How To Move To Gibraltar - The Definitive Guide
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Apply For A Visa[back to top]
As Gibraltar is a European Union state, all citizens of other EU countries are allowed to live and work there, so the necessary permits can be easily obtained. At the very beginning they generally receive a 6 month period visa that later becomes a 5 year work permit which can be easily renewed. This permit covers them if they are either employed or self employed. EU nationals need only a passport or a valid identity card in order to enter Gibraltar.
For expats who come from outside EU / EEA countries there is a certain number of documents required. The most painless way for non-EU residents to obtain a permit is to find a job before they arrive. Because of the proximity of Spain and a regular influx of workers from Europe, it is quite rare to find jobs like this. However, those who succeed in finding a job can expect both residency and work permits to be issued. Expats coming from outside EU / EEA countries who wish to purchase property in Gibraltar may be able to obtain a residence permit, especially if they are interested in luxury home market.
When it comes to tax concessions, Gibraltar offers a number of these to wealthier expats, but they must have proof of income and wealth before these will be granted. The other possibility is if the person works for a company that has some form of exemption. The best place to get the precise information on tax concessions is Gibraltars government website.
Those who do not plan to work in Gibraltar cannot be covered even by an EU passport for a 6 month stay. Residents of Canada, Australia and the USA can stay up to 3 months without requiring further documentation. The proof of income for short stays in not needed. Citizens of Gibraltar are in effect UK citizens, so applying for citizenship in this country is the same as applying for UK citizenship.
Checking the current validity of the passport
All travelers need a passport that is valid for at least 90 days following the departure date from Gibraltar. However, it is strongly recommended to travel with a passport that is valid for 6 months. VisaHQ can assist U.S. citizens with a full range of expedited passport services, including new passport applications and passport renewals.
Most destinations, including Gibraltar, require that visitors have adequate unused pages in the passport for any necessary stamps upon arrival and departure. It is also recommended that visitors have at least two free pages in the Visas section of the passport before any international travel.
It is wise to check with the airline company if there are some connecting flights overseas as part of the journey to Gibraltar. It is possible that some countries that travelers pass through en route to Gibraltar require a separate transit visa
Those who do not need a visa
The following persons do not need a visa for Gibraltar:
- those nationals or citizens of the Peoples Republic of China holding Service and Public Affairs passports if travelling with a serving Chinese government minister on an official visit;
- those nationals or citizens of Taiwan who hold a passport issued by Taiwan that includes a Personal ID Number on the bio data page;
- those nationals or citizens of Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, or Kuwait who hold diplomatic and special passports issued by their respective states when travelling to Gibraltar for the purpose of an official or tourist visit;
- those nationals or citizens of the People’s Republic of China, Indonesia or Turkey who hold diplomatic passports issued by their respective states when travelling to Gibraltar for the purpose of an official or tourist visit
- those nationals or citizens of Morocco, the Peoples Republic of China, Mongolia, India or Russia who are holders of multiple entry Schengen visas with a minimum remaining validity of 7 days on the date of departure. Such persons are only allowed to enter Gibraltar for a maximum period of 21 days.
- those nationals or citizens of the Peoples Republic of China, Russia or Ukraine who travel on day-trip excursions to Gibraltar as part of an organised tour arranged through a Gibraltar based tour operator
- persons holding EU issued family permits, UK Residence Permits valid for a period of 12 months or more, UK Biometric Residence permits or a UK multiple entry visa issued for 6 months or more.
- passports not recognised by Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar – visa issued on a uniform format form (UFF)
- visa nationals who are permanently resident in the UK as long as they return to the UK within 2 years of their last departure;
- visa nationals who have a “certificate of entitlement to the right of abode in the UK” label in their valid passport;
- persons who hold leave to remain in any member state of the EU, which is part of the Schengen acquis, with a minimum of 3 years’ duration and have been cleared by the Borders and Coastguard Agency’s Sponsor-Led EEA Resident Visitor Waiver Scheme. For further information email email@example.com
Visa requiring nationals visiting Gibraltar on board a Cruise Liner wjp continue their voyage on the same Cruise Liner do not require a visa to visit Gibraltar. Passengers who are visa requiring nationals who wish to disembark at Gibraltar would require a visa, and must have correct documentation for their onward travel.
As a general rule those who require a visa for entry to the UK also require a separate visa for entry to Gibraltar.
Applications should be made to any British Diplomatic Visa issuing post in the applicant’s normal country of residence (British Embassy). If applying online go to visa4uk.fco.gov.uk and choose the following options:
Type of visa: OTHER
Purpose of application: OVERSEAS TERRITORY & COMMONWEALTH
Type of application: OVERSEAS TERRITORY APPLICATION.
Choosing these options will lead you to the correct application form for Gibraltar.
If you are going to visit other countries during your stay in Gibraltar, please contact the relevant Embassies for further information regarding immigration to ensure that you also comply with their visa requirements.
Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar reserves the right to alter visa requirements for other nationals wishing to visit Gibraltar frequently and at short notice. Therefore, travellers should contact the Immigration and Visa Office in Gibraltar on firstname.lastname@example.org for up to date information before booking travel.
Find A Job[back to top]
Citizens from EU countries are entitled to live and work in Gibraltar. Permits are still required, but for EU nationals they are easily issued. Citizens from non-EU\EAA countries need to meet certain criteria before they are granted the relevant permits. These people should also check with the Gibraltar government about the documentation required to apply for permits. It is best if they have a firm offer of employment, because it helps them obtain the permits much more easily. A work contract can only be issued if the employer can prove that are no EU or Gibraltarian citizens who wish to take that particular job. British citizens only require their passport.
Expats must also show that they are able to earn money without claiming funds from the Gibraltarian Social Security system. Taxation is quite high but workers can often gain High Net Worth Individual status or become exempt as an expatriate executive. There are two income tax systems, so the taxpayers can select the one that results in lower tax payments. Salaries can be compared to those in the UK, as the administrators can earn between 12,000 GIP (Gibraltar Pounds) and 17,000 GIP on average, while IT professionals can make from 25,000 GIP to 30,000 GIP. The working hours and holidays follow a similar pattern to the UK. The employment laws are the same as in the United Kingdom as well.
As English is the official language, it is a huge advantage to those who are fluent in it, when looking for a job. There are a couple of professions that are always in demand in Gibraltar. All teachers must have Qualified Teacher Status and be fully trained, and a large number of them are expats. Medical practitioners are also trained in the UK and the majority of them are expats as well. As it is a small country with medical needs that are required only on occasion, most of the specialist practitioners are not employed full time, but are flown in from the UK when needed.
Gibraltar is also becoming a very attractive destination for tourists, so there are numerous vacancies in this field, although many of them are seasonal. As space in Gibraltar is limited, there are only a limited number of vacancies in the construction field. There are numerous recruitment agencies that often help jobseekers find a position in this country. Applicants should be aware that these agencies always ask for a fee. More reputable agencies would request a fee only from the employer.
Salaries and Working Hours in Gibraltar
The working hours in Gibraltar are not different from the ones in the UK, usually from 9 am to 6 pm. Those who work in the government sector usually have their work finished by 3:30 pm, although government jobs do usually go to local people. Jobs in the online gaming industry have a very enticing pay range, but the legal sector is deemed as lower than what the people get in the UK. In general, Gibraltar’s wages on average are 20% lower than in the UK. This is applicable to basic positions as well, with PA job roles getting a home pay of up to £25K. Skilled roles such as those in the IT sector would naturally have higher wages which can even be very similar to those in the United Kingdom.
Working for English Speakers
Since English is widely spoken in Gibraltar and also the main language of instruction in primary schools, many expats can easily find a job in the peninsula. However, it also has limited job opportunities despite the booming online gaming industry.
With a school system patterned after the UK’s, many of those who are native English speakers can simply start trying to get an English teaching job, although this may not be easy. Gibraltar is considered to be the heart of the online gaming industry with many of the biggest online gaming companies in the world choosing the peninsula as the base of their head offices. Apart from the gaming industry, other sectors that may have an ongoing demand for professionals include finances, insurance, IT, accountancy and legal.
Gibraltar Summer Jobs
Looking for a summer job in Gibraltar is not as difficult as it can be in nearby Spanish cities. While there is a large number of international companies in Gibraltar, expats can find various working opportunities in casual places such as shops, bars and restaurants that are placed in the commercial hub of the city. However, it is important to know that most of the companies in Gibraltar prioritize Gibraltarians when it comes to employment opportunities of this sort.
Official Rules and Regulations
Holders of an EU/EEA passport can easily work in Gibraltar without any issues. On the other hand, non-EU job seekers are advised to acquire a work contract before they can be granted with a working permit. Most employers would issue a work contract only after they have ensured that they can find no Gibraltarian or EU nationals for the post. In Gibraltar, contract workers are entitled to the Social Insurance Scheme which later allows them to enjoy a number of benefits. These benefits include unemployment benefit, maternity grants, injury at work compensation, widowed mother’s allowance, widow’s pension, old age pension and death grants.
Workers in Gibraltar can also take advantage of the Group Practice Medical Scheme that provides numerous health benefits so long as one’s social insurance is valid.
Where to Find Work
There are numerous job sites and online forums that can help expats in finding out more about the latest job vacancies in Gibraltar. Recruitment companies can also be a good place to start looking for work in Gibraltar as they tend to be in constant touch with some of the peninsula’s largest companies.
Some of the recruitment companies available in Gibraltar include:
Rent Property[back to top]
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.
Buy Property[back to top]
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.
Register For Healthcare[back to top]
QUICK LINK: Gibraltar health insurance
The Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA) was set up under the Medical (Gibraltar Health Authority) Act of 1987 and its purpose is to provide health care in Gibraltar, which is home to more than 29,000 residents. Gibraltar enjoys similar health, and standards of health care provision, to most Western European countries. The Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA) delivers primary, secondary and mental health care in Gibraltar using a healthcare model closely linked to the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom, and for this purpose some tertiary referrals are delivered in the NHS as well as in Spanish hospitals due to proximity.
For further information there is the official GHA website.
General healthcare in Gibraltar
Gibraltar has its own health authority which provides healthcare facilities. There is a community hospital, residential care for the elderly, a referral hospital and a mental health unit. These run the Group Practice Medical Scheme which covers the medical needs of contributors. All medical treatment that is required is arranged through this scheme.
Regarding the small population that Gibraltar has, it is not always practical for medical specialists to be employed full time, so if needed they are generally flown in from the United Kingdom. The health service employs dental professionals and opticians as well. General practitioners can also make home visits to patients if required.
Pensioners who move to Gibraltar from the United Kingdom often find that the health service is easy to access. The United Kingdom and Gibraltar have a special arrangement that allows all UK citizens access to free healthcare facilities in Gibraltar without the obligation to pay insurance contributions. On the other hand, it is necessary to pay for prescription medications. There are a number of private health care options for those who do not make contributions to the medical service or who are not entitled to free healthcare.
UK expats who move to Gibraltar to work are required to contact the Gibraltar Health Authority to see if they are covered by this agreement or if it would be necessary to pay into the countrys medical scheme. All visitors from the United Kingdom can obtain free emergency medical care if they show their UK passport to authorities as proof of identification. Visitors from other European countries should also be able to receive free emergency medical care if they possess the European Health Insurance card. The emergency telephone number for calling for an ambulance in Gibraltar is 190.
Most commonly used medications are available at the countrys pharmacies. Those who plan to move to Gibraltar and require specific medications on a regular basis should check ahead with the Gibraltar Health Authority to ensure that their particular drug is readily available. There are some vaccinations that are highly advised when visiting Gibraltar. Tetanus vaccinations should be up to date and occasionally a Hepatitis A vaccination is advised as well. If visiting forested areas a vaccination for encephalitis, a tick-borne condition, is recommended.
In general, the standard of healthcare in Gibraltar is excellent. Many of the medical professionals have studied and trained abroad, mostly in the United Kingdom. The hospitals are equipped with modern facilities and equipment, so most conditions can be treated without the need to seek help elsewhere. Both residents and expats will enjoy high standards when it comes to the provision of healthcare in Gibraltar.
The government-funded Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA) manages the country’s healthcare facilities and services, which include residential care for the elderly and a mental health unit. St Bernards Hospital is the only general public hospital in Gibraltar. The GHA also oversees the Group Practice Medical Scheme, which covers the medical needs of contributing members.
As a British Crown Colony, citizens from the United Kingdom are entitled to free healthcare in Gibraltar upon presentation of a passport, as are other nationals of the European Union if they have a European Health Insurance card. Prescription medicines must always be paid for. Apart from calling UK specialists when needed, the National Health Service also employs dentists and opticians, as well as GPs who can make house calls if required.
There are a number of private options for expats who aren’t entitled to free healthcare in the public facilities. In order to use private clinics and doctors, expats are advised to have private medical insurance.
Expat healthcare insurance
When it comes to some of the biggest expat healthcare insurance partners, there are three main companies in Gibraltar.
Aetna is targeted to expatriates and provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. In addition, this company has helped develop world-class health systems for governments, corporations and providers around the world.
Bupa Global has been helping individuals and families to live longer, healthier, happier and lives for over 60 years. Bupa Global is trusted by expats in more than 190 different countries and has links with healthcare organizations throughout the world.
Cigna is an insurance company that has been operating in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customers around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of around 31,000 people, plus a network of more than 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide.
Emergency numbers in Gibraltar
All Emergencies – 112
Ambulance – 190
Fire – 190
Police – 199
The emergency number 112 can be used to reach medical, fire and police emergency services in Gibraltar. This pan-European emergency number can be called from any telephone (landline, pay phone or mobile cellular phone even without a SIM card). Calls are free. It can be used for any life-threatening situation, including:
- Serious medical problems (accident, severe injuries, chest pain, seizure, unconscious person
- Any type of fire (house, car)
- Life-threatening situations (crimes)
Open A Bank Account[back to top]
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
Learn The Language[back to top]
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.
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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.
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