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Move To America From Spain

The USA is a perennial favourite among Spanish expats and Europeans moving abroad to work and live. According to research by Wise, the top 5 destination cities in the USA for Spanish expats are New York City (19%), LA (8%), Chicago (4%), Houston (4%) and Miami (3%).

How to move to America from Spain

This guide has been produced by EU expats who have lived abroad and gained 20 years of experience in the removal industry. It is an international removal guide and contains lots of essential tips to help you move to America.

Why people move to America from Spain

America is a place Spanish expats can find jobs and advance their careers. The US economy is a world leader; the mighty dollar is recognised as the world’s currency, and everyone is familiar with the global giants, many of which are headquartered in the USA. Big-name destinations include the financial powerhouse of New York and the tech industry hubs in and around Los Angeles and San Francisco. But bear in mind that the regional business centres like Atlanta have much to offer too.

There are a number of large Spanish companies with a strong presence in America including Banco Santander, Telefónica, Repsol, Zara, Ferrovial, to name a few. All of this means there are plenty of job opportunities between the countries.

An instant language connection

If you’re from Spain, you’ll benefit from the obvious advantage of a linguistic connection. Spanish is the second language in America, and Spanish-speaking populations are concentrated in the west and southwest of the country, notably California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. Settling in will therefore feel that bit easier.

A Spanish cultural influence

The Spanish influence underlines the status of the USA as a melting pot. Most Americans trace their ancestry from somewhere else in the world, and the country continues to attract people from all over the globe who are looking for new opportunities. Such diversity and the chance to meet people from so many different backgrounds and cultures offers an incredibly enriching experience.

Something for everyone

You’re certain to find a place that suits you in the USA. The big cities of the East and West Coast have everything you need, from entertainment options to eating out. But if you prefer to live in more peaceful surroundings, closer to the countryside but within reach of the major centres, you’ll find plenty of options too.

A high quality of life

America offers Spanish expats and EU nationals a very high quality of life. With the exception of the big US city centres, housing in the USA is considered affordable and of a high standard. This is good news if you are moving to America with a family, as you should be able to find a good neighbourhood, with good schools and a home with enough space to enjoy. The relative cost of food and consumer products makes living affordable, especially when considered against incomes available.

There is also the great outdoors. From the rugged Rocky Mountains in the Northwest and Death Valley in California to the Everglades in Florida in the Southeast, some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes are found in the US.

Many are within easy reach of the big cities, such as the wooded landscapes of New England, famous for their autumn colours. But if you really want to get away from it all, you can do so in the famous national parks, such as Yosemite or Yellowstone. And whether you enjoy cycling, skiing or sailing, there are numerous ways to enjoy outdoor pursuits.

Pre-move Checks

Key questions and checks to consider before your move to the USA from Spain:

Is a US visa or work permit needed to move to the USA

Yes, unless you’re a returning US citizen. In general, before you can move to the USA, you’ll need permission to live there. However, citizens of certain countries, including Spain and other EU nations, are granted visa-free access for up to 180 days, under the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA).

Types of visas for Spanish citizens moving to the USA: US visa categories and US visa types vary based on your reason for moving and your relationship status. In most cases, the visa will be work-related. There are a lot of different visas and understanding which is the most applicable is key, so it is always advisable to seek professional advice.

Returning US citizens: If you’re a US citizen, under normal circumstances you are entitled to travel to the USA to work there.

Family members and accompanying adults: If you’re moving to the USA as a family unit or as a couple, check that each member can live, study or work there legitimately. Accompanying partners, for example, may not be permitted to work in the USA.

Documents commonly required: A valid passport, an up-to-date CV/resume, educational /professional qualification, certificates, marriage certificates, birth certificates for accompanying children.

Have you already started your application? If yes, please request a move quote.

*The information above is for general purposes and should not be used as legal advice. Please consult a qualified immigration lawyer.

Do I need a property  before I move

You’ll need an address, whether temporary or permanent. You should specify where you’ll be staying upon entering the country.

Temporary accommodation: when you arrive in America, you’ll need somewhere to stay, either a temporary or permanent address.

Rental property: For a rental property, you’ll need a signed lease showing the property address.

Home purchase: If you’ve purchased a property, a copy of the lease agreement and mortgage statement will be required, together with address details.

Will I need health insurance

Highly recommended: Please bear in mind that unlike in most European countries, including Spain, medical treatment isn’t free at the point of need in the USA. There is no universal public healthcare system, and even a routine medical procedure can cost a considerable amount. If you have a medical condition, you will likely have to pay even more. Health insurance is therefore vital for peace of mind. 

What about income tax and social security

Your income in the USA will be subject to tax, which is levied at the federal level, and most states charge deduct income tax too. Rates are generally lower than in Europe, and a progressive system applies in general. A double taxation treaty exists between Spain and in the USA, which means that income earned in the USA won’t be taxed in Spain. You’ll also pay social security contributions from your income.

*Information provided above is for awareness purposes only and should not be used as tax advice. Please ensure you consult with a qualified tax advisor.

The international removals process to America from Spain

The Sterling Lexicon Promise

Book with confidence. Book to reserve your move date and if things change you can move your dates. Sterling Lexicon is an accredited international mover who provide professional support throughout your move from here in Spain and at destination.


The following is a checklist to help you plan each stage of your move to America.


Moving to the United States of America is going to be very different to moving within Spain, so you should choose a reputable international removal company to make your transition as smooth as possible. It’s highly recommended to do some research before requesting a move quote.

Senior couple with ipad relaxing at home

Step 1 - Request a Move Quote

Start off by obtaining an international move quote; the easiest method is through an online Move Quote Form. If the moving company has an office in Spain you can also call them or send an email to speak to one of their international move specialists.

Step 2 - Pre-move Consultation

Be sure to arrange a pre-move consultation. A reputable international mover will usually discuss your move with you beforehand. Doing so will give the moving company a more accurate idea of your needs and allow them to advise and provide an accurate quote. Any potential challenges can be identified at this initial stage, enabling you to resolve them sooner rather than later.

Speak to experienced International Move Consultants not Sales People

At Sterling Lexicon, the consultation is conducted by an experienced International Move Specialist, rather than a sales person, who fully understands the technical requirements for your move to America from Spain. They will walk you through the international move process and answer your questions.



The international moving company may ask you to participate in a pre-move survey of your home contents. This makes certain that you receive an accurate move quote. Some firms do so via a survey app, which works on your mobile and involves a procedure very similar to a standard video call. During the survey, you walk around your home and tell us what you want to move.

When you speak to your mover, you may like to ask about the following during the video survey:

  • Access and parking
  • Fine art and special items
  • Insuring your items
  • International money transfers
  • Packing standards
  • Pet moving
  • Storage
  • Temporary accommodation arrangements
  • VAT reclaims
  • Vehicle shipping and storage

These usually take place using your mobile phone. It is very similar to having a conventional video call on your phone or tablet, where you walk around your home and show what you want to move.

Young woman showing her apartment on video call

Fine art, delicate items, and antiques: Delicate items, antiques, and artworks should be clearly marked to ensure they receive particular treatment, for instance casing and additional protection. Marking ensures that basic handling requirements will be met. Artworks will also have precise customs requirements.

Your International Move Summary and Quote: This will usually be issued shortly after the survey. Check the details to make sure that everything is clear. If you receive more than one quote, check that you’re getting a like-for-like comparison.

Important note about “ballpark quotes” over the phone: You may be offered a quick international move quote over the phone, allowing you to make a reservation on the spot, with a small deposit. However, without a full assessment, you may find that the final price will be very different from the original quote, resulting in extra charges. As standard, Sterling Lexicon obtains all the information necessary to offer an accurate price and thus minimizes the risk of additional charges.

Step 3 - Book your move date

All you need to do is check your move summary and quote and then reply to book your move date. Contact your Move Consultant if you’ve any questions.

Review your quote: when you check your quote, confirm that it includes everything you requested.

Sterling Lexicon Price Promise: if you’re comparing quotes, contact your Sterling Lexicon Move Specialist to get the best possible price.

Step 4 - Pay for your move

In most cases, you’ll be asked to pay to book your move. Credit card by phone is the safest method, or your mover may enable online payment.


You can normally save time by managing the move process stages through a website portal and the option of tracking the move progress online. Do ask if your international removal company offers this option.

Step 5 - Prepare your home for your move

Once your move date is set, you can start to get ready for your move to the USA. Check out this Ultimate Guide to International House Removals.


Your international moving company should confirm your key dates; a Sterling Lexicon Move Specialist will specify in your International Move Summary the packing dates and estimated shipping times. Make sure that you add these to your diary.


Please note that at this stage you’ll have to complete some forms, mostly concerning customs, insurance, and service instructions. Check the list below. However, your international mover should assist and guide you through this stage to save you time – and money too.


Your Sterling Lexicon Move Specialist will make sure you have all the correct customs documentation. They’ll guide you through the documentation stages. They’ll also help you complete the US Customs 3299 Form – the importer’s declaration, which can be confusing and complex.

Below is a list of the documents you’ll need when planning an international removal to America from Spain:

  • Copy of valid Passport (some ports require Passports for all family members listed on the 3299)
  • Copy of valid Visa non-US citizens, or copy of Permanent Resident Card if a returning US citizen
  • A-1 Visa if it is a diplomat moving to America
  • CF-3299 – Declaration for Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles, if applicable
  • Form DS-1504 (applicable only to diplomatic relocations/diplomats moving)
  • Form CF-6059B – Customs Declaration
  • Copy of Bill of Lading (OBL) / Air Waybill (AWB) – We’ll take care of this if completing the entire international removal to the USA for you.
  • Detailed moving inventory in English – we’ll complete this if you want us to undertake a full packing service for your removal
  • Food Questionnaire
  • CBP Form 7501 - Customs Entry Summary
  • Importers Security Filing (ISF)
  • Stamped I-94 Card

Start off by preparing your home for the packing crews. First, divide your possessions into those you want to take with you and those that should be stored. Items transported by air should be put to one side. Any pictures can be taken down and placed on the floor, against the wall, in preparation for packing. Large items can be set aside for the moving company to dismantle, or you can do this. Place all small parts in a dedicated box so they can be put together at your destination.

Walk through your home and assess everything. Any items that can’t be taken (e.g. prohibited items) should be put to one side. Your moving company may provide you with stickers to label items ready for the packing crews. Be sure to clear the loft, basement, and any outhouses.


Put all the nuts and bolts from dismantled furniture, remote controls, etc. into a single box, which should be clearly marked accordingly. Also, remember to put aside a box for cutlery, plates, cups, blankets, etc. for your first evening in your new home. These boxes should be clearly identified and be the last to be loaded, making them easy to find.


Put your passport, visa, phone, charger, power pack, adaptor, documents, and jewellery and medicine aside in a clearly identifiable container so that they aren’t packed. Place your important documents, e.g. insurance contract(s), lease contract for your new home, mortgage letter, etc., in a wallet. You should have physical and digital copies available.


On the days when your home is being packed, someone should be looking after your pet(s).

It’s essential that your family pet(s) move without any stress and that they receive the best care, which Sterling Lexicon pet moving specialists will be able to provide. They’ll take all the necessary precautions and arrange for a time and date to collect your pet(s) for their move. Read about Sterling Lexicon Pet Relocation or speak to your Move Specialist to learn more. 

Woman playing on beach with pet dog

Step 6 - Packing your household goods on the day of moving home

On the first day of your move, the packing team will arrive at your home at the agreed time. Companies such as Sterling Lexicon will guarantee that the packing team will introduce themselves for security purposes. Usually, you’ll then walk through your home and discuss what you’re packing for transport by sea or air, items for storage or special care, and those that you won’t be taking.


You should check that the materials used are sustainable and are of the required standard. Reputable companies will use packing materials offering the highest level of protection and are environmentally-friendly. For example, they’ll use sustainable and 4-6 ply export wrap, thick-walled specific packing boxes, acid-free tissue paper, cornering for furniture and thick carding. They should use specialist export wrapping techniques to work safely and take measures to protect your home from damage. The packing crews should also recycle as much as possible.


You should inform your Move Specialist of everything that you intend to take so that they can advise you of any restricted items or incurring customs duties. You’ll thus be able to discuss everything before your relocation and find the most cost-effective way to manage it and keep costs down.


Here is the current list of prohibited and restricted items, as defined by the US border authority. If in doubt, speak to your Move Specialist.


Once the packing has been completed, an inventory list is generated, listing everything that has been packed. Keep a copy of this until your possessions have arrived in the USA and have been unpacked in your new home.


Your possessions will be transported roughly 7,500 kilometres between Spain and the USA. You can protect your move with an insurance policy covering your personal possessions, furniture, art, collections, etc. Your Move Specialist can help you arrange cover.


If you need long-term or temporary storage, you should ask your international mover for secure storage in Spain before shipping.

Step 7 - Transporting your household goods to America

Sea freight is regarded as the most effective way to move your household goods long distance with a lower environmental impact. Air shipments are useful for transporting your most essential items. Your international mover will prepare your possessions for transportation by sea and air.


Your Move Specialist will advise an accurate timeframe but usually you should allow at least 4-6 weeks for your sea shipment to arrive in America.


Household goods being moved to America will be subject to US Customs clearance checks. Check how your international mover will support you here. For example, if you use Sterling Lexicon, they will help you complete the forms in advance and manage the clearance process.

Step 8 - Travel and temporary accommodation in the USA

Do give yourself enough time to get to the airport. Before you travel, check you’ve all your documents ready and to hand. And double-check that you’ve done everything to travel legally concerning visa, COVID and travel arrangements.


Until your belongings arrive, you’ll probably stay in temporary accommodation or a hotel. Please let your Move Specialist know when you’ve arrived at the airport and gone through customs. The Move Specialist can arrange for your air-freight to be delivered with your essential items to your address.

Some companies can help you find temporary accommodation in the USA. Check with Sterling Lexicon for a competitive temporary accommodation quote.

Step 9 - Delivery and unpack in your new home

Your international moving company will normally handle the customs process for you. It will notify you when your household goods have cleared customs and arrange a delivery date to your new home.

You’ll need to get all your utilities set up, register for a local doctor and dentist, open a bank account (if not already organised) and attend to any other practical matters. Do speak to your international mover at the beginning of the move process, because often you can arrange such matters in advance.

Step 10 - Welcome to your new home

Welcome! It’s time to get to know your new neighbourhood. 

Young happy couple on beach with us flag


If you have moved with Sterling Lexicon and would like any local advice on places to help you settle-in, or you need additional support for the practical things such as utilities, local expat club introductions, schools, or anything else. Simply contact your Sterling Lexicon Move Specialist.


Additional areas Sterling Lexicon can help with

Currency exchange

If you need to transfer EUR to USD before you move to the US, we recommend Currencies Direct.

Currencies Direct is multi-award-winning foreign exchange company. They have been helping people save time and money on their currency transfers since 1996.

Contact Currencies Direct to learn more! 

Moving classic cars and motorcycle to the USA

Since 1990, we’ve been moving classic cars and motorcycles. Read our Auto Shipping FAQs and guide, and  speak to us today about a quote for importing your car or motorcycle to the USA.

Moving your pets to the USA

We’ve been moving pets for over 30 years. To check the latest requirements from Spain to the USA and to get a pet travel quote, contact our team.

Moving fine art the USA

If you’ve fine art you wish to take as part of your move, we can offer the assistance of art technicians, specialist art crating and fine art shipping services. Your art collection will receive exceptional care. Please contact us for a consultation.

Do you have any questions?

Why not speak to one of our team today so they can answer your questions clearly and simply. Call today.

What to do next

Get a free move quote

For a free move quote to America from Spain, complete this quote form. One of our Move Specialists will then be in contact within 24 hours.

Book your move survey

Get ahead and book your free video survey. This allows Sterling Lexicon to accurately estimate the weight and volume of your household goods and get you the best price for your move. All you need is a smart phone and a Move Specialist will guide you through everything at a time that is most convenient for you. To book your video survey, speak to your Move Specialist.

Pay for your move online

Payment can be made by credit card over the phone or you can pay online

Customer Reviews

What people say about their move

Gavin R Spain to America
Hi Team, just wanted you to know that the movers did a great job today! I was amazed how quickly they moved all our belongings into the new house. Thanks for all your support throughout, I know you were super patient with us - gracias!
Linda A Spain to America
Maria has been very professional, responsive and an absolute joy to work with during our move to the US. She is awesome!
Alejandro S Spain to America
Sonja was professional and kind - she performed a very detailed report of what needed to be moved with us. Hope we get the chance to work together again - a very lovely and helpful lady.

Sterling Lexicon

Each year we help many returning residents, diplomats and professionals moving for work and with their families to move to the USA. Our team help with their visas, finding homes, finding schools, moving and support at their destination. Everything needed to start a new chapter in the USA.

Our Locations

Sterling Lexicon Madrid, Spain

Calle de Lopez de Hoyos 42
28002 Madrid, Spain

Sterling Lexicon USA Head Office

815 South Main Street
Jacksonville, FL 32207
United States