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.
NIE & TIE/REGISTRO – POLICE REGISTRATION
What are a white and green NIE and what's the difference between them?
Can we sort out our TIE ourselves?
Is there an expiry date for the old green Certificado de Registro?
When applying for my TIE do I need to have a spanish bank account or is this optional?
Do I need to change address on my TIE when I move?
Why are NIEs only valid for 3 months?
RESIDENTS & NON-RESIDENTS
Please can you explain the difference between 'resident', 'non-resident', and 'tax resident' status?
How do we get the resident discount on Spanish flights?
I understand that foreign residents have to declare property and bank accounts in the held UK before 31.03.13. Is this correct and how does one do this?
I've been told by someone that non-residents need a 'financial adviser' as a foreigner in Spain, and I don't know whether I need an accountant or lawyer. I've also heard of a gestor. What do I need?
Can I vote in Tenerife if I live there?
How long can I be away from Spain without losing my residency status?
I'm returning to live in the UK. Do I have to do anything here before I go?
I live in Tenerife - can I be married here?
Do British pensioners living in Tenerife still get the heating allowance?
Is it true that we have to carry an original ID document – in our case a passport – with us at all times? What of those who don't want to have to carry their original passport?
Do I need a Spanish Will?
How do I get an electronic signature or digital certificate to book appointments online, request empadronamientos, and the like?
How do I get a fishing licence?
I have been looking in to getting a disabled badge for my car as my husband has difficulty walking. Some people say it takes a long time, but we need it NOW so can you help me with any info about how to go about it.
Do I have to register my dog?
I have been told I have no choice and have to to renew my insurance policy because I didn't give two months notice. Is this correct?
Is there a highway code in English in Spain?
Is there a Spanish Highway Code?
Do I need to exchange my British driving licence for a Spanish one once I'm living in Tenerife?
What are the speed limits on Spanish roads?
I've heard that I need to change my uk licence for a spanish one even though I'm not living there if I stay for longer than 90 days. Is this correct?
Do I need a medical to change my driving licence?
Can I drive in Spain on a UK provisional licence?
Are dashcams legal?
We are selling our car privately. What are the correct procedures to follow and documents to present to Trafico?
What are the rules about disability scooters?
Can we bring our British car to Tenerife and drive it legally?
Am I entitled to a guarantee if I buy a second-hand car in Tenerife?
What are the drink driving limits?
What are the rules for child seats?
Can you drive in flipflops?
Why don't the Spanish know how to use roundabouts?
Who has right of way on a pedestrian crossing?
What are the rules about cyclists?
What do I have to carry in the car?
What are the rules for taking dogs in a car?
Who is entitled to free healthcare in Tenerife?
How do I get to see a doctor in Tenerife?
Does my EHIC give me healthcare cover?
As a patient, do I have the right to change my doctor?
We are not of retirement age but are hoping to move out to Tenerife. My husband gets free prescription for everything here in the UK. What will the position be for us there?
What private health insurance is available in Tenerife for people who can't get state cover?
Is there a state pay-in system for healthcare as opposed to private insurance for people who aren't working but who aren't retired either?
How long am I covered with the spanish health system from leaving one job to finding another contracted employment?
Can I receive medication through the post and could I send things such as a pouch of tobacco / cigarettes back to the UK ?
Can I be a blood donor in Tenerife?
Can I get an international vaccination for travel to the far east in Tenerife?
My partner is working and I've been told I can get healthcare through his social security payments. Is this true?
I'm going to be working self-employed (autonomo), and I've heard that I'd be expected to pay a minimum of €200 per month in social security payments. Are there any other options like using a EHIC?
What do I need to get a social security number so I can apply for work ?
I work for a restaurant without a contract as yet,can you tell me if the inspectors decide to check this place out, would I, as well as the owner, be liable for a fine ?
What restrictions apply to someone wanting to work in Tenerife?
I am moving to Tenerife in a few weeks and would like to open a bank account before I arrive, is this possible?
Do you need need more than one non-resident certificate if you have more than one bank account. As far as I can see we are being charged €30 each by Bankinter and €29.50 each by lacaixa for the same thing.
How much can I pay into the bank before they report me to the Hacienda? Is it still €3,000
Can you advise us on the best Bank to open an account with?
A FINAL WORD
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.