Funny bureaucracy: How I got my NIE?
Every foreigner who wants to work in Spain or to buy a car/a house or to live for more than 3 months on the Spanish territory, has to get an NIE.
What is NIE? Well, it’s a tax number, ‘Número de Identidad de Extranjero’ known in English as ‘Foreigners´ Identity Number’ which allows you to own a property or live as a resident in Spain. To sum up, you need this number in order to make any kind of transactions within the country. I always stick to the regulations, so I immediately started my application.
Firstly, I needed to do my `empadronamiento`, an official registration of where I lived. They told me that I am going to need it in order to get my NIE, so I happily filled those forms and asked for a `cita previa` (appointment in Spanish). Obviously, I didn’t really understand all the options which were there, so I just chose one that seemed to be what I needed.
So, there came the day. I was one step closer to my NIE. On the day of the appointment, I grabbed all the required papers and left the house with enthusiasm. I was two minutes late, but I thought ‘well, I am in Spain, this is something natural, they won’t mind it’.
As soon as I arrived, I headed to the machine where I put my appointment number in and waited for them to call me. Fortunately, after a few minutes, my number was on the screen. ‘It’s my turn’, I thought with excitement. When the man from the office saw my papers, he raised his sight and with a very serious look said ‘Your documents aren’t available for the appointment you’ve asked for’. I looked at him very surprised and, for a moment, didn’t know what to say, haha. I wanted to do everything online because I thought it was going to be better. Apparently, in my case, it wasn’t. So, that was me smiling while leaving the office. I went to the information desk and asked for another appointment, a good one, which would be compatible with my documents. He smiled and said: ‘Yes, Miss, in 5 days. At what hour?’. On that floor, besides me, there were only 2 other people. Almost all of the offices were empty. I asked, ‘but why can’t I solve the problem right away because I am here?’ ‘These are the rules, Miss’. And because the ‘Miss’ sticks to the regulations, I left. ‘See you in five days’, I grumbled to myself. Finally, in 5 days, I got my ‘empadronamiento’. The Spanish state knew where to find me, what a great joy.
The second step and the funniest: pay for NIE. I didn’t want to pay online just because my bank account is not in Euro and I wanted to avoid the exchange. Therefore, on the morning of the day of my ‘cita previa’ for NIE, I went to the bank to pay for it. I had another form which required a NIE or a passport. Obviously, I didn’t have my NIE, I was about to pay for getting it, so I used my passport.
To go to a bank in Spain, you have to be very patient. People talk, greet each other, and even though the transaction is over, they still have other things to talk about. And so I waited, and waited, but, at some point, I couldn’t stand it anymore. Since I had to wait for that much, I thought to ask them in advance whether they would accept my form. Just to make sure that the waiting was worth it. When I asked the guy there about paying for NIE using the form, he frowned at me and said that I couldn’t pay for NIE if I didn’t have NIE. My Spanish wasn’t that good, but I understood what he said and I was shocked. Didn’t know whether to laugh or to get mad.
Seriously? I couldn’t pay for NIE because I didn’t have one? After trying to explain to him that on the internet it said that I could easily pay at a bank, he continued to say that ‘no, no, go and get a provisional NIE and then return to pay’. I left that bank and went to another one which immediately accepted my payment. Piece of cake! No comments, no waiting, nothing. After that, I went to the Foreigners’ Office to get my NIE. I was expecting it to be something different, but it is just a paper with a number which is valid for only 3 months.
Therefore, see you in 3 months, beautiful bureaucracy!