge of the language, so learn it once you are there because it will be much easier.

chupanama
11/28/2018 18:33 EST

if you can choose just search for English forums and you see where the buggers a massed.
Benidorm in Alicante is nearly 120% British ;)
It will be not a problem.

dawnstarr
12/27/2018 15:49 EST

I have written quite a few articles on my blog about my move to the Costa Blanca area of Spain from California, including about lifestyle, challenges, residential visa applications, etc. on my blog www.starrtreks.com. I am happy to say I am just starting my 4th Spanish residential visa application, this time for 5 years. I will be posting on that process as it occurs. I also discuss other travel- and living-related issues from my base here in Spain. I am happy to respond to any questions by your posting them on my blog.

mishakaro
12/28/2018 06:25 EST

Costa del Sol is chalk-a-block full of English speaking communities, from Nerja in the east to Gibraltar in the west (200 kms). To be fair, it's also the most popular resort area in Spain, as snow and cold weather is as rear as a great Trump idea! (LOL) Hundreds of thousands of Brits make this area a retirement destination. Because of this, many Spaniards learn a basic English which ends up detouring people from actually learning the Spanish language.


Now that is something disrespectful in my mind, especially if your are living there for more than a year. Otherwise, you'll be watching Spanish life from a distance without a clue of what's actually going on.


If living near Malaga, you'll have an international airport within minutes of you, as well as big city culture. Once you leave the coast, Spanish will likely be necessary, especially when combing the mountains and countryside.


Just do some google searches and start to figure out what community best meets your needs, starting with the wonderful weblinks included on this webpage.


Good luck and have fun in the research.

Luned
1/11/2019 17:47 EST

Hi Dawn,

I checked out your blog. Thanks for all the info there. I was wondering if the income requirement for retirees is set in stone. I will be getting enough to live on, but less than their requirement. Do you, or does anyone, know if you can get visa approval if you're only bringing in about 20k euros a year?

Thanks!

Expated
1/12/2019 01:03 EST

No, the income is not written in stone. We landed here seven years ago and I had no SS at that time but my wife did. We did however have significant savings and were readily approved

dawnstarr
1/13/2019 10:45 EST

Luned: The last I checked, the requirement was 25560 Euros needed per year to qualify for a Spanish visa; 3690 for each additional family member. I met the minimum requirement, so I don't know if they make exceptions. You may want to contact a "gestor," a professional whose job is to help people (Spanish and foreigners) negotiate the complicated requirements for various legal tasks here in Spain. Buena suerte.

northofyou
1/28/2019 04:07 EST

Dawn, thanks for that info. Any advice on how to go about finding a gestor? Gracias.

northofyou
1/28/2019 04:07 EST

Dawn, thanks for that info. Any advice on how to go about finding a gestor? Gracias.

dawnstarr
1/28/2019 10:48 EST

I forget where you are located; please remind me. I correspond with quite a few folks

dawnstarr
1/28/2019 10:49 EST

I forget where you are located; please remind me. I correspond with quite a few folks

PeraEspanol
1/30/2019 14:49 EST

Are you responding to me? Diane? I'm in Jávea. I was trying to correspond privately and sent you an email on 28 january to your private address.

Luned
1/31/2019 00:43 EST

Hi Dawn,

If you were talking to me, I'm in Los Angeles.

Luned
1/31/2019 00:44 EST

Hi Dawn,

If you were talking to me, I'm in Los Angeles.

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