10 things Georgina did to make her ibiza move a huge success.

I moved to Ibiza with my husband in 2011. We love it here however it did take a good few years to really feel at home and be truly happy with our decision to make the move.

We’re originally from Australia although before Ibiza we’d been living in Scotland for four years. We had been through the immigration process before and knew how stressful it could be and how important preparation was.

You would think our experience would have made our move to Ibiza relatively easy however there were still plenty of pitfalls and mistakes made that drew out the settling period. Hindsight is such a wonderful thing!

For anyone planning for, or considering a move to Ibiza, here are 10 tips I wish I’d taken stronger heed of when we made the move.

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Bring Enough Money

I don’t believe the huge prices tourists can pay on their holiday reflect the true cost of living here. I actually find the basic costs of living in Ibiza quite low compared to other places I’ve lived, however we underestimated how expensive the move and getting set up over here would be.

Plus, you’ll want money to explore your new island home and spend time finding your favourite restaurants and hangouts. So my number one tip is save more than enough! The more you save, the quicker you’ll get set up and the faster you can begin the lifestyle you moved here for.

Learn Spanish

This should be a top priority when moving to Ibiza. Sure, many people here speak English and you could get away without learning Spanish however life will be much easier and more enjoyable if you do. I really didn’t feel like I’d earned the right to call myself a local until I had a good grasp of the language.

There are a number of private institutions offering intensive Spanish classes as well as very affordable classes offered by the local government. They’re a good place to start but nothing beats immersing yourself in the language with a bunch of locals and a few cañas!

Ibiza Town port and Dalt Vila

Have a Car

Living on the island without a car makes things incredibly difficult. This may be an obvious one to most people, however we hadn’t owned a car for almost five years before moving here and so we started with a moped for our first year. Sounds fun  matches the daydream  but totally unpractical. Bring your car to Ibiza  or buy one as soon as possible.

When we did eventually purchase a car, we bought it in mainland Spain and brought it over on the ferry. We found the options on the mainland much better value for money and generally in better condition.

Start the NIE application ASAP

Begin the process of attaining your NIE and residency as soon as possible.You need your NIE to work and to register your residency to obtain residency services such as healthcare, discounted travel to the mainland and government winter support.

My husband has an EU passport, so for him getting his NIE was a fairly straightforward process (for Spanish standards). Be prepared to spend a lot of time waiting in queues though and going back and forth with paperwork and appointments. Be patient, it has to be done!

My situation was a little more involved. I have an Australian passport and had to apply for a Residency Card for EU Citizen Family Members (Tarjeta de residencia de familiar de ciudadano de la Unión). This ended up being a very long, stressful and expensive process.

It took 12 months from submitting my application to receiving my NIE. In hindsight, I wish we had hired a gestor to help.  For a reasonable fee, they help complete all the paperwork, make appointments and can also attend the appointment with you which makes things much easier if you don’t speak Spanish well.

Cala Vadella, San Jose. Ibiza's beautiful south.

Work hard

If you want to work for yourself, have a good business idea and are willing to work hard the potential for success is high in Ibiza. The island is full of entrepreneurs who’ve built their business from the ground up and do very well because they work incredibly hard and have a passion for what they do.

If you aren’t starting your own business, but instead looking for other work, be prepared to accept all kinds of work to get you started. In our first year, I did all kinds of jobs, from shop keeping to childcare to freelance writing. It was through this work I made good contacts to eventually find a great job with Ibiza Summer Villas.

Connect with the Community

Ibiza has a wide community of expats, many of who have been through the exact process you may soon embark on. They’re a wealth of knowledge and advice, so make the most of them and get involved in the local community.

When I first arrived, I did a few art classes as well as joined a gym and they were all a great way to meet locals and make new friends. You can also meet people through events and local clubs. There are also some great groups on Facebook to join such as Ibiza Winter Residents and The Ibiza Inside Inspiration group.

Join the FREE Moving to Ibiza on Facebook

This group is created with one mission; to assist as many people as possible to move and set up their business in Ibiza. Join now and be part of like minded people with loads of love for Ibiza.

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Find a Reliable Gestoria

As mentioned earlier, I wish we’d hired a gestor to help with my residency application. A gestor is an administrator who can help navigating the intricate web of Spanish administrative bureaucracy, for anything from taxes and cars to employment and setting up your own business. Find a reliable gestoria and make life easy for yourself by paying a gestor to help with any admin you have.

A gestor is not a licensed professional, but like a clerk with experience and good contacts, so find a good one through recommendations. You will be able to visit a gestoria and receive initial advice for free and get more information on costs for their services.

It is never the right time for your Ibiza move so better do it now!

Castillo Almudaina in Dart Vila fortress. Santa Maria d' Eivissa cathedral.

Castillo Almudaina in Dart Vila fortress. Santa Maria d’ Eivissa cathedral.

Time your Move

The advantage of coming over just before the summer means there’s a lot of work available although finding long-term accommodation at this time  without paying extortionate prices  is near impossible.

I would recommend moving to Ibiza mid winter when there will be plenty of options for long-term accommodation. You also have the relaxed pace of the island to get settled. On the other hand, there isn’t much work available so you’ll need the budget to get through the rest of the winter note tip number one!

Visit Ibiza in Winter Beforehand

Summer and winter in Ibiza are like completely different islands. I love the winter but it’s not for everyone. It’s very quiet, many businesses close for the winter months and (surprising to some people) it does get cold. If you’ve never experienced Ibiza in winter, visit the island for a few weeks during January or February to get a taste for what it’s really like.

Santa Eularia church, Puig de Missa

Mentally Prepare Yourself for Island Life

It’s important to understand this is an island and things move a little slower here and you may not be able to get all the normal conveniences that you are used to. Learn to be patient and go with the flow. There are some sacrifices we have to make to live in such a beautiful place!

Georgina Porteous is an Australian expat living in Ibiza with her husband Jamie and their dog Teela. With a background in Journalism, she moved to Ibiza in 2011 after a four year stint in Scotland. She is currently Head of Sales and Marketing at Ibiza Summer Villas, one of the leading villa agencies in Ibiza. Even after four years on the island, Ibiza’s beauty still takes her breath away.

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4 Comments

  1. Justin

    This is good advice. This website is proving very useful to know about.

  2. Isa

    “…getting his NIE was a fairly straightforward process (for Spanish standards)…”
    Let me tell you that in the mainland you can get your NIE at the very moment you applicate for it. You don’t have to wait. Here in Ibiza, the population has increased that much that things take longer. I don’t think it’s fair to say “for Spanish standards” if you have never lived in the mainland or anywhere in Spain except in Ibiza.

    The rest of the info is so useful, thanks!

  3. Chris

    Very useful, very well written. Ibiza just made the bucket list. Thank you. 🙂