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LIVING IN SPAIN

Where in Spain do all the Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans live?

G'day, kia ora and howzit to all our Australian, Kiwi and South African readers. Want to know how many of you live in Spain and where the most popular regions are for you to live in? Read on to find out.

Where in Spain do all the Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans live?
South Africans, Australians and New Zealanders - Where do your countrymen live in Spain? Photo: David Harrison, Anne-Christine POUJOULAT, Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

There are 2,805 Australians, 801 New Zealanders and 1,632 South Africans who reside in Spain, according to the latest government data from Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE).

Spain is certainly not the number one destination in Europe for these southern hemisphere English speakers, who tend to prefer to move to the United Kingdom.

But those who do start a life in Spain no doubt find a lot in common with their home nations, from the good weather and outdoor living to the love of food and the sociable people. 

Here are the Spanish regions where Aussies, Kiwis and Saffas are based and other interesting information they may want to know about.

While these figures are based on the padrón (town hall registry), and therefore may exclude Australian, New Zealand and South African citizens who have moved within Spain and not updated their registration in their new town or city, they do enable us to get a pretty good idea of where in Spain most of them live. 

Where are all the Australians in Spain?

There are a total of 2,805 Australians living in Spain. 

The majority of these (787) live in Catalonia, followed by Madrid with 507 and then the Valencia region with 335.

However, there are Australians living in all of Spain’s regions, apart from Ceuta and Melilla.

The regions with the least number of Australians are La Rioja with just 6, and Castilla La-Mancha and Extremadura with 19 each.

The Embassy of Australia in Spain is based in Madrid, although there is also a consulate in Barcelona if you want to find out anything relating to Spanish visas, work, study or other permits. The current Australian Ambassador to Spain and Andorra is Ms Sophia McIntyre.

There is also the Australia Spain Business Association (ASBA) a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting collaboration between Spain, Australia and New Zealand.

Australians who are missing their country’s cuisine will find several Aussie brunch places in Barcelona such as Federal and Caravelle. Federal also has restaurants in Madrid and in Girona. 

There is also an Australians in Spain Facebook group with over 2,000 members. 

Where are all the New Zealanders in Spain?

The latest INE statistics show that there were a total of 801 New Zealanders living in Spain in 2021. 

Again the majority of these live in Catalonia with 208 Kiwi inhabitants, followed by Andalusia with 119, then Valencia with 103. Like the Australians, there are no Kiwis living in Ceuta and Melilla, but there are in all other regions.

The regions with the least however are Castilla La-Mancha and Extremadura which are home to just 1 New Zealander each, followed by Navarre with three.

The Embassy of New Zealand is also based in Madrid and there is a consulate in Barcelona. Office hours are by appointment only and the ambassador is Nigel Fyfe.

Kiwis who are after a New Zealand-style brunch in Barcelona, should head to Little Fern

Where are all the South Africans?

According to the latest INE data from 2021, there are a total of 1,632 South Africans living in Spain. 

Catalonia is also the most popular region for South Africans with 420 having chosen to move to the northeastern area. This is followed by 287 in Andalusia, 252 in Madrid and 225 in the Balearic Islands.

The South African Embassy can be found in Madrid, where you can find information on visas and work permits for Spain. The current ambassador to Spain is Ms Thenjiwe Ethel Mtintso. 

If you’re hankering after some of your South African favourites, there are several places you can find South African bites in some of Spain’s more cosmopolitan areas such as Spice in Barcelona or Sarafina South African Kitchen in Algorfa, Alicante. There is even a South African restaurant in Catalonia’s Val’d Aran – Pinotage.  You can also buy South African treats such as biltong, droëwors and chilli bites from some Spain-based sellers, including El Toro Foods in Mallorca

There is a popular South Africans in Spain Facebook page with over 2,000 members if you want to find some of your fellow countrymen. 

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LIVING IN SPAIN

What changes for me in Spain if I get an Irish passport?

What happens if you're a non-EU national who has successfully applied for Irish nationality? What changes for you in Spain and do you need to tell the Spanish authorities about your new passport?

What changes for me in Spain if I get an Irish passport?

According to the British authorities, some 420,000 people applied for Irish nationality since the Brexit vote and around 25,000 of these were British nationals living in Spain in just 2018. 

Ireland’s generous approach to citizenship through ancestry means that it’s relatively easy for non-EU nationals such as Brits, Americans or Australians, who have Irish family connections, to get nationality.

But what changes if you want to move to Spain with your new nationality or if you’re already here?

Moving to Spain

If you want to move to Spain and you have recently gained Irish nationality you can do so just like the British did before Brexit, without any need to apply for a visa. You have the same freedom of movement rights as the rest of the EU citizens. 

Within the first three months of living in Spain however, you must apply for your green residency card and NIE number. To do this, you will need to show a reason for wanting to get your card, such as a job offer, buying a house or a car or proving that you have enough savings to support yourself, as well as private health insurance.

If you have a spouse or registered partner who is a non-EU citizen, then they are entitled to apply for a residence card of a family member of a European Union citizen or tarjeta de residencia de familiar comunitario.

READ ALSO – Q&A: Can EU nationals bring non-EU family members over to Spain?

Visiting  
If you just want to visit Spain with your new Irish nationality then you can do so with no need to limit your stays to 90 days in every 180 – as non-EU citizens must. There is no need for a visa for travel either. 

Working
If you wish to work in Spain as an Irish citizen, you can simply move here and start looking for jobs, there’s no need to apply for a work permit. However, you will still need to apply for your green residency card as mentioned above. 

Healthcare 
If you get a job in Spain or you become self-employed, you will start paying into the Spanish social security system. Among other benefits, this will entitle you to Spain’s public healthcare system. All you need to do to be able to access is to apply for your public health card and register with your local clinic. Here’s how you apply for your card in each region in Spain. 

Taxes 
If you’re an Irish citizen who lives to Spain for more than 183 you are considered a tax resident and must file an annual tax declaration (Declaración de la Renta), even if you do not have any income in Spain. This rule is the same for EU and non-EU nationals. 

Voting

As an EU national you are entitled to vote in local and European elections, but not in general or national elections. Find out about your voting rights here

What if you already live in Spain?

If you already live in Spain and then gain your Irish citizenship, you will still be registered under your first and original nationality.

Therefore, if you change nationalities or gain an extra one, you should inform the authorities. This will make your situation in Spain easier and give you several benefits, as you can see above. It could also mean extra advantages for your spouse and kids through the residence card of a family member of a European Union citizen.

If you are British and you previously had your green residency card, which states your nationality on it, you will need to exchange it for a new one stating your Irish nationality on it instead.

If for example you are British and have now become an EU citizen again because of your Irish nationality, you should be able to exchange your old green residency card at your local national police station for a new one stating your new nationality. If you were already a non-EU citizen, such as an American, you should be able to exchange your TIE for an EU green residency certificate instead. 

Your NIE number on the card is for life, so should stay exactly the same, even if you’ve changed your nationality, so you shouldn’t need to go around changing this with all the companies you’ve given it to.

However, you will need to get a new padrón certificate from your local town hall or ayuntamiento, as this also states your nationality.

Any other official documents involved with residency in Spain that mention your non-EU citizenship will also need to be changed by informing each individual authority.

One of the main ones, if you drive, will be the Directorate-General for Traffic (DGT), if you haven’t already exchanged your licence for a Spanish one. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way of informing them all at once.

Each body is likely to want proof of your new citizenship before they make changes on their systems, so there’s likely to be lots of paperwork, plus countless photocopies of your new Irish passport.

If you are working you should also inform your company’s HR department of the change, so that you are not incorrectly asked for proof of residency at any time in the future.

Travel

It may sound obvious, but if you want to benefit from European freedom of movement, you need to make sure you are using your Irish passport at the border to travel onwards.

You will also want to ensure you are using your Irish passport every time you leave and re-enter Spain, so that the authorities are not counting the days on your British or other non-EU passport instead.

Remember though, when you go back to your home country, you’re going to want to show your original passport upon arrival. If you’re from the US for example, you can leave Spain on your Irish passport and re-enter the US on your American one. If you’re from the UK it’s not necessary to enter the UK on your British passport, you can simply enter on your Irish one, however, it’s completely up to you. 

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