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.


DOCUMENTATION

NIE & REGISTRO

RESIDENTS & NON-RESIDENTS

DRIVING

HEALTHCARE

WORKING

BANKS

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.

84 Comments

  1. Hi Janet We intended to live and work in Tenerife 5 years ago bringing mum out to spend time with us. Unfortunately after signing up for residency mum passed away. We carried on visiting our property in Tenerife regularly but kept our main residence in U.K. We are retired and visit around 6 months out of the year but are unsure if we have to cancel our residency and return back to non resident status. If we stay as residents are we expected to pay any taxes as we live only on private pensions which are paid and already taxed in England. Very grateful for any advice you can offer. Many thanks.

  2. Author

    Yes, if you have registered as residents with the police, and have a Certificado de Registro (also often called green certificate, green NIE), but don’t live here, you should deregister. The registration (which you are calling “residency”) is issued to foreigners who have made an official declaration that they are living in Spain (see HERE).

    Your situation is that of a non-resident – both physically and fiscally. As physical non-residents you should not be registered with the police as living here, and assuming you’re not here for more than around six months a year you will not be not tax-resident either. Those who are not tax resident but who own a property here are required to submit annual returns for “deemed notional rental income” (see HERE).

    For what it’s worth, while you have declared you are living here permanently, you should have been submitting resident tax returns in any case (see HERE).

  3. hi Janet,

    gov.uk site says…

    “After you have been registered as a resident for five years, you can apply for a certificate of permanent residence in Spain. You will be issued with a similar credit card size Residence Certificate, but it will additionally state that you are a permanent resident (residente permanente).”

    any idea how i go about doing this?

    with brexshit on the horizon i thought it might be a good idea as it gives more rights to move around europe.

    thanks

    david

  4. Author

    It is very simple, you just go back to the police station and reapply as before, prepay the tasa … and you get a new green Registro (card sized) with the word “permanente” on it. Please note, however, that it won’t give you additional rights to those you currently enjoy with your existing Registro. The renewal is entirely optional, please have a read HERE for the full details.

    Please note, just for absolute clarity, that this refers to the optional renewal of a Certificado de Registro and not a NIE.

  5. Thanks Janet. I will need to change my address soon so I can kill 2 birds with one stone. Hopefully jejeje.

    Just for interest i hought permanent gave more rights because on various places it says that you can move to another country for up to 3 months, with permanent residency and up to six with permission without losing right to live here which I thought might be useful if we are leaving.

  6. Author

    no, the regulations are quite clear and explained above. Up to three months, no-one needs to register as “living in Spain”, so does not get a Certificado de Registro (also called residencia/green cert/green NIE). After three months, anyone living here (i.e. not here on a four-month holiday) needs to register and gets the Registro.

    After five years legal residence a foreigner living in Spain automatically gains the right to “permanent residence” … automatically, without re-registering … and those who wish to have a Registro with the word “permanente” on it can get one, but this is not a requirement and does not affect anyone’s rights.

    The only time a six month rule comes into play is for tax residence purposes.

    These are Spain’s rules as a sovereign nation and an EU member state, and nothing to do with the UK, or Brexit, as such.

  7. Hello Janet, on the subject of healthcare, I have searched your FAQ’s and although close it does not quite pinpoint my query. In brief, my wife and I have been permanent residents since 2009 and have worked and paid into the system as self-employed until December 2016. We have NEI, residencia and Spanish health cards. We are not yet at retirement age. As residents of Spain do we qualify for health care here. According to Spanish citizens advice bureau we do, but I am also receiving conflicting stories. Can you advise please. Many thanks, Paul

  8. Author

    Qualification is based on contributions but they have to be recent and ongoing … for example there need to be contributions for three months in the previous year as far as I understand it. And so, in your case, you might have stopped paying into the system too long ago unless you were already being treated beforehand (in which case cover is extended for a year).

  9. I bought a ring for my girlfriend and the stone has come out, can i ask for another one, or it to be repaired

  10. Author

    yes of course! Go back to the store, ask for a replacement stone, and if they aren’t helpful, ask for the complaints book, and then possibly also go to the council’s consumer affairs office.

  11. I’m trying to request a criminal record check for a new job. I have a digital certificate so am trying to pay the Tasa online and the form is asking me for a 13 digit número de justificación, I am stuck. Can you tell me what this is please.

  12. Author

    Sorry, Paul, on this occasion I can’t help. I simply don’t know. Apologies.

  13. No problems, thanks anyway.

  14. Hello Janet.

    I am living in the North of Tenerife and struggling to find a notary who speaks English or has a translator. Do you know of any notaries based in La laguna who speak English or translators? Thank you.

  15. Author

    I’m sorry but I don’t know of any specifically but I would expect to find someone who can speak English in all of them!

  16. hi Janet
    I’ve been living in Tenerife for 12 years, and now time to move on! thinking of going to main land Spain,
    so my question is will all my NIE and Social and residencies count for anything over there, I know we are part of Spain, but just wondered
    thanks

  17. Author

    yes because they are issued by the Policía Nacional – it’s a national system.

  18. Hi Janet…always value your advice…struggling to find an answer anywhere to a query about importing a motorcycle to Tenerife from mainland Spain (which is on Spanish plates etc). I see and understand the situation when importing from a country elsewhere in the EU but nothing when buying in Spain and taking it by ferry to Tenerife. Cost of the bike I am looking at (second-hand BMW) is ridiculous in the Canaries….so much cheaper on the mainland. Any info very gratefully received.

  19. Author

    The registration will be Spanish so no problems in that respect. If you’re talking tax, then I don’t see why any should be payable here because you’re just travelling with a Spanish vehicle within Spain, rather than “importing”.

  20. An agent in Lanzarote seems to suggest that there are some taxes importing a vehicle (coche, moto, camiones) from the mainland, unless it is a change of residence for the owner – might be worth getting a quote from them to check ? http://cargolanzarote.es/como-traer-tu-coche-canarias/

  21. Author

    This is the difference, of course, with a country with such a devolved system of Government, where autonomous regions can impose taxes independently of the national Government … and this is why it’s certainly worth getting someone at least to give a quote, if not take care of the administration altogether, in such procedures.

  22. Hello janet . We are wondering whether we need to verify the qualifications and autonomo sratus of builders and plumbers working on our house. They are mainly local people, not under a main employer, and we are being asked to pay in cash. Is it our responsibility to find out if they are declaring this work ?

  23. Author

    Technically, yes, you are legally responsible for checking workers are legal and have public liability and personal insurances. As to paying in cash, this is entirely normal but highly risky because you will have no means of proving anything for tax purposes (eg capital gains deductions on sale), nor for claiming recompense if there are problems, or more importantly, to show you have employed them legally if you are inspected or they have an accident.

  24. Hi my husband has a full time work contract and residencia can I get my green nie if I am his dependant and can I register with a dr

  25. Author

    You can register with the doctor once the Granadilla Social Security offie registers you as a dependent of your husband. As to your “green NIE”, please see HERE for the Certificado de Registro (which is its proper name) – how to register with the police and the requirements you have to fulfill before you will be able to do so. You should sort out the Registro with the police before registering at Granadilla for state healthcare cover.

  26. Hi janet hope you are well, can you clarify something for me please, i still have my English plastic photo driving license im reading different comments about having or needing to change it, is it correct that i don’t have to change it till it expires? Or do i only have a certain length of time to replace it? Thanks again for your help

  27. Author

    I’ve moved your comment from the public holidays thread … please just see above, first question in the section titled “Driving”.

  28. Janet and the team,

    Well done for all your hard work on your web pages.
    Apart from learning Spanish, it should be compulsory reading BEFORE coming over to Tenerife..

    Quick point re the gent and his bank query , we had everything regarding money, INCLUDING our UK state pension, APOSTILLED before leaving the UK.
    EVERYTHING including our lawyer,s dealings regarding the sale of this property and the bank went smoothly with these documents.

    Again, thank you all

  29. I am a resident for 20 years living in the same property paying income tax, IBI and Basura. I have never thought to acquire a certificate de empadronmiento. If I do register in 2018 how can I demonstrate I have lived in the property for 20 years rather than the Certificate when issued only suggesting I’ve resided in the Property from 2018?

  30. Author

    You will only be able to acquire a certificate dated from the point at which you register. Since it has been a legal requirement for over six years now to register within three months of arrival, I don’t think it’s advisable to point out how long you’ve actually been here without complying. The certificate certainly could not be backdated anyway.

  31. Harry, surely you must have an NIE as you have bought an apartment and are paying taxes etc. Do you just have the white A4 type or the Certificado de Registro, now a small green credit card size. I’m sure that when registered with the tax authorities we had to have a certificado de registro and that is more important than a Certificado de Empadronamiento for the purposes of establishing residence in Tenerife.

  32. Author

    There was a time, 15 years or so ago, when you didn’t need a NIE to buy a property, Stewart, so possibly Harry doesn’t have one. But he specifically referred to the possibility of registering (presumably with the police) and so he can’t have a Registro. The tax authorities don’t need that so it wouldn’t be flagged by them, and bear in mind that Harry could be paying income tax on a non-resident basis anyway.

    There are very very many people here in the situation of having lived here for years without realising they had to register when the old residencia system was abolished in 2012 and replaced by the registration of foreigners living in Spain. Many were fully aware but decided anyway to ignore the requirement, even though it was a legal prerequisite to their lawful residence in the country. They are among the many who are now trying to regularize their situation before Brexit when they will no longer have the security of the EU’s umbrella to guarantee their right to remain in Spain.

  33. Janet, he was talking about joining the Padrón. You need an NIE to do that.

  34. Author

    but that’s unnecessary … surely he means the police, which is the only registration we need right now!

  35. He says Empadronamiento. I agree it’s the National Police he needs to register with if he has not already done. Being on the Padrón is a good thing but yes, not essential for proving residence.

  36. I come to Tenerife near Las Galletas for several months every year . Last week I discovered a charge for cash withdrawn from the ATM , I usually use. Has the law changed ? Are there any local ATM`s which dont charge for visa cards ?
    I weant to avoid withdrawing the maximum amount everytime , which minimises the pro rata commision.

  37. Author

    No the law hasn’t changed … your bank’s policy, or that of your card provider, might have. You’ll need to check with the bank I’m afraid.

  38. Hi Janet thanks for the great article about which are the actual papers you need I just wanted to check how you qualify for a Certificado de Registro – what does that mean do you have to live full time in Tenerife or as an owner do you qualify ? That ‘green’ card is the only one we don’t have ?

  39. Author

    Please just see the first question in the second section “NIE & Registro” above.

  40. Hi Janet could you advise on wether there is an entitlement to maintain my natural light and view , my next door neighbour is considering building an extension in front of his house that will block mine.
    Many thanks in anticipation

  41. Author

    yes of course you are entitled! The extension must be approved by the local Ayuntamiento (an obra menor/mayor licence) and, if on a community, the community itself.

  42. Thanks for the reply. The root of the problem instigating the need of the extension is due to another neighbour who has 11(eleven) cats. These cats are defecating , urinating and causing damage to other neighbors property in the community’. Can you give any advice on how to resolve this issue. My neighbor has spoken with the owner of the cats with no resolution.
    Many thanks

  43. Author

    Please see the first section on THIS page.

  44. Thanks for the advice

  45. Hi Janet , we are resident here in Adeje casco for 3 years . We don’t work but are not quite Uk retirement age . When we got our green card residencia we took out private health insurance which was needed for residencia as we are not working . However the cost has risen each year so we wonder is there a way to pay into the Spanish system for healthcare that wouldn’t increase so rapidly … kind regards Mike

  46. Author

    I’ve moved your query here – please have a look at the Healthcare section above.

  47. Is it easy to obtain a Non-Residence Certificate from the police station and how much do they cost? Banca March usually deal with this for me but they charge 50 euros per certificate. What I really would like to know is what part of the 50 euros is for the certificate and what part are the bank charges?

  48. Author

    It is easy, just like a NIE, and I believe the same cost as a NIE of €9.64. Please see HERE.

  49. Hi, Janet, we are hoping to move to Tenerife within the next 6mths. Obviously with Brexit not being able to make up it’s own mind we are in a quandary. We are not yet of retirement age but I have to take 3 lots of medication for heart disease. Would I get this medication from pharmacy, how much would it cost and would it be covered with medical insurance.

  50. Author

    As things stand for the next fifteen days, if you have money in the bank and full private medical insurance you will be able to register with the police to live in Spain. That would make you legal, but you would have private medical insurance and so of course your prescriptions would not be covered by the state system though your medication would almost certainly be available in Spain as well as the UK, at least an equivalent brand would be. What might happen over the next fortnight, however, is anyone’s guess so I’m afraid the safest thing would be to wait to make your decision until things are clearer with regard to Brexit.

  51. Hello Janet,
    I have certificate de registro (green) I am staying in the UK with my aged parents for a few weeks. I may have to return to the UK to care for them a couple of times a year. Please could you tell me the time limits that I have for:
    a) the number of days/year allowed out of Tenerife.
    b) the number of days/year I have to be in Tenerife to keep my Certificate
    c) if the days are total / year or a continuous period.

    Thank you

  52. Author

    At the moment you have full freedom of movement with no restrictions. That will come to an end with Brexit but I can’t advise what the situation will be because our future is to be determined by however Brexit develops or unravels. We will simply have to wait to find out what the situation will be.

  53. Hello Janet,
    Some advice please. 4 weeks prior to moving over to Tenerife my husband applied for our S1s..We moved across and waited for said documents to arrive, NOTHING. We contacted the relevant people in UK who confirmed the documents had been sent 2cweeks after our application; they stated that the replacements would be with us within 10 working days. We are now at day 15! What can we do as we need to register with Social and Doctors?

  54. Author

    All you can do is speak to the Pensions department. I don’t know what else you can do, I’m afraid.

  55. Morning Janet What documents do I need to take with me to tax my car in San Miguel. And what days can I do this. I have not had a bill through the post.

  56. Author

    Hopefully THIS page will help … it has further links in it to allow you to check the dates within which you have to pay, and means to pay by card online.

  57. Hi,

    I have never been married, my partner has.

    We have been trying to look at either Pareja de hecho or marriage.

    They will accept his divorce papers but I need some sort of Certificate to prove I have never been married. Have applied on line to the Consulate but they will not issue as they say I don´t need it.

    Please help or point me in the direction of a good lawyer who can.

  58. Author

    There must be some confusion because certificates of marital status and of no impediment are required and standard documents. My advice would be to go to your local Juzgado de Paz (justice of the peace): they will help you with a checklist, advice, and can even conduct the marriage if you would like it. It will be free, though sometimes there is a charge for the room in which the marriage is conducted. For the alternative “pareja de hecho”, you would simply need a certificate of “convivencia”: this will be issued by your local Ayuntamiento.

  59. Hi
    Can you tell me what is the current amount of money required by a couple in the bank for residency purposes in Tenerife

  60. Author

    Please see THIS page for details of registration: at present as I say there, there is no fixed amount set by law but €5,200 per person appears to be what they are requiring.

  61. Hi Janet we are residents in Tenerife and receive a spanish pension. If we return to the UK and revert to UK residency would we loose this pension?
    Many thanks

  62. Author

    I doubt it but I’m afraid you’ll need to confirm with a financial adviser or pension expert. That’s not an area I profess to know about. Apologies.

  63. Thank you very much for your advice, we did intend to still have our pension paid into our spanish bank, but will take your advice too Janet.

  64. Hi Janet, We are hoping to move to Tenerife but are waiting for Brexit !! Can you tell me if we have pensions of roughly £30,000 yearly , do we need the capital in the bank ? Thanks

  65. Author

    After Brexit we will be third-country nationals and I have no idea what criteria will be applied to those trying to move over here after Brexit because the conditions have not yet been finalised, as I’ve explained in the Brexit post HERE. Please just keep checking back for updates which will be in the Brexit post when they are available. The only thing I will say is that it will be FAR more onerous than at present, so I can’t really understand why you’re waiting until the harder conditions apply … if Brexit is your only reason for not moving now!

  66. I left a message a while ago asking if my next door neighbour is allowed to build a wall on our adjoining terrace (I can’t remember which section so can’t find any replies. This wall has been built now and a room behind it using the wall partially built on my terrace wall as his back wall. Similar to Barry Nelson’s request above, my neighbour has taken away my view, reduced the light and the sun on my terrace significantly. He does not have a licence and someone else, not me, has denounced the building work and it has stopped for now. Do you think he will get building permission from the council. The community is not interested and says they are only concerned about communal areas. Thank you.

  67. Author

    The community cannot be “not interested” because any works must receive community approval as well as a licence from the council. The only thing you can do right now is get an item on the agenda for the next general meeting or try to call an EGM to discuss it, AND go to the council and ask them in planning. Your original question and my answer is HERE.

  68. Hola Janet.Looking for advice on post op Cancer.4 years since prostrate removed,now down to a check every 12 months,in Germany ,where my S1 is.PSA was very low ,last check in May.My question is ,if i change my S1 to Spain ,how do you rate ,the post OP care here in Tenerife.Any advice would be appreciated.

  69. Author

    I don’t think it’s possible at present to give any idea of how things will look here for S1s in future weeks and months, let alone years, Trevor. At the moment it’s not clear that there’ll be an S1 system … there probably will be something but it’s all up in the air for now. As to quality of care, here, well it depends on the field of medicine because the health system here is under financial pressure as health systems are everywhere. Having said that, however, it is superb in terms of transplant, cancer and heart disease care especially.

  70. Hi Janet Can you advise as to whether there is a tax allowance for pensioners over the age of 65 years and if so what is it

  71. Author

    I’m sorry, but as I always say I don’t advise on tax matters because it is a specialist field and you should consult a qualified adviser. Apologies.

  72. My husband and I registered on our local padron to be able to obtain our green NIE.We are not applying for our Green NIE as our circumstances have changed.We have been advised to deregister from the padron,is this correct ?.

  73. Author

    Presumaby your changed circumstances involve not being legally resident in Spain (the only reason for not registering), and so some Ayuntamientos won’t want you on their padrón – some don’t mind registering non-residents but others do. As such, it’s not a clear-cut answer, but depends on how your council views registration of non-residents. You should check with your local council residents advice office (SAC).

  74. Hi Janet,
    I,m looking for an English speaking driving instructor in the South. Can you help.?

  75. Author

    THIS yellow pages search has given a few suggestions.

  76. I am trying to make an online appointment with the social security office in Grandilla. When l put in the security question answer it keeps saying it is incorrect. Do you know if they will let me make an appointment if l attend the office in person. Thank you.

  77. Author

    I don’t know, apologies.

  78. Hi Janet, do you have any news about the “residents” in the buildings by the market, overlooking the sea, along from the Arona Gran Hotel, ( the residents that are there illegally that is ) in Los Cristianos. ?

  79. Author

    Do you mean in the “unoccupied” commmercial centre? If so, there’s a very recent ruling, in the last week or so, that they have to leave by the end of the year or face forcible eviction by the police under Court order.

  80. Yes Janet, I did mean the unoccupied centre, there was something on Facebook early in the week, you have confirmed that story to be correct. I think you will agree this situation has been going on far to long, and the appearance of the area has gone down in recent years.

  81. Author

    Absolutely. It is utterly shameful, from a range of perspectives it’s just simply unacceptable.

  82. Is there a legal date for monthly nominas to be paid to employees. I had heard that they need to be paid by 5th of month but my new employee is saying they legally have until the 10th to pay them

  83. Author

    Apologies but employment matters need to be answered by qualified professionals though I would have thought the employment contract made it clear as to terms of payment. You should ask an asesor laboral (employment adviser), or at the least a gestor. At the very least ask who told you for a source where you can check their information … you are welcome to bring it back here for me to look at.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.