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MOVING TO SPAIN

Can Brits move to Spain with their pets post-Brexit?

For pet owners, leaving a beloved member of their family behind when they move is not an option. Find out if you can take your pet with you when you move from the UK to Spain post-Brexit and what it may involve.

Can Brits move to Spain with their pets post-Brexit?
Can Brits move to Spain with their pets? Photo: sarandy westfall / Unsplash

Moving countries is an exciting, yet stressful time when there are so many factors to consider, such as visas, housing, jobs and transporting your belongings. For many Brits, this also includes having to think about their furry friends and wondering whether they can take bring to Spain when they move. 

Luckily the answer is yes, it is still possible to move from the UK to Spain with your pet, however, because of Brexit, the process become a little more complicated and there are several hoops you have to jump through in order to get them here.

Firstly, the rules will depend on what type of pet you have. Most general rules apply to dogs, cats and ferrets.

If you’re trying to move with a bird such as a parrot or a reptile such as a pet snake, lizard or turtle, the process may be even more complicated and more documentation will be needed.

It will also depend on which region of Spain you’re moving to because some regions won’t allow some of these types of animals as pets at all.

Small mammals such as rodents and rabbits are also counted as ‘other types of pets’ in Spain and do not come under the same rules when transporting them into the country.

In the case of birds, they will have to undergo a period of quarantine before being allowed to enter Spain. 

For the purpose of this article, we will talk about the process of moving with your pet dog, cat or ferret.

If you plan on moving with another type of animal, check with your specialised vet about the requirements to transport it into the EU and what separate forms you will need to fill in.

READ ALSO: How can I travel with my pet from Spain to the UK without it going in the hold?

What you need 

The UK has been granted ‘part 2 listed status’ by the EU, which means that those pet passports issued in the UK will no longer be valid and you won’t be able to use them anymore for travel from the UK to Spain. 

Firstly, there are certain rules you must abide by which are listed on both the UK and Spanish government websites.

  • Your pet must be at least 12 weeks old, as this is the minimum age for vaccinating animals.
  • At least 21 days must have elapsed after inoculation for the vaccine to be valid.
  • You are not allowed to travel with more than five pets at a time.
  • You must ensure your dog, cat or ferret is microchipped.
  • The dog, cat or ferret is vaccinated against rabies.
  • Dogs must be treated against tapeworm 24-120 hours before arriving. 
  • You must get an animal health certificate (AHC).

READ ALSO: What are the rules on taking your pets on holiday in Spain?

Getting an AHC

You will need to visit your vet, no less than 10 days before your trip in order to get the certificate. To be granted the AHC, you will need proof of your pet’s microchipping date and vaccination history.

AHCs are available as dual-language certificates, so pet owners should ask the vet for a Spanish language certificate when intending to travel here.

The AHC is valid for 10 days after the date of issue for entry into the EU and can be used for travel within the EU for a period of four months.

The certificate is only valid for a single trip to the EU, however, so if you are planning on travelling back and forth from Spain to the UK with your pet, you will need to apply for another certificate.

AHCs and all the requirements also apply to assistance dogs.

You will need an AHC for your pet. Photo: Ilona Krijgsman / Pixabay

Transport

According to the Spanish government, it’s considered a non-commercial movement of a pet as long as:

  • The maximum number of animals travelling with the owner is up to five.
  • There is no commercial purpose or transfer of ownership.
  • Pets travel with their owner or a person responsible for the animal or animals on their behalf during the trip.
  • The movement of the animals is allowed seperately from the owner if it occurs within a period not exceeding five days with respect to the movement of the owner/responsible person.

Those coming from the UK can only enter Spain from one of the appointed Points of Entry. These include airports such as Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia, as well as ports such as Santander and Bilbao. Click here to see the map.

Flying

Pets are allowed to fly in the cabin or as checked baggage on flights from the UK to Spain, but many airlines will not allow this, so you’ll have to find those who do.

Iberia Express is one that does. Lufthansa, KLM and Air France have been known to in the past, however, this may mean having to change in another European city first before you get to Spain, causing more distress for your pet and possibly more paperwork.

Train

The Eurostar train also doesn’t allow pets (except assistance dogs).

Car

Going by car is one of the best and easiest ways to move to Spain with your pet, even though it is the longest and can be more expensive too (as you’ll need to stay overnight).

It will be the most comfortable for your pet and less stressful for you. If you take your car on the Eurotunnel, it will cost an extra €27/£20 per pet. 

Ferry

If taking the ferry across to France, it will cost around the same price, however, your pet must stay in the car the whole time. 

If you want to travel straight to Spain by ferry with your pet, without all the driving in between, this can also be a good option.

Unfortunately, Brittany Ferries will not allow you to travel with your pet if you’re a foot passenger, but will if you have a car.

Many ships sailing to Spain have pet-friendly cabins, that can accommodate a single pet. There are also large and small kennels available, with exercise areas. 

After arriving in Spain

Under Spanish law, pets need to be registered in the Animal Identification Registry or Registro de Animales de Compañía.

Towards the end of 2021, Spain introduced the Ley de Protección y Derechos de los Animales or Animal Rights and Protection Law, which stated that as of 2022 pet owners in Spain will also need to register for the Pet ID scheme and get an Animal Pet ID. 

This will contain basic information relating to the animal, such as its date of birth, the number of vaccines it has had or any mistreatment carried out by its owners. Although the scheme has not yet been introduced, it’s another factor to consider once you arrive in Spain.

If your dog is considered to be a potentially dangerous dog (perros potencialmente peligrosas or PPP) you will also need to get a licence and register your dog separately with your local municipality within one month of arriving in the country.

These breeds include Doberman, Pit Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentino, Rottweiler and Akita Inu, among others, but if in doubt, it’s best to check with the authorities from the region you’re moving to because rules differ between them. 

Member comments

  1. The paragraph ‘After arriving in Spain’ is probably the one we need most information about, but it has the least detail. For instance – what happens at the airport / ferry port? Can you just walk / drive straight out, oor do you have to do any pet paperwork? How do you register the pet on the Registro de Animales de Compañía? How long do you have after arrival to make the registration?

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For members

MOVING TO SPAIN

CHECKLIST: Everything digital nomads moving to Spain need to consider

Spain’s Startups Law is 100 percent going ahead after its very last ratification by the Senate and Parliament. If you’re a remote worker who’s now planning to come to Spain, there’s a lot more apart from the enticing law to consider beforehand, from costs to location.

CHECKLIST: Everything digital nomads moving to Spain need to consider

Spain’s Startups Law has now been completely ratified by the Spanish Senate and on Thursday December 1st was voted in definitively by Spain’s Parliament in one final vote, meaning that there are no more obstacles for the legislation to jump through.

In other words, it is a reality and there is no looking back or toing and froing for a law which has continued to receive support from all sides of the political spectrum in these very final stages.

In these last stages, the Spanish Senate added several amendments relating to better perks for serial entrepreneurs (people who start multiple businesses), incentives for startups in rural communities of Spain and denying the condition of “startup” to companies that have partners that “present risks”.

In a nutshell, Spain’s Startups Law is considered a first in Europe, with lots of incentives and tax benefits for foreign startups, less bureaucratic obstacles overall and favourable conditions for non-EU remote workers and digital nomads, including a residency visa.

The following two articles cover everything that you should know if you’re looking to benefit from the new law as a startup in Spain, but in this article our focus will be on non-EU remote workers and digital nomads and what to consider with a move to Spain.

Here is a list of what digital nomads should consider if they’re thinking of taking advantage of Spain’s new legislation.

Spanish residency and taxes   

The new digital nomad visa is particularly promising for non-EU digital nomads from countries such as the UK, US or Australia for example, as until now getting a residency permit for remote work hasn’t been at all easy, with the best option being to apply for the self-employment visa which requires a business plan, proof of guaranteed earnings and more. It will also be available for remote workers with a contract for an overseas company.

Digital nomads will be able to benefit from Spain’s Non-Residents Tax (IRNR) at a reduced tax rate of 15 percent for the first four years, even though they can spend more than 183 days a year in Spain and are therefore technically fiscal residents.

You can read in more detail about what digital nomads stand to gain in terms of taxes and a residency visa in the article directly below.

READ MORE: Spain’s new digital nomad visa – Everything we know so far

Where to move to in Spain as a digital nomad

This will be one of the most important decisions that you have to make, but again we have you covered.

From the best places for co-working and digital nomad culture to the best place for cost of living and for integrating into Spanish culture, the article below gives you an overview of some of the most popular destinations for nómadas digitales.

FIND OUT: Ten of the best cities for digital nomads to move to in Spain

Then again, you may be interested in enjoying a quieter life in rural Spain. You’ll sometimes see news stories about the offer of free accommodation in quaint Spanish villages that want remote workers, but these quickly get filled.

One of the best ways of finding the right place is by searching yourself, the article below explains how to do it.

FIND OUT: How to find Spanish villages that are helping people to move there

And do you really know what life in rural Spain will be like? Here are some points to consider.

READ MORE: Nine things you should know before moving to rural Spain

Rental costs

Spain is generally seen as having a very affordable cost of living, but it greatly depends on where you move to in the country. 

According to Spain’s leading property search portal Idealista, who released a report earlier this year, the most expensive cities to rent in Spain are San Sebastián and Bilbao at around €901 a month, followed by Barcelona and Madrid with €875 and €848 a month respectively.

The Balearics, the rest of the Basque Country and the area around Marbella also have above-average rental prices.

The cheapest places to rent are in the interior of the country around Teruel, Cuenca, Ciudad Real, Zamora and Palencia, while Almería and Huelva were the cheapest coastal cities averaging €504 and €477 a month.

As inflation rises, rents are increasing, so you may find that they are higher come January 2023.

You’ll also have to consider temporary accommodation for when you first arrive in Spain, the article below should help you with that.

READ MORE: How to find temporary accommodation in Spain when you first arrive 

General costs of living

As with rent, the general cost of living varies greatly, depending on where you want to base yourself within Spain. Barcelona, Madrid and places in the Basque Country generally have the highest cost of living, while places in central Spain and inland Andalusia have some of the lowest prices.

It’s worth keeping in mind that if you choose Barcelona, the cost of living has risen by 31 percent in the last five years. According to the annual report by the Metropolitan Area of ​​Barcelona (AMB), the minimum wage needed to be able to live comfortably in Barcelona is €1,435 gross per month.

You will need similar amounts for Madrid and the major Basque cities but will be able to get away with earning less in some of the smaller towns and cities.

Keep in mind as well that Spain is yet to disclose what the minimum income will be for digital nomads to be able to access the visa.

READ ALSO: 

Costs of co-working spaces

You’ll find co-working spaces all over Spain, mostly in the main cities but, even in small villages that are trying to attract more people because of depopulation. 

According to the latest report on the Status of Coworking in Spain in 2020-2021, Barcelona has the most coworking spaces, followed by Madrid.

Málaga, Seville and Granada, however, have the greatest offer of coworking spaces at the most affordable prices.

Co-working spaces are available to rent in Spain by the hour, day or month and also have the option for private offices for meetings and calls. 

According to the report, in 2021 the average price of a desk in a co-working space was €188 per month.

If you want to find out more about renting in Spain, check out The Local’s page on renting here

Internet speeds

Internet speeds are generally good in Spain, across much of the country, even in small villages. 

According to the Speedtest Global Index, Spain has an average broadband download speed of 154Mbps and an upload speed of 107Mbps.

For mobile speeds, the average download speed was 35Mbps and the upload speed was 10Mbps. Phone internet speeds were slightly faster in the bigger cities such as Barcelona and Madrid.

Healthcare in Spain

Even though the Startups Law will not be tweaked anymore and all that needs to happen is that it comes into force, one of the matters that still hasn’t been mentioned by Spanish authorities is what healthcare options will be available to holders of digital nomad visas. 

Will they need to get a private healthcare scheme as is required for non-lucrative visa applicants which can be expensive especially if you have pre-existing conditions? Will they be able to pay social security fees or the convenio especial pay-in scheme to access public healthcare? 

Whatever the outcome, Spanish healthcare has a good reputation although in recent times there have been protests about the lack of doctors and health workers in the country and consequently longer waiting times. 

Private healthcare options are affordable for people with no pre-existing health conditions.

READ ALSO:

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