Moving to Gran Canariaa

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Newbie guide to Gran Canaria

A comprehensive guide for new arrivals in Gran Canaria. All the paperwork you need to do in Gran Canaria and how to settle in, get a telephone, Internet and mobile.

So you’ve arrived, you’ve been to the beach, you’ve eaten out and been shocked at how cheap it is and you’ve tried to buy something in a shop and nobody has understood you. If you’ve been on the roads someone has probably honked their horn at you and you’ve no idea why. More than likely you like living here and wouldn’t mind hanging around for a bit. Well, if you’re serious about staying there’re a few things you should know that will make your life a lot easier.

If you ever get stuck ring 012
It’s a free Canarian helpline, they speak English and can advise you how to do almost anything, plus doctor’s appointments and telephone numbers.

NIE First you’ll need to get your NIE (Número Identificación Extranjero) – ID number. You need this to get a job, buy a car, get cheap flights and for any kind of paperwork you’re thinking of having a go at. Have at look at this guide to see how to get it.

Secondly you’ll need to get your social security number. Basically if you get ill, unless you have insurance or an E111 (from UK) you’ll need this to get medical attention. Read this guide to see how to apply for it.

CERTIFICADO DE EMPADRONAMIENTO Basically a certificate certifying where you live. They are easy to get and you never know when you’ll need it. Read up here on where to get it.

DOCTOR Register with your local health centre – If you think you’ll get ill while you’re here, best register now, it makes life a lot easier once you do need to go to the doctor.

If you do get ill in your first week here there is a private clinic in Las Palmas where the staff speak English – Inter Clinica, on the Paseo de Las Canteras near the Hotel Melia. In the South there is a private clinic in Puerto Rico and in San Agustin in the hospital San Roque. You can’t get aspirin in a supermarket, you’ll have to go to a pharmacy. To find the nearest out of hours pharmacy go to this site.

FLATS Flat hunting – It’s always a bit stressful arriving in a new place and not knowing where you’re going to live – check out our guide on how to find the best flat.

MOBILE You want a mobile – stop using your UK phone – you’ll go bankrupt before you know it. Go get a pay as you go to tide you over – read our guide on how to do it.

CAR So you want a car to explore our beautiful island?  Reading our guide is a must; it’ll save you many euros and many hours of frustrating waiting in queues.

Restaurants don’t open until 8 – you will be considered very strange if you try to eat anytime before then!

Everyone was new here once.  If you have any hot tips for new arrivals please leave them below.


There are dozens of timeshare suites available for rent and resale on Gran Canaria. Spacious apartment style lodgings with water views. Cost-effective timeshares are perfect for exploring this diverse and beautiful island!



  1. MarMartin -  January 12, 2015 - 3:23 pm

    If If I move to live in Las Palmas, how many pets am I allallowed to bring with me?

  2. Simon123 -  June 21, 2010 - 4:26 pm

    Hi am looking to move to the island in the next 18 months, I do have an hgv license and wondered if it’s valid on the island and what possibility there is of me finding a job driving hgv on the island? Has anyone done similar? Many thanks.

  3. RichardClarke -  June 25, 2010 - 2:46 pm

    Hi, as you probably know there is 25% unemployment here at the moment so jobs are in short supply. There are obviously many HGV drivers jobs on the island but as they are relatively well paid they are in high demand and will always go to Spanish speakers first. The only suggestion I have is to contact the German, British moving companies and see if they have anything available otherwise I think you would struggle to find an HGV job here.

  4. mrsbendy -  February 28, 2011 - 3:04 am

    We are looking to relocate to Gran Canaria in the next 18 months, and have chosen the San Fernando area. Can anybody tell me how we go about getting our 7yr old and 5yr old ( ages now) enroled into the local state school, and what are the schools like in San Fernando please?
    Any advice greatly received. Many thanks.

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