Living - Setting up the basics

Moving to Lanzarote or any Spanish country

Rather than get into the complications of visas and work permits, we will assume that you are an EU national thinking of moving to Spain.

First off we would like to remind you that selling up and moving to another country is not as easy as many people think, with some learning a very expensive lesson when things do not work out the way they had expected.

For others living in Spain can be a hugely rewarding experience that changes their lives for the better.

Before buying a property, or cutting ties with your home country entirely, we recommend you spend some time in the area where you intend to live, by first taking a short-term rental.

Spending a few holidays in Spain does not make you an expert on what it would be like to live here full-time and certainly does not prepare you for the difficulties you will come up against while dealing with Spanish bureaucracy.

Número de Identificación de Extranjero

Unless you speak Spanish fluently and have mountains of time available, we recommend you use the services of a Gestoría or Gestor to sort out the initial paperwork that is required in order for you to become a Spanish resident.

Using the services of a Gestor is not that expensive and because they know their way around the Spanish administrative bureaucracy and who to talk to, it helps to expedite the process immensely.

The first document you need to obtain is a Foreigner’s Identity Number (NIE or Número de Identificación de Extranjero), this number is required for everything official that you need to do in Spain.

Whether it is opening a bank account, getting the utilities turned on, or even a mobile phone contract, they will all want to see your NIE number and could even ask for a photocopy of it.


A Padrón & Dirección General de la Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social

Following this, the next step is to register with your local Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) for a Padrón. Basically, this is a way for local government to assess how many people live in a certain district so that they can apply for government funds. A Padrón also gives you the right to vote in local elections and complete census forms.

With your NIE and Padrón now in hand, you can if retired, or working legally in Spain, register to be a part of the Spanish public health care system. To do this you must first visit the nearest social security office (Dirección General de la Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social or TGSS), where after presenting you NIE and Padrón you will be given a document with your social security number on it.

Take this third piece of paper to your local health centre and select a doctor from a list of available general practitioners.

With your doctor now sorted, you will be issued with a green plastic health card.

On the card will be your name and NIE number along with a magnetic strip on the back that allows you to make appointments and pick up prescriptions.

Now with all the major paperwork completed, you are all set to enjoy your new as a resident of Spain.

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