Moving overseas takes a lot of planning and organisation and can be a lot more work than merely relocating within your own country. With international customs and laws to consider, as well as the practicalities of getting your belongings to the end location, an international move is fraught with potential complications. Removals to Gibraltar may appear almost “local” to people moving from the UK; it isn’t as straightforward.
Here are some of the must-have facts about Gibraltar to get you started.
Moving to Gibraltar: About Gibraltar
One of 14 British Overseas Territories, Gibraltar still retains a real UK vibe, despite its proximity to Spain and the continent. You’ll find many familiar shop names on their high streets, but despite its strong British link Gibraltar has the right to pass its laws independently.
A tiny nation, dominated by the famous Rock, it covers just 2.7 square miles. 30,000 people live there and fill the place. Many of those who work in Gibraltar live over the border in Spain and opt to commute in.
Basically, in practice Gibraltar can feel quite busy and crowded and it’s hard to find a quiet, tranquil location.
Gibraltar offers an excellent quality of life, and many items are cheaper than in the UK. It is also somewhat of a tax haven as it doesn’t impose many of the tax levies that you find elsewhere. This tax regime makes Gibraltar an attractive proposition for those with high incomes or wealth.
The Gibraltar pound is the official currency. You can also use British pound; it’s important to note that these are not the same and Gibraltar pounds are not a valid currency in the UK. Gibraltar also accepts the Euro, but the exchange rate is low unless you exchange in a dedicated facility like a bank.
Removals to Gibraltar: Living in Gibraltar
The small size of the country means that you won’t need to research specific towns or cities in Gibraltar as they don’t really exist. Unlike anywhere else, no place is large enough to qualify as a town.
When deciding where to live, apartment blocks count loosely as a neighbourhood, but these still don’t have the same feel as a larger town. It’s therefore much easier to find a place to live as you only need to look for an accommodation that you like.
This fluid flow means that Gibraltar offers a close-knit community and it’s straightforward to make friends locally, as almost everybody speaks English.
Moving to Gibraltar: Language
Perhaps unsurprisingly given its close relationship with the UK, the residents of Gibraltar primarily speak English. It is the leading tongue and official communications, as well as road signs, are in English.
However, English is not the only language in Gibraltar; There is Spanish of course; Many of those who speak English will also be fluent in Spanish. But here is a little known third option: Llanito. It is a fusion of English and Spanish, and this very distinctive language is not spoken anywhere else. Even within Gibraltar, you will find limited use for it.
Moving to Gibraltar: Healthcare
The standard of healthcare in Gibraltar is excellent with modern, well-equipped facilities and doctors and nurses who are highly skilled. However, due to the relatively small size of the country, not all health professionals work there full-time and may be flown in as and when required.
If you work in Gibraltar, you will automatically contribute to their healthcare system, which will qualify you for free cover. UK citizens and those from the EU will also be eligible for free healthcare automatically. Unlike in some other countries, Gibraltar has a reputation for very short waiting times.
Moving to Gibraltar: Visa Requirements
Gibraltar’s status is unusual because it is a British Overseas Territory. As such, it has its own Parliament and passes its laws. The UK remains responsible for handling its foreign affairs, including its relationship with Europe and the EU.
Indeed, Gibraltar has an exceptional relationship with the EU. If you come from a Schengen country, you will also be able to visit Gibraltar without a visa. However this only allows for a stay of up to 21 days; if you wish to remain for longer or work in Gibraltar, you will need a visa.
UK nationals will not need a visa to travel to and live in Gibraltar. You will find essential links for British Expats in Gibraltar on the UK Govt website
Moving to Gibraltar: Transport system
There is public transport available, but it’s constrained, with just buses and no train system. However, the size of Gibraltar means that it is less of an issue because of how easy it is to walk to wherever you need to go.
Despite the compact size of the country, Gibraltar has one of the highest rates of car ownership in the world. Roads are generally in excellent condition, although the older ones, particularly around the city centre, may be quite narrow. The main street in the country crosses the airstrip. Therefore, when planes are taking off or landing the airport closes the road. For newcomers who haven’t seen this kind of set-up before, being in such proximity to planes taking off and landing can come as a bit of a surprise!
Remember that Gibraltar has been driving on the right since 1929.
As a peninsula, Gibraltar relies heavily on the sea for transport and access. The country also has its airport. Many travellers use it as they try to reach areas of Spain close to the border.
Moving to Gibraltar: Your removal
Being on a peninsula means that when you’re physically ready to move to Gibraltar, you’ll have many options for transport. Reputable, professional European moving companies will be able to offer you options, depending on where you come from and your budget.
Sea freight can be cheap but requires patience, especially if your belongings do not fill a whole container. Because Gibraltar has its own airport, air freight is also an option, if an expensive one. It is therefore not surprising that most will use a classic road freight to move from a European country.
Whether you choose our Load & Go or our EasyMoves solution, European Moving can help you with your removal. We shall be able to help you with the full list of restrictions that apply to removals to Gibraltar and also provide advice on a whole range of removal issues you may not have encountered before.