A quick guide to applying for residency in the Canary Islands

Getting to know the steps to applying for residency can be very helpful for those remote workers seeking to extend their stay at the Canary Islands

With a climate as spectacular as the scenery, cuisine and culture, the Canary Islands often tempt visitors to think about extending their stay or even living on the archipelago.


Anyone with a sufficient motive or connection can become a resident of the Canary Islands. 

However, if you have decided to spend a long time in the Canary Islands, you will need a residency permit. This applies to remote workers, too.


If you intend to spend more than 90 days living or working in the Canary Islands, you must apply for a residency permit. This advice will give you an idea of how to obtain residency in the Canary Islands. However, it is extremely important to get information from official sources in case of doubt:


A temporary residency allows you to stay on the islands for between 90 days and five years. Permits for less than five years can be renewed every year at the subject’s request.

Long-term or permanent residency authorises the subject to live and work on the islands indefinitely, under the same conditions as Spanish residents. Foreign citizens who have been continuous temporary residents of the islands for five years and meet the requirements imposed by the Ministry of the Interior are entitled to long-term residency. 


Becoming a resident of the Canary Islands has some significant financial advantages. The best-known of these is the 75% discount on scheduled airfares. However, you will also be entitled to discounts on local transport and tickets for museums, galleries and tourist attractions. What’s more, the Canary Islands offer entrepreneurs setting up a business some attractive tax benefits.


The NIE or Foreigner Identification Number is a code assigned by the tax agency to foreigners in Spain. The personal number is the code that identifies the person concerned and appears on all documents issued or processed and on entries in passports and similar documents, except for visas.

To obtain your NIE, you need proof of your address, such as a rental agreement for your home or holiday address. If the applicant lives in a hotel or hostel, a receipt for the booking will suffice. You need an NIE number to carry out formalities and financial transactions, buy and sell property, register and pay taxes, purchase or sell a vehicle and obtain a driving licence. You also need to get an NIE to set up a company.


Work for a local/national company

European citizens who have a work contract with a local/national company need not comply with other requirements. The agreement must be formal and for a minimum of 20 hours, but not necessarily full time.  

Working for a non-local/national company

EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who do not have a work contract with a local or national company, are not employed, or work for foreign companies must prove they have sufficient income to live on the islands. They must also have private health insurance. 

Non-EU citizens

Foreigners nationals from outside the EU or other European Economic Area and Switzerland must go to the Oficina de Extranjería (Immigration Office) and apply for a residency permit. They must also prove that they can support themselves during their stay in the Islands.


For specific cases and questions that are not addressed in this article, or for more detailed information, we recommend you consult official sources such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation or the Ministry of the Interior.