Claiming your pension in Spain
There are so many reasons why Spain is one of the most popular countries with British retirees – starting with the climate and of course the Mediterranean lifestyle. Estimates suggest that around one million British expats of retirement age live in Spain for at least part of the year.
If you are moving to Spain and planning to draw a pension, it is a relatively easy process. There are a number of ways you can access your pension payments while living in Spain:
- You can choose to have your pension paid directly into a bank account in Spain, and you can do this either before you move, or after you have arrived. To do this, you must contact the Pension Service on the DirectGov website. You will also be required to specify how long you will be spending in Spain; if you will be in Spain for more than half the year, then you will be required to pay tax on your pension there, rather than in the UK. This is because the pension will be seen as part of your income, and the amount of tax that you pay will depend on a number of other factors.
Please note: we recommend checking whether your pension can be paid into a Spanish account.
- You can also continue to have your pension paid into your UK bank account, which you can then transfer into your Spanish account. Of course, in this instance, the amount of money you receive from your pension payment will be affected by exchange rates, which could mean you receive different payments every month. We recommend speaking to Smart Currency Exchange, as they will be able to help you with setting your exchange rate for all transfers in a certain time period with a product called a Forward Contract, and also set up automated regular payments – meaning you know what payments you will receive in euros, and when.
Whichever method of pension payment you choose, it’s important to be familiar with all the details of your pension scheme well before you move.
Receiving a UK state pension in Spain
If you have been paying into a state pension in the UK, you will receive a pension claim form from the Pension Service around four months before you retire. It is very important to make sure they have your address in Spain before you move, or you may not receive important documents and information. If you are already abroad, contact the International Pension Centre in Newcastle-upon-Tyne to update your personal details.
We always recommend discussing your options with an independent financial advisor – especially if you have been self-employed.
Thousands of British people receive pensions in Spain every day; with a little planning, there should be no issue with you obtaining yours. The best way to do this is through careful research – make sure you check out the relevant UK government websites.
Don’t forget to give your new Spanish address to your pension provider before you move, and get in touch with Smart Currency Exchange to help with transferring your pension payments into euros – then all you need to do is enjoy your retirement in sunny Spain!