Citizens Advice Bureau Spain, or CAB Spain, was conceived by Myra Cecilia Azzopardi. After almost twenty years engaged in helping the expatriate community through her involvement with town halls, the natural progression was to the setting up her business, the Costa Advice Bureau, giving Myra an even wider experience. She soon realised that there was a bona fide need for a source of free, impartial and, above all, accurate information and advice for expatriates living in Spain. The concept of CAB Spain was born.
Whilst modelled on the Citizens Advice Bureau in the UK and Ireland in terms of giving free advice to everyone, the setup of CABS is, at least for now, is a little different. CAB UK offices receive a large amount of funding from local authorities which, in turn, allows the setting up of offices in most towns and cities. Citizens Advice Bureau Spain does not have access to this level of funding – in fact getting the project up and running has been funded from Myra’s own pocket and any work done by her and the ‘head office’ team is voluntary. We would love to set up physical offices where you could just drop in but this is not possible for now. Citizens Advice Bureau is registered as a Spanish Non-Profit/NPO/ONG organisation. Registration nº 11253. CIF G93354348
Technology is the Answer
In order to reach as many people as possible, we have turned to technology, which has the advantage of being reasonably inexpensive to set up and can be accessed by everybody and from anywhere. The first public access to CAB Spain was set up on facebook using a network of groups – this website is the next step and we hope you will find it useful.
As our capabilities grow (and we are optimistic about various sources of funding) we plan to utilise email, phone support and Skype to help us to provide our service. For now, this website will be the primary source of information, using our Information docs in the Library, News Articles in ´All Topics´ and Frequently Asked Questions on a wide range of topics in the FAQs section.
What Citizens Advice Bureau Spain aims to do is provide citizens with up-to-date, unbiased and accurate information and advice.
We have many articles, information and fact sheets covering the many different aspects of life in Spain. How to negotiate Spanish Bureaucracy, Residency, Relocation, Medical Care, Tax, Pensions, Legal Matters, Documentation and many other areas are covered in these articles and we would ask you to have a look through these before asking a question, for which the answers may be available on these documents. Using the site ‘Search’ function will help you find what you need. If you are just visiting the site then you can view the information on the website. For those of you who sign up as ‘members’ of the website (which is free!) you can also download all of the articles as pdf files.
Our team of volunteers will also do their best to help with more complicated problems via the website ‘Ask for Advice’ section. We kindly ask for a 5 euro donation for questions posted there. We have found that, already, we have been the organisation to contact for those who just have nowhere to turn to and for those who are feeling despondent or downhearted…
We have to date held two very successful seminars in Andalusia and one in Murcia. With no fixed offices this gives us a good platform to disseminate information and to travel in order to meet our members and others in the community. Further seminars are planned in the future. These will be held in different areas around Spain. If you would like to sponsor us by providing a free venue, then please let us know.
CAB Spain is not intended to be a replacement for professional services and our advice to you may well be that you need to seek professional assistance. We can help you negotiate the day-to-day aspects of life in Spain but we are not equipped to perform the functions of Lawyer, Accountant or Tax Advisor. What we have done is to compile a list of reliable and trustworthy professionals and try to secure the best arrangements for you that we can. We already have a very good Legal company/ies which have a wide presence in Spain, we use them ourselves. We can put you in contact with them should you wish.
What we can achieve in the future depends upon volunteers to help and donations to provide us with funding to cover our expenses. You can donate right now and if you sign up as a member you have the option to make a donation during your sign up – it’s not required but we would appreciate anything that you can afford!
With members, volunteers and some cash then we can expand our seminars; look at training courses for our volunteers and other areas of expansion.
As we grow we will also look at how we can lobby for change in certain areas of law – and hopefully encourage the various authorities to apply the current law correctly and consistently. We have already had some notable success in this area.
By providing correct information and guidance for our members, we have already made enormous saving for them both now and for the future. They are now also able to avoid making erroneous transactions due to a lack of knowledge of the local laws and the complex bureaucracy.
We are delighted to have members of many different nationalities and our membership now includes many Spaniards – Everyone is welcome! The head office team is also multi-national. At the moment we only have sufficient resources to provide information and advice in English, Spanish and Dutch but we hope to include other languages in the future.
Thanks for your support. We are STRONGER TOGETHER!
Why not meet the CAB Spain Team…