It might come a day when for one or another reason you will decide to leave our beautiful Malaga and Spain in general and move on to new adventures or return to your home country. Like with every relocation, whether you move in or out of the country, paperwork is involved, and Spain is not different. Below we have tried to summarise a list of (mainly) paperwork procedures you will be faced with, however each personal situation is different, so below should be viewed as a guideline only.
Property. If you live in a rental property in Malaga, you should review the conditions of your rental contract well in advance of your planned move to confirm the termination clause and the notice period as well as the deposit settlement, and inform your landlord.
If you own a property in Spain, surely by the time of your planned relocation you would have made up your mind as to your future intentions about your Malaga property, whether you wish to keep it or sell it, to rent it out or keep for your own use. Whatever the decision is, it is always advisable to have a legal representative locally in Spain who could act on your behalf in your absence, so leaving a Power of Attorney to your appointed lawyer is a must. Even if you have completed the sale by the time of your move, it might be worth leaving a POA for some period afterwards in case of any matters arising.
Utilities are closely related to the point above. Unless you intend to keep the property for your own use, make sure all utilities which were put in your name are either cancelled (such as telephone/internet) or transferred to the name of the new owner or tenant, or back into your landlord’s name.
Bank account. If you are not going to need your Spanish bank account in the future, verify well in advance with your bank the conditions of closing the account. Make sure all your outstanding debts are paid and then cancel all direct debits, although allow time for some of them to come through. If you do not close the account, inform your bank that you are leaving Spain and are no longer a resident. If there are any outstanding matters with the bank or you may decide to close the account at a later stage, consider leaving a POA to represent your interest with the bank in your absence.
Residence. Although many, especially EU citizens, omit this step, it is important to de-register (baja) your residency with the Spanish authorities. This is done in the closest to you National Police (Comisaria) by making an appointment and completing the form. Although not obligatory, but is advisable to obtain a non-resident certificate, which is a separate procedure completed in the National Police. This will be your future proof of terminating your residency in Spain.
Fiscal residency is a separate matter in which you need to deal with the Spanish Tax Authorities and convert to a non-resident if required.
Municipal Padron. Contact your local Town Hall to de-register from the municipal padron. Depending on the country you are moving to, you might need this de-registration to be able to register in the new place and import your personal belongings tax-free.
Social Security is another important institution to inform about your relocation from Spain by de-registration (baja) of your affiliation. If you have been working as employed or self-employed, make sure the cease of activity is processed correctly and pay any outstanding debts, as well as inform the authorities about the cease of your Spanish residency. At the point of de-registration, you may inquire as to how your contributions made to date will be considered in the future, especially in case of future pensions.
Trafico. If you are selling your car, make sure to complete paperwork required for the buyer to do the car name transfer, or leave authorisation into someone’s name to act on your behalf. If you are exporting your car to another country, you need to de-register it (put on baja) with the Spanish Trafico, which will allow you to import it into the new country of your residence. As to your Spanish driving licence, if you relocate within EU, you will be able to exchange it, as to other countries – do check the requirements in the country of your new residence.
Healthcare. Do inform your local medical centre of your relocation from Spain so that they can update the records. You might be also required to return your medical card
Schools. If your children are of school/university age, do inform the relevant educational centre of their departure well in advance. Request for the educational certificates to be issued reflecting the level of education/qualifications your children have received as those might be required at the new place.
Insurances. Check all your insurances as to which of those you may need to maintain (e.g. house insurance) and which you need to cancel. Remember, insurances have cancellation policies and normally can only be cancelled once a year, although some may accept cancellation “outside of normal terms” in case of leaving Spain, so get in touch with your insurance broker to agree the formalities, and make sure to cancel any direct debits.
Public documents. If during your life in Spain you obtained any public documents, such as birth/marriage/divorce certificates, absence of criminal record certificates, diplomas of educational degrees etc, you may be required to present copies of those in the country of your new residence. If you are moving outside of EU, those documents may need to be legalised (Apostilled) or certified. It is always advisable to check those requirements in advance and obtain the documents short before you leave Spain, as this may save you lots of time and cost once you have moved away.
If you need help with any or all of the above matters, Malaga Expat Consulting will be happy to assist. Each situation is different, and requirements may vary so get in touch to let us know how we can support your next relocation.