August 24, 2016 No Comments

Moving – What To Bring & What To Leave Behind

When deciding what household and personal items to bring to Spain it is useful to consider:

  • The length of your stay
  • Whether you will be buying or renting accommodation
  • What you will do with your house in your home country (sell, rent furnished or unfurnished)

Electrical Appliances

Domestic electrical supply is 220 volts and appliances from most European countries will function (a 20 volt difference is negligible for most appliances) although you will sometimes need to change the plugs. US appliances are usually at 110 volts and require the use of a transformer.

Although white goods tend to be more expensive in Spain than the UK, you will need to consider the cot of bringing large appliances into the country. You may realise it is cheaper to buy new items once you get to Spain than bring white appliances from the UK.


Until around 10 to 15 years ago, buying furniture in Spain was not always straightforward – designs tended to be quite old-fashioned, heavy and on top of that, expensive. However, many international chains have since opened premises in Spain including Ikea, Bauhaus, and the Spanish low-cost furniture retailer Mueblesboom. As a result, discount beds, sofas and dining furniture are now widely available in styles to suit all tastes and budgets, so bringing furniture from the UK is not practical or cost-effective, unless if you have items of sentimental or monetary value, of course.

Televisions and Video Recorders

Spain uses the PAL-G system, like most countries in Europe. As there are different types of PAL check with your dealer that your equipment will work in Spain, otherwise, you may have problems with the sound. Rental of equipment is available, but not common practice.


Temperatures vary widely during the year. Winters can be very cold especially in higher regions and in summer temperatures can easily reach 40 degrees in many areas, so it is important to bring adequate clothing or to be prepared to buy it in Spain. This is an important point to bear in mind, particularly if you are moving at a time near to a change in season. If your move is held up for any reason, you could have a problem.

Business dress for men may be slightly less formal than perhaps in London or Paris and it is perfectly acceptable to wear a blazer and slacks on some occasions instead of a dark suit. Some restaurants may prefer you to wear a jacket, but most will not raise an eyebrow at an open-necked shirt.

For women the opposite is generally true as Spanish women tend to dress up rather than down. Long skirts for the evening have not been in evidence much for many years, despite changing fashions, but cocktail dresses, suits, smart blouses and skirts together with carefully chosen accessories are all part of the Spanish woman’s wardrobe.

How To Bring It

We recommend you check whether the firm you are going to use is a member of any of the international organisations of removal firms, such as GIM (Grupo Internacional Mudanzas), or FIDI (Fédéracion Internationale des Démenageurs Internationaux). Membership of such an organisation, whilst not essential, gives some extra guarantee of reliability, and of the company’s willingness to deal with any necessary complaints when your goods arrive in Spain. If you need to store your items in the UK whilst arranging the move, check out this UK self storage comparison site.

From the European Union

There are no longer any Customs formalities to be completed when transporting your household effects within the European Union.

From non-EU countries

Those people transporting their personal and household effects from outside the European Union to Spain are required to complete a change of residence or second residence form, which will allow their goods to enter Spain free of Customs duty. You will also need a certificate of non-residence from the country of origin.

This is especially applicable to American citizens looking to move to Spain. They have a unique set of regulations not being in the European Union, so before they prepare their home for sale, they should look at any additional requirements they would need to follow to secure residence in Spain, or any other European country for that matter

Whether your household goods are bound for a permanent residence or a holiday home, if you are not in possession of either a residence permit or work permit, you will be required to deposit a guarantee with a Spanish bank. This will be equivalent to approximately 50% of the value of the goods shipped. Once in receipt of either of the above documents, you will be reimbursed for this amount.

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