Moving to Fuerteventura

[Updated on 5th April 2022]

So, you’ve decided to make the big decision and want to move to Fuerteventura. But where do you start and what needs to be done for you to become a legal resident?

On 31st December 2020, the transition period for the UK leaving the EU ended and, sadly, along with it the right to freedom of movement within the EU. This means the requirements for becoming a resident changed for all those moving after 1st January 2021.

This article is written using information from the Spanish government. I have heard various people stating that they can get residency without a visa or the current required financial security proof. Note that unless you were living in Fuerteventura, or indeed any part of Spain, prior to 31st December 2020, the only LEGAL way to move here is to first obtain a visa.

Requirements of Residence

For the first 5 years from the date of TIE, you will be classed at a ‘temporary’ resident. After 5 years, if you have not been out of Spain for more than 10 months in total, and no more than 6 months in any one year, during that time, you can then apply to become a ‘permanent’ resident. If you have been out of Spain for longer than a total of 10 months, then you are in jeopardy of having your permanente application denied. It is up to you to prove that you fulfill that requirement. If denied you will have to fulfill the requirements of the visa, financially and health-wise, until you can show you have not been out of the country for longer than 10 years in any one 5-year period.

Once your residencia is permanente you will no longer be required to renew your visa or prove financial or health situation, and be allowed to leave Spain for up to 5 years.

Step 1 – Visa

Any UK National wishing to reside in Fuerteventura/Spain must first apply for a visa at their nearest Spanish Consulate in the UK BEFORE coming over. There are various types of visas, and you will need to apply for the one that applies to your circumstances. Click here for a list of visas. One thing you may well find at the moment is that there does seem to be a gap in the visas, particularly for entrepreneurs. The good thing is that Spain is currently working on this and are planning to bring in a ‘Startup Law’, which should include a better for those wishing to start a business or indeed ‘digital nomads’ At the moment we don’t know what the requirements will be or when it will come in, although it is hoped to be 2022.

Currently, the easiest visa to obtain is the Non-Lucrative visa (NLV), but this is only for those who are retired or do not wish to work.

Unfortunately, if you wish to work it is another matter, and it is now very difficult to obtain the necessary visa. Briefly, if you wish to start a business or be self-employed you must submit a complete business plan that will satisfy the Spanish authorities that you will be financially secure and not be a burden to the state. Click here for the requirements of a work visa. If you wish to be employed it is again very difficult as any employer must first prove to the authorities that the position can not be filled by either a local person or a national of an EU country.

However, there is another visa, termed ‘Golden Visa’, that does allow you to work. The main requirement of this is that you invest a minimum of 500,000€ in property. This visa has the same additional requirements shown for the non-lucrative visa, except that for financial means the amount is only 100% IPREM, and 50% for additional dependent.

As the NLV is the most common way to obtain residency here, we will base this article on that method.

Requirements for Non-Lucrative Visa (NLV) for UK Nationals

Along with the completed national visa form, you should supply the following original documents, together with a photocopy. Any documents that need to be translated, must be done by a Hague Apostille.

  • Passport photograph on a white background. See here for guidelines on what is and what is not acceptable:
  • Valid passport. It must have a minimum validity of one year and at least two blank pages.
  • ¹ ² Certificate of criminal record (ACRO certificate) for those over 18 years of age.
  • Private health insurance taken out by an insurance company authorised to operate in Spain. The insurance must be for a minimum period of 1 year, with no exclusions, including pre-existing health conditions, and no excess. NOTE: Your health insurance must have at least 12 months cover on the date of your interview.
  • ¹ ² Medical certificate, issued by a registered medical practitioner, no later than 3 months prior to the date of application, it must be formulated in the following terms or similarly: If the medical certificate is issued in the United Kingdom: “This health certificate states that Mr./Mrs. (…) does not suffer from any of the diseases that may have serious public health repercussions in accordance with what is stipulated by the International Health Regulations of 2005”.
  • ³ Financial requirements are based on the Indicador Público de Renta de Efectos Múltiples (IPREM). This figure can change annually. For an individual applicant you multiply the figure by 400%, and for each additional family member 100%.
  • ¹ ² If a married couple you will need your marriage certificate.
  • ¹ If you are currently working, or recently quit, you will also need your P45 or a letter from the company you work for to prove that you will be resigning.

¹ Documents to be translated in to Spanish by a certified translator
² Documents need to be legalised
³ This visa must be renewed just before the end of your first year, and the renewal will be for a 2 year period. This is in accordance with BOE-A-2011-7703 articulo 51, item number 7. It must then be renewed again at the end of your 3rd year for a further 2 year period. Therefore the financial requirements will be double for years 2/3 and then 4/5. However, we have heard of some municipals that will accept only one years proof, especially if your finances is income and not savings. After 5 years you will become ‘Permanente’ and will no longer have to supply this proof.

So, how much does it cost to apply? In November 2021, a couple who had just applied for their NLV informed us the amount it cost them for the above was £3,580. This figure included the cost of the visa, certificates, translations and everything required to apply. Of course this figure is only to give you a rough idea.

One of the things that many people forget to plan for is renewing your visa. After one year you must renew it for two years, and have the finances and health insurance (or S1) in place for the length of time of the visa.

Step 2 – Padrón

Once you have your visa and arrive in Spain, the first thing is to obtain your Empadronamiento (Padrón). This is obtained from the Ayuntamiento (town hall) of the municipality you will be living in. For this you will need proof of your address of residence here. If you are renting a property it will be your rental contract, showing a term of at least 3 months. If you already have your own property it will be your escritura.

Step 3 – TIE

When you have your Padrón you can apply for a Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjeros (TIE). For the first step you must make an appointment at the Foreign Office (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero) in Puerto del Rosario. There you will submit the necessary forms along with all the required paperwork. NOTE: you must apply for your TIE within one month of your arrival in Fuerteventura. When that’s approved, the time of which varies but can be up to 2 months, you will need to go to the Police Station, where you will be required to have your fingerprints taken. Click for more details and links to necessary forms.

Step 4 – Driving License

Registered residents of Spain MUST change their British Driving Licence for a Spanish one. To do this you will be applying for a new Spanish Driving Licence, for which you must take a driving test, both practice and theory. You have 6 months from the date of your TIE in order to do this.

If you are bringing a car over that is registered in the UK, you have 3 months in which to register it in Fuerteventura. Other than that residents are not allowed to drive an English registered car.

NOTICE: The information on this website is intended to serve as a guide for UK Nationals who reside, or wish to reside, in Fuerteventura. While we try to make it as accurate and up-to-date as possible, we do not assume any legal or other liability for its accuracy, and refer you to existing Spanish National, Schengen and EU regulations.

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    1. Hi Gwen. If you are a British national and resident on holiday in Fuerteventura/Spain, yes you can. If you are a resident with TIE, or the old style green residencia, no you can not and must take a new driving test in order to obtain a Spanish License. However, if you your residency is covered by the Withdrawal Agreement (you were a resident prior to 31st December) AND you pre-registered an appointment with Traffico, then you will be able to merely exchange your British license for a Spanish one at your appointment. If you are covered by the withdrawal agreement but did NOT pre-register with Traffico then you will have to take a driving test here to obtain a Spanish driving license.

    1. Hi Pauline. Based on the IPREM value for 2021, the minimum amount you would need for the first year would be €27,115.20 (or it’s equivalent in a different currency), plus €6,778.80 for each dependent. But it is advisable to have at least €30k to show them. However, at the end of your first year you must renew your visa for 2 years, and therefore must have double that amount in the bank, and then again at the end of your 3rd year for years 4/5. After 5 years you will no longer have to prove financial security.

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