To all fellow retired ex-pats. Eat drink and be merry. Enjoy life in this beautiful country we now call home, the last leg of our lifetime journey.

Your future is bright, your future is secure – that is as long as you have kept your head above the tidal wave of bureaucracy that has always engulfed life in Spain.

I well remember the obstacle course of having to apply for NIE registration, and subsequently SIP health cards many years ago. Forms after forms after forms, I had them coming out of every orifice of my body.

My first encounter with officialism was after travelling for about an hour to apply for an NIE card, I was turfed out of the office because I had not made a prior appointment by telephone.

Although the office was empty, the official blankly refused to serve me.

Then, in a light-bulb moment, I stepped just outside the entrance, phoned the given number, watched the same person answer and requested an immediate appointment, which I received.

Although it wasn´t the most pleasant of cross-the-desk encounters, I won the day.

Since then, the world has moved on from pure, unadulterated mountains of paperwork to online impersonal befuddlement, not even an over-zealous official to glare at.

Forget the, NIE´s, NIF´s, CIF´s, and `Uncle Tom Cobley and all,´ this is the biggie that evidently secures our place in the sun.

Entitled, Permiso de Residencia you would presume it would be known as a PDR, not on your Nelly, just to confuse us, our new bureaucratic bigwigs scored a major victory over their venerable predecessors by naming it, NIE.

Since this Brexit-orientated identity card was launched in Jul 2020, Social media sites have been inundated with questions from confused.com expats, inquiring whether their existing residencias are still valid, or change is necessary.

This created a rapacious response from all ranks of the legal brigade offering friendly help in exchange for fees ranging from €50 to over €1000 euros a steal.

Some expats have taken free advice from, CABS, Citizens Advice Bureau and dealt directly with either the online services or applied in person.

On the other hand, if you prefer to wait until the dust has settled before entering the fray – go Spanish.

Pour yourself a glass of plonk, relax in your favourite lounger and slowly repeat after me, m-a-ñ-a-n-a. Cheers!

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