Four days to go. Last weekend, we completed the final stage of our estate sale. Artwork that didn’t sell is going to an auction house and everything else that didn’t sell was picked up by a charity group Saturday afternoon. The sale was a huge success. The house is virtually empty and we are staying with friends until we leave for Spain next week. Six months of preparation is almost complete.
When we returned to Tampa from Alhaurin el Grande in October, we had already made the decision that we wanted to live there permanently. Next, we set about learning the process for actually achieving such a move. US citizens can travel to Spain and stay 90 days with just a valid passport. Retiring in Spain, however, requires a special visa and the process for getting it takes some time and effort. Furthermore, we would need to free ourselves from most of our property and possessions, since the cost of moving them would be prohibitive.
Our early research had indicated the visa process could take six to nine months, so we decided that we wouldn’t start selling things until we had secured the visa. In reality, the process was a lot less daunting than we expected, but, once approved, the visa holder has just 90 days to use it, or start the process over again. So, the window for liquidating everything would be tight.
The visa application must be made in person at any of the eight Spanish Consulates in the US, or at the Embassy in Washington. Since we live in Florida, we were directed to apply at the Consulate in Miami. Below is a list of the documentation required with the application. Note that these requirements may change from time-to-time, so check with Consulate to be sure.
We got our approved visas in just over three weeks.