Are you planning to move to Madrid? If so, you have made the best decision! And even if you aren’t you should consider this possibility. Why? Because the city is incredibly easy to live in. You come, and I will show you why everybody says Madrid is so welcoming to foreigners. But until you arrive, let me give you some tips about visas, transport, administrative tasks etc.
- Spain is part of the Eupean Union and Schengen visa applies. As a non EU citizen, all you need to do is enter this website and see which method applies to you.
- Madrid is very well connected to Europe and it’s the nod for Latin America’s destinations.The airport is called Adolfo Suarez Madrid Barajas and the Spanish airline company is Iberia ( part of the One World alliance).
- Transportation system in Madrid is very good with 11 metro lines, buses and close-trains (Cercanias).
If you are a biker, Madrid won’t impress you but things are starting to change. More and more facilities are created and in the city centre are many places where you can rent electrical bicycles. The area around Rio Manzanares is very famous for bikers and also the Anillo Verde Ciclista ( Green Ring).
- Renting a place here is very easy and there are many options like using an agency, searcing for a place on line ( a very good website is idealista.com) or simply looking on the streets for signes like this: ALQUILER.
- Once you have a place, the next step is to register your place to the City Hall. Book an appointment on this website, fill in a form, take your renting contract and you’re all done.
- Spanish language is almost a must when administrative tasks need to be done. Unfortunately most of the websites are only in Spanish, so learning the language would very much ease the procedures.
There are many language schools all across the city. I recommend AIL Madrid for their high involvement also in extra activities for their students.
- If you plan to live more than 3 months in the city you have to apply for NIE ( International Number for Foreigners). For EU citizens it takes less than a week to get it ( the time is needed for booking an appointment) and for Non EU, about one month.
- Opening a bank account here is fast and easy, all you need is your passport. Tip: If you don’t have the NIE, the banks will charge a fee around 30 Euros for a “non resident certificate”, so better apply for NIE first and then open a bank account.
- Phone and internet are like air nowadays. Nothing easier than have both in Madrid. You have two options: go for the pre-pay ( Vodafone, Orange, Movistar) or sign a contract ( minimum one year and spanish bank account needed).
- Health insurance issues may be stressful when expatting. In Spain the European Health Card is enough for European citizens. All you have to do is to call 061, identify the public Medical Center closest to your home and ask to be assigned to a doctor. Private insurance is available and there are many companies like Adeslas or Sanitas offering different packages.
And last but not least, I know from experience that not having friends is the hardest thing for an expat. This is not the case in Madrid. First of all because people are incredibly friendly and open and second of all because there are many events organized for expats.
My favorite ones are the InterNations events. Great location for meetings and super nice people ( both foreigners and Spanish).
All this been said, hope to see you soon in Madrid!