Living and working in Tenerife

Foreigners of virtually any nationality are allowed to purchase holiday homes in Tenerife. Foreigners can also become residents, work and establish businesses on the island. This is relatively straight forward if you hold a European Community passport, however, can be more problematical for other foreigners (depending on nationality). Remember that the Canary Islands come under Spanish Sovereignty; however, they are autonomous, having their own government and political system. Though many of the rules and regulations are in line with Mainland Spain, there are many exceptions and differences.

You cannot live or work in Tenerife for any reasonable length of time without a formal residencia.  We meet many people who are under the impression that an N.I.E. number or contract of work is sufficient to give them legal status. This is NOT the case.

Below are the main points for obtaining legal status to reside or work in Tenerife:

Nationals of European Community member countries have no specific problems. Since March 2003, the requirement for 'formal Residencia' was abolished. It is, however, still a requirement to register with the town hall of the municipality in which you reside and obtain a Certificado de Residencia. Other necessary documentation will include, payment of Social Security, obtaining an N.I.E. number, and entry onto the electoral register (Certificado de Domicillo) in order to qualify for national health cover, etc.

Residential Status
Generally, your residential status application will fall under one of the following categories:

A) Residencia General requirements
You wish to live in Tenerife, but not work, or you are retired. 1) N.I.E. (Foreigners Identity Number). 2) Evidence of regular income or pension from abroad. (For pensioners usually a copy of your pension certificate is sufficient). 3) Obtain a European health card or private medical insurance or some other health cover.

B) Residencia Cuenta Ajena General requirements
You are or want to become an employee of a local business. 1) N.I.E. (Foreigners Identity Number) 2) Contract of work from employer

C) Residencia Cuenta Propio/Autonomo General Requirements
You want to be self-employed, - operate your own business. 1) N.I.E. (Foreigners Identity Number) 2) The appropriate licence for your activity (this cannot be generalised there are extensive variations). 3) If you are to be involved in a professional capacity, copies of your professional qualifications, certificates, officially translated.

At the time of print residencies are valid for a period of five years. When your residencia expires, there is no provision to extend the residencia. You must re-apply in full for a new residencia, repeating the original procedure.