Official links for British residents and visitors:
Following the result of the EU referendum the UK Government has issued THIS advice for British nationals travelling and living in Europe.
these must now be made online and then sent to Belfast:
- see HERE for pre-application guidance and a link to the passport office application;
- see HERE for the direct link to the passport application;
- see HERE for what to do if your passport has been lost or stolen;
- for an emergency travel document, see HERE;
- the 12-month extension system brought in mid-2014 to cover the Passport Office problems came to an end on 10 April 2015.
Notarial and documentary services guide for Spain – documents available from the Consulate
There will be times when those with interests in Spain, or resident here, need notarial assistance in the UK. Christopher Atkinson is a Leeds-based specialist Notary Public. His main website is HERE, his blog is HERE. He has helped several readers in UK-Tenerife matters.
Health & Welfare
- European health cards are for travellers who are ill when away from where they are resident, so are issued by whichever health system provides their cover – for a full explanation see HERE. UK residents apply for an EHIC (click HERE), and anyone resident in Spain applies for a Tarjeta Sanitaria Europea (for information click HERE). British pensioners, however, who are resident in Tenerife and have registered an S1, have their Spanish health cover funded by the UK, and so need a UK EHIC. S1 pensioners must apply by post rather than online because they don’t live in the country which pays for their healthcare. Pensioners resident in Tenerife with a registered S1 can get application forms from the Overseas Healthcare Team on 0044 191 279 0575. This is the number to call as well for any visitors who have lost or forgotten their EHIC (or if it has expired or been stolen) to request a Provisional Replacement Certificate.
- To access healthcare in Spain, including how to get an S1 and register it, see the UK Government’s Dept of Health website Healthcare in Spain HERE, part of the main Healthcare in Spain website about healthcare in Spain for residents and visitors..
- NHS basic information on healthcare for those moving abroad
- Canaries – Patients’ Charter Law, also see English explanation HERE
- Domestic Violence Law, also see English information HERE
- The FCO has issued information HERE for British nationals affected by rape or sexual assault in Spain. The document provides advice on reporting the crime to the police, accessing medical treatment and engaging with the legal authorities here.
- Emergency services charge for rescue for risky sports, etc, also see page HERE
- Spain has a missing child hotline that is part of an EU-wide network. The number is 116000. See HERE, and HERE for the Fundación ANAR – Ayuda a Niños y Adolescentes en Riesgo (“help for children and adolescents at risk”).
- Beach safety Law
- Many people feel ill when we have calimas, or dust irruptions, and some suffer badly with respiratory problems. Aemet has THIS site for forecasts.
Property & communities
- The Urban (residential) Lease Law
- 2013 Urban (residential) Lease Flexibilization Law
- Ley de Propiedad Horizontal (Law of Horizontal Division) (courtesy of APAF, association of presidents and administrators)
- Law of Horizontal Division (in English, translation courtesy of Hestria, community administrators)
- Swimming pool legislation
- Government guide to community swimming pool legislation
Roads and driving
- HERE is the Tenerife Cabildo’s up-to-date-in-real-time map of which roads are open and which closed (and why).
- Tráfico Santa Cruz (location, opening times, contact details, and the link for making appointments online)
- Código de circulación (Spanish Highway Code)
- Road Traffic Law 1990
- Road Traffic Law 2003
- Driving licence law 2009
- Driving licence medical test centres (Tenerife’s start on page 361)
- Renewing Spanish licences (can be done at medical test centres or at Tráfico)
- Speeding fines and points
- Also see the Driving section of the FAQ: Basics page HERE for a range of questions about road usage, driving licences (renewing, exchanging & provisional), cyclists, child seats, drink-driving limits etc.
- Consumer rights law, also see page HERE
- Complaints book law
- Defensor del Pueblo – the Spanish ombudsman, who protects rights given by the constitution.
- EU right to reside in Spain directive and HERE
- Spain’s 2007 EU-compliant law concerning right of residence
- Spanish Constitutional Right to Association
- Canarian Association Law
- Citizen Security Law – so called Gag Law (Ley Mordaza). See also post HERE.
- There are often hoax terrorist warnings, and it is essential to be absolutely sure what the actual position is. The Spanish Interior Ministry, like the UK’s Home Office and any other mainstream EU country, has a terrorism threat levels system showing the current risk at any time. In the UK, the threat levels are:
- LOW – an attack is unlikely
- MODERATE – an attack is possible, but not likely
- SUBSTANTIAL – an attack is a strong possibility
- SEVERE – an attack is highly likely
- CRITICAL – an attack is expected imminently
- In Spain, these same categories are identified by numbers between 1 and 5, and as the UK is on Severe, so Spain is also on number 4. If you hear that an attack is expected immediately but find the threat level remains on 4, you can be sure it is a hoax report. To get absolutely confirmed information, the Interior Ministry’s threat level page is HERE: although in Spanish, the number is clearly shown numerically so anyone can understand it. (The equivalent from MI5 in the UK is HERE).
- Every time there is a seismic cluster, the British tabloids go to town with stories that Teide is about to erupt. Even in people who realize they are sensationalist stories, the reports then generate concern about whether there is any training in place, whether there’s a “plan”, how people would be told, and so on. Teide is an active volcano, and so seismic activity and clusters of tremors are natural, and are within the range of normal activity. Such behaviour does not even suggest an eruption, let alone that one might be imminent. None the less:
- Please be reassured that the Canarian Government holds regular simulation exercises for earthquake, eruption, evacuation, etc., see e.g. HERE, and also see THIS from INVOLCAN (Canarian Vulcanological Institute) about education measures. As to “a plan”, there is a protocol in place, the Canarian Government’s Plan Especial de Protección Civil y Atención de Emergencias por riesgo volcánico en la Comunidad Autónoma de Canarias (Pevolca). This is enshrined in legislation HERE, with annex 2 of the document being a public information and advice leaflet (direct link HERE).
- Obviously, in the event of any seismic emergency all authorities, including the British consulate, will be on hand to provide information and confirmed instructions across social media, in the papers, on the TV and radio, here on In Tenerife and similar sites. Research is constant and ongoing, there are protocols in place coordinating all emergency and security services, and information streams are ready to disseminate anything anyone needs to know, and this will all be done in several languages, including English.
- I am frequently asked about criminal record checks, normally when people return to the UK. Please see HERE for the information in Spanish, and HERE in English too. Bear in mind that since this will be an official Spanish certificate required outside of Spain, it will need to be apostilled: you need to ask for this when requesting the certificate. For those who need a British criminal record check in Spain, for example, if applying for Spanish nationality, see the ACRO Criminal Records Office HERE.
- A Vida Laboral is an official report of a worker’s social security contributions in Spain, a sort of ongoing or permanent P60 which can be requested in various situations here. You can apply online HERE (set to English page).
- Sworn translators are required sometimes where formal documents need to be translated by someone who has been certified and registered by the authorities and who can give an official stamp to the translation. Please be aware that if you pay for a translation when a sworn translation is required, your translation will not be sufficient. Many people offer a sworn translation service without actually being sworn translators; they are actually intermediaries who add on a fee and then use a sworn translator whom the public could have approached direct. There is a Cabildo list HERE and another from the Interior Ministry HERE of those who are recognized by the authorities. The vast majority are in the north, but in the south the public can also approach the translation service on the ground floor of the courts in Arona (at the top of El Camisón): sworn translations can be obtained there at minimal cost (in the region of €20 or so).
- Registry Offices in Tenerife
- HERE and HERE are details of social security contributions for workers and self-employed.
- Grants for Social Security financial assistance HERE and HERE.
- Extra benefits for the unemployed HERE.
- ADICAE – association for users of banks, financial services and insurances.
- Information in English on the Dación en pago (handing a property back to a bank)
- Spanish bank Ombudsman (Defensor del Cliente), and HERE is a consumer association page with help and a complaint form to download because the Bank of Spain site seems to fail far too often on the Defensor del Cliente page.
- Legal Aid
- ~ I am often asked about tax, but even simple questions might have hidden depths, and all tax matters should be answered by experts. I recommend asking either Paul Montague, who is Blevins Franks international tax adviser in the Canaries, or Diana McGowan, a qualified asesora in Tenerife.
- A “clausula suelo” is a “floor clause” which used to be used almost universally in mortgages to set a lower limit to the rate of interest applied regardless of how low the Euribor fell. This has now been deemed illegal by the ECJ with Spanish banks being required to make full repayment. Please see HERE.
- Regional Government Law on “potentially dangerous” dogs
- National Government Law on “potentially dangerous” dogs, updated HERE
- Local rules on keeping animals – see the Ayuntamientos list HERE to check individual municipalities. –
If you see a matter of animal cruelty, you can call the local police or, more effectively perhaps, Seprona. Seprona is the Servicio de Protección de la Naturaleza, so the official police route for environmental issues of any sort, including animal welfare. Just call 062 and explain it’s an environmental or animal welfare issue, where you are, and they will forward you to the correct local contact. Rumours that Seprona is only concerned with non-domestic animals are incorrect, and the Guardia Civil themselves say that cases of animal mistreatment should be denounced without hesitation to 062.
Pet cremation – there is a crematorium for pets in north Tenerife. The details are HERE.
Mercadona website to check if branches are open. Just choose Santa Cruz de Tenerife from the first drop down box.
Tenerife Information Centre is a website with information about everything from food to ferries, politics to parties, and much more.
Duty chemists – just choose the month from the drop down box and it will do the rest, giving a list of pdf files available. There are five pages with different areas – just click Siguientes to move on a page.
Óptica Downes – on the left as you go up Calle Grande towards the town hall in Adeje. I can personally recommend this opticians for its superb and professional service in an unhurried atmosphere, reasonable prices, and excellent English for non-Spanish speakers.
Saffiedine Oftalmología – for when there is a problem that needs more than an optician, this ophthalmologist is on the left going down the road towards the sea between Compostela Beach and the Mediterranean Palace (Mare Nostrum Resort) in Playa de las Américas. Again I can personally recommend this specialist for his professionalism and very wide range of services. He’s multi-lingual, and has very reasonable prices considering it’s a private practice.
BJ Maintenance Tenerife – cleaning, maintenance and gardening for non-resident property owners.
Estate agents (there are many in Tenerife. The following are ones that I would use myself):
LeRo – disability equipment supplies, including hire of crutches, wheelchairs etc.
Auditorio Infanta Leonor for international-level concerts and cultural programmes of all descriptions in the centre of Los Cristianos.
Loro Parque a superb day out while contributing to an environmental foundation that does perhaps more good than any other in Tenerife.
Tenerife Museums a range of museums to cater for all cultural tastes, whether science, anthropological, historical, human. Click on the British flag for a full translation of each of the museums, which are listed by abbreviations across the header.
Pirámides de Güímar an “ethnographic park” with an eye to the history, nature and geography of Tenerife. It has a lovely atmosphere, different sections, gardens, a museum, as well as those “pyramids”.
Teide astounding geography, incredible views. The link is to the main national park website, with daily notices about whether the cable car is open or not due to weather conditions or maintenance, as well as information about the national park itself, activities, star gazing, guided tours, etc., and permits to climb to the very top of Mt Teide, and the Refugio Altavista where one can stay overnight.
- To get to the summit, the timetable is 9am to 4pm, last ascent at 4pm, last descent at 4.50. Permits are granted by the National Park administration, and can only be arranged online at reservasparquesnacionales.es. If using the cable car, it costs €12 for a resident adult, €25 for a non-resident. If staying overnight at the Refugio, see the link just above to book.
- Many people ask about camping around Teide. Since it’s a national park, camping is strictly controlled, and a permit/authorization is necessary every time The following links give the available options, and how to apply: Cabildo (English); Todo Tenerife (Spanish).
- PLEASE NOTE: the peak of Teide is a staggering 3,718m high, making it the highest point in Spain and the third highest volcano in the world. By comparison, the highest point in the United Kingdom is Scotland’s Ben Nevis at 1,344m. The caldera itself, and indeed the national park generally, is higher than that, with an average altitude of over 2,000m. This altitude is not something that most British people will easily relate to or be used to, and so visitors need to be aware that atmospheric changes start at an altitude of around 2,500m, and that is the point at which altitude sickness can begin to be experienced, but also, more importantly, a height at which those suffering heart and lung conditions can experience problems apart from altitude sickness. Such people are advised not to go above the level of the caldera, and so should not go up in the cable car, nor to try to ascend the peak of Teide itself. Those with severe heart or lung conditions would be well advised not actually to go even as high as the caldera itself.
Los Imprescindibles – the essentials: the Tenerife tourism authorities’ list of unmissables.
Orquesta Sinfonica de Tenerife for classical music fans to find programmes of performances by Tenerife’s world class full symphony orchestra. Although most concerts will be given in the Santa Cruz Auditorium, the OST has a good record of performing in smaller venues throughout Tenerife.
Regional Government, Tourism Department:
- Infrastructure – 922 473 040
- Organization and promotion (and inspections/fines) – 922 475 477
Insular level – Tenerife Cabildo:
- Dept of Economía, Competitividad, Movilidad y Turismo – 922 239 294.
- Within the dept : Tourism admin – 922 239 585, Technical service of tourism and innovation – 922 531 531
- Tenerife Cabildo tourism website HERE (approved touristic apartment search HERE)
- Tenerife Cabildo website about Tenerife HERE (approved touristic apartment search HERE)
Local Ayuntamiento tourism departments:
- 2015 Vivienda Vacacional Decree
- 2013 Tourism law modifications first year review
- The 2013 Ley de Renovación y Modernización Turística de Canarias.
- Reglamento of the 2013 tourism law
- The 1995 Canarian Tourism Law
- 1999 Modification of 1995 Tourism Law
- 2009 Modification of 1995 Tourism Law
- 2010 Canarian touristic standards law (see Appendixes at the end for specific requirements)
- 1996 Canarian decree governing fire safety regulations for touristic apartments
- The 1998 Not Subject to Tourism Legislation Decree
- 2011 modification of 1998 Not Subject Decree
- 1996 Tourism inspections and sanctions powers Decree
Illegal Letting Situation:
Anyone who has been fined needs to consult a lawyer urgently, and specifically one who is qualified, informed and totally up to speed on this issue. You can check whether you’ve been fined by googling your NIE together with “BOC”: that should bring up any relevant search results specific to you. The BOC itself is HERE: please note that each year needs to be searched individually and I have found the search facility very poor, which is worse than useless because it doesn’t find what’s there to be found, leaving people feeling safe when they aren’t. The best is to use google. HERE is the most recent tourism legislation (the 2013 law), and HERE is the continually updated situation for letting legally in Tenerife. There is also a FAQ page on illegal letting HERE, and a directory HERE of all the posts I’ve made about this issue since I originally broke the story about the crackdown on illegl letting in December 2010.
Charities and churches:
The following are either based in, or operate in, Tenerife or the Canaries generally, and are registered “associations”, which is the equivalent here to a “charity” as we would understand it in the UK (see HERE).
Caritas – the main charity in Spain, and in many European countries, run by the Catholic Church
Cruz Roja – the Red Cross
AMATE – Asociación de mujeres con cáncer de mama de Tenerife (Association of women with breast cancer in Tenerife).
AECC – Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer (Spanish cancer association)
SEPCAL – Sociedad Española de Cuidados Paliativo (Spanish palliative care society)
En Pié – Mental health Fundación
ATELSAM – Asociación Tinerfeña en Lucha por la Salud Mental (Tenerife Mental Health Association)
Alabente – Asociación para la Liberación de la Anorexia y la Bulimia en Tenerife (Eating Disorders Association)
Alcoholics Anonymous: there are several branches in Tenerife, see HERE for Los Cristianos and Callao Salvaje branches.
South Tenerife Christian Fellowship – Interdenominational Evangelical Church, primarily used by visitors, based in the Apolo Centre in Los Cristianos.
Callao Salvaje Community Church – a small non denominational Bible-believing church for residents and visitors.
Tenerife Family Church – an evangelical community of Bible literalists.
The Canarian Government has a database of organizations you can search according to municipality, island, and province, and with which you can register to volunteer. There is more information HERE about the whole system of volunteering in the Canaries.