How to move to
Find A Job
Gibraltar’s relationship with the UK, its lifestyle and the fact that it is English-speaking means that it is an attractive proposition for expats who are seeking work, particularly if they come from the UK. It also affords possibilities of becoming a cross-border worker, living in Gibraltar and working in neighbouring Spain, for example, or vice versa. It is estimated that around 9000 people cross the border every day for employment purposes.
If you have qualifications and experience in finance, insurance, IT, or the gaming industry (a number of international gaming companies have made the Rock their headquarters in recent years), it is worthwhile checking out vacancies here, and you may also be able to pick up casual work in the hospitality industry.
Your status as a potential employee will depend on your nationality: if you are an EU national, you will be able to apply for a 5 year work permit in the country after 6 months’ residence. You can apply for a residence permit, but may need to prove that you can support yourself and will not become a burden on the state.
Conditions for non-EU nationals are stricter and will depend on whether a company can find someone from the EU/EAA to fill the position. If you are not from the EU and wish to work in the territory, you will need to apply to the Employment Training Board and you will only be able to do so once you already have an employment contract. The work permit will run for 12 months and must be renewed at the end of this term. Your employer will also have to ensure that you have accommodation.
If you are from the UK, however, since Gibraltar is a British territory, you will be allowed to work without a residence permit.
The above conditions also apply if you are intending to be self employed in Gibraltar. You will need to register with the Employment Office and the Income Tax office; most expats do so as a sole trader. The process is usually straightforward.
If you are applying for a work permit, you will need to submit:
• an application form
• a copy of your passport
• your spouse’s passport and marriage certificate if applicable
• notice of your terms of engagement
• a copy of the Notification of Vacancy
• copies of your qualifications
You will also need to submit a processing fee (currently £52).
You are likely to be more successful finding employment if you are a member of a skilled profession (such as medicine or accountancy). Due to the growing presence of the gaming industry in Gibraltar, a background of employment in online gaming may also be to your advantage. Gibraltar is a small territory and correspondingly has a small labor pool: jobs may therefore be limited and you may not find it easy to change jobs.
Since Gibraltar is a British overseas territory, you will not need to be bilingual in Spanish if you want to work here, although speaking Spanish may be helpful if you are living over the border in Spain (where property is somewhat cheaper) and if you plan to live in Gibraltar and work in Spain, speaking the language might well be essential.
Typical working hours are similar to the UK: business hours typically run from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. over a 5 day week. Gibraltar thus works a 40 hour week.
On average, Gibraltaran salaries are around 20% lower than similar positions in the UK. The minimum wage is currently set at £6.75 but is due to experience a staggered rise over the next few years to £7.50 and will then continue to increase commensurate with the rate of inflation.
The minimum paid annual leave entitlement is set at 15 days for employees working at least 5 days a week, increasing to 25 days once the employee has been employed for 8 years.
If you have been continuously employed for more than I year before the birth of your child you will be entitled to 14 weeks’ maternity leave. If you have been paying a sufficient number of social security contributions, you will be entitled to a Maternity Allowance, a weekly sum paid over 18 weeks. You may also be eligible for a Maternity Grant, a lump sum payment after the birth of your child.
Your spouse will be able to work if they are a British citizen (with no need for a work permit) or an EU national, but they will not automatically be granted residence if they are not an EU national (even if you are a Gibraltan citizen yourself!)
Recruitment agencies (for instance, RecruitGibraltar) prefer to interview applicants personally and there tends to be a preference also for local applicants. It may, therefore, be worth your while to visit Gibraltar first and apply for work when you are there.
You can also make speculative applications.
Applying For A Job
A standard one page CV/resume is recommended. You will not need to have anything translated.
The Equality Act legislates against discrimination on the basis of sex, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation and age or age group, pregnancy or maternity leave, racial or ethnic origin, or gender reassignment. You should not experience questions at interview which violate the terms of the Equality Act, therefore.
Qualifications And Training
If you are qualified in a particular field (such as medicine) in the UK, your qualifications will be treated as analogous in Gibraltar. Generally, professional qualifications across the EU are transferable.
Apply For A Visa/Permit
Gibraltar is a British territory and visas are issued by the British government. So, as a general rule, if you need a visa for Britain, then you will need one for Gibraltar. Visas do not guarantee the right to reside or to work; see ‘Work Permits’ and ‘Residency’ below.
You can enter Gibraltar without a visa, and remain there for up to six months, if you are in any of the following categories:
• British citizens
• People granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK, or people granted the right of abode in the UK, provided they have not been absent from the UK for more than two years
• Holders of UK residence permits issued for a period of 12 months or more, UK biometric residence permits, or a UK multiple entry visa issued for six months or more
• Citizens of EU countries or holders of EU family permits (note that Gibraltar is included in the terms of the withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU – this includes a transitional phase until the end of 2020, during which all previous travel arrangements with the EU still apply; it is not yet known what arrangements will apply after 2020)
• Citizens of Andorra, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Republic of Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kiribati, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives Islands, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Timor Leste, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Tuvalu, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican City and Venezuela
• Holders of a multiple entry United Kingdom visa that is valid for at least one year
• Holders of diplomatic passports, who are travelling on duty
• Holders of service, temporary service and diplomatic passports issued by the Holy See
• Holders of passports issued by Hong Kong or Macao
• Holders of a ‘Laissez Passer’ issued by the United Nations
Citizens of Australia, Canada and the USA can enter Gibraltar without a visa and remain for up to three months.
Citizens of Morocco, the People’s Republic of China, Mongolia, India or Russia, who hold multiple entry Schengen visas that are still valid for at least seven days after their intended date of departure, can enter Gibraltar without a visa for a maximum of 21 days.
Anyone not in the categories above should acquire a visa before entering Gibraltar.
If in doubt, you can check to see whether you need a visa on the Government of Gibraltar website.
Apply for your visa through your nearest Embassy or High Commission. You will be guided by a series of questions – regarding length of stay, purpose of stay etc. – to the most appropriate visa for your purposes.
It is assumed that you want to enter Gibraltar for one of three reasons: to visit, to work, or to study.
This will be covered by default by whatever visa you use to enter Gibraltar. If you want to stay longer than the visa allows, you will either have to renew it or apply for residency. See ‘Residency’ below.
There is no work visa as such for Gibraltar. If you hold a passport from an EU or EEA country, then you can work in Gibraltar without a visa or work permit. However, if you are planning to stay for more than six months, you will need to apply for residency; see ‘Residency’ below.
If you enter Gibraltar on a visa, then you can look for work, but you must have a work permit before starting employment; see ‘Work Permits’ below.
The University of Gibraltar is the only higher education institution in Gibraltar. It can provide advice on visa requirements for anyone applying to study there.
Students from the UK and the EU can study in Gibraltar without a visa.
Students from anywhere else must apply for a visa to study.
Non-EU nationals must have a work permit before commencing employment. The employer applies for the work permit on the employee’s behalf, once the job has been secured. Failure to secure a work permit incurs a fixed penalty notice of £3,000 on the employer, but you will also lose your job, so make sure this is done.
Work permits are issued for a specific post with a specific employer for a period not exceeding 12 months. See the Government of Gibraltar website for the rules and for an application form.
Holders of a work permit can also apply for a residence permit. Note that spouses and dependants of non-EU nationals with a work permit are not automatically entitled to reside in Gibraltar, and must apply in their own right; see ‘Residency’ below.
No permit needed
Only Gibraltarians and British nationals employed by HM Government can remain in Gibraltar without a residence permit.
EU citizens are awarded a six-month residence permit on entry, which can be extended to a five-year residence permit (renewable) if they find work or start a business. All other nationals staying beyond the period of their visa must hold a residence permit. Non-EU citizens must apply for residency, even if they already have residency in another EU state.
Marriage to a Gibraltarian does not automatically grant the right to a residence permit. Note that the rules for men and women are NOT the same. A man who marries a Gibraltarian woman is automatically granted a residence permit. A woman who marries a Gibraltarian man must apply for a permit.
Family members of permit holders may stay in Gibraltar for up to three months, provided the qualifying person can provide suitable accommodation for them. To stay longer than three months, the family members must apply for residency themselves.
Residence permits are granted by the Civil Status and Registration Office. They are normally issued for one year, and they can be renewed annually provided the Immigration Authorities are satisfied that there has been no material change of circumstances. Applicants must provide:
• Identity documents
• Proof of either accommodation in Gibraltar suitable to their needs, or their ability to obtain it
• Proof of ability to support themselves, as well as family, if applicable
• Proof of insurance
• Proof of registration with the Employment Training Board, if employed or self-employed
• A business registration certificate and a certificate from the Department of Social Security, if self-employed
Successful applicants are also issued with a Gibraltar Civilian Registration Card, which is an official EU photographic identification document.
Get Health Insurance
Many expats take out private medical insurance, even if this is not a requirement of residence, because healthcare is expensive in their destination country or because certain treatments and procedures are not available.
When taking out health insurance, be sure to check factors such as the annual and lifetime policy limits, whether there are any exclusions which are likely to affect you, whether you are limited to treatment from specific types of healthcare providers, and whether the policy covers emergency evacuation for medical treatment.
Too frequently, potential buyers of health insurance look only for the lowest cost of premiums before really considering the specific benefits and areas of cover they may actually need. Some plans are cheaper for a reason. Often they include large voluntary deductibles on any claim you might make in the future and may severely cap the benefits received under the plan. Clients should define their needs first, establish the particular area of cover they need, then determine their annual healthcare insurance budget. Only then should they look to premium comparisons, last of all.
Do not buy a plan without studying the policy wording carefully. If in doubt, ask, and only when completely satisfied complete all application forms fully, to the best of your ability.
Important questions to ask the insurance provider:
1. Does the plan allow for cooling off periods, cancellation and then repayment of premium in full?
2. Does the plan offer "Moratorium" or is it "Full underwriting" and do you need to have a medical examination before joining?
3. Does the insurer offer a 24 hour help line, 7 days a week, available from anywhere in the world (freephone)? Most insurers now offer this facility.
4. Are pre-existing conditions excluded when joining and if so, for how long are such conditions excluded?
5. Are all and any nationalities accepted or are there restrictions which apply to local nationals? Some insurers will only take expatriates abroad and not local nationals into an overseas plan.
6. Does the plan allow you to continue cover unbroken through your lifetime? In most cases insurers will continue to offer existing clients cover year on year, irrespective of age or claims history, although premium rates charged can increase dramatically with age.
7. Does the insurer allow for any doctor or consultant or hospital within the plan? Are there any restrictions in this respect? Most international plans do not place restrictions on either hospitals or doctors, but almost all demand that their help lines are called first, prior to approval of any inpatient care.
8. Does the insurer provide for the direct settlement of bills presented by hospitals worldwide, regardless of location (or do you have to pay first)?
9. What are the insurers procedures for outpatient claims? Do these require any pre-authorization or if stated in the plan can you just pay and claim? How long before you get money back from the insurer? 14 days? 28 days?.
Save On Health Insurance
Compare quotes from leading international health insurance providers
Rent Or Buy Property
Expats can choose to buy or rent a property in Gibraltar, but many of them opt to rent because of the short-term nature of their assignments in the peninsula. There is a high demand for housing, especially because the space in this country is limited and most new developments are aimed at the wealthiest buyers. This means that accommodation prices tend to be very high as well..
Types of accommodation in Gibraltar
Expats who move to Gibraltar dont usually have any problem finding a home that suits their lifestyle and needs. Properties range from studio flats to large luxury houses. It is possible to rent both furnished and unfurnished properties in the peninsula. Many of the apartment blocks offer shared facilities such as swimming pools and laundry rooms as well. Apart from looking in some classifieds sections of local publications like The Gibraltar Chronicle, expats can also approach any number of real estate agents who operate within the territory and advertise their listings online.
Renting a property in Gibraltar
Once an expat has found the right property, there is a necessary deposit to be paid, which is usually one to two months’ rent, as well as one months rent in advance. They may also be required to provide references to the prospective landlord or estate agent. Most rental contracts in Gibraltar are signed for a year. Organizing the connection of utilities can be done by the estate agent or the tenant himself. The agent can arrange for a telephone to be connected as well. Tenants should be aware that references will be needed before an agreement can be signed.
As most new properties in Gibraltar are being built for wealthier buyers, the rental market offers a lot of options for expats. There are very few properties which do not have a view of the Mediterranean Sea and the quality of rental property available is generally quite high. The prices usually depend on the exact location and the quality of the property. There are several estate agents in Gibraltar who can provide details about properties to help expats find the ideal home. As properties range from studio flats to large houses, there is something to suit everybody in this region. It is possible to rent both furnished and unfurnished properties as well.
There are various standard terms and regulations when renting a property in Gibraltar. Connecting utilities can be done by the estate agent or the tenant, and deposits involved go around £60 for the water connection and £100 for the electricity. There is a deposit of £50 needed if tenants wish to connect a telephone, but it can be also added to the first bill if preferred.
Most tenancy agreements are signed for one year, although it is possible to acquire a tenancy agreement of six months. It is quite easy to renew the agreement if both landlord and tenant wish to do so. The tenancy agreement sets out the details of the agreement and explains all the costs and obligations involved. Typical rents vary depending on the size and location of the property, as well as the facilities that are included. A look at one or two websites of the local estate agents can help expats to see what amount of money can be expected to pay for certain properties.
Some apartment complexes may include extra charges for maintenance and there could be shared services, such as a laundry room or cleaning service. Those who require domestic help should have no trouble finding somebody if this service is not included in the rental agreement. It is still advisable to obtain references prior to hiring help.
Rental agreement requirements
Legally, rental agreements are required in order to determine the obligations of both sides. The agreements should be signed in front of a witness and it may also include vital information such as:
- How domestic bills are to be paid / split
- When the rent is to be paid
- How much rent is to be paid
- The method of rent payment
- Date of tenancy commencement
- Duration of tenancy
- Services to be provided by the landlord (if any)
- Liability for interior and exterior property maintenance and repair fees
- Notice period
- Good practice laws for the area (if any)
Both long-term and short-term leases are common in Gibraltar. Leases are usually 12-month renewable leases, but in some cases 6-month leases are also granted. Short-term rental is usually defined as a period that lasts several weeks, and is classed as a holiday rental. Rental payments for long-term leases generally do not include rates for water, electricity, internet and television, while the short-term leases usually include these, with a higher rental rates. For long-term leases, six months’ notice is required to terminate the rental contract.
In Gibraltar it is common for landlords to prepare an inventory and notes of the propertys condition when renting it out. This is especially important when the property is rented through an agent, and when it is furnished. The tenant should double-check and agree upon the inventory and property condition before moving in. Non-communication regarding the inventory after a given period of time is often taken as an acceptance of the contents of the document.
Deposits and Agency Fees
A deposit equal to one month’s rent is usually required to secure the place. This payment is confirmation that the tenant wishes to enter into negotiation with a landlord and for the property to be taken off of the market. In addition, a further months rent is usually payable up-front at the commencement of the agreement. The deposit is usually returned to the tenant within 15 days after vacating the premises.
Much like when you are buying a property, the best place to look for properties to rent is online.
Buying a property in Gibraltar can be fairly expensive, as many new developments are being aimed at wealthy buyers in general. On the other side, there are several projects which are being built in cooperation with the government in order to offer more affordable housing for those with fewer funds. There are some older properties once owned by the British Armed Forces that are being renovated for sale as well. Many apartments that are available to buyers are found in blocks or small developments, sharing some facilities such as swimming pools and sometimes laundry rooms.
When buying a property in Gibraltar the process is very similar to the one in the United Kingdom. There are no particular restrictions on foreign nationals buying a property in this territory, although those without residency permits or work permits must go through an application process with the Gibraltar government. Those who intend to buy a property in the name of a Gibraltar Offshore Company must know that there may be some tax breaks, so it is highly advisable to get some independent advice from a financial advisor prior to purchasing.
All deeds to properties have to be registered with the Supreme Court and most of new properties are leasehold rather than freehold. As in the UK, buyers must see the property first, and find out more about the price. It is necessary to pay a reservation fee, an amount of 2%, which is held while the sale is conducted.
There are numerous additional fees which any buyer should take into consideration. The first of these is a stamp duty fee of 1.26% of the purchase price, and there is an additional 0.13% if a mortgage is involved. There is a small fee for registering the deeds with the Supreme Court and the office of the Land Titles Registry. All buyers must also consider their legal costs, and these charges can vary. Finding a lawyer should not be a problem as Gibraltar has a huge number of them. When the agreement is in place, a further 8% of the purchase price is added to the 2% already in escrow, and when this stage is completed, both sides are obliged to go through with the sale.
How to buy property in Gibraltar
Buying a property can be both an exciting and daunting process. However, some experienced lawyers in Gibraltar can help expats to avoid potential problems and protect their interests throughout. The whole procedure for purchasing a property and the services that can be expected are explained in the four steps below.
1. Identifying a property & paying a holding deposit
Once a purchaser decides to buy a property, a holding deposit should be normally paid to the vendor. In most cases, estate agents represent vendors and they usually request a 2% deposit, payable by the buyer. This way the property is being taken off the market. The 2% deposit is later deducted from the purchase price.
2. Investigating title & exchanging contracts
The next step is to instruct lawyers who initially carry out a search at the Land Registry and investigate the title to the desired property. This is important in order to ensure that title to the property is properly constituted and that there are no mortgages secured against it on completion. In addition, Preliminary Enquiries Before Contract are sent to the vendor’s solicitor. These enquiries cover a variety of matters relating to the property, such as whether alterations requiring consent or planning permission have been made to the property, whether Energy Performance Certificates have been obtained, and whether the vendor has experienced any problems with neighbours or the management company.
After that, a purchase agreement is drawn up by the vendor’s lawyers and delivered to the buyers lawyers for approval. This agreement sets out the purchase price and the terms and conditions under which the property is being sold. Until a purchase agreement is signed, negotiations take place on a "without prejudice" and on a "subject to contract" basis. This means that until both sides have signed the agreement, no binding contract is made for the sale of the property. The signing of the purchase agreement by both sides is also known as "exchange of contracts".
After the exchange of contracts, both sides must go through with the transaction. If one party does not complete after the exchange of contracts, the other side can sue the defaulting party and force them to proceed with the process. In this case, the defaulting party is liable for all costs and consequences resulting from non-completion.
If a purchaser or vendor pulls out before exchanging contracts, he/she is not generally liable to the other side. However, if a holding deposit has been paid to an estate agent, they may be entitled to retain a proportion of this. This largely depends upon the terms under which the deposit was paid to the estate agent. Most estate agents ask buyers to sign a memorandum of sale or a reservation agreement. Buyers should read the terms of these carefully and ask their lawyers to review them before signing.
The next stage is for the lawyers to draw up a Deed of Assignment, in case of the property being leasehold, or a Deed of Conveyance if the property is freehold. This deed is approved by the vendor’s lawyers and by all parties to the transaction as well. These often include the management company of an estate and the original developer. This deed is the document by which the buyer becomes the owner of the property.
Once the deed is approved, a completion statement is drawn up by the buyers lawyers. This includes details of the purchase price to be paid, the amount of money being advanced by a bank or building society and stamp duty and registration charges payable to the government. At this stage lawyers ask buyers to provide the balance of all required funds needed to complete the purchase of the property. These funds are paid into the lawyers’ client account and payment is made by them to the vendor’s lawyers.
If obtaining a mortgage, the funds will be requested from the bank or building society by the buyers lawyers. Buyers only need to provide the balance of the required monies over and above the amount of the mortgage advance. Once the deed is executed by all parties and the purchase price paid, the original historic title documentation and the keys to the property are handed over to the buyers lawyers.
4. Registering the deeds & paying stamp duty
It is important to know that all properties purchased for £200,000 or less are exempt from stamp duty. If the buyer is a first or a second time buyer, the threshold is £260,000 and the property purchase is also exempt from stamp duty. In all other cases, stamp duty needs to be paid to the Gibraltar Government. The deeds to the property also need to be registered at the Land Registry and extra costs are payable to effect this.
Where to look for a property
The best place to start looking for new properties is on the internet. There are numerous websites that offer precise information about properties available for buying in Gibraltar.
Move Your Belongings
Consider if you want (or are able) to transport your belongings yourself or whether you will need the services of a removals company that deals with international moves. Unless you are travelling very light, or making a fairly short move by road, you will probably need professional help to ship your possessions. Ask for quotes from several companies first, ensuring that they visit your home to carry out a survey of your requirements. It may be worth paying extra for the removals firm to pack your possessions for you, particularly if they are going to be transported to a distant country and need special protection for the long journey. Make sure you bring to their attention anything fragile or precious that needs particularly careful wrapping and packing.
Before agreeing to a quotation, ensure that you are fully aware of exactly what is covered in the price, and that the service to be provided meets all of your requirements. For example, does the service include both packing and unpacking of your household effects? What about disassembling and reassembling of furniture? If you are planning to put anything into storage in your destination country while you find accommodation, does the price include final delivery and unpacking at your home, or will you need to arrange collection of the items? Obtain a firm estimate of the likely arrival date of your items and obtain contact details for any agents that will be dealing with the removal in your destination country. Ensure that the removals company is aware in advance of any practical considerations such as the lack of an elevator to your apartment, or likely parking problems.
If using a removals company, you may be required to take out their insurance cover for your possessions. Whether or not this is the case, ensure that you have adequate insurance for anything of actual or sentimental value that could get lost or damaged during the move. Take the time to accurately complete or check an inventory of your possessions to be moved, as this will form the basis for any insurance claim for losses or damages. Find out if insurance is included in the price quoted by the removals company, or whether you are required to pay extra for this.
The removals company should arrange any customs and importation documents on your behalf, but if you are arranging the move independently you will need to find out what documents are required and what import duties and taxes are payable (and whether you are eligible for exemption from these).
Make sure that you set aside the important documents you will need for the journey, such as passports and air tickets, and keep these easily accessible in your hand luggage.
Save On Moving Costs
Compare quotes from leading international moving companies
Register For Healthcare
QUICK LINK: Gibraltar health insurance
Medical care in the region is run by the Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA), in conjunction with the Social Welfare System. Both are based closely on the model of the UK’s NHS. Health insurance is organized by a contributory system called the Group Practice Medical Scheme (GPMS).
If you are a resident of Gibraltar, you are entitled to medical care that is free at the point of delivery, and if you are a British citizen, you are also eligible for it on production of a valid UK passport: you do not need to pay into the national insurance scheme to qualify for free treatment. If you are uncertain about your eligibility, check with the GHA.
If you are an expat from a country other than the UK, check your eligibility with your employer or the GHA. Americans, for example, are advised to take out travel or private insurance if they are only going to be in Gibraltar for a short period.
Anyone who pays into the national insurance scheme, or who is a British citizen, will be covered. If you are an EU citizen and you have an EHIC card, you will also qualify for free emergency medical treatment, but this is only for emergencies and should not be used as a substitute for comprehensive health coverage.
If you are a ‘cross-border’ worker living in Spain but work in Gibraltar, you will be entitled to coverage on both sides of the border once you have registered with the system. To do this, you will need:
• a certificate of your social insurance contributions or your latest PAYE slip
• your ETB work contract
• your passport
• a passport-sized photograph
You may also wish to obtain an EHIC card even if you are a UK citizen. This is because, though medical personnel and facilities in Gibraltar are excellent, it is a very small country and specialist care can be limited. Medical specialists sometimes have to be flown over from the UK, and if something serious befalls you, you might have to be transferred to a hospital over the border in Spain, which is not covered by Gibraltan state health insurance. The EHIC will not cover you for repatriation in the event of a serious illness.
If you are a resident or a British citizen, this will be automatically in place and you do not need to do anything. For other expats, check that your employer is paying into the health insurance system on your behalf. If you are self-employed, contact the GHA and sign up. You will need the following documentation in order to obtain your Medical (Group Practice) Scheme card:
• a fully completed application form
• ETB contract (if applicable)
• PAYE Allowance & Social Insurance Contributions Class Certificate
• one passport photo on a white background
• civilian registration card (current ID card / passport)
• proof of address
• changes of name or address – documentary evidence will be requested
If you are working and paying your social insurance contributions in Gibraltar but reside in another EU member state, you will need to apply for an S1 form at the Social Insurance Contribution Office.
Open A Bank Account
Gibraltar has the same regulations as the United Kingdom for those who want to open a new bank account. An account should be opened in person if it is a current account and in cases where a certain number of documents are required. Everyone needs to confirm their identity with a driver’s license or passport, along with proof of home address. This can also be settled if a tenancy agreement or a utility bill is shown. Account holders can also be subject to credit checks when applying for the account that has credit facilities. The process of finalizing can take a few days after the application is completed, although most banks can do it much more quickly. A number of savings accounts can be opened online, but the account holder must send a proof of identification and address.
Overdraft facilities and loans are available at most banks, but with no previous credit history with a bank, the application is unlikely to be approved. Applicants may need to wait several months before finally being able to apply, depending on personal circumstances and credit history. For those who choose to stay with a same bank they were in their home country, this whole process is easier as the financial history of the applicant is known. Mortgages for properties in Gibraltar can be obtained easily if applicants can prove that they have the income to make repayments. It is impossible to obtain these with some banks in other countries, so applying for a mortgage can be done before moving to Gibraltar.
As is the case in most European countries, current accounts are ideal for day to day transactions, such as daily spending, paying bills and money transferring. Deposits can be made by cheque, cash or money transfer, while withdrawals can be made at an ATM or at any branch of the account holders bank. ATMs in Gibraltar are placed at all banks and shopping areas, while fee charges depend on the type of card one possesses. Users are also charged when withdrawing money at ATMs abroad. Those who wish to travel should notify the bank so that any charges can be minimized. Many residents of Gibraltar cross the Spanish border on a daily basis for work or leisure, so it is important to be careful with cash withdrawals while in Spain.
Easy access savings accounts can give account holders access to their money when needed, but they might have a lower interest rate. Fixed term savings generally limit the amount of access in return for a higher interest rate. Banks in Gibraltar also provide other products such as pensions, and can offer help to those who wish to invest their money. Gibraltar is an English speaking state so there are not many language barriers when dealing with the banks.
Transferring from abroad is a straightforward procedure as many of the banks based in Gibraltar are international and it doesnt take much time to make the transfer. Cheques in other currencies can be paid into Gibraltar bank accounts, but the process can take several weeks to clear, depending upon their origin and the amount. On the other hand, direct transfers may only take a few days. It is also possible to open bank accounts in other currencies. The Euro and the US dollar are two of the most popular currencies in Gibraltar. This can be useful to those who regularly receive payments in other currencies and will help to minimize charges.
There are many European banks which have a presence in Gibraltar and these include Santander, ABN Amro, Barclays and Natwest. Opening an account before arriving in Gibraltar should be fairly simple if expats already have an account with one of these banks, as they would already have some credit history.
Banking advantages in Gibraltar
Banking is one of the main pillars of Gibraltars economy, with assets totaling over EUR 7.8 billion, and many major International banks have offices in this country. Statistics are available on the Gibraltar FSC http://www.fsc.gi/fsc/home.htm website. The legal system in Gibraltar is similar to the one in the United Kingdom. Its legislation is based on English common law. The banking sector is regulated by the Financial Services Commissioner, appointed by the Governor of Gibraltar on behalf of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Banking in Gibraltar offers many advantages to customers.
Clients of Gibraltar banks enjoy the EU deposit protection scheme of EUR 100,000 for accounts held in Gibraltar. Some banks may also hold some client deposits in other jurisdictions to enjoy additional protection and diversification. Favorable tax status means that no tax is payable on interestgenerated on account holders’ savings, but Gibraltar still cannot be considered as an offshore jurisdiction in its classical meaning. In compliance with European Union Tax Savings directive, all interest paid to individuals who are residents of the European Union is the subject to Exchange of Information arrangements. All banks in Gibraltar are compliant with USD and UK FATCA as well.
Most of the banks having offices in Gibraltar enjoy the ability to “Passport” their products to major countries in the European Union. Gibraltar promotes itself as a very compliant jurisdiction, and all these banks are licensed and fully regulated by the Financial Services Commission. Banks in Gibraltar
The institutions listed below are all authorized under the Financial Services (Banking) Act for deposit taking business. Most of these banks are also authorized to conduct investment business and other types of regulated business.
Bank J. Safra Sarasin (Gibraltar) Ltd
Barclays Bank PLC
Credit Suisse (Gibraltar) Limited
IDT Financial Services Limited
Jyske Bank (Gibraltar) Limited
Leeds Building Society
Lloyds Bank (Gibraltar) Limited (Lloyds Bank International)
Lombard Odier & Cie (Gibraltar) Limited
NatWest Offshore Limited (The Royal Bank of Scotland International Limited)
Newcastle Building Society
Norwich & Peterborough Building Society
SG Hambros Bank (Gibraltar) Ltd
Turicum Private Banks
Union Bancaire Privee (Europe) SA
There are many ways of sending money from one country to another. As always, expats can save themselves a lot of trouble and expense if they do a little research and shop around for the best deal.
International Bank Transfers
For most expats, currency transfer involves transferring small to medium sized amounts regularly from an existing bank account back home into a new overseas bank account in the local currency. These may be pension payments, benefits, or any other form of income.
Your home bank will usually be glad to oblige. You can set up facilities with them "on demand" whereby you fax or call them on the phone, provide a secret code or two, tell them the amount in question, and they will transfer it to your new bank, automatically converting it into the relevant local currency. Some banks also allow you to make international payments online. Whatever method you choose, transfers normally take between 3-7 days although 1-2 day transfers are often available but be prepared to pay more for these.
You can also set up regular transactions that are processed automatically on a fixed day of each month. Many state pensions and benefits can be paid directly into your new bank abroad without going through your home bank at all. Some private pension organisations may also offer the same facility.
When you first set up a transfer of funds abroad, the sending bank or institution will ask you for various codes that identify the destination bank. Often they will ask for IBAN (International Bank Account Number), BIC (Bank Identifier Code) or SWIFT codes but don?t panic - your new bank will give these to you and they may even already be listed in your new chequebook or bank statements.
As far as charges are concerned, you will probably be required to pay a flat fee per transaction. Additionally a percentage fee is often charged for the currency conversion itself. You may also find that your receiving bank charges you for receiving the transfer. Charges vary by bank but can quickly add up - ask your bank(s) for an indication of the fees involved.
As a general rule, transferring larger sums less frequently usually works out cheaper than transferring smaller amounts more often. However, if you need to transfer regular amounts of at least a few hundred pounds/dollars or need to make a larger one-off payment (e.g. for a house purchase) you should consider the services of a currency broker.
Cash Machine/ATM Withdrawals
Thanks to modern technology, most people abroad can go to a cash machine/ATM and withdraw local currency funds directly from their home bank account. This is a useful option to have for expats but exercise caution - many banks make hefty charges for using this type of facility. You may also find that withdrawal limits are in place (as a security measure) even if you significant funds in your account back home.
You can also use VISA or Mastercard credit cards to obtain cash in this fashion and if you pay the amount off quickly and avoid interest charges then fine - but once again credit card charges for cash withdrawals can be high. Check the rates carefully.
Currency brokers (also called foreign exchange brokers) offer significant advantages over traditional banks. Firstly, brokers will often be able to offer you a better rate than your bank. Secondly, the entire process is more transparent - many banks require you to accept the exchange rate available on the day they process your transaction, whatever and whenever that may be, but a specialist broker will offer greater flexibility, even allowing you to specify the rate you want in advance.
Currency brokers are smaller companies than major banks so always check their background carefully. Ask existing expats for their own experiences and recommendations before choosing a firm to handle your own foreign exchange requirements.
A good broker will discuss all the options with you and enable you to make the best decision for your circumstances. Using a broker will typically off the following advantages:
1) Currency brokers generally provide superior exchange rates to the high street banks. The currency brokers have access to the interbank rate and do not have the high costs that the banks have. This means that they can usually offer better exchange rates.
2) Use of a free Market Watch/Order Service: This allows you to tell your currency broker your target or budget exchange rate and they will ring you if that exchange rate level is reached. As the rate moves every few seconds, currency brokers can act as your eyes and ears on the market.
3) Ability to fix the exchange rate in advance using a Forward Contract. If you know you need to convert/move funds in the future but don?t yet have the money you can reserve a rate in advance using a Forward Contract. During this period, you are exposed to exchange rate movements and therefore, a forward contract is ideal if, for example, you have agreed to buy a house and want to fix the rate now but will not be making payment for a couple of months.
Savings from currency brokers can vary from between 1 and 4 per cent on the exchange rate alone, and specialists do not typically charge any fees for transmitting the funds abroad, unlike banks which often levy expensive fees or charges. If you are emigrating and transferring a large sum of money - such as the proceeds of a property - a foreign exchange company could potentially save you thousands.
Save On Money Transfers
Compare quotes from leading foreign exchange currency brokers
Learn The Language
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory and has only one official language, which is English. English is used by the government and in schools across the country. People in this territory speak with a Gibraltarian English accent. Many of this countrys linguistic influences come from the neighbouring countries of Spain and Morocco.
Most of the local people are bilingual, speaking Spanish as well, because of Gibraltars proximity to Spain. Most Gibraltarians speak in Llanito, which is their vernacular. It is mostly based on Andalusian Spanish, having numerous loanwords from English and other Mediterranean languages as well. However, as there is a large variety of ethnic groups which reside in Gibraltar; other languages such as Arabic are also spoken on the Rock.
Llanito is the main local vernacular, and it is unique to Gibraltar. It is an eclectic mix of British English and Andalusian Spanish, combined with languages such as Portuguese, Maltese, Italian of the Genoese variety, and Haketia. Andalusian Spanish had an influence on Llanito, while British English played a significant role in it as well. Llanito has borrowed words and expressions from many different languages, having more than 500 words of Genoese and Hebrew origin. Code-switching to English is particularly present in this country. The term Llanito is also used as a sort of demonym.
During its long history, the Rock of Gibraltar has changed rulers many times, with Spanish, British and Moorish leaders all taking power. Regardless of all these changes, it has been consistently under British control since the Treaty of Utrecht, made in 1713. Before the British came to power, Spanish was widely spoken in Gibraltar. In the period that followed, most of the residents left the country, so the language was spoken by a significantly smaller section of the population. In 1753 there were only 185 Spanish there, while in 1777 only 134 residents were Spanish. Two centuries later, in 1985, the border with Spain was finally opened, allowing people to easily travel in and out of Spain, which is one the main factors for the huge presence of Andalusian Spanish in Gibraltar nowadays. According to the 2001 census, there were 326 people of Spanish nationality in Gibraltar, and a large number of frontier workers who worked on the island.
As Gibraltar is geographically very close to Morocco and Algeria, which are the Arabic-speaking North African countries, Maghrebi Arabic language is spoken by the Moroccan and other North African minorities in this country. In 2001 census, there were 961 Moroccans in Gibraltar.
When it comes to other languages on the Rock, Hindi and Sindhi are also spoken, mostly by the Indian community of Gibraltar. Maltese is a language that was widely used in Gibraltar up until the late 19th century, and still spoken by some families of Maltese origin today. Genoese was spoken in Catalan Bay well into the 19th century, rapidly diminishing in the early decades of the 20th century. Hebrew is also spoken by the Jewish community in this country.
Visitors in Gibraltar
Most of the visitors to Gibraltar will hear several languages being spoken by the local people while they explore the area. However, it is good to know that the only official language in this country is English. This language is used for all business of the government, and for commercial purposes. It is also the official language used for teaching in schools. As mentioned earlier, the country’s Mediterranean position and proximity to Spain, Portugal and North Africa means that it is still strongly influenced by other languages and cultures, so Gibraltarian English might sound a little different from UK or US English.
Gibraltar has a multi-cultural society and many of the citizens are able to communicate in another language, which is usually Spanish, due to the countrys location next to the Spanish region of Andalusia. Those who are born and raised in Gibraltar can generally speak Llanito as well. It is known as a dialect which is a mixture of English and Andalusian Spanish, but which reflects all the influences of other European languages as well. However, it is not necessary to be familiar with any particular language other than English, when visiting Gibraltar.
This country is not known for attracting a large number of expats. As a result of this, the languages that are used on daily basis include Arabic, Hebrew and Maltese, with Spanish which is more frequently used. In recent years some Italian and Russian voices can be also heard on the street, while Portuguese is also becoming more and more common. An English speaking expat would have no trouble at all in this country, without learning any other language. However, those who spend some more time in Gibraltar quickly start to learn some Spanish, even though Spanish people that work in the country are generally fluent in English language. For those whose native language is something other than English, it is recommended to learn enough English to communicate on a day to day level.
For any expats that dont speak English, language classes can be easily found in this country. Expats who move to Gibraltar for work and are in need for language training should have some courses organized by their employer. It is also very easy to find a private tutor that can help with English.
In Gibraltar there are several language schools that offer different types of classes in different languages. Classes can be organized in groups or individually, and there are classes for small children as well as for adults. There are always numerous occasions to learn Spanish language while in Gibraltar and its proximity to Spain enables people to practice their skills even more.
Most of the schools can be found on the internet.
Choose A School
The education system in Gibraltar is very similar to the system in the UK. Children at the age of 3 can attend nursery or preschool, which is not compulsory. Primary education begins at the age of 4 or 5 and secondary education starts when children reach the age of 12. Secondary education is compulsory to all those between the ages of 12 and 16, after which all students have to take public exams. After they pass the exams, students can choose to study for two more years at school or continue with a higher level of education. Grants and funding are available to those students who wish to obtain certain degrees at university, which includes studying abroad, mostly in the United Kingdom. University students who attend UK universities are also eligible for the UK student loan schemes.
All teachers who work in Gibraltar have been previously trained in the United Kingdom. In order to work they all have to acquire a UK registration number and qualified teacher status. In this country there are 15 state schools and a certain number of private schools as well. There are also several private nurseries as state-run establishments, which are all strictly monitored when it comes to health, safety and the level of staff qualifications. When it is time for children to start primary education, they do it on a part-time basis at first, slowly integrating into the system. All primary schools in the country follow the UK national curriculum. At this early stage, all pupils begin learning Spanish as well.
All the secondary schools in Gibraltar also follow the UK national curriculum. Students are offered a wide variety of subjects, which can later be narrowed down for exams. There are also compulsory subjects that include English, mathematics, sciences, religious studies and physical education. The qualifications that can be acquired include GCSEs and A Levels. Gibraltar offers special education for children between the ages of 5 and 16. The most famous special school is St Martin, built in the 1970s, providing education for pupils with special needs. Each secondary school in the country is also equipped with a special needs unit as well.
Those who do not wish to attend schools that follow the UK curriculum can choose private international schools just across the border in Spain. Those who wish to acquire knowledge in areas such as accounting and marketing can go to college in Gibraltar. While students generally attend day courses, there are also numerous evening courses available to adults.
The Department of Education official website is here.
Public schools in Gibraltar
In Gibraltar, compulsory education starts at the age of 4 with primary education, which lasts for eight years, in first and middle school. All primary schools are co-educational. Secondary schools, for children aged 12 to 16, tend to follow the GCSE programme. Students who are interested in continuing their studies after taking their GCSEs can move on to sixth form at the same school.
Private schools in Gibraltar
In Gibraltar, there is only one official private school. Loreto Convent is a Catholic co-educational junior school catering for children from nursery to age 12.
International schools in Gibraltar
Expats who wish to send their children to an international school mostly choose to send them to one in Spain. The most popular choices are Sotogrande International School in Cádiz and the English International College in Marbella.
Tertiary education in Gibraltar
The University of Gibraltar officially opened its doors in 2015. It offers courses in a variety of fields, including health sciences and hospitality.
Education by levels
The Gibraltar government supports numerous nursery places for pre-school children. The current provision for pre-school age is catered for by Varyl Begg Nursery, St Paul’s Nursery, St Mary’s Nursery, Governor’s Meadow Nursery, St Bernard’s Nursery, Notre Dame Nursery and St Joseph’s Nursery. One more nursery is attached to St Martins Special School as well. There are also private nurseries and playgroups, 10 of which are currently registered with the Department of Education which monitors them along with the Environmental Agency and City Fire Brigade to ensure a satisfactory level of accommodation, numbers on roll and staff level.
Primary education in Gibraltar is free, full-time and compulsory. Schools are all co-educational and English is the language of instruction. Spanish is introduced as a subject in middle school, but can be employed even earlier as a teaching aid in some special circumstances. All curricula are based on the national curriculum for England, with specific differences in respect of Spanish and other subjects, such as Religious Education, reflecting local culture.
In Gibraltar, secondary education is free, full-time and compulsory for students between the ages of 12 and 15 years. The secondary curriculum is defined by national curriculum legislation. In the first two years, at grades 8 and 9, secondary schools offer a compulsory curriculum that includes English, Mathematics, Science, French or European studies, Spanish, History, Geography, Art, Music, Religious Education, Physical Education, Design and Technology, and Information and Communications Technology. In grades 10 and 11, students can choose various additional subjects, keeping to national curriculum requirements. In addition, all students take the core subjects, such as English, Mathematics and Science, with Religious Education and Physical Education. Vocational education is also available.
St Martin’s School is the school for children with special needs between the ages of 5 and 16. Notre Dame School and Bishop Fitzgerald schools are learning support facilities (LSFs), which are meant for children of early school age who cannot go to St Martin’s. There is also one LSF at each secondary school in addition to an Alternative Learning Centre at Bayside School, which aims to provide extra support for pupils.
Full time college education in Gibraltar is primarily focused on advanced courses in information technology, business and finance studies, and built environment studies. It is considered an area of rapid growth, so all those courses aim to lead students to high level professional qualifications. The college provides tuition support for bodies such as ACCA, ILEX, ICSA, AAT and the institute of bankers. A large number of qualifications are offered, and the college caters to full-time students, as well as offering part-time courses in the evenings.
In general, university degrees and higher national diploma courses are followed at United Kingdom universities. Gibraltar government scholarships are available to eligible students.
Expat Health Insurance Partners
Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.