If you still don’t have your NIE and TIE sorted out, you’ll need to do that and empadron yourself before you can even think about the Certificado de Viajes.
If you’ve completed those two steps, read on.
What is the Certificado de Viajes?
Residents of the Canary Islands are eligible for the following discounts:
- 50% discount on airfare from the Canary Islands to mainland Spain
- 75% discount on airfare or boat fare between the Canary Islands
Are North Americans Eligible for the Certificado de Viajes?
There are some questions in life that no one seems to have the answers to.
What is true happiness?
Do aliens exist?
Are North Americans eligible for island resident discounts in Spain?
The answers are, of course: 1) Pachichi’s papas con mojo 🥔, 2) duh 👽 and 3) maybe 🤷.
There are those that have waltzed into their local ayuntamiento and samba’d out with their certificate, free to hop aboard any Fred Olson and explore the seven wonders of the seven islands at a delicious 75% discount… And then there are those that are denied.
The most promising info I’ve seen published in our favor comes from the RyanAir and Norwegian Air websites, which have this to say about the discounts:
“Non-EU national holders of long-term residence permit. A valid Certificate of Residence along with the valid residence card indicating his/her condition of long-term residence in force.”
Our long-term student status makes us long term residents, so as far as I’m concerned this should be case closed. Right?
Well, on the other hand, I’ve seen the same list posted elsewhere on various town hall pages sans the last line about eligibility for non-EU nationals, sooooo… let’s just say that like a Tinder date, nothing is guaranteed.
I can’t promise your fate, but I do absolutely recommend that you give it a shot. Never try, never know!
Required Documents & How To
- A valid, unexpired NIE
- A Certificado de Empadronamiento with a Canary Islands address
In theory, the process is a piece of cake:
Applying online is your best bet and should be attempted first.
- Check the website for your local town hall (the ayuntamiento where you did your empadronamiento) to find out if they offer the service on their website.
- If so, boom! Fill out your info and your Certificado de Viajes should be ready to print. You go, Glenn Coco!
- If your town hall doesn’t offer the service online, you’ll have to take your chances in person.
- Make an appointment at the town hall where you are empadronado.
- Bring your NIE, Certificado de Empadronamiento and Carta de Nombramiento.
- Hope for the best. If you’re approved, they will usually print out the certificate and give it to you on the same day.
- If you’re denied, don’t give up. Try popping in another day and see if you can catch a different funcionario.
Region Specific Experience
I can only speak confidently about Las Palmas and Santa Cruz. If you have firsthand experiences or advice for any other regions or townhalls, please let us know in the comments for future readers!
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Las Palmas offers the service online and it takes about five seconds.
- Click this link from the Ayuntamiento website
- Fill out the required fields
- Click “Obtener Certificado”
Y ya está. You are now free to roam about the islands.
Sorry Santa Cruz, Las Palmas definitely wins this one.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
In Santa Cruz you have to process the Certificado de Viajes in person at the town hall, and Americans have a slim-to-none chance of approval.
I knew two American auxiliares who were granted the golden ticket back in 2014, but since then everyone I know whose tried (including me) has been denied.
Despite the identical “credentials,” as is not uncommon in Spain, sometimes it’s a matter of right time, right place (right mood, right person, right moment before/after said persons’ coffee break…) You get the picture.
If at first you don’t succeed, come back and find a different funcionario! But go in with the mindset that you’ll prob be denied, then ya won’t be too dissapointed.
According to a former auxiliar in La Gomera, he had no trouble getting the Certificado de Viajes at his ayuntamiento in Alejeró (in the south). His friend, on the other hand was denied at the ayuntamiento in the capital, San Sebastián de la Gomera.
More Confused Than Ever?
Welcome to Spanish bureaucracy! This is just the beginning of a confusing labyrinth of many possible papaleo complications. BUT it rarely dips below 20° and cañas cost a buck, so who are we to complain?
Do You Have the Golden Ticket?
If you’re a non-EU reader who has succeeded in getting the Certificado de Viajes, we’d love to hear about your experience! Please post in the comments below to help out the next generation of Ameri-Canarians 😊
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