What type of “residencia” residence document should I have?

Below are the basic requirements for adult EU citizens in Tenerife Spain. Bear in mind that after the UK leaves the EU  British Citizens will be able to apply for a third country Foreigner’s Identity Card The details of this procedure are here (TIE):   BUT it is important to stress there is no obligation for those people who already hold the green residency certificate (either credit card sized green paper or A4 version) to exchange it for the TIE. Both documents will be valid in demonstrating residency status and rights under the Withdrawal Agreement, even after the end of the Transition Period.  However new applicants for residency applying after the 6 July will be issued with the  TIE Updates will be posted here as and when available. 

COVID19  2020:Temporary extension to 90 day rule during the State of Emergency and it’s extensions more info here Extranjeria – extension of stay, residence and / or work authorizations – unofficial translation

1) White NIE certificate -since 2016 this document no longer shows an expiry date as before but never the less you are still only entitled to stay continuously in Spain for up to 3 months – then if you are remaining here continuously this document should be superseded by either 2 or 3 depending on your status ·

You will need:

  • application form Ex15
  • Modelo 790 for a 9,64 euro payment in any bank,
  • copy and original of your passport

You must attend the National Police Station /Extranjeria in person and the certificate will be issued on the day. COVID19 email adeje.citaudex@policia.es for an appointment for white NON-RESIDENT certificates in the South

Visiting Europe Post Brexit: https://www.gov.uk/visit-europe-brexit?utm_source=4e66951c-591e-4b55-b7d9-659add18925a&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

If you already have an NIE number this stays with you for life and you can then jump to point 2 or 3 depending on your circumstances.

2) Green Certificate of Residence Registration – from 1 Jul 2020 this is NO LONGER AVAILABLE TO UK CITIZENS (Also wrongly called Residencia by some people) this is in a credit card sized format made of green coloured paper, it can be the older style A4 green coloured paper format which is still valid but it is useful to exchange for the new format if you are able to. This option is no longer available to new UK citizen applicants see here

This is valid for indefinite or fixed length permanent stays of over 3 months.


New Arrivals’ applications for the TIE which replaces the green NIE for British Nationals will only be able to be attended to at the Extranjeria in Calle La Marina,  Santa Cruz – 9- 1.30  Monday to Friday -you will not be seen without an appointment  which can be obtained on line here  From 6 July 2020 new British applicants will be issued with the plastic TIE card after a new 2 stage application process. Other European nationals will continue to be seen as well at the South Comisaria and also Puerto de la Cruz depending on their catchment area.

Appointments are  available : However at the time of writing  places are limited


    • application form Ex18,
    • Modelo 790 for a 12,00 euro payment in any bank

  • photocopy and original of Passport
  • photocopy and original of an in-date Empadronamiento

PLUS  requirements in force since July 2012…

    • For those who are working – provided you are currently employed with a proper registered work contract, the Extranjeria will be able to confirm via their computer that you have working status, if you are not sure of your status you can obtain a certificate to show that you are currently making social security contributions called a “situación actual” obtainable from the Social Security.  If this is your first time working in Spain and you do not yet have a social security number you will need to show the pre-contract or offer letter in Spanish showing at least the the name and address of the employer, their fiscal identification number (NIF NIE or CIF) and their employers’ account number with the social security. (From June of 2018 if you do not already have a social security number you need to obtain the green certificate of residence registration FIRST in order to apply for your social security number and ultimately for your contract to be processed)
    • For those who are self employed  provided you are currently self-employed  and up to date with your social security contributions, the Extranjeria will be able to confirm via their computer that you have you have self employed status if you are not sure of your status you can obtain a  certificate to show that you are currently making social security contributions If this is your first time being self employed in Spain and you do not yet have a social security number you will need to show your modelo 036 which you will have already processed at the Agencial Tributaria. (From June of 2018 if you do not already have a social security number you need to obtain the green certificate of residence registration FIRST in order to apply for your social security number and ultimately for your self employment social security payments to be processed)
  • For the retired, early retired or those living on own means you must provide either
    • the original and copies of a private health care policy to cover you for the period of your residence in Spain (minimum of 1 year) THIS MUST NOT HAVE ANY EXCESS “Co-pago” ,
    • OR for EU pensioners a copy of your S1 document showing entitlement to health care in Spain funded by the UK AND a valid European health card issued from the UK for interim use until your S1 is processed. UK Government information here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-spain How to apply for S1 here
    • You must also provide proof of income sufficient to support you and your family (normally circa 6,000 euros per person held in a Spanish Bank account, or proof of guaranteed pension income equating to more than that amount per year (officially translated into Spanish) and paid into a Spanish Bank for three months or more
      With regard to economic means, a fixed amount can not be set, but the personal situation of each national of a Member State of the European Union or another State party to the Agreement on the European Economic Europe should be taken into account. In no case, shall this amount be less than the level of resources below which social assistance is granted to a Spanish National or the amount of a Spanish Social Security pension.
  • For those who have already completed 5 LEGALLY registered years of residence and providing their renewal application follows on with out a gap – these people will only be required to provide the basic documentation as shown in point 2 above to apply for Permanent Resident Status
  • If you need to apply for a duplicate because your circumstances have changed (Married surname change, new address, document lost, stolen or perished) then you use the EX18 form and 790 payment form but tick the “duplicado” box on the application. If the original green certificate is not available to surrender then you must obtain a police report to notify why the document is not available.

ALL Documents not in the Spanish language must be apostilled and legally translated.

When you attend the National Police station/Extranjeria the residence document will be issued on the spot.

3) TIE for UK citizens: The Withdrawal Agreement has provided for the establishment of a transitional period until December 31, 2020. During the transitional period, your rights derived from the application of EU Law will be maintained. Current (green) registration certificates and family member cards for EU citizen available to British citizens and their family members residing in Spain are valid documents to prove legal residence in Spain after the UK has withdrawn from the EU and benefit from the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement.

However, from the first week of July (Monday 6th), British citizens and their family members residing in Spain will be able to request a uniform format residence document (TIE), which will prove the condition of their beneficiary carrier of the rights contemplated in the Withdrawal Agreement . If you are a British citizen or a third-country national, a relative of a British citizen, who comes to Spain during the transitional period, you will also benefit from the Withdrawal Agreement.

Information on procedures here   

Application forms here http://extranjeros.mitramiss.gob.es/es/ModelosSolicitudes/Mod_solicitudes2/20-Solicitud_residencia_nacionales_RU_JUN_2020.pdf



 During the transitional period, and until the uniform format residence document (TIE) begins to be issued from the first week of July, the current registration certificates and family cards of EU citizens will continue to be issued, which will have the same supporting effects of being a beneficiary of the Withdrawal Agreement than those issued before February 1, 2020. source: http://www.interior.gob.es/web/servicios-al-ciudadano/brexit

4) Certificate of NON residence for Spanish Bank – stays in TOTAL of under 6 months in any one year · Original & copy of application form Ex15 and Modelo 790, photocopy and original of Passport when you attend the National Police station/Extranjeria. Most Banks will see to this on your behalf if you have a non-residents bank account with them, but they do make a charge for the service.

So lets look at these and other different types of document in more detail:

EU citizen’s registration Certificate
This was issued as a green coloured A4 watermarked paper but from November 2011 the format is credit card sized but still made of paper….. For European  non British people living in the south, its issued at the National Police Station in Las Americas
Obtaining a green certificate cardboard card is an immigration requirement for anyone who stays here in Tenerife for periods of longer than 3 months at a time, it will show your NIE which is a foreigners identity number, but if you don’t already have an NIE number you can apply for one first, see above, and you should already be on your local authority’s Census list called the Padron.
You should also go back to the National Police Station and revoke this certificate if you return to your home country for good.
In other words the European powers-that-be have decided that 3 months holiday at a time is long enough for anyone!

Incidentally if you don’t go back and you stay here in Tenerife for 5 years continuously and intend to stay for an indefinite period after that, then you should obtain the permanent residents’ version – which is still a green paper but has a slightly different wording on it.

Certificates issued in the A4 format is still currently valid and both formats are still valid for existing holders who are UK citizens until further notice.

On to number 2
The 2nd type of residency document is a
Certificate of Spanish FISCAL residency. This shouldn’t be confused with the immigration requirements dealt with above.

You can get a Spanish Fiscal residency certificate from the Spanish Tax office called the “Hacienda” and this is basically a confirmation that you paid your income taxes, on earned or unearned income in Spain, in a particular year, or are registering to do so from now on.
Taxation is a very complicated subject, but as a rule of thumb if you spend 183 days or more in Spanish territory during any one calendar year .. a Spanish Tax year runs from January to December by the way…. Then you will be fiscally resident in Spain. You should also take the UK’s Statutory Residence Test rules into account – if there is a conflict then this will be covered by the agreement between the 2 countries

Now lets talk about number 3
Residency document Number 3  was phased out by April 2012 there may still be some of you with an old small plastic Residencia card with your photograph on, if there are, you probably already know that when this expired you were required by law to get a green coloured card sized certificate to replace it.

The fourth document is an NIE certificate – this is a white A4 paper which is issued only to Non residents to show that they have an NIE number, this number stays with you for life. The document does not show an address and has no validity for the purposes of confirming your identity or immigration status. A White certificate NIE number is required when you are NON resident, i.e. staying for less than 3 months at a time, and wish to:

  • Buy or sell a property, Boat or Vehicle in Spain
  • Apply to start the process to become self employed
  • Apply for a social security number
  • Get an initial Contract of Employment
  • Apply for a mortgage or any other type of loan. In general, this identification number will be requested from any financial entity you want to have dealings with
  • Open a bank account
  • Pay your taxes
  • Inherit assets in Spain

The 5th type of document is for Non Residents who have a bank account here in Spain and they need a Spanish Certificate of NON Residency,
This is also a white A4 document and also carries your NIE number it can be issued by the Police Station in Las Américas if you want to go there and apply for it yourself, but more usually the bank where you have your Non resident’s account applies for it on your behalf (for which privilege they charge you by the way) This certificate is usually renewed every 2 years.

On to document number 6.. this is used by both Non fiscal residents and fiscal residents alike if they have a permanent base here in Tenerife. That can be owned or rented long term.
This is called a certificate of Empadronamiento: The certificate which is valid for 3 months, proves that you have been registered on the Municpal census (Padron) as living at your current address in Spain.

Initially you will be registered under your passport number(s) and then you return to confirm your residence status when you have your certificate of residencia.
To register you will need a current passport and copy and either your deeds and a copy OR a valid rental agreement in Spanish and a copy.

You should advise the Town Hall of any changes of address, but in any case if you have not had any dealings at all with your town hall during a five year period you are required by law to re-register.You would use this certificate to prove your address for things like a car purchase for example.

And finally number 7 which is a new requirement for 2011

If you are Non Fiscally Resident – remember that means you don’t pay your income taxes here, but do own property here in Tenerife and you also let that property out to long or short term tenants, from January this year you will be required to obtain a UK bi-lingual certificate proving fiscal residency in the UK.
This is a dual language document and is issued by your local UK tax office and is valid for 1 year.

THIS IS ONLY IF YOU LET YOUR SPANISH PROPERTY OUT FOR GAIN If you do not get rental income in Spain you continue to do Non-Resident’s deemed annual income tax returns… see here for more information

If you are coming to live and work or retire here we can attend the National Police Station /Extranjeria with you and make sure you get the right paperwork issued. If you are a non resident or visitor we can either attend with you or arrange for a notary to draw up a limited power of attorney to enable us to get the documents on your behalf. Contact us for more information.