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24 Jun 2017 3:32 PM by JRLH Star rating. 3 posts Send private message

Hi All

I am sure the topic of health costs, EHIC cards, state versus private health services and medical insurance have been covered several times but I would really appreciate someone responding who can speak from experience. There is so much generic information on the internet and Government sites are not easy to digest.

So here is an outline of our circumstances:

My wife and I currently live in the UK and have been married for 29 years. I am 56, British and hold a UK passport. My wife is 58, has retained her Spanish nationality, originates from Barcelona and holds a Spanish passport.

We intend to sell our property in the UK early next year (2018) and relocate to the Malaga region. We will be renting long term for at least the first 2 years. We may never buy and just continue to rent.

My wife will not be working but I run a small business from home as a sole trader. The work is done online servicing UK companies so I may have to return to the UK once a month. This is one of the reasons for choosing Andalucía as flying to and from Malaga airport is cost effective and all year round. I need to keep my business registered in the UK so I am seen as being UK based to retain the bulk of my clients.

Before anyone comments of course we are all aware of Brexit so I am not expecting anyone to be able to predict the future. Nobody knows what's going to happen but it would be very helpful to know how it works now.

Once I reach my pension age of 66 then as it stands I will be able to access Spanish state healthcare.

Despite Brexit I think a similar arrangement will be agreed.

My main concern is now ie from the age of 56 to 66.

So in terms of healthcare what are the current rules?

1. My wife is a Spanish national and worked in Spain so obtaining state healthcare for her should not be an issue.     

2. Is there any advantage for me that my wife is a Spanish national?

3. Would me having an up to date EHIC card be enough?

4. I am having a heart bypass next month to correct a blocked artery and will take 6 different medications each day.

    In the UK I use a pre-pay card so my medicines only cost £10.00 per month. I know I will have to pay more in


5. Could I access Spanish state healthcare via the "convenio especial"?

    But if you have to live in Spain for 12 months to apply what do you do in the first 12 months?

6. My concern is that private health insurance would be too expensive to consider because of the heart bypass.

This topic is obviously a hot one. My wife and I would be most appreciative of anyone who has experience of moving from the UK to Spain and can provide some answers re the healthcare options.

Thank you.


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24 Jun 2017 4:06 PM by Tadd1966 Star rating in Los Montesinos. 1754 posts Send private message


Not that complicated

If your wife is a Spanish national she will qualify for state helath care and you as her spouse will qualify as a beneficiary (in theory you cannot be regsitered under 2 NHS systems)

Any income you make from your UK business will be subejct to Spanish income tax as you will be resident in Spain.

You could get you UK company to employ you as an autonomo (you will then have to pay Spanish NI and regsiter etc) if your company empolyed as a Spanish resident it gets a bit more complicated as the company would have to pay Spanish employer NI

Do not rely on EHIC and strongly suggest you speak to HMRC in UK and the Spanish tax office or an experienced professional accountant


This message was last edited by Tadd1966 on 24/06/2017.

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge”

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28 Jun 2017 6:43 PM by windtalker Star rating. 1934 posts Send private message

You said you are going to continue running a small business from home in Spain ...all you have to do is register in Spain as self employed ...this will cost you approximately €250 per month so you will be covered for health care and so on in Spain... It gets  a little complicated when you sell a product or a the UK from Spain as you will have to charge VAT at 21% on your services on every euro you earn as a Spanish resident if you are not charging VAT in the UK at the moment due to earnings being less than approximately £86,000  your existing customer's in the UK are going to have to pay 21% more for your services....the UK company is going to want to be able to claim the VAT back  so what you need is a good accounts adviser otherwise you existing UK customers are going to look for a UK based company .you will be classed as a Spanish residents from the day of your arrival in Spain as you would have sold your house in the UK and no longer classed as a residents..




This message was last edited by windtalker on 28/06/2017.

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29 Jun 2017 4:33 PM by GuyT Star rating. 511 posts Send private message

"when you sell a product or a the UK from Spain as you will have to charge VAT at 21% on your services"

The OP says he services UK companies - wouldn't the VAT be zero rated (unless the UK companies weren't VAT reg)?

If the biz is based in UK and he issues UK invoices, why would Spain come into the equation? (I can understand Spain wanting him to pay income tax.) If a Spaniard - living in Spain - happened to own a shop in UK, he obviously wouldn't charge his customers Spanish VAT, or account for the VAT in Spain. 

"If your wife is a Spanish national she will qualify for state helath care"

Surely only if she is working, on benefits, etc? The OP says she will not be working and he is only interested in the period up until retirement.

I'm not trying to be provocative, just trying to learn.

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29 Jun 2017 5:29 PM by JRLH Star rating. 3 posts Send private message

Exactly GuyT

The business has to be based in the UK as clients would not use a company based in Spain.

So the invoicing would be done from a UK address from a business that is VAT registered in the UK.

I would operate it as a sole trader and pay taxes in the UK. 

But because I can do a lot of the work online I don't need to be in the UK more that once or twice a month. CFertainly not 181 days!

Your example of someone who rents and lives in Spain but runs a shop in the UK is perfect and I have read that you cannot be taxed twice ie if you pay taxes in the UK then Spain cannot tax you again. We are not talking £100's of thousands here.

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