Retiring to Gran Canaria – What You Need to Know

Relocating to Gran Canaria is a dream for many people and the idea of living somewhere hot and sunny is certainly the stuff that daydreams are made of. But what it is like living in Gran Canaria if you are retired? Moving over when you’re young to spend a few months waiting tables or working in a bar might sound like fun but is Gran Canaria just as good a place to spend your retirement?


Actually, retiring to the sun is something that a lot of people do every year. Not only do you get to spend the rest of your days somewhere warm but if you choose the right place to live you can make plenty of new friends (both Canarians and other people who have moved from your country) and have a great life. You should take a holiday (or several) before moving over, to familiarise yourself with the island. Also, learning Spanish is very handy.

The Best Resorts for Pensioners

Somewhere quiet like Maspalomas or Meloneras would be a good place to live. I used to live in Campo de Golf (near Maspalomas) and that was a very peaceful area. Leave San Fernando, Playa del Ingles and Puerto Rico alone, unless you don’t mind lots of noise and bustle. Bungalows and villas are easy to find in Maspalomas, Campo de Golf, Campo International and places like San Agustin, but harder in Playa del Ingles and other built-up areas. A villa or bungalow with a garden is usually a more attractive idea than an apartment in a block.

Arguineguin is another possibility and you can read more information about retiring to Arguineguin here. There are plenty of English speaking agencies you can try, when looking for properties, such as Home Sweet Home or Freedom4Sale.

You can import your furniture and possessions when moving over. EU citizens won’t have to pay custom duty since the EU assures free circulation of goods within the EU. Non-EU citizens can import personal possessions without paying customs but you have to pay a deposit fee (which is returned later) and show your residence permit.

Other Legalities

If you are a member of the EC, it isn’t necessary to apply for a permanent residence permit but you can get one if you want to. These are valid for five years and they automatically renew. You need to provide information about your finances to get one of these. EU pensioners are allowed to transfer their rights to medical care to Spain’s social security medical system. If you don’t have medical insurance you will need to contact one of Gran Canaria’s private health insurers. This is also an option if you don’t want to use the social security system. You need to show your marriage certificate when registering for this, if one spouse is financially dependent on the other.

You will need to open a bank account in Gran Canaria so you can transfer your income (or pension) over. You will also need an NIE (numero de identificacion de extranjero, or foreigner’s ID number) for tax reasons. You can get this from your local police station in Gran Canaria.

Anyone from a non-EU country will need to request a residence visa from the consulate in your own country. You also need to get a permanent residence permit from your nearest police station in Gran Canaria. You should bring your residence visa, your passport, a document proving you don’t have a criminal record in your home country, health insurance documents, a good health certificate (you can get this from your doctor in Gran Canaria), your marriage certificate (as well as an official translation) and proof that you have an income. You need birth certificates for any children under 18 that you want to be included in this residence application. The fees you pay for this residence permit do vary and depend on where you’re from.

Retiring to Gran Canaria is not for everyone, so do plenty of research before making the plunge 🙂 You can find more useful information at the following links:



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  1. Pingback: 7 Reasons Not to Retire in Gran Canaria — The Cunning Canary — My Grand life on Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands!

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