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flag Spain Spain: Living

In this page: Communities of Expatriates | Ranking of Cities | Renting an Apartment | School System | Health System | Tourism and Culture | Individual and Civic Freedoms | Religion

 

Communities of Expatriates

The Number of Expatriates
The census shows that the number of foreigners in the country represent one tenth of the population that is 4.5 million people.
Blogs For Expats
Expat blog
For Further Information
Directory of expatriate clubs
Expat-welcome.com
Immigration Authority
Interior Department
Transportation Companies For Moving/Removals
International packers and movers located in Spain
Gil Stauffer
Grupo Amygo
Contact the Embassy
Contact the Embassy of Spain in the United States.
Contact Your Embassy
Contact the Embassy of the United States in Spain.
 
 

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Ranking of Cities

Cost of Living
Madrid is the 105th most expensive city in the world according to the Mercer Index 2016.
Quality of Life
Mercer's 2017 Quality of Living Survey ranks Madrid 51st out of 231.
Sanitary Conditions
The health care conditions are good. The health care system is free but there is often a long wait.
For Further Information
Quality of Living Worldwide City Rankings –Survey - Mercer
Cost of Living Worldwide City Rankings –Survey - Mercer

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Renting an Apartment

Description of apartments
All types of accommodations can be seen in Spain, from a paying guest room in a resident's house to a villa with garden and private swimming pool. "The apartamento" corresponds to a studio. Apartment is said "piso" in Spanish. The "atico" is a lodging in the top floor just below the roof. The size of an apartment is determined by the number of bedrooms (habitaciones).
Normal Lease Term
The contract is open-ended. If it is drawn up for less than 5 years, it will be automatically renewed each year up to 5 years, unless one of the parties terminates the contract or its extension 30 days before its expiry date. If it is drawn up for 5 years, the contract can be extended by a one-year period up to 8 years, unless one of the parties terminates the contract or its extension 30 days before its expiry date.

The annual discounting of the rental amount can be fixed contractually; if not, the official rate of the CPI (consumer price index) is applicable. Some building improvement work done by the owner can lead to a further increase in rent.

Rental Costs

The guarantee required is usually a bank guarantee or another payment security.

In addition, it is necessary to pay off:
-
rent for 1 month (rents are payable in advance, from the 1st to 7th of the month in question),
-
1 month's rent or 10% of the annual rent if one goes through an agency or a property manager,
and get water, gas and electricity connections, if it is not already available in the accommodation.
Agencies or Private Rentals
There are many real estate agencies but their number is decreasing because of the crisis. To rent from an individual, refer the small ads in the local newspapers (especially the Sunday papers) and walk around the streets of the selected area to take down the contact details on the « En alquiler » posters put up on the properties (they are often placed by the agencies). This is cheaper than renting directly from an individual.
Rental Agency Websites
Buscainmobiliarias.com
Private Rentals Announcements Online
Loquo
Segunadamano
En Alquiler
Foto Casa
Other Possibilities For Accommodation
Staying as paying guests or sharing rooms is very common in Spain.

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School System

School Level
Public education is free and compulsory up to the age of 16 years.
It is made up of:
- Child education: from 0 to 3 years: public (or private) day-care centers (only paying type) and from 3 to 6 years: kindergarten.
- Primary education: 6 classes free with an assessment in 4th year
- CSE-Compulsory Secondary Education: 4 classes with an assessment in 2nd year and a completion diploma
- Baccalaureate or Professional Training: 2 classes with a final diploma
- Entrance exam for the « Selectividad » University or for higher professional education: 3 years of university studies or Professional Training with a final diploma equivalent to the bachelor's degree. At the University, the studies can be continued to obtain a master's degree or a doctorate.

Private education follows the same curriculum and is usually set. In Catalonia, teaching of all subjects is in Catalan.
International Schools
National association of British schools in Spain, International schools in Spain,
You can find the international schools in the National registry of schools by typing the keyword "internacional".
For Further Information
Ministry of Education and Science

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Health System

Quality of Healthcare
Spanish healthcare system follows Western European standards.. It is accessible to everyone, everywhere and free of cost except if you go and visit a private doctor.
International Hospitals
The healthcare system in Spain is generally of a high standard. Public hospital facilities are generally well equipped. For a list of hospitals consult this link.
Health Insurance
Yes
Accessibility of the Health Insurance Network to Foreigners
Possible
Health System Insurance Body
Seguridad social
Health Ministry
Food and Health Ministry

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Tourism and Culture

Different Forms of Tourism

Historical
There are many prehistoric sites (the Altamira caves). The eight centuries of Muslim invasion have left traces (the Alhambra). A number of castles, palaces, and medieval cities (Toledo).
Cultural
Spain is a country with strong Catholic culture, but also Muslim and Jewish culture, since these 3 religions have coexisted (Toledo).
Various sites registered in the world heritage sites of UNESCO.
Various museums.
Folklore and traditions present during the fairs or the various festivals.
A number of theatre and dance festivals, concerts, bullfights, etc. especially during summer.
Nature
Many natural and national parks
Religious
Pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela
Numerous churches, monasteries, convents, mosques and synagogues to visit.
Thermal
A number of spas the tradition of which dates back to the Greek, Roman and Arab occupations.
Beach
With a vast Mediterranean coast without tides and sunshine, Spain is a paradise for "sunshine and beach" tourism. In the North, the Atlantic coast, often steeper, is especially suitable for water sports.
Winter Sports
Spain has around thirty winter sports resorts spread across the Pyrenees and the different mountain ranges of this mountainous country. The most popular is Baqueira-Beret in the Aran Valley (Catalonia), the southernmost is near Grenada.
Outdoor Activities
Golf , big and small game hunting, river and sea fishing, sailing, scuba diving, horseback tourismparagliding, hang-gliding, rafting.
Theme parks: Terra Mitica, Isla Magica.
Many water parks.
Shopping
All the big Spanish cities offer significant options: presence of outlets of all the major Spanish and international brands (especially Madrid and Barcelona). Large shops El Corte Ingles, business centers, etc. Various products and artistic souvenirs can be bought during the fairs or markets.
 
 

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Individual and Civic Freedoms

Political Freedom
Total, except for terrorist organizations (ban on the political party Batasuna).
Civil Liberty
1/7
World Ranking of Freedom of the Press According to "Reporters sans Frontières", 2021 report : 29/180
Free Access to the Internet
Total
Rule of Law
Rule of law.
Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights
Respected
Women's Condition
Equal rights.
In fact, the prevailing male chauvinism leads to violence and murders. There are also differences in salaries between men and women.
For Further Information
Amnesty International
Global categorization of the freedom of the Press by Reporter without boundaries

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Religion

Degree of Freedom
Total.
Beliefs
Catholics 77% (50% practicing); Muslims, Protestants, etc.: 3%; non believers: 19%.
Role of Religion in Society
The Spanish society has been dechristianizing gradually since the advent of democracy. However the Spanish Episcopal conference is attempting to influence the political choices of the people. The teachings give a choice between catechism and civic education which is strongly opposed in the regions controlled by the right. The IRPF provides for an option to make financial payments in favor of the Church.

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Latest Update: November 2022