Moving to Mallorca
The ins and outs of life on a Mediterranean island
Island living, property buying, relocating, health and schools
Mallorca is a small Mediterranean island off the coast of mainland Spain, the largest of the Balearics, holiday spot on brochures all over the world, home to top tennis players, celebrities and royals, and the location of your new home. So, what to do next? Are you thinking of moving to Mallorca? If you are, it can be the best thing you ever did, but there are a few things worth knowing first, just to set you on good stead for the journey ahead.
Buying property and relocating
Moving to Mallorca is often the second half of a dream which starts with buying property on the island and then stalls uncertainly, or part and parcel of a move towards starting a new life. You may have been visiting Mallorca for years, you may be thinking of investing in property and moving to Mallorca, save on hotels and rentals and maybe one day even live here.
The first and possibly most import decision you will make is to choose an area. Mallorca is so small, you may think it unimportant, but it is. Very much so. A good understanding of the diversity of the island and the idiosyncrasies of each area will condition what kind of property you can buy, the price, the setting and views, local amenities, services and how near you are to the airport or the sea. It will also affect the refurbishment and building regulations. It will condition how wise an investment you make and how good an idea it is to be moving to Mallorca.
Then, once you have chosen the location, find a real estate agent and start house hunting!
And then there's the paper work! moving to Mallorca will require a certain amount of bueaucracy...and in Mallorca it's a pile of red tape.
When undertaking any form of bureaucratic move, rule number one is to remember that no matter how organised and prepared you may feel you are, no matter how many documents and certificates you have amassed, and photocopies of every one, you will invariably arrive at the office in question, only to be told you are missing something. It can be infuriating but it is one of the elements of life in Spain that you are simply going to have to take on board.
However, moving to Mallorca needn't be bogged down with all that. Most paper work can be processed by someone known as a gestor, an administrative help which most people, local and foreign, will employ to ease the hell that Spanish bureaucracy can be.
Driving a car in Spain
If you are moving to Mallorca you will probably need a car. The island may be small but most local public transport runs to and from Palma and bus lines between villages, though regular, are scarce.
If you own a car in Mallorca you have to pay an annual road tax to drive on the island and anywhere in Spain, and pass your ITV ( Inspecció Técnica de Vehiculos), Spanish MOT equivalent, once a year, if your vehicle is over 4 years old. For newer cars the ITV inspection is every 2 years. ITV inspections are carried out at official ITV centres. Most mechanics will take your car to pass the ITV inspection for you, for a small fee.
If moving to Mallorca permenantly or semi permenantly, you will also have to register your driving license with the traffic authorities and get an International driver’s permit/ license (IDP/L). Carry both your national driving license and the International driver’s permit on you all the time.
To import a vehicle to Mallorca you will need to register it at the official traffic office in Palma de Mallorca (Trafico) and pay an import tax. If you own a property in Mallorca you can drive your vehicle with its original registration plates for 30 days on the island. If you are moving to Mallorca and therefore plan to stay longer you will need to change over to Spanish registration plates.
Working in Spain
Moving to Mallorca is all very well, but life goes on and you may be thinking of working here too. To work in Mallorca you need a NIE number and a Social Security card and number, you will have to pay contributions which will in turn provide you with state healthcare. Again, your gestor will be able to help with this.
If you want to set up your own business you will also need a NIE number and your qualifications may need to be officially recognised. A professional business advisor will help you determine what kind of legal structure is best suited to your business plan. This is called an Asesor and any financial queries you may have about moving to Mallorca will be best taken to someone like this.
You are entitled to public health care in Spain if any of the following apply to you:
- You are registered to work in Spain and make national insurance contributions.
- You are registered as a resident in Spain before 24 April 2012, have an annual income of less than €100,000.
- You are in receipt of a UK old age state pension or long term sickness benefit.
- You are a worker seconded to Spain, or the family member of a someone making UK national insurance contributions.
- You are coming to study or are currently studying in Spain as part of a UK-recognised course and if you are a child or a pregnant woman.
If you are moving to Mallorca and none of the above apply to you then consider getting private health care. There are many private health insurance companies and rates are far lower than European equivalents. Private hospitals on the island are excellent and there are state hospitals in Palma, Inca and Manacor.
There are also national health clinics in every small town and village, known as PACS which will attend you with both state and private health cards.
Schools in Mallorca
Moving to Mallorca is one thing, but relocating with a family, taking kids out of school and putting them in a school in Spain, is a whole different thing. For a start there is the question of language, and as mentioned earlier, Mallorca has two! Spanish and Catalan.
Mallorca has a national public school system which uses both Spanish (national language) and the Catalan (regional language), and schooling is divided pretty much equally in the two languages. English is gradually being introduced into the regional curriculum but still very much in the initial stages. If you are moving to Mallorca with fairly young children state schooling can be an option. There are many European children in the national school system and kids are perfectly capable of becoming completely fluent in both languages within a year of moving to Mallorca.
Mallorca also has a good selection of private international schools, concentrated mainly in the southeast of the island; 4 British schools, a German and Swedish school and a French Licée as well as a British sixth form college and several bilingual (Spanish/English) schools. Long waiting lists are standard so it is wise to contact them as soon as you start thinking about moving to Mallorca, you are under no obligation to go through with it but at least this way you stand a chance of getting your children in.
A new English primary school recently opened in Crestatx, near Pollensa Old Town and has been well received. It is called My School and has children from 3 to 12 years old, with plans to grow into secondary.
Moving to Mallorca with a pet
Moving to Mallorca with a pet (animal de compañía, domestic o mascota) from elsewhere within the European Union is quite simple. Moving pets to Spain from outside the European Union, or from the UK and Ireland can be more complicated. Your pet will have to fully up to date on all the necessary vaccinations, have an identification microchip and all its paperwork in place.
There are two main documents which you will need; a European Pet Passport (EU Pet Passport), which allows qualifying domestic animals (dogs, cats and ferrets) free border crossing within Europe, and a Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), which allows qualifying domestic animals (dogs, cats and ferrets) to travel to and from the UK without quarantine.
That's all for now, but if you have any other questions or concerns about moving to Mallorca, please email us through the contact form and we will be happy to help.