GET your papers in order to take advantage of the dream Spanish lifestyle, writes Leon Cohen in his debut Olive Press column…
As it’s my first column, I would like every reader to understand the two simple steps necessary to make your adventure – living in this beautiful country – a memorable experience.
It’s essential for those who wish to have peace of mind as well as making the most of the Spanish lifestyle.
If you want to take advantage of what is available, services such as medical/health, financial/banking, property, business et al, then you will need to accept, that without considering these steps, life could prove rather frustrating and stressful.
Naturally, all of this is for those expats wishing to establish themselves here in for six months or more. Generally, these two steps apply to those coming from both the European Union and further afield, obviously those from the EU will be treated more favourably, governed by less conditions and therefore less paperwork .
Step One; El Padron, Empadronamiento. Registering with your local council (ayuntamiento).
This is a fairly simple process of entering the council offices with proof of address (service bill, rental contract, property deeds) and normally within a week, sometimes less, you will have your notification of enlistment.
This enables you to vote, use free council services, participate and assist in local events and so on. It is always worth asking your town hall for the benefits of this enrollment.
Also, stipulate that you wish to be placed on the electoral register, this document is normally free.
Step Two; N.I.E.(Numero Identificacion Extranjero)
This is the Expats ID card/document obtained from the National Police station (Foreigners Dept). With this in your possession, all becomes possible, from opening a Spanish bank account to contracting a service provider, purchasing a property, working, setting up a business and obtaining free medical attention.
It’s worthwhile making sure you acquire all the relevant paperwork for this. In the majority of cases you will need your passport, a copy, three passport photos, your application form, EX15, a copy, notification of a private health insurance, and for those not working, a bank statement showing a minimum of €5,000.
In some localities, you may find it possible to pre book an appointment, saving some time in waiting. But this is not the norm outside of cities, so be prepared and patient, setting aside sufficient time.
You can also download the form from the Internet, something unheard of 15/20 years ago.
After your appointment, you will be issued with the stamped photocopy of the form and be told to return to collect your ID within two to six weeks. Again, you will need to produce your passport and the stamped copy of the form EX15 for them to issue you with your document. The cost of approximately €21 is payable in the bank, alongside the form issued at the time of application.
Having put yourself through these two tasks, you should feel proud and begin to enjoy the culture and lifestyle that living here provides.
God bless, be well, stay happy…
Any queries, please do not hesitate to drop me a line or call me direct, it’s my business to help relieve the stress and uncertainty, making for a happier expat experience.