Monday, 26 January 2009

Spanish bureaucracy

It's a Catch 22. I can't get a Resident's bank account without an NIE (Numero de Indentidad de Extranjero) and I can't get a non-Resident's bank account without proof of income; unfortunately my only proof of income is my contract at the language school which proves that I AM resident in Spain and therefore am ineligible for a non-Resident's bank account. I need a Resident's bank account which I can't get until.....

You get the picture.

So now you're asking "Is it hard to get an NIE?" Well, no. You just go along to a police station, fill in a form, hand over a photocopy of your passport, show the original, pay a 10 euro administration charge and you are issued with the number. The tricky part is getting an appointment at a police station; such are the numbers of foreign nationals in Madrid that the earliest my employers could secure me an appointment for was May. I guess I should be thankful that's May this year!

Happily though, Kate's employers - who pay their staff on a freelance basis and therefore need them to get their NIE's as soon as possible - have a handy little wheeze to get around this. As they have an office in the beautiful nearby provincial town of Segovia, they issue their teachers with a Segovia address and get them an appointment there. Hence Kate and I got up at 5.45am this morning to catch a bus to Segovia (where it was snowing) to get her NIE. We were back in Madrid by 11am and immediately went to the bank so Kate could open an account.

Of course I'm not allowed my own debit card (residents and non-residents can't share accounts) so I'm going to have to hand over my entire salary to Kate and live on cash handouts from her until May.

So no change there then!

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