12 Sep, 2020 @ 11:00
1 min read

Tied up in red tape: the long road to getting residencia in Spain

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TIME passes at varying speeds: you age slower in a spaceship and faster when in the queue at the extranjeria office. 

It has been a month since I last wrote of the seemingly never ending quest for a TIE residencia card — since then I have decayed faster than a peach in the summer sun. Transformed from 24 to 94 years old; I am crippled by bureaucracy and wheezing from confusion. 

Concerned that my A-level Spanish was insufficient for the task, a native speaker called several official offices for me to identify our next port of call. 

“We don’t know the steps anymore, ” she was told. “Because of COVID and Brexit everything has changed.”

After another fruitless appointment at the local police station, some pleading, and a borderline refusal to leave until we had more information than “no se”, we were handed the next clue in the treasure hunt: a website link. 

Into the search bar it went and three clicks later our appointment in Malaga was secured. Things had to work out differently on the fourth try. The instructions had come straight from the horse’s mouth and, as the adage goes, we knew better to inspect the teeth of the gift. 

But the cavity of disinformation crumbled before our hopeful, and slightly teary, eyes upon arrival in the city. 

“They told you the wrong thing,” said a genuinely sympathetic member of staff . “The appointment you need can only be booked on the phone. You have to come back another day.” 

Lucky expats who secured residencia before July 6 are not required by law to secure any new documents.

But if like me you arrived after this metamorphic date, the road to residencia is long, winding and may actually give you stress-induced alopecia.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. But the fifth time will be the charm…or a one way ticket to an asylum. Watch this space. 

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