Applying for a Número de Identificación de Extranjeros (NIE)

So, I’ve been in Seville for a week now; Spain nearly a month/four weeks. It’s kind of just been one thing after another just being a pain in the ass, starting with the whole application process to be an auxiliar. From the visa requirements changing with no warning to receiving the wrong documents at orientation a week ago to apply for a DNI, I’ve run into problem after problem. So, on my shit list for now is: The Chicago Consulate of Spain, The Junta de Andalucía, and the Oficina de Extranjeros, as well as anyone who gives me bad directions and wastes an hour and a half of my time.

This morning, I got up at 6 am and was on a bus into town at 6:50. When I got to the Oficina de Extranjeros by 7:30, there was already a line forty people deep from around the world. Some people were from Romania, some from the Caribbean, some from the US like me. All over, really. It was still dark and I could barely keep my eyes open. The doors open at 8:45 so that you can get a number. Green is for renewal, Pink is for applying for a resident or student card, A’s are for requesting a resident or student card, B’s are for information, all other numbers are for all other inquiries. Or at least that’s what I think. Since I had gotten there early enough, I had a number in my hand by 9:15. I was A06. It was then I realized I was missing one of the photocopies, so I RAN into town (maybe five minutes) and found a copy shop where I could do this. Then I ran back. The number just called was A02. So I waited for about another 30 minutes. Inside the office, there’s a waiting room where people are just screaming about how slow the lines are and how inconvenient the Spanish democracy is. I have to say I agree. My brain wasn’t working, so I felt like I wasn’t even asking for the right things and was dreading being asked for the apostille the Chicago Consulate never told me to get.

After I got into the office where the delegates are, I had to wait for someone to get back to the station for five minutes. I asked a man and he said, Yes, student cards here. Wait for my colleague.” So I did, and she turned out to be very nice. Like the visa application process, I had forgotten the sheet from the Junta with my school’s name on it, but she looked it up online. After you’re given a temporary NIE card with your foreigner’s number on it, you have to ask for an appointment to turn in your pictures (the ones we get in the US are too big) and you have to pay like 6 euros, then you get fingerprinted and you sign some stuff and then you have to come back AGAIN to pick up the card.

The lady said, “I’ll have you come back today. So you need to go pay this, but not in any bank. You have to go to BBVA.” I figured this wouldn’t be a problem because BBVA is a very popular bank. And if Citibank has three locations, BBVA must have like 30. She told me the place wasn’t very far away and gave me directions. She told me the nearest hotel, but not the street. I ended up walking into every government building I could find to try and find this GD bank, and finally someone could give me a street. She was right – it was close – but I ended up walking FOREVER before finally finding it.

I also needed smaller photos taken. Because it was hot today and I didn’t bother to make myself look decent this morning, I knew they would look horrible. They weren’t bad, but no one seemed to know where a copistería was to have the pictures taken. I walked even further away from the office to this really seedy area, but the people were so nice and did it right away.

When I returned to the office about 40 minutes later, dripping in sweat and frustrated (also full from buying an enormous bag of chips to eat to make myself feel better), I saw this nice French boy who is working as an auxiliar. He is an EU citizen, so he didn’t have to wait in line like us Americans, but he was waiting to make sure a friend got his papers all in order. He stood in line to get a pink ticket for me while I used the bathroom, but once I got a pink ticket I was whisked right into the office with the delegates, gave the lady my documents, got my fingers all printed on the correct sheet and was on my way. This was about 1 p.m. I spent the better part of the day in some stupid office trying to understand what these people were telling me. It was hot and I was exhausted, so I skipped out on the beautiful sunshine to go home and sleep. I am so freaking lame.

Now, we just have to worry about how I get a package that my parents sent me FedEx without checking to see where there was, if any, a Fed Ex office. Anddddd I don’t think there is, so my stuff is floating around somewhere. Awesome.

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.

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