Americans Moving to Spain

Updated: 30 March 2023

Spain has an excellent international reputation. This reputation comes from its long-standing political stability, amazing landscape, fantastic cuisine, and incomparable culture. This country on the Iberian peninsula is home to about 6 million expats. Not to mention the millions of visitors that enjoy going there for tourism. 

Should I move to Spain from the US?

Americans that move to Spain often love the relaxed Mediterranean lifestyle. While living in the US moves at the speed of light, Spaniards like to take their time and enjoy life. Spain also tends to have endless things to do and places to visit. Whether you’re an art lover, a beach enthusiast, or a fan of quaint, quiet little villages, you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for in Spain. 

The excellent climate is another reason why expats favor Spain as it is warm all-year-round. 

Living in Spain as an American: Cost of Living

Spain is one of the cheapest European countries. American expats living in Spain report that they spend about 30% less there than they do in the USA.

Rental costs

Renting in Spain is about 40% cheaper in Spain than it is in the US. For example, you can find a one-bedroom in Madrid’s city center for about 800 while a similar property would be 1400 in the US. if you go outside the city center, you can find a one-bedroom apartment for 500 in Spain, while you’ll need a minimum of 900 in the US.


Spain is a major producer of vegetables and fruits. This means that you’ll be able to find excellent fresh food at a meager price. Groceries in general cost less in Spain than they do in the US. Especially meat, wines, and cheeses, which are renowned for their excellent quality in Spain.

Below you’ll find a table with various items and their estimated price in Spain:

Groceries Price
Apple (one kg) €1.74
Banana (one kg) €1.62
Chicken (one kg) €6.03
A dozen eggs €1.82
A loaf of bread (500 g) €1.01
Local Cheese (one kg) €9.64
Milk (one liter) €0.79
Onions (one kg) €1.61
Potatoes (one kg) €1.11
Rice (one kg) €0.99
Water bottle (1.5 liters) €0.62

Eating out

Spain has an amazing cuisine which differs from region to region. You will find delicious local meals made in local restaurants everywhere you go. We invite you to try as many restaurants as you can, as the great Spanish cuisine is enjoyed by expats. Eating out in Spain is quite cheap when compared to the US.
 You can see a table below with the average price of going out for a meal:

Meal/Item Price
Meal at an inexpensive restaurant €10
Meal for two at a mid-range restaurant €40
Meal at a fast-food chain €7.50

Retiring to Spain from the US

Spain is extremely popular amongst retirees, especially from the UK. This is because it is cheap, warm, and has an excellent healthcare system. The healthcare system there is free for all citizens and permanent residents. 

Spain readily welcomes American retirees. Additionally, Spain has no restrictions on foreigners buying property there. Spain could be an excellent place to retire to whether you want to live by the seaside, quietly in a mountain or somewhere in the countryside. 

Moving to Spain from the US

How To Get Spanish Residency

There are various visa options for US citizens moving to Spain:

  • Work visa
  • Self-employment visa
  • Retirement visa
  • Permanent residency
  • Tourist visa

A common way for US expats to obtain permanent residence in Spain is through the Spain Golden Visa 

The Spain Golden Visa

Spain Golden Visa is a residency by investment program which grants the investor permanent residency in Spain and eventual citizenship. To qualify for the Spanish Golden Visa you need to make an investment of at least €500,000 whether in Spanish real estate or business.

As a Golden Visa holder, you have various benefits such as:

  • High Mobility: You can travel around the Schengen area Visa-Free
  • Family inclusion: You can bring along your spouse and your dependent children under 18 years of age
    • Children over 18 years of age may be included if they are full-time students who are dependent on you
  • Path to Spanish citizenship: If you reside legally in Spain for ten years, you become eligible to apply for Spanish citizenship. The Spanish passport is ranked 4th in the world and gives you visa-free access to 187 countries.

Buying Property in Spain

Spain’s real estate market is currently an excellent investment. Other than giving you residency in Spain, you’ll probably have a high return on your investment thanks to the growing demand for short-term rentals there. 
Below you’ll find a table with the average prices of property in various regions in Spain:

City Location Average price per m²
Alicante In the city center 2,560.00 
Outside of the city center 1,876.54 
Bilbao In the city center 4,678.62 
Outside of the city center 3,028.00
Barcelona In the city center 4,519.98
Outside of the city center 2,980.00 
Madrid In the city center 4,929.97 
Outside of the city center 2,993.11 
Malaga In the city center 3,271.43 
Outside of the city center 2,066.67 
San Sebastian In the city center 5,800.00 
Outside of the city center 3,675.00 
Valencia In the city center 2,784.69 
Outside of the city center 1,483.36 

Frequently Asked Questions on Moving to Spain From US

Are there American expats in Spain?
Spain is home to about 6 million expats. Most of them are British, French, or German. However, the number of American expats in Spain is also on the rise.

Where do most expats live in Spain? 
The cities with the most expats living in them are Madrid and Barcelona. But you’ll find a decent number of expats anywhere you go in Spain so it would be easy to make friends there. 

Is moving to Spain easy?
It’s relatively easy to move to Spain, depending on the type of visa you need. In general, the Spanish government makes it easy for Americans to move to Spain.

Is Spain Cheaper than the US?
Yes, the cost of living in Spain as an American is considerably lower than in the US. Especially when it comes to groceries, eating out, and healthcare.  

More Resources on Moving to Spain From the US

Cost of Living in Spain

Taxes in Spain

Healthcare in Spain

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