4 sept 2018

Obtaining your NIE number in Madrid

In order to be ready for my adventurous year in Spain- all I have to do is this one minor thing, get my NIE number, it should be easy and I’ll probably get it in a day. However, I was wrong as usual.

When you go to the Spanish consulate for your one-on-one interview, at the end they will hand back the originals of your local Police report with the Apostile, and in our case we had a FBI record with fingerprints, a copy of our marriage certificate, along with the form that you filled out for the Consulate that they have stamped, initialed and dated. The Spanish Consulate in San Francisco told us to hold onto these documents because the officials may ask for them when entering the country for id purposes, and/or when applying for the NIE number. They also staple a little reminder to your passport that says you need to register with any local police within the first 30 days of your arrival.

My husband and I flew over in late October and moved into our new apartment in Madrid. Down Calle Huertas near us is a police station or La Policia, so we walked up and saw a couple officers hanging outside. We started walking into the station like you would in the states, but quickly learned that here the officers outside act as bouncers at a club, you have to state the reason for your visit, and then they’ll let you into the waiting room. Once inside we waited about 10 minutes for another officer to come out only to tell us that there is only one police station in Madrid that you can go to to register, but that you’d need an appointment.

We then quickly learned that the school my husband was attending, I.E. would assist us with calling to make the appointment for you (many language schools, such as AIL Madrid, also help you do this). We had to wait two months just for the appointment, but I’ve now heard it can be shorter or longer depending on the time of year you apply. There was also an additional form (very similar to the form you filled out for the Consulate) that the school provided us that you had to fill out and bring with you to your appointment, along with all of the same documentation you had to provide for the Consulate, plus three passport size color photos.

I arrived early to the police station, passed the “bouncer” test and then was instructed to wait in a line that ran out the door and down the block. After a hour wait, I arrived at the front counter where they quickly looked at the local police record I had from the states, and my marriage license with the Apostile. Since I am a dependent and not technically the student, I have the familiar de estudiante or family student NIE number (same for children of students as well). They also fingerprint you and affix your photos onto the applications, leaving one that will go on your NIE card.

Four months after our arrival in Spain we received our NIE number and cards (you have to go back 40 days later and pick them up in person). I know this is nothing compared to the time people can wait in the US for a visa or green card, but in the meantime you have to play like you’re a tourist and should carry a copy of your passport with you at all times. However once you have the card, then this is all you need to carry with you and it can be used (and is preferred) as i.d. for making credit card purchases, getting into clubs etc.

The first thing I recommend upon arrival to Spain as a student is to see if your school will assist you with getting the NIE number. We found this helpful since the websites for the Spanish Consulate or the Madrid Police dept really don’t spell out the process. Also, don’t forget to bring all of your documentation with you to Spain, especially your marriage certificate. Remember too that this card is only good for a year from the day you arrived in Spain. Once this time has passed, you can renew your visa from within Spain to stay for another year. The renewal process is a little easier and requires a bit less documentation and, if you give yourself enough time to prepare, should go fairly smoothly. Also, at this point, you will be more familiar with the process and everything will feel a little less daunting.

Police Station - Oficina de DNI y Pasaporte la Latina
Av de los Poblados, 51, 28024 Madrid, Madrid, España‎ – 913 22 86 60. Metro: Aluche‎ https://www.policia.es/

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