How to Move to Spain with Kids and Pets?

The process of international moving with two little kids and a pet can be lengthy and complicated. I’m a forgetful person, so staying organized can help me to think better and to prioritize. 

Moving to Spain is my fifth international move; so I would like to share some of my hard-learned lessons. I hope to help you to avoid the mistakes I’ve made. 

Positive attitude

First of all, staying positive is critical throughout the process. International moving can be lengthy and exhausting. When I was moving to Brazil, the language barrier was a major stress. When Daniel moved to Taiwan, the job search challenge was a major stress. Therefore, remember to enjoy the ride.

A positive attitude will leave for a positive outcome! 

Communication 

Moving with children is complicated. However, as a parent, having a positive attitude can project light energy for children. Before moving to Barcelona, we tried to prepare our little kids by telling them, “we are moving to a new place, it is going to be an adventure!”

Show them the pictures or videos of Barcelona regularly. Regardless of how old children are, it is vital to inform your kids and hopefully involve them. 

Deciding dates

Immediately after we decided on the moving time frame, which was around fall. The first thing we did was checking the airline tickets. 

The cheapest possible way for us was to use the airline mileage that was about to expire; we were focusing on a low season rate. Given the option, we would like to arrive late summer and early autumn so that the kids can enjoy the city and try to adopt before it gets too cold. Plus it is lighter for the suitcase. September is also the period when the school semester begins. 

At this point, do not book any tickets yet! Setting an ideal deadline can help you to communicate with all parties to ensure the move can be smooth and not too tight. It also allows you to have a clearer vision for the future arrangement. 

Phone the airline Company directly to book the tickets; this can ensure the toddlers and pet-flying requirements are correctly arranged. 

There are some other factors such as job end/start date and housing situation that can impact your moving date decision. 

Give yourself enough time!! 

Housing

Are you renting the current home? Checking the lease contract is essential.

Are you selling the current home? The availability of a buyer is the most influential aspect of your moving date.

How would you like to move to the new city? If you are buying one, the availability of a house for sale affects your decision.

In my case, we would like to start our life by renting the apartment first. Besides, the expense can be lighter at this point. By doing so, we can take time to understand the neighborhoods. 

However, We’ve chosen to rent a pet-friendly Airbnb upon arriving in Barcelona. Unless you can find a fully furnished apartment rental, otherwise it is more realistic to have a place where you have all the essentials items ready to receive you and the family. We want to put our toddlers to rest and adjust jet lag after a long haul flight. We felt it was too risky to settle in a “new renting apartment” right away without seeing it. 

My suggestion is to have a simple place ready after the whole family has arrived in a new place. You’ve just “turn a big page.” The entire planning, packing, moving, and flying, it is helpful to take a deep breath, put yourself together, and set your mind ready for the new chapter. 

Documents, documents, documents 

Yes, I have to repeat three times! Most of the mistakes I have made are mostly falling into this particular category. Moving is exciting, but it also means that you are about to navigate an abundance of paperwork and possibly to deal with bureaucracy.

As soon as you’ve arrived at the new land and received immigration stamps, your clock is ticking from that point on. Check-in with the consulate that the country you are moving to. Many countries require various official documents depending on your purpose for moving abroad. 

In my case, Daniel is applying for a Spanish ID, and it requires him to report to the town hall within a specific timeframe. I am asking for a residence visa for family members of citizens of the EU. And my children are applying for the nationalities. All of them require different official (notarized) documents, and applying channels are all different. 

Check with the local consulate or immigration attorney. Some of the documents take time to apply, and the longer it takes to receive the residence permit, the later you will have access to the labor market. For example, it took me around one year to receive a marriage certificate and register in Daniel’s family book from the Spanish consulate in Taiwan. 

Other documents to consider are the international driver’s license, vaccination record, English bank statement, valid passport, and birth certificate. Make sure to double-check on which one needs to be notarized; do not bring a home-printed version. Most of the cases are the most official version.

if you are planning to move to a country that does not speak the same language as your home country, make sure to find a certified official translator to translate documents. 

Bank

credit card cancellation? 

Are you closing the bank from the current location? 

Do you have a bank account at your new location? How are you going to bring the cash over? 

Before moving to Barcelona, we’ve checked the maximum amount of cash that can be brought into Spain. We brought partial money with us and signed a power of attorney with a relative in Taiwan. We left our bank available in case of an emergency, there is a backup. 

One important note, which is also something we are facing right now, as I’ve mentioned is that we have brought partial cash with us to start our life. But we later find out that there’s an annual cash limitation for wiring in Spain due to fraud and money laundering prevention. 

Selecting a moving method

An international moving company is an option we have chosen. As soon as you know the date, call the chosen company and understand more about the key dates and quotes.

What kind of required documents do you need to prepare? Spain requires a local ID and household registration. Both documents take time to get approved. If you are not able to provide required documents and a new local delivery address, boxes will be kept at the port, and that will incur storage cost! 

Daniel’s sister, a family of 4 members, moved from Brazil to the United Kingdom a few years ago. They’ve let go of most of the things in Brazil and started a new life with eight suitcases. 

Flying with pet 

Nita is our family, and of course, she is coming with us!

We’ve decided to contact the pet agent, our pet agent from Taiwan was able to provide a checklist including chips, passport details, vaccination record. We’ve called the airline company directly to book for Nita’s flight, provide cage size and pet’s weight. The agent was able to prepare all the documents we need until Barcelona. 

The healthcare system

Before leaving Taiwan, I’ve informed family doctors and dentists. Scheduled doctor appointments for vaccinations and dentist appointments for a final check-up. 

The healthcare system is one of the first things I checked, and it is crucial to spend some time to understand your moving country’s health care policy. 

In case you need special medication, remember to check in with the doctor. Also, obtaining an official English vaccination record from your home country, especially for children. Your new doctor would likely see it. 

Cellular network

Will your mobile phone and network work in the new country?

Daniel and I would like to keep our smart devices connected to the internet to stay in touch with important contacts. Before leaving Taiwan, I have to cancel the mobile service contract. To ensure we have at least one mobile phone that has the network available to us, I’ve purchased a temp. European prepaid SIM card online in advance and activated it on the arrival date.

Misc

Last but not least, things that need to be terminated, paying outstanding bills and debt, electricity, utilities, water, insurance, gym membership, Internet, and cable.

The decision to move abroad is not an easy one, and it will be a significant life transition. We don’t know what’s ahead of us, but we tried our best to be prepared and keep feeling excited. 

Moving to Spend is an adventure! Let’s enjoy the ride! 

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