Ex Pats that have been living in Spain since before it’s entry into the E.U have seen at first hand many major changes that have been implemented here for any UK national that has decided to take up residence in Alicante. I remember always having to carry my passport on me and being stopped by the police and asked to produce my official documents. You could only legally stay for 3 months in Spain and needed a visa in your passport that specified your status as either a tourist or a resident.
When I decided to start working properly in Alicante I become a resident and was given permission to work as an English Teacher. This was back in the late 80s and I had to get my recently achieved T.O.E.F.L qualification recognised by the Spanish authorities. After a couple of trips to Madrid and quite a long winded and expensive process, I eventually received my official papers and begin living and working in Alicante without having to be always looking over my shoulder.
I ran a number of high street businesses in Alicante including The Body Shop. I became a member of the local commerce board and was eventually President for about 6 years. It was actually working in Spain that improved my understanding of the Spanish Language, you might say at the deep end, but I am now fluent in both written and spoken Spanish.
I am currently promoting living in Spain and making my experiences available to other people who may be considering living in Spain, or even already living in Spain. Nowadays it is a lot easier to live and work in Spain thanks to the EC. I currently have a resident card that allows me to live and work in Spain although when it expires I will just need to get a Resident’s Certificate from the local town hall. This is virtually free to acquire although it comes without a photo, so I will be opting to renew my residents permit which makes things a lot easier when it comes to financial transactions that you may need to carry out in Spain, like buying a car.