Residents Guide – How to be self employed

The following information is intended to act as a general guideline for those who wish to settle and carry out “self-employment” activities in the Canary Islands.

Procedures and documentary requirement can obviously vary with the type of proposed activity. It is strongly recommended that the services of a business advisor (gestoría) or solicitor be contracted to carry out the necessary paperwork and applications.

From the first of January 1992 British and other EC citizens no longer require work permits to take up employment in Spain. However residence cards are mandatory. Consular notes on residence, available from the Consulate on request, cover these aspects in detail.

Before making applications for fiscal licences, municipal permissions, etc. (see below), a Fiscal Identity Number (NIF) must be obtained from the Tax Office (Delegación de Hacienda). A copy of the Residence Card application form is necessary to apply for the NIF. Self-employed persons must establish that they have completed all the necessary documentation to engage in their proposed activity. This is identical to that required from a Spanish citizen but can be complex.

The following list shows some of the papers that may be required.

1. Opening Licence from the Town Hall Authority (Licencia de Apertura).

2. Municipal Licence (Licencia Municipal).

3. Opening Licence from the Territorial Directorate of work, Health and Social Security (Permiso de apertura de la dirección provincial de Trabajo, Sanidad y Seguridad Social).

4. Enrolment in Social Security (Alta en la Seguridad Social).

5. Fiscal licence for each activity (Licencia de Actividades Económicas).

6. Other specific licenses or permissions from the governing bodies of the Autonomous Government (Tourist authority for a tourist related business; Coastal authority for water sports entertainment activities, etc.)

7. Registration with the corresponding official registry for certain activities is recommended. These centres are known as “Colegio Oficial”. Members are given a membership number (número de colegiado) which must be used on all business correspondence (letterheads, visiting cards, etc.). These registries normally offer to prepare all the necessary application for licences, permits, etc. on behalf of members. Other services (telex, fax, medical health schemes, etc.) are often also available.

A list of some of these registries and their addresses are available from the Commercial Section of the British Consulate, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.

Whereas every effort has been made to ensure that the information given herein is accurate, we accept no responsibility for any errors, omissions or misleading statements in that information and no responsibility is accepted as to the standing of any firm, company or individual mentioned.

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