For those expats looking for sunny weather, the Mediterranean Sea and an unbelievable landscape- Gibraltar might be it. Gibraltar is an exotic destination for many expats which is located on the very tip of the Iberian Peninsula, south of Spain. In fact, Gibraltar is the southernmost point of the European continent and the rock of Gibraltar is its world renowned landmark.
Gibraltar is classified as a British overseas territory and for the most part is governed by the UK along with the governor of Gibraltar. While known for its military outpost, Gibraltar does have a thriving economy and tourist industry which makes visiting and living in Gibraltar fairly easy and comfortable.
Gibraltar has a Mediterranean climate. For those seeking warm temperatures, sunny days and mild winters, Gibraltar definitely delivers. Expect sunny days throughout most of the year, however during the winter months there tends to be more precipitation. During the summer months, the temperatures can be high, but humidity is generally low.
Winter temperatures seldom drop below the 50′s, but if you are located at a high altitude you should expect much colder temperatures than at sea level.
The government of Gibraltar is classified as a British overseas territory. Gibraltar is primarily controlled by the rule of law of the United Kingdom, but does have its own governor within the territory. Gibraltar was once a part of Spain, but was won by the British in the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 and till today remains as one of the most important naval bases in Europe and the Mediterranean.
Since Gibraltar is under the control of the UK, Americans can visit Gibraltar for up to 6 months with just a passport, no visa required. You can find out more information about visa and expat life in the U.S. Department of State Consular Information Sheet: United Kingdom and Gibraltar (England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland) and at the British Embassy in the USA.
For the most part, taxes are moderate in Gibraltar; however there is no capital gains tax, no value added tax (VAT) and no sales tax. The standard rate of income tax on individuals in Gibraltar is 30 percent. For corporations, the rate of corporation tax is 35 percent.
For the most part, the largest sector of the economy was once the Royal Navy, which was responsible for almost 60% of the economy during the 1980′s. Since this time, the economy has moved away from a military economy and towards a tourist related economy. While certain tax rates are higher than many other locations in Europe, there are many opportunities for investment and entrepreneurship in Gibraltar and many wealthy clients and companies move their portfolios to this territory to save on taxes.
The quality of medical care on Gibraltar is generally highly rated. There are many public and private hospital and clinics available and since the two main industries are tourism and the military, a good health infrastructure is necessary. For residents of Gibraltar, medical care is through the NHS (National Health Service), the same as in the UK. For Americans classified as tourists, your best bet for medical coverage is to make sure either your current health care is accepted in Gibraltar, purchase international medical insurance or purchase travel insurance that includes a medical care component. Because Gibraltar is on the British Pound, medical care can be more expensive than in the states, so it is important to make sure you have some sort of medical coverage before you arrive.
It should be noted that for the most part, real estate in Gibraltar is always in high demand. Unfortunately, there is just not that much space available to build lots of housing developments and those that are built are generally targeted to luxury home buyers. Real estate can also be expensive on Gibraltar due to the strength of the British Pound, the currency that is used on Gibraltar. For instance, the US dollar has about 50% less buying power than the British Pound for the last several years.
If you are looking to lease an apartment or home, you will find it more affordable, but still expect higher than average prices than in the United States, however for those looking for a beautiful place to live with a wonderful climate, Gibraltar is hard to beat.
Shopping on Gibraltar has increased substantially in the last two decades as the region switched from a military economy to a tourist related economy. All necessities are very easy to find and for the most part, you can find or order anything else with ease. While there are plenty of services and luxury shops, those looking for bargains might have to look a little harder. However, there are a few shops that cater to the bargain hunter. It should be noted that most of the familiar shops are located on Gibraltar including big warehouse shops such as Tesco, Safeway and Mark and Spencer.
Since Gibraltar is now catering to tourists, there are plenty of great restaurants, nightclubs, pubs and sport facilities to enjoy almost any form of leisure. The land of Gibraltar is incredibly beautiful and just hiking and relaxing on her beaches is more than most expats can ever wish for.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Gibraltar is considered high for Americans living in the states. Three reasons for the high cost of living is that first the British Pound is the main currency, which is extremely strong at the moment, secondly, housing is very expensive, mostly due to the preference of building luxury type homes and condos and third, most goods are shipped in requiring extra expense.
For the most part, the cost of living is a little less than what it costs to live in Britain, but far more than it does in most states in America. However, it should be noted that for those that work in Gibraltar salaries are definitely favorable, especially since they are paid via the British Pound. If you are moving to Gibraltar to start a business or to work for a company, you should have no problem living in Gibraltar, for those on a fixed income or living off of savings, the cost of living in Gibraltar may be considered high.
Extradition from Gibraltar
The Extradition treaty between Gibraltar and the UK was signed on June 8, 1972
The treaty applicable to the Gibraltar was signed with the United Kingdom. The Treaty on Extradition between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, a Protocol of Signature, and an exchange of notes were signed at London on June 8, 1972