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Before going back | Barcelona

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To repatriate, follow similar steps to "Before the Departure" in closing down your household.

Once you know you are to return, it is a time of careful planning to create the least disruption for your household and to facilitate a smooth transition. Establishing a time line is key. Something else to consider is the time of year and climates in the place you are moving from, and moving to. Try to choose a time of year where the weather is moderate. No one likes moving in the dead of winter, or blistering heat of summer.

Think about where you would like to settle. If you already own property this decision might be easy. It also important to consider family and their location. If you don't have any concrete ties, research the areas that spark your interest. Consider your values, interests, and goals and if they can be fulfilled in a particular location.

Begin making contacts in your new country of residence. Both for business and social reasons, you will need to expand your circle. You might do this through social and professional networking sites, sports clubs, or for groups focusing on newcomers to the city. You might even find a group of expats to help you settle in. A vacation back home before committing to the full move may help you make these contacts, as well as prepare a property you already own, or start the search for a house.

Shut Down Household Abroad

You will need to begin shutting down your current household:

  • Give notice at your current position or work with the company on your transition back overseas
  • End your current lease or sell your home aboard. Note that ending your lease early will usually result in a penalty so try to time your departure so that it coincides with the end of your contract. If selling your house, employ an estate agent and start early as selling a house can be a very slow process.
  • Cancel your utilities upon leaving your residence
  • Provide contact information so all important contacts can still reach you

Financial Planning

Deicde if you are closing your bank accounts or transferring funds abroad. See if your bank has partnerships with banks where you are moving. It is also a good idea to create a transition fund that facilitates the cost of the move. Be prepared for the unexpected.

If your taxes are being withheld, you should have the withholding statements to show the officer. Be aware that the Tax Bureau has the right to presume that you are earning income. It is your duty to refute that presumption, if you choose. If taxes are not being withheld from your income, the Tax Bureau might impose a liability on you. If you claim you weren't working, you will need to account for how you spent your days.

Prepare for Customs

Prepare your goods to go through customs by making a detailed inventory and securing proof of change of residence. A moving form attestation can be secured through your Consulate. If using a shipping company, they should be able to handle most of this paperwork and advise you on procedure.

To secure the lowest taxes, you will usually need to have held a residence abroad for more than 12 months and have had use of the possessions in a private capacity for at least 6 months.

Prepare Your New Home

In tandem with shutting down your foreign house, you need to prepare your next residence. This includes finding work, searching for a new apartment or house, or preparing your house to be re-occupied. A visa may be necessary depending on your status, research and start the process well in advance. If moving with a pet, check with the Spain you are bringing the animal into and follow similar steps to when you entered Barcelona. If you have children, you will need to find the right school and arrange for their records to be transferred. If any members of your family are not from the Spain you are moving to, you may need to secure visas for their entry.

Visa Planning

If you are moving with the help of your company, there should be advisors to help you find out what paperwork is necessary and how to proceed.

If you are moving independently, it is in your best interest to contact your local embassy. They should be able to supply with the proper paperwork and give you information on documentation and processing time. The site,, can help you locate the appropriate embassy nearest you. Make sure to start the process as soon as possible as visa can take a considerable amount of time to acquire.

Find a Home

Start early! Searching for a home takes time. It is usually best interest to hire an agency to help you search. They know the area and can follow up on leads while you are still abroad. Temporary housing can be extremely helpful in allowing to settle in before making final decisions.

For a deatiled guide to finding a home, try the expat guide for the country you are moving to.

Related article: Preparing for your move

Update 17/10/2011


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