FAQ: Basics

Below are some of the things I’m most often asked. If anyone has a question, please do read through them to see if it has already been answered. If not, just post it in the comment box at the bottom of the page. Just click on any question to expand it to show the answer.

















I’m often asked for “general” and/or “positive” advice, nothing specific, just things to bear in mind. I know full well that people want me to tell them that it’s a brilliant idea to move here, that the sun shines all the time, that the people are friendly, that the cost of living is cheap, and that it will be wonderful … just a few minor bureacratic hoops to jump through first.

The reality is different, and I have now had to say the following so many times that I decided to put it here as a postscript to all the individual answers above.

The best advice is to learn Spanish before you come because work is very difficult to find unless you’re prepared to work for low wages in a bar or in commission-only sales, or similar, and any good jobs will require very good Spanish. Be prepared, too, to do something other than what you’re familiar with. Flexibility will open your mind to employment possibilities you might not have considered – and most working people here are employed in fields other than those they were in before they arrived.

Come with enough money to last for at least six months because it can take longer to set oneself up here than you’d imagine. The average wage is around €12,000 to give you an idea, and although the cost of living is lower here, it has risen over recent years. And while talking about money, be under no illusions whatsoever – in Tenerife there will be any number of people who will be your BFF within five minutes with the sole purpose of taking it all off you.

Above all, trust no-one. Everyone has a story, and out of our own environment, without familiar social and cultural clues by which we judge everything without realising it, we cannot tell when we’re being lied to or conned. Sometimes it’s obvious – the former chief executive of a multi-national corporation is hardly likely to be the bottle washer in a bar with dirty tables and plastic seats, though one never knows, I suppose! – but most of the time it is utterly impossible to judge people’s own versions of their former lives.

This is the best advice I can give.


  1. Hello Janet, I am unsure if I have posted my query in the correct section and I send my apolgies to you. My query… I and my husband (pensioners) recently registered with a Dr in Armenime. When up in Granadilla getting the paperwork I asked about the Ehic (Uk) did I need to exchange it for a spanish one, I was told no, it is ok to carry with the ones we have. I accepted this answer. Later I read in one of the english papers that we should apply for a spanish one. Now I am uncertain what I should do and if necessary where do I start. We would be most grateful if you could clarify this query and possibly advise us where to start the process of changing over. thank you for your help and advice.

  2. Author

    It’s an easy confusion but the answer is simple. EHICs are issued by the country giving healthcare cover, and so most people resident in Spain should apply for a Spanish European health insurance card – a Tarjeta Sanitaria Europea. BUT British pensioners are an exception because although resident in Spain and receiving medical care in Spain, their healthcare is actually covered and paid for through an S1 issued by the UK, so they need a British EHIC. There’s more information HERE.

  3. Hello Janet, Many thanks for your speedy reply to my query. I have read your links and my understanding is that if either I or my husband were to take ill whilst staying on the mainland (we plan to visit Seville later in the year) we would be covered with this card if needs be.
    Although we are not planning to travel without private travel insurance I just needed to know exactly where we stood with the card and whether it needed to be exchanged for a spanish one. Once again thank you for your help.

  4. Author

    well, if you’re registered as living in Spain, then it won’t cover you for the mainland because you’ll still be in Spain, and the EHIC is for when you travael abroad. You are correct to have a UK issued EHIC, but it’s for when you travel as a visitor outside Spain.

  5. Hello Janet. I’m recently resident on Tenerife however never register with a Doctor. I’m autonomo and have 2 years old son which is also not registered. Can you please advise what should I do to register both of us? Someone told me that I need to visit Grenadilla for some paper work first…
    Thank you in advance

  6. Pat Shaw. You mentioned that you registered with a Dr in Armenime. Are they speak English as I don’t speak Spanish and have to register with the Dr in Arnime. Thanks

  7. Author

    Yes, you will need to register with the social security offices in Granadilla and then, with Registro and Empadronamiento, go to a local surgery. If this is daunting, there are people here who offer their professional services to help you through the procedure. I am not one of them, but you could contact Diana McGowan, for example, who is recommended as a asesora on my Resources page (Financial section). Re your second question, most surgeries here have notices saying that if patients don’t speak Spanish, they must take a translator with them.

  8. Janet

    I have transferred a deposit on a villa to the auctioneers in Tenerife. I have not yet signed any documents. Can I withdraw from the purchase at this stage and have my deposit refunded.

  9. Author

    I’m sorry I have no idea. It will depend on the understanding you arrived at, and what their terms of business are, which you will have seen but I haven’t. Did you not engage a lawyer with respect to the purchase? S/he would be best placed to advise.

  10. Hi Janet,

    We are UK pensioners who spend October to March in Tenerife, and April to September in England, is the pensioners’ EHIC the correct document to obtain healthcare in Tenerife? We obviously don’t want to lose our entitlement to healthcare in England. We are property owners in both countries.

  11. Author

    Your UK EHIC will serve you because your visits to Tenerife are just that, “visits”. While you remain mainly resident in the UK, there is no danger whatsoever of you losing your right to healthcare there.

    Do be aware, however, as I say HERE, that the EHIC “is to be used either in an emergency, or if repeat or sudden treatment is required for a condition that cannot wait until the patient returns home.” If the condition for which it is presented is not deemed to be an emergency, you could end up with a significant bill for the treatment received. As such, an EHIC should not really be relied on in isolation, and given the regularity and length of your visits, my advice would be to give serious consideration to taking out travel insurance or some kind of part-time ex-pat private medical insurance in addition.

  12. Thanks for the information, Janet

  13. Hello, wonderful information!
    I was wondering if you could help, I’m so confused. I have my residencia in Mallorca, my partner is Spanish, when we move to Tenerife, do I need to change my residencia to the town I move to? Does he need to make any changes?
    Also, at some point I will stop working due to starting IVF/pregnancy, will I still be able to use the healthcare system?
    I have pre existing conditions, one that will 100% need surgery, will I be covered? Do I just register with my local doctor when there?
    Are the Balearic and Canaries all linked together so we don’t need to make too many legal/document changes?
    sorry for all the question! Thank you in advance

  14. Author

    Well “residencia” is understood to mean different things by different people. If you are registered in Spain with the police as resident, and have a green Certificado de Registro (which people often call “residencia”) then no, you don’t need to re-register, but you will need to go to the National Police station here to get the address changed on your registration. You should also go to your new local A>yuntamiento and register on their padrón, and you will then get a new Certificado de Empadronamiento (another document that people call “residencia”).

    As far as health is concerned, it is administered by the autonomous regions, so there’s no connection between the Balearics and Canaries. Whether you use the state healthcare system depends on whether you have an entitlement through contributions – either through employment or self-employment, or by being the dependent of someone who is. To register with a doctor here you will need to show such entitlement and be registered on the local padrón, as well as having a Registro with a correct address on it.

  15. please can you tell me why potencia contratada is allways different on all my electric bills when sometimes the consumida is not the same oneof my bills were for 38.01 on 105.80 then the next one was 40.44 on63.11 how do these people work ijust cannot under stand them

  16. Author

    I’m sorry I don’t have any idea. It might be best to consult an electrician, who should be able to advise you.

  17. Hi Janet just reading your page can you help us with our question we spend 3months here and one month in the uk 3months here I month in the uk ect ect through the year we own property here have our nie and have done everything legaly with our Spanish solicitor out here we have decided we would like to move here permantly.Do we have to give up our british passports as we would still prefer to keep our british nationality sorry about typing never learnt to type properly

  18. Author

    no, you don’t have to give up your passports. Under Spanish and EU legislation (and assuming the UK votes on Thursday to remain in it), you have right of movement and can live here as British nationals. You would need to register with the police as living here, as all foreigners resident in Spain have to, and then you get a Certificado de Registro (variously known as “residencia”, a green card, the green NIE, etc). Registration with the police is a legal requirement, but not an automatic right: provided you meet the criteria, however, it’s a formality … you’ll find the conditions HERE. Once registered, you are entitled to live here as a British national.

  19. Is there a way of finding out whether I have a social security embargo?

  20. Author

    I’m afraid you’ll need to ask a gestor or asesor.

  21. Brilliant site!

    May seem a silly question but we are currently learning Spanish before we come across. Is the Spanish in Tenerife much different? is there a dialect?

    Best wishes

  22. Author

    It’s standard Spanish … there’s a heavy accent, but no dialect.

  23. Hi Janet, I disagree that the local Spanish is standard Spanish. Many words used here come from South America and Cuba and are unfamiliar to people from the Peninsular. We have a good friend who is from Córdoba who lives here now and almost every time we talk we use a word she is unfamiliar with. Just today someone asked her to take her “cholas” off before getting on a boat, she would say “chanceletas”; flip flops.
    Here in Tenerife they also drop the letter S and Z if it’s at the end of a word, so it’s Lo Cristiano or Santa Cru. Just the other day I was asking for “seis” chops in the butchers and the Butcher kept saying “diez” back to me, I held up six fingers and he said “Oh, sei”. Maybe it’s more pronounced where I live as most people are Canarian or South American. I’ll gloss over “Hola Guapa” and “Hola mi Nina” which ring out in the streets.

  24. Author

    Your description is right … but what you’re describing is Castilian Spanish with lots of loan words! At most it’s a variant of standard Spanish – but still Castilian – and similar to that spoken in Andalucia, not a different regional language or even a dialect. In terms of the dropped letters, that’s the accent.

  25. Dear Janet I am 45 and retired due to an accident, I get free travel in Ireland as I am partially disabled is there a similar thing in the canary islands .

  26. Author

    no, I don’t believe there is, I’m afraid. There are concessions for the disabled, including parking badges, but it is quite a procedure to get official acknowledgement of disability, as I describe above.

  27. Thank you Stewart. It helps to be aware of these subtle, but important, differences. We will continue with our basic Spanish but any variance would be appreciated.

  28. Hi Janet Just got registro to live here we are both on pensions and got S1 forms do we take them straight to granadilla or somewere local first regards David

  29. Author

    Yes, I believe they have to go to Granadilla and be registered there, and you will be given Spanish certificates confirming your entitlement. You then take these, together with ID and Registro, and probably a certificate de Empadronamiento from your council too, to your local surgery. Diana McGowan (see the Resources page, Financial section) helps people with this sort of thing if you were looking for someone to help.

  30. JANET many thanks ,regards David

  31. Hi Janet, I am looking to move to Spain permantently and have a temporary job lined up in Santander for eight weeks. I have a criminal conviction from a few years ago,mwould this affect me obtaining a Spanish NI number from the police station?

  32. Author

    I don’t believe it would have any effect on your getting a NIE nor on your registering to get a green card, which you’ll need to do if you’re moving permanently (see HERE). I think the only time it would make a difference is if you were to apply for Spanish nationality which is when they ask for a criminal record check.

  33. Thats great thanks!

  34. Janet, I am really confused about import duties. I am coming over to Tenerife before the end of the year and will be driving so will be coming in on the ferry. I will have with me 2 suitcases of personal belongings and my husbands beloved guitar. we will be going into a holiday aprt until we find somewhere more permanent. When I get to the ferry port will I have to declare anything? Many thanks

  35. Author

    You should not have to declare anything that’s personal effects, which yours will be.

  36. thanks for response Janet. One less thing to worry about.

  37. Hi Janet.
    I’ve recently returned from a 3 week stay in Tenerife and am looking to move out there for 6 months. I am planning to save enough money for rent but i dont know where to start in terms of looking for apartments and jobs? Can you advise me on anything?
    Any help would be appreciated.

  38. Author

    Well if you’re not here in person you will need to use the internet to find both, so the best I can suggest is to join some Facebook groups. Try doing a search there for “Tenerife Rental Apartments” or similar criteria – you should find several groups come up and you’ll be able to speak to owners and agents direct. As to jobs, there are also FB groups for jobs in Tenerife. Other than that, you could use google to try to locate rental properties – if you speak (or can read) Spanish it will be a lot easier.

  39. Hi Janet, I was wondering if you could help me. I lost a gold bracelet on the beach in El Medano last week and i am trying to find someone with a metal detector and permission to see if we can find anything on the beach.



  40. Author

    I don’t know of anyone but I hope someone might see this and respond to you … you could also usefully post this in as many Tenerife-related Facebook groups as you can. Good luck!

  41. Author

    Hi Janet
    Can you advise me please….do you need your marriage certificate to get your residencia.

  42. Author

    Please have a look at THIS page. I suspect that by “residencia” you actually mean the Certificado de Registro that you get when you register with the police. You will find the criteria to be able to register on that page – it’s a legal requirement but not an automatic right. You do not need a marriage certificate.

  43. Good morning Janet ,could you please give me the address of the police station in Las Americas where I apply for the NIE . Thanking you in anticipation

  44. Thank you Janet for the information re address for NIE application really do appreciate it .best regards to you from Roger.

  45. I have a neighbour who is opening a nursery in a residential area paying no social payment is this against the law and who do we contact at town hall

  46. Author

    You need to ask your Ayuntamiento if the nursery has an opening licence.

  47. Hi Janet hope you can advise, we want to buy a car here but have been told we need to have empadremiento,but as we only stay for six weeks or so every couple of months and use our sons appartment in toscal the town hall have said we don’t qualify. Is there a way around this or will we have to continue hiring. My son does not want responsibility of car in his name,we have bank account here and nie.

  48. Author

    yes you must have empadronamiento because a car is linked to an address, and an empadronamiento proves your address. The only way I can see for you to do it is to get some sort of contract or agreement drawn up with your son showing your connection with the address.

  49. If I am not mistaken when someone does not have a Property Title copy, or a
    Leasing contract to their names, the empadronamiento can be granted if one of the persons already registered at the address (in this case, the son) go with him in person and fill in a request to include him in the list of people registered at that address.

  50. Author

    yes, that’s right … different councils operate slightly different systems, but it is perfectly possible.

  51. Thanks for your reply ,we are back in UK now until January , hope we can sort it then.
    Also do you know of any art groups in the Puerto or los relejos area?

  52. Author

    no, I’m sorry, Facebook is your best bet to find local art groups.

  53. What can you do if some one sacks you for no reason on indefinado contract..who do i contact…. i dont want to sign anything untill i know what im intitled to

  54. Author

    You need to see an employment lawyer, or an asesor laboral, as soon as possible.

  55. Hello,
    I was wondering if you know if I am able to sell my paintings in el medano, next to the beach? I have seen people selling jewellery etc. But I don’t know if I could be fined for selling my artwork.
    Thank you

  56. Author

    I believe that you should have a licence, and Granadilla Ayuntamiento is the place to arrange that.

  57. Are tenants on six months lets allowed to have and keep dogs in a residential building . What can be done about noisy dogs

  58. Author

    That’s been answered on the Living on a Complex page HERE. Just see the top section.

  59. Hi Janet,
    I need to exchange my UK driving licence. I have been looking for information about the process but cant find it anywhere. Do you have it on your site? My present understanding is that i need to go to a centro de reconocimiento to have a medical which is easy as there is one in Alcala. Then i have to make an appointment with Trafico in Santa Cruz, you have provided a link. But i dont know if i have to complete a Modelo or what documentation i need besides my UK licence. Can you help please?

  60. Author

    Hi Stewart, if it’s a canje (exchange) rather than a renewal, you don’t actually need a medical. Instead, you or an authorized representative need to go to Tráfico, who need to request details from the DVLA. You need to produce originals and 2 copies of your passport, NIE and empadronamiento, and your UK driving licence.

    Medicals are needed for renewals, however, but then the medical test centres do all the paperwork for you without you needing to go to Tráfico. You just need your old licence, passport and NIE.

    Have a look at the first question in the Driving section above, though … can you clarify that we’re actually talking about “exchange” rather than renewal because there’s no obligation to exchange for most drivers, just to “renew” in Spain. The distinction is significant, though the first “renewal” is actually an exchange … but it doesn’t need to be done until the British ten-year photocard licence expires.

  61. I had not heard of the change from January 2016. I thought that you had to exchange your UK licence for a Spanish licence if you met certain conditions, in my case the rule about exchanging after living here for 2 years. I read this on Diana Mcglone’s website but it seems that is now out of date. My licence is valid until 2019 so therenis no need for me to do anything until its 2019.

  62. Author

    As of January 2016, drivers are only legally required to exchange UK licences if they have a 15-year- or indefinite validity period. They have two years from the date at which they registered as resident – so as of today, for example, anyone with such a licence who became resident before 21 November 2014 should already have exchanged it.

    Holders of normal UK/EU 10-year photocard licences, however, are not obliged to exchange because the validity period is under that 15 year limit. They don’t have to do anything until that licence expires, at which point they have to renew in their country of residence, i.e. Spain. This naturally means exchanging for a Spanish licence, but only at that point.

    It’s all part of an attempt to harmonize licensing legislation across the EU, which following Brexit might mean changes as far as British drivers are concerned in the future, but we won’t know that until the negotiations are finished.

    Having said all of that, if you’re living here, there are nothing but advantages to exchanging your licence, and you don’t actually need a medical either if you exchange ahead of the expiry/renewal date.

    (I’ve now edited the explanation above – first answer in the Driving section – to make it clearer).

  63. Janet, thank you for making it perfectly clear. I guess it does make sense to exchange sooner rather than later. We were planning a trip to Santa Cruz, I’ll just have to spend it in Trafuco.

  64. Hi Janet,
    Wonder if you can help my, neighbours in Tenerife have just got married after 45 years together. They both own an apartment here and are non resident. After their wedding and returning to Tenerife they went about getting their paperwork in order i.e. change of name.
    They went to the police station to obtain amend or renew the NIE number, because of his wife name change.
    This is when the difficulty arose. At the police station they were told that they had to have an official interpreter with them.
    They then contacted a lady who could provide this service, only to be told by her that to have a name changed on the NIE is a very complexed procedure, she mention that the consulate required to verify the wedding certificate. The police required to visit there apartment to confirm she actually live there. Furthermore a lot of official forms would be required to be filled in.

    I find this all quite different from our own experience, when my wife went through the same process some 6 years ago, as all we did was turn up early at the police station with her old NIE and her passport and the wedding certificate and everything was done there and then quite smoothly.
    Can you advise what is the appropriate way to get this procedure completed and what are they are required to do.
    Many thanks

  65. Author

    There might be some miscommunication because it’s not actually complicated. All that is needed is an officially translated marriage certificate with new passport plus old NIE. The police certainly do not need to visit anywhere, and there are no more forms to fill in other than the usual solicitud (application form) and the modelo to pre-pay the fee at the bank.

    Also, no-one is required to take a translator, but bear in mind that the police are not required to speak English, and so for those who don’t speak Spanish, it’s a good idea to take a translator. The police are also within their rights to demand a legally translated version of the UK marriage certificate, rather than just accepting the British one, and so the consulate would be a good starting point for the up-to-date procedure for that.

  66. Thank Janet for your reply can you advise on where locally we can get a legally translated version of their UK marriage certificate done We were wondering if the notary office. I think it would be difficult for them to go to the Brittish Consolate re transport as they are in the south
    Thank you Edd

  67. Author

    you could start with the Arona Courts. They provide sworn translations for €20 or so, and that may well be sufficient for the police. If the police require more than that, then they could end up needing a legally translated document from the UK with an apostille on it … but I would start with the Arona Courts translated certificate and see how it goes.

  68. Thanks once again Janet can you advise where the Arona Court is located so I can take them there
    Regards Edd

  69. Author

    If I’ve done it correctly, THIS should take you to a map showing the Courts … they’re at the top of El Camisón, on the border of Los Cristianos.

  70. Author

    Hi Janet,
    We had a certificado Residencia Para Viaje. In December 2014, and went into the Town Hall Office in Los Cristianos to renew it this morning.
    We were refused on the following reasons,
    1 we need to have a green card for Residencia 2 We should live here all the year. 3 To pay our tax to Spain.
    We have a home here and reside for approximately 6months, and have bank a/c’s
    Would we be entitled to this Green Card? And how do we get it? Hope you can help.

  71. Author

    Well, first of all the information you’ve been given is incorrect. You don’t need to live here all the year, nor pay your tax in Spain: these matters are irrelevant. The viaje certificate, however, is a variant of the empadronamiento, and councils are within their rights (some say they’re obliged) to refuse to register on their local list of residents (padrón) anyone who is not legally (physically) resident in Spain. This is NOT connected with tax residence.

    To be physically resident in Spain, and legally so, all foreigners must register with the police. So, for example, anyone coming to live here permanently must register with the police and get a Certificado de Registro (it’s called all sorts, including green card, green NIE, residencia, etc). The person might decide to leave Spain after five months, in which case they never become tax resident – which is why paying your tax in Spain is irrelevant.

    If a council is only going to put people on its padrón if they are living here legally, i.e. registered with the police, it stands to reason that they’ll require proof that the person has got the Certificado de Registro. And it’s only if someone is on the padrón that they can get a viaje certificate.

    In your case, you have obviously registered on the padrón in the past, but either Arona has tightened up its rules or you got a jobsworth who wouldn’t register you with the council because you weren’t registered with the police. I’m afraid they have that right, though many councils, or at least many council staff, will register someone with just passport and NIE, and a rental contract or empadronamiento of ownership.

    As to full details of the green card, please see HERE. Meanwhile, I’ve moved this question and reply to the Getting it Right page because it was out of place on the endometriosis information session post. It might also help if you have a look at the questions & answers in the Residents & Non-Residents section above.

  72. Hi Janet wrote some time ago re my neighbour who got marraged in the UK and wanted to change her name on the non residents NIE certificate, and advised on the difficulties which they experienced at the Police station. With the help of your response and great advice they went back to the police station this time in possession of a completed Ex 15 form and a paid in the bank 790 form also passport and passport size photographs also the UK marriage certificate and photocopy of same. This time no problem they got the name changed with no difficulty. Many thanks once again for your time and a wonderful web site.

  73. Author

    That’s fantastic, Edd! Thank you for giving us the update!

  74. Hi Janet , I have been awarded long term disibility for two years , do you know if I canget help towards eye tests n glasses ?

  75. Author

    Eye tests are free, anyway, Debbie, but as to help with glasses, I’m not aware of a system here like in the UK with NHS glasses (not sure that system even still runs in the UK, actually).

  76. Hi Janet

    My husband needs to renew his spanish driving licence as it runs out in 2017 he is 75 and has previously when he was 70 had a medical etc. How do we go about this is it easy.

    Kind Regards


  77. Author

    Yes it’s easy. Just go along to any Centro de Reconocimiento for a new medical and they will not only carry out the test but will do the paperwork for you. All that’s needed is the current licence, though I’d take along passport and Registro just in case! The whole thing should just cost the basic amount because your husband is over 70, and so there’s the fee to pay but the tax is waived (Adeje is €42 but different areas might have slightly different fees). He’ll be required to surrender the current licence and will be given temporary paperwork that he can drive with, along with instructions to call or go back if the new licence doesn’t arrive in the post within a fortnight.

  78. Thank you very helpful

  79. Hi Janet,

    Me and my partner are registered as residents in Tenerife. We plan to marry in Tenerife. He is Catholic, but I have no faith. He wants to marry in a Catholic church, which is fine by me. Is it possible to do so, even if I am not Catholic, but am a resident?
    Any advice would be welcome 🙂


  80. Author

    I would think you would need to avow faith, but you’ll need to check with your local parish priest.


  82. Author

    I can’t say if you’ll be fined or not, I’m afraid. It’s very much a lottery, it seems, but the only guarantee is to have a blue disability card. Certainly the Adeje Policía Local won’t be able to accept a letter in English from a British GP. As to carrying a passport, that’s a requirement in any case.

  83. Hi Janet,
    My non-resident father is about to take advantage of the reduction in ‘gift tax’ and gift me his house in Tenerife, which I am very pleased. Being a non-resident myself living in the UK my question is will I be responsible for any kind of tax or costs associated with the property along the way (excluding the obvious community charges etc.)
    Many thanks.

  84. Author

    Yes, as a non-resident property owner you will need to submit tax returns annually to pay deemed notional rental income tax (informally known as “the non-resident tax”). Have a read HERE and HERE where I hope it’s explained fully.

    Do bear in mind, too, that there will be a few additional costs as part of the gifting process. There will be plusvalia to pay to the local council, and possibly capital gains tax, and the transfer of title also needs to be notarized and registered at the Land Registry. The most important thing is to get qualified professional help with the process so that you know everything is taken care of properly.

  85. Regarding your advice to be wary of everyone who might want to relieve you of your money I recall the advice i received from an US businessman in the travel business. If you want to become a millionaire in Tenerife arrive with 2 million! It is still good advice

  86. Hi Janet,

    I have moved to Tenerife and am renting a holiday apartment for three weeks until our long term apartment is ready in February.
    I have been told i can not apply for my NIE until I move into the long term property? Is this true?

  87. Author

    no, as long as you have “an address” you can apply for your NIE … people do live long term, however incorrect it is in terms of property laws, in touristic accommodation. Having said that, however, it is a good idea to wait until you move into the long-term property. This is simply so that your NIE bears the “correct” address, one that will also then match up with your records with the council, and the empadronamiento you’ll need from time to time from the council, or any car or driving licence you need to register with Tráfico.

  88. Hi Janet
    I am resident in Tenerife and have the green paper dated 19/10/2011 do I need to renew it. I would prefer to have the small card rather than the green paper.

  89. Author

    You have the option to renew it, and they cannot refuse you, but you are under no obligation to renew it.

  90. Anne, bear in mind that the card-sized registro is very flimsy and the print rubs off in no time if you aren’t extremely careful with it. I personally would recommend that if you have the A4 certificate, you keep it and cherish it. In my experience, for all non-official purposes a colour photocopy of the green certificate works very well. My green certificate is still in pristine condition in its folder, from which I have removed it less than half a dozen times since 2007. The photocopy I carry with me is falling apart but nobody cares, when it’s had its day I’ll just make another one.

  91. Thank you Janet and thank you Nova that does make sense and I will colour photocopy the original.

  92. Hi Janet. We will be moving to Tenerife in a few months but feeling concerned. My husband is a type 1 diabetic and would need insulin. However he is taking early retirement so not planning to work. How would be the best or recommended way to get the insulin. As he wouldn’t be paying into social security to get Heath care. Thanks.

  93. Author

    Insulin will be readily available here, but without state healthcare, you will need private medical insurance. Indeed, to register with the police as you will have to do to be legal, you will need either social security contributions, or to be pensioners, or -as will be applicable for you – private medical insurance, as I describe HERE.

  94. Thanks Janet. I’ll be working and paying into the system so will my husband be classed as a dependent?

  95. Author

    yes, he will have to be registered as such, at Granadilla, but as long as you are paying social security contributions, he will then be your dependant.

  96. Hi.
    My parents live out in Puerto having retired there 20 years ago and are in their 80’s. I am mindful of the fact that they may need more help as they get older so I was wondering if there is the Canarian equivalent of visiting carers either private or through the healthcare system?

  97. Author

    I would think that the system would be run at municipal level, rather than the healthcare system as such. The best place to enquire is the Social Services department of their local Ayuntamiento.

  98. Thanks, I’ll try there.

  99. We are moving to Tenerife at the beginning of April. I will be coming over on the 28/3/17 to apply for an nie. We have a property already up and running in adeje. I know I have to go to the police station in Las Americas to apply for the nie. I am told it can take 15 days. I was hoping to get the children signed up for school in this visit, but is this not possible without the nie ??


  100. Author

    The NIE is issued immediately.

  101. Hi Janet,
    Wonder if you have any knowledge about bringing leased car to Tenerife? Car owner is leasing company in Lithuania (guess no difference from UK) and I am driving this car here for more than six months. Do I have any tax risk? Not sure how I cam change the car plates to Spanish as I doubt leasing company wouldnt agree…. Thank you in advance!

  102. Author

    I don’t know, I’m sorry Tom, this isn’t an area I have any knowledge of.

  103. Hi Janet,
    Do you know what the regulations for driving a moped/ scooter are if you haven’t a license? ie can you drive on a provisional license and how/where would you apply for such? Thanks

  104. Author

    If you mean a British provisional licence, the answer is no, never. Please see HERE, Driving section, third question. If you mean how one starts from scratch here, then you register with a driving school which takes care of all the paperwork.

  105. Thanks Janet, Yes I meant starting from scratch here.

  106. Hi im self employed and own my own business out hers but im 5months pregnant amd very ill and the doctor may have to sign me off work do i get any help from the goverment seeing as i cant work but still have a business and house to pay for?

  107. Author

    The self-employed can be entitled to some government help but it depends on the level of the contributions they made as autonomo. I’m afraid that that’s as far as I can advise because you need to ask an asesor who deals with work and accountancy issues. Try Diana McGowan HERE.

  108. I need to register my daughter for school, just at this minute I cannot find her birth certificate, will her uk passport do ??
    Thankyou in advance

  109. Author

    I’m afraid you’ll need to ask the school what they require. I’m sorry but I don’t know whether her passport alone will be sufficient.

  110. Hi Janet ,my question concerns CCTV and personal videoing of people .
    We have an ongoing “debate” over the legality of installing CCTV on our complex and what the law allows- can you expand please ?
    Another issue is ,some unsocial people on our complex are causing problems by videoing individuals and posting on social media as a means of harassment – is this legal and what steps can the President/ Adminstrator take to prevent this ?

  111. Author

    I’m sorry John but I can’t. The law on CCTV is complex and frequently updated, so it needs a qualified lawyer to clarify. As to posting images on social media, that is clearcut – it is illegal without the permission of the person whose image is being used. Usually this is done unthinkingly, but where it is being done as a form of harrassment, that is something that should be denounced to the police.

    I posted a comment in reply to Stephanie on THIS post only the other day. As I said there:

    I quite agree, Stephanie. In particular I dislike the posting of photos, without the consent of the subject, of those who have not yet been guilty of any crime. It doesn’t matter how appalling the alleged crime is, if someone’s photo is published and they are subsequently found not guilty of any offence, they could well prosecute for defamation. At the moment, on Facebook, there is a photo going round with a request to share it widely. In my opinion it is at least libellous, and at worst, an incitement to violence (a serious offence in its own right).

    It is worth stressing that anyone who publishes a photo without the subject’s consent, and where that publication could have a negative effect (on reputation, or financially, or in terms of work, etc), is committing an offence which carries a prison sentence of up to four years. It has been my view for a long time that naming and shaming is senseless in a range of ways, but now, with the “gag law“, I think that “idiotic” is a more appropriate word.

  112. Hi Janet loveTenerife go often i know Tenerife is not in the EU although Spain is, My husband and my self are looking to move permantely to Tenerife when i retire in 2 years ( Hubby retires 2 years later) we have funds to retire there. As UK where we have worked and lived all our lives are now coming out of EU ,do you think the free health care in Tenerife for pensioners UK could change

  113. Author

    Tenerife is in the EU because it’s part of Spain. There are separate customs rules that apply to us because we are an “ultraperipheral region” (as defined by the EU) but we are an autonomous region of Spain, and Spain is in the EU. As to what might happen in the Brexit negotiations, please see HERE.

  114. Hi Janet thankyou so much for your reply much appreciated

  115. Author

    Banca March refuse to renew my wife´s debit card until she produces evidence of where our money comes from – but a letter given to us by the bank in Las Galletas says they require, basically, a statement that our income (in our case UK State pension) is paid automatically into the bank. I think it assumes it to be a Spanish bank, but we simply transfer money from our UK bank account, and I cannot see the Dept of Works and Pensions giving us a special letter explaining what we get. The girl in the bank was otherwise unhelpful.

    My card expires in a year and they will require the same from me. Our pension is paid directly into our bank, but the girl said a bank statement is no good. We´ve had the account in Tenerife since 2004, mainly to pay the direct debits on our Tenerife property. We offered our passport and NIEs as confirmation of identity but they didn´t want them.

    Have you come across this before?

  116. Author

    Hi Allan, this sounds like the Know Your Customer / Anti-Money Laundering stuff that banks are under increasing scrutiny to carry out thoroughly now, though I can only guess at why it’s being requested now or why your wife’s debit card is being held to ransom over it. Nevertheless, banks are required to know where their customers’ income comes from. I used to work for Santander and to my knowledge, customers in receipt of a UK pension usually receive a pension statement from the DWP at least annually and that is usually perfectly sufficient. If you don’t have one for any reason, I don’t see that there’s anything wrong with asking DWP to send you one. They will be familiar with KYC/AML too.

  117. Author

    Thank you, Janet. The annual statement from the DWP was all we could think of, and we have them back in the UK. Now we need to find out whether they have to be presented personally or whether they can be sent. We were just surprised that the girl in the bank hadn´t apparently come across this before – but there must be hundreds of retired UK citizens who deal with that bank who are all in the same position. Thank you again.

  118. Author

    Thank you Nova … Allan it was Nova who answered you, and in this respect, her expertise is far greater than mine! I would have thought that you could send any required documentation by email … indeed I would have thought that that would be preferable for the bank because they would then have it electronically from the off.

  119. Author

    I’m happy to help when I can. 🙂 Ideally you would give the bank the original document for them to take a photocopy but usually they will be more interested in meeting their obligation as easily as possible. In which case I see no reason why they wouldn’t accept an emailed scan.

  120. Author

    OK. Thanks, Nova. We have a meeting with our solicitor next week who thinks he can get a definitive answer. I´ll post on here, in case others are interested.

  121. I am a US resident and been living in Madrid for 2.5 years illegally and I want to make it legal … what is the fastest way to do so … any helpis appreciative … Brian

  122. Author

    The best thing you can do is speak to the US Embassy. I can’t advise on non-EU nationals’ rights or the legal prerequisites, I’m sorry.

  123. Regarding the bank´s requirements for carrying on with our account, our solicitor has been told by the bank that indeed the UK´s DWP pension statement should be sufficient. But they still require us to contact them while they have my new debit card in order that they do not send it back. Once that is done I doubt whether I will be able to get another!

    I assume this is EU money-laundering rules…though how they can insist that a Spanish bank be given details of money paid into my UK bank is beyond me.

  124. Hi Janet,
    Should I have received the pink Información Fiscal from Santander 2016? It is usually dated 31st March.


  125. Author

    I understand they only started sending them out a couple of weeks ago, so it’s possibly still in the pipeline.

  126. From what has been said I am probably talking about something completely different but if its of any use I received my annual Santander letter detailing interest, commission and expenses on 28 January. Mine was electronic via online account access and my wife’s copy through the post.

  127. Having looked again at the document I have it is not pink just a bit red, brown, black and white so it is not the document David was asking about.

  128. Hi Ive lived here for 3 years and been a resident for this time, I have a UK driving license photo card with less than 10 years expiration. Am I right in thinking I only have to change it to Spanish when it expires???

  129. Author

    Yes, as it says in the answer to the first question in the Driving section above, “Drivers living in Spain who already have the usual photocard licences with clear ten year expiry dates do not have to do anything about them until the licence expires, and when it does, they will be required to renew here, as their country of residence. This meas that they will need to exchange for a Spanish licence at that point.”

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