Cost of Moving to Spain

The Cost of Moving to Spain from Taiwan:

Living abroad offers a transformative experience, providing a deeper understanding of different cultures and perspectives. My journey to Spain marks my second international move as part of a multicultural family. With almost a decade of experience crossing borders and continents, I’ve encountered culture shock, reverse culture shock, and the intricacies of relocating numerous times. Undoubtedly, moving to Spain has been the most challenging of these endeavors, particularly since my family includes two multicultural children and a mid-size Shiba Inu dog. This expansion explores the myriad factors that affect the cost of moving from Taiwan to Spain.

Preliminary Considerations

Choosing Spain as Our New Home

Our decision to move to Spain was influenced by our multicultural family composition. With two daughters of mixed heritage, we aimed to provide them with an environment that celebrated diversity, fostering self-identity by appreciating and respecting differences. Barcelona, with its rich tapestry of cultures, emerged as the perfect location for this endeavor.

Our excitement about embarking on this new chapter in Spain was tempered by the fundamental question: what is the cost of moving to Spain for a multicultural family from Taiwan? The financial aspect of international relocation is a critical factor in our decision-making process. We sought to strike a balance between financial prudence and ensuring a smooth transition for every member of the family.

In this extensive guide, I’ll delve into not only the visible expenses but also the often-overlooked costs that accumulate and can significantly impact your budget during an international move. The intention is to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of what to expect when moving to Spain with your family.

Living abroad changes your life!

Cost of Moving to Spain

Stage One: Preparation & Decision

Before delving into the nitty-gritty of moving costs, it’s essential to recognize that relocating to a different country is a life-altering event. A successful move requires careful planning and preparation.

Family Members:

Ensuring that all family members are prepared for the move is crucial. In our case, this meant waiting until our younger daughter was at least one year old to ensure she had completed her one-year vaccinations in Taiwan. Additionally, we wanted to allow for ample conversations and quality time with our parents to prepare them for the upcoming change.

Proper Goodbyes:

Taking time to say proper goodbyes to family and friends is not just an emotional necessity but also an important part of the transition process.

Financial Preparation:

Adequate financial preparation is essential to cover the expenses of overseas moving. It’s important to remember that we were not just moving as a couple, but with two toddlers and a pet. Minimizing unwanted financial surprises was a top priority.

Revisiting the City:

Before the move, we traveled to Barcelona multiple times. These visits served two essential purposes: to gauge how our multicultural kids felt about the environment and to reconnect with local family and friends. We also used this time to speak with local authorities to better understand the government systems in place, such as healthcare, education, the job market, and support for multicultural families.


One of the critical steps we took was initiating the process of obtaining a Spanish marriage certificate well in advance. This allowed us to ensure that the most crucial documents were ready for the move, alleviating potential delays in the future.

Cost of Moving to Spain

Stage Two: Before the Move

International Moving Company:

When it comes to the cost of an international move, it can vary significantly based on factors such as the size of your shipment, the distance it needs to be transported, and the method of transportation. We chose sea freight over airfreight as it’s generally more cost-effective. It’s important to note that there are different types of “door-to-door” delivery services in Spain, which can affect costs. The choice is between “at your front door” and “inside your house” delivery services. If you’re planning to live in an apartment or don’t have extra help, you might prefer a service that delivers all the boxes directly into your new home.

Shipping Supplies and Packing Materials:

Often underestimated, the cost of shipping supplies and packing materials can add up. Items such as tape, foam paper, and bubble wrap should be factored into your budget.

Booking Flights:

The cost of airfare or train tickets can vary depending on the destination and demand. To reduce costs, it’s advisable to plan your move during the low season and purchase tickets well in advance. Additionally, keep an eye out for credit card rewards or airline mileage programs that can save you money.

Pet Travel:

If you’re moving with pets, it’s important to budget for their travel expenses. Pet fees can be divided into two main parts: airline fees and pet travel agent fees. Contact the airline’s customer service to make arrangements for your pet and ensure all requirements are met. It’s also essential to budget for pet-related expenses in the month leading up to the move, including vaccinations, flea control, heartworm prevention, microchipping, and grooming.


Moving abroad often requires a significant number of official documents, many of which need to be notarized by official government units. In some countries, the cost of notarizing official documents and applying for a new passport can be substantial. Translation fees are also a significant portion of the document-related expenses. When moving to Spain, it’s crucial to localize all documents to Spanish. Materials that typically need to be translated by a certified official translator include birth certificates, marriage certificates, criminal records, and medical records.

Legal and financial documents must be organized and ready for the move. Any incomplete or insufficient paperwork can significantly impact the process of receiving a formal ID in the new country. You may find yourself spending both time and money on international mailing, communication with various parties, signing power of attorney (if necessary), and scheduling appointments with the consulate.


If you’re currently renting an apartment, you need to consider the cost of breaking the lease. This could include penalties and additional costs associated with vacating the property. On the other hand, if you own a property, the expenses of selling it can be substantial. These expenses may include real estate agent commissions, legal fees, and potentially taxes on any capital gains.

Move Out Fees: These fees can include items such as rubbish removal, furniture removal, maintenance, and repairs to ensure the property is in its original condition.


Spain offers a variety of educational options, including local public schools, private schools, and international schools. We decided to enroll our children in an international nursery school to provide them with diverse exposure. When planning the move, it’s essential to factor in application and registration fees for the chosen school. These fees may vary depending on the type of institution and its location.

Outstanding Bills

Before departing, it’s essential to clear all outstanding bills to avoid complications. This can include payments for phone, internet, cable, utilities, insurance, credit cards, and any outstanding medical bills. The goal is to leave with no debt and ensure a smooth transition.

Miscellaneous Costs

There are several miscellaneous costs to consider as you prepare to move internationally. These can include:

Prepaid SIM Cards: To ensure you have a means of communication upon arrival, it’s advisable to purchase prepaid SIM cards for your mobile devices. This can help you stay connected and access essential services from the moment you land in Spain.

Commute Arrangement to the Airport: Arrange for transportation to the airport on the day of departure. Depending on your location in Taiwan, this could involve taxi fare or other means of transportation to the international airport.

Medication Expenses: It’s crucial to ensure you have an adequate supply of necessary medications, including vaccinations and any required medical check-ups, before leaving Taiwan. This ensures that you and your family have access to essential healthcare in the initial days of your move.

Cost of Moving to Spain

Stage Three: Post-Moving

Health Insurance

Healthcare is a vital consideration when moving abroad. In Spain, public healthcare is available, but the requirements for access can vary depending on your nationality. As an example, while the Spanish healthcare system is well-regarded, it often requires foreigners to obtain private health insurance before applying for a local residence permit. This is especially important to consider if you’re moving from Taiwan, as the healthcare system and requirements may differ significantly.

Short-term Apartment Rental

In some cases, opting for a short-term apartment rental can be a strategic move. Instead of renting a long-term apartment from Taiwan, you might choose to secure short-term accommodation for the initial weeks after moving to Spain. While short-term rentals are generally more expensive on a daily basis, they can provide your family with a stable place to rest and acclimate to your new surroundings.

This approach can be particularly useful if you’re not entirely familiar with the city or neighborhood, and you need time to assess the local housing market or gather essential documents for a long-term rental. In certain cities, renting a long-term apartment may require a local ID, proof of employment, and local bank information. Short-term rentals give you breathing space while you set up these crucial aspects.

Long-term Apartment Rental

When the initial transition phase is complete, and you have a better understanding of the local housing market and your needs, you can proceed to secure a long-term apartment rental. This typically involves various costs, including:

  • Security Deposit: In Spain, it’s common for landlords to request a security deposit equivalent to two to three months of rent. This deposit is refundable at the end of the tenancy, provided there is no significant damage to the property.
  • Broker Fee: Depending on the rental market and the involvement of real estate agents or brokers, you may need to budget for additional fees.
  • Move-in Fees: These fees can include expenses related to furniture and utilities setup, changing locks, damage inspection, apartment cleanup, and condominium association fees if applicable.

Transportation Cost

Transportation expenses don’t come to a halt once you’ve arrived in your new city. On the contrary, they continue to be a significant part of your budget. In our case, we landed in Barcelona with two adults, two toddlers, and a mid-size dog inside a crate, along with four large pieces of luggage—all of this happening at midnight.

Planning transportation for the move is crucial. It’s wise to prearrange airport transportation to avoid any chaos or stress upon arrival. Many international airports offer various transfer options, ranging from taxis to airport shuttles, which can be booked in advance.

Barcelona, like many major cities, is relatively easy to navigate using public transportation. This is often the most cost-effective way to get around. However, there may be times when you need to arrange for additional transportation, such as moving your belongings from your short-term rental to your long-term apartment. These expenses should be included in your budget.

Immigration Attorney

Hiring an immigration attorney is an option that can significantly impact the ease of your transition and the success of your move. Based on our experiences, we can attest that while hiring an immigration lawyer may seem costly, it can actually save you both time and money.

Obtaining a residence permit in your new country can be a time-consuming process. Having an experienced immigration attorney on your side can speed up the process and ensure that everything is handled efficiently. This can be particularly important for a double-income family that needs to secure work authorization as soon as possible. Keep in mind that residence permits often come with access to the labor market, so the quicker you obtain one, the better.

Educational Expenses

For families with school-age children, education is a significant consideration. Before your children begin school in Spain, you’ll typically be asked to prepare various items, such as kid-sized mattresses, bedsheets, school uniforms, school bags, water bottles, and more. Additionally, parents should anticipate monthly or annual tuition fees, which can vary depending on the school and its curriculum.

Everyday Essentials

Basic everyday essentials are an ongoing part of your budget. This includes items such as new phone numbers, groceries, and other essential supplies. Families with young children should budget for items like children’s food, milk, and various daily supplies.

The Total Cost of Moving Overseas

When considering the total cost of moving overseas from Taiwan to Spain for a family of four with a pet, it’s crucial to account for all the factors mentioned above. While the exact figure can vary based on individual circumstances and choices, the overall expenses can range from €5,000 to €15,000 or even more.

The most important tip for an international move with toddlers and a pet is careful planning. Thorough preparation and attention to detail can help you avoid costly mistakes during the process, ultimately resulting in fewer unnecessary expenses. Moving to a new country is an adventure, and with the right planning and mindset, it can be a rewarding experience for your multicultural family.

Venturing Forth navigating middle age after divorce 2023

Venturing Forth: A Memoir of Resilience and Transformation. Join Hsin Chen on her inspiring journey to overcome adversity, including COVID, mental health challenges, parenting doubts, and post-divorce dating. Discover the power of positivity and mindfulness in finding serenity within life’s chaos.

For more information, click HERE

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