Living in Gibraltar
Gibraltarians and British citizens can reside and take up employment in Gibraltar without a residence permit. Individuals from other EU member states require residence permits which will be provided once proof has been given that they will not be a burden to the state. Non-EU citizens can only acquire a residence permit in Gibraltar with a work contract, which can only be issued if it has been proved that no other Gibraltarian or EU citizen is able to do the job.
Marriage and residency
Unexpectedly, marriage to a Gibraltarian does not grant the right to a residence permit. Well, not for women. Under the present law a non-Gibraltarian man will automatically obtain a residence permit if he marries a woman from Gibraltar. However, a non-Gibraltarian woman will not obtain a permit on marrying a Gibraltarian man and will have to apply for the permit. However, in practice, a wife is given permission to remain in Gibraltar as long as her husband is living there.
High Net Worth Individuals
There are also special residency programmes for 'High Net Worth Individuals'. You will need to prove that you are wealthy, and provide two references, at least one of which must come from a bank.
Thousands of people who work in Gibraltar choose to live in Spain and commute across the border on a daily basis. Most frontier workers park their car in nearby La Linea and either walk, bike or catch a bus to work. Thanks to Gibraltar’s diminutive proportions a 20 minute walk will take you to the main thoroughfare – but make sure you remember your passport because you will need it to enter and exit border control.
The Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA) runs a Group Practice Medical Scheme whereby resident contributors to the Gibraltar social insurance system receive free health benefits.
General practice doctors are based at the Health Centre, while more specialised services are based at the St. Bernard's Hospital. Due to the size of Gibraltar and the number of people living there, some specialists can not be maintained on a permanent basis, in these instances specialised doctors are flown in from Britain. The GHA also provides dental and ophthalmic services as well as subsidised medicine and doctor house calls. The psychiatric unit, the King George V Psych Unit, has facilities that are able to treat up to 60 in-patients at a time, and the unit also provides out-patient services to deal with a wide array of psychiatric ailments.
As an employee in Gibraltar paying tax and social insurance – if you decide to live in Spain you are also able to use the Spanish National Health Service due to the contributions you make in Gibraltar.
Private medical insurance is available through schemes such as the Private Patients' Plan (PPP) or the British United Provident Association (BUPA).
Links by air are maintained with London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Luton and Manchester in the United Kingdom as well as Madrid in Spain. The airlines serving Gibraltar from the UK are British Airways under a franchise agreement with GB Airways Limited, Easyjet and Monarch Airlines. Spanish flights are operated by Andalus.
There is a ferry service that runs to Tangier, Morocco. Gibraltar is also a port of call for cargo ships and prominent cruise liners including the Cunard Liner QE2 and P&O's Liner Oriana. A cruise liner terminal has recently been constructed which provides modern facilities for passengers.
Gibraltar's education system is based on the UK system with comprehensive schools giving free compulsory education to National Curriculum standard to the children of residents in Gibraltar. Education is provided to children up to age 16 and finishes with the examinations and coursework for the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE). Students can study for another two years in order to sit the A-level examinations. Generously, grants or scholarships are given for further study at universities in the UK and institutions of further education. Private schooling is also an option in Gibraltar and in nearby surrounding Spain.
Historically, Gibraltar has experienced a severe shortage of housing. More recently however, luxury housing developments have been completed as well as affordable housing developments aimed at the local population. A large section of the population now lives in privately-owned housing.
Property prices have come down from their peak and a three bedroom apartment can now be bought for upwards of £150,000, although some of the new luxury apartments are well over £1million. Many people also buy or rent property in Spain and commute across the land frontier daily.
Tourist and leisure facilities are fairly extensive and include:
Sports and recreation
Gibraltar has a few small but pretty beaches, two sailing clubs (one under the control of the armed forces), as well as health and fitness clubs with training and sauna facilities. Other sports practised include amateur boxing, athletics, martial arts, cricket, football, hockey, netball, dancing, badminton, tennis and squash. The new Kings Bastion Leisure Centre offers a multiplex cinema, ice skating rink and bowling lanes. The Western Costa del Sol, which is only 30 minutes drive from Gibraltar, boasts some of the best golf courses in Europe and excellent leisure and entertainment facilities.
Main Street and its satellite streets form a large shopping centre covering foodstuffs, electronics, jewellery, alcoholic beverages and other goods sought after by the duty-free bargain-hunters. Spirits and tobacco are substantially cheaper than in the UK for identical brands. This has been further complemented by the recent completion of the new Ocean Village shopping area, which provides further opportunities for shopping. If you have entered from Spain, it is important to remember that Spanish duties are imposed on some goods taken across the border.
Gibraltar offers a wide range of attractions and sights such as St Michael's Cave, the Moorish Castle, the Nature Reserve on the Upper Rock (where the famous Barbary Apes may be observed) and the 1396ft Cable Car ride to the Top of the Rock. Other popular tourist spots include the Alameda Botanical Gardens, the City Gates and Fortifications and the Great Siege Tunnels.
Eating and drinking
There are bars and bistros throughout the main populated area of Gibraltar and the two marinas, Queensway Quay and Marina Bay. Restaurants are varied and cover all price ranges. Gibraltar’s geographical location and its history as a British colony means it offers a large selection of British dishes as well as French, Spanish, American, Moroccan, Italian, Chinese and Indian cuisine.
Alongside the numerous bars and restaurants, there are also nightclubs, a Bingo Hall and an International Gaming Casino.