For many non-EU foreigners, living in Spain legally is debacle numero uno. No easy solution exists, whether it’s finding a company to sponsor you, or a significant other willing to fully commit to ma-ma-ma-marriage. Locating a street in Madrid without obras would be easier.
But recently, something very unexpected changed. As rare as the Spanish waiter that happily and eagerly takes your dinner order, a process here just got easier and tremendously more helpful. I’ll let you digest that for a moment, because I know it’s hard to believe.
Have you recovered? OK, good. Back to business.
The process I’m referring to is that of pareja de hecho. Roughly translated as domestic partnership, acquiring the status originally just meant you got a piece of paper saying “these folks are officially an item” (not terribly unlike that note you wrote your classmate in junior high school). Now, becoming pareja de hecho can actually grant foreigners residency. Crazy, right? And it’s not too good to be true!
Here’s a brief rundown of the requirements and steps:
Civil status certificate stating you’re single (must be validated for non-EU foreigners)
Empadronado(a) with your Spanish significant other for at least one year
Three photos (for Comisaría when applying for card)
Copy of entire passport
Empadronamiento with significant other at the Ayuntamiento
Obtain civil status certificate (foreigners go to their embassy/small fee required)
Non-EU residents must validate civil status certificate at the Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores
Become pareja de hecho at the Registro de Comunidad Autónoma de Madrid
Pick up certificado de pareja de hecho at the Registro de CAM
Apply for residency card at the Comisaría
Pick up card at the Comisaría (small fee required)
As with most things in Spain, there’s a good chance that funcionario 1 will say something entirely different than funcionario 2, so expect rules and processes to vary.
Now that pigs are flying, maybe the obras will stop and more waiters will become friendly. One can dream.
Obtaining a police report in Madrid is actually relatively quick and painless. You may be thinking, ‘why would I need a police report?’
You could need a police report for a foreign visa, for example, or for a variety of other legal reasons. If you do need proof that you’re not a criminal (at least not here in Spain that is), you’ll need a police report from the Spanish authorities. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting your official “certificado de antecedentes penales”.
- Go to the Ministerio de Justicia, which is located in the Plaza de Jacinto Benavente, very close to Cine Ideal. They are open until 5pm, but the banks close at 2pm (see below), so I recommend going before 1pm to get this all taken care of in one visit.
- Pick up the appropriate form in the entry way (the one that says antecedentes penales)
- Fill out the form. It’s basic info like name, address, etc.
- Go to a local bank, there are a bunch near the Ministerio, such as the Caja Madrid on Calle Carretas, and pay 3,54 Euro. You need to have the form filled out before they will process the fee. You do not need to have an account at the bank to process this.
- After the bank stamps your form, go back to the Ministerio de Justicia and take a number from the machine. Make sure you select antecedentes penales from the options on the screen and it will print the appropriate ticket.
- When your number is called, go to the window. Have your passport with you, as you will need to show it to the representative. You will also need to state why you need the report. The representative will print the report.
- Then you sit again and wait for your number to be called again.
- When it’s called the second time take the report and go to another desk. The person here will place an Apostille on the back side of the report.
And, wha la! You are in possession of proof that you are an upstanding citizen here in Spain.
If you are interested in knowing more about the new legislative changes in law regarding expatriates and residence in Spain, then this informative session is for you. Held on Friday, October 15th at 9:30am. Please follow these directions by October 13th to register.
In one of my previous posts I talked about how you go about the tedious process (depending on your consultant) of obtaining your Student Visa. Naive me thought, well great we’ve got this Visa, so we should be set for our adventurous year in Spain, all I have to do is this one minor thing, get my NIE number, it should be easy and I’ll probably get it in a day. However, I was wrong as usual.
When you go to the Spanish consulate for your one-on-one interview, at the end they will hand back the originals of your local Police report with the Apostile, and in our case we had a FBI record with fingerprints, a copy of our marriage certificate, along with the form that you filled out for the Consulate that they have stamped, initialed and dated. The Spanish Consulate in San Francisco told us to hold onto these documents because the officials may ask for them when entering the country for id purposes, and/or when applying for the NIE number. They also staple a little reminder to your passport that says you need to register with any local police within the first 30 days of your arrival.
My husband and I fly over in late October and move into our new apartment in Madrid. Down Huertas St near us is a police station or La Policia, so we walk up and see a couple officers hanging outside. We start walking into the station like you would in the states, but quickly learned that here the officers outside act as bouncers at a club, you have to state the reason for your visit, and then they’ll let you into the waiting room. Once inside we waited about 10 minutes for another officer to come out only to tell us that there is only one police station in Madrid that you can go to to register, but that you’d need an appointment.
We then quickly learned that the school my husband was attending, I.E. would assist us with calling to make the appointment for you. We had to wait two months just for the appointment, but I’ve now heard it can be shorter or longer depending on the time of year you apply. There was also an additional form (very similar to the form you filled out for the Consulate) that the school provided us that you had to fill out and bring with you to your appointment, along with all of the same documentation you had to provide for the Consulate, plus three passport size color photos.
I arrive early to the police station, pass the “bouncer” test and then was instructed to wait in a line that ran out the door and down the block. After a hour wait, I arrived at the front counter where they quickly looked at the local police record I had from the states, and my marriage license with the Apostile. Since I am a dependent and not technically the student, I have the familiar de estudiante or family student NIE number. (same for children of students as well) They also fingerprint you and affix your photos onto the applications, leaving one that will go on your NIE card.
Four months after our arrival in Spain we received our NIE number and cards. (you have to go back and pick them up in person) I know this is nothing compared to the time people can wait in the US for a visa or green card, but in the meantime you have to play like you’re a tourist and carry a copy of your passport with you at all times. The school had told us stories of how the police would stop students on the street and ask for identification. (hasn’t happen so far for us in our eight months here) However once you have the card, then this is all you need to carry with you and it can be used (and is preferred) as i.d. for making credit card purchases, getting into clubs etc.
The first thing I recommend upon arrival to Spain as a student, is see if your school will assist you with getting the NIE number. We found this helpful since the websites for the Spanish Consulate or the Madrid Police dept really don’t spell out the process. Also, don’t forget to bring all of your documentation with you to Spain, especially your marriage certificate. Remember too that this card is only good for a year from the day you arrived in Spain. Once this time has passed, you get to repeat the process all over again in order to stay legally another year in Spain.
Police Station- Comisaria General de Extrajeria Communitarios y Estudiantes Plaza del Campillo del Mundo Nuevo, 3, 28005 Madrid, España – 902 565 701 Metro: Puerta de Toledo www.policia.es
I know I introduced myself as someone who seemed to find no resources on moving to and living in Madrid or even Spain for that matter. Yes, I found a few resources but none captured in entirety what I needed – and that was a personalized voice giving me the down and dirty on the logistics of moving and settling. Today Guiri Guide is able to supply you with all sorts of information after its been tested. But even we needed a bit of a kick start and other than word of mouth – these were our sources.
For the Expat
Just Landed Madrid – This site has the best information in terms of no frills logistical information and contact information.
Spain Expat – Truthfully, this site doesn’t do much for me but you might find it useful.
Easy Expat – Probably best for job searches/postings.
Anglo Info – Great for information once you’re settled into ‘life’ info on House Improvements, Legal, Financial, Cars, Health…etc.
For the latest in ‘What’s Happening’
esMADRID – This site is great for major city events/concerts/festivals/exhibitions…etc.
InMadrid – This is my go-to site (and monthly newspaper) for all things Madrid…especially those things that people my age may enjoy. The writing style is humorous and they typically have quirky facts about the city that are interesting.
Map Magazine – Honestly, I randomly happened across this one day. I’ve never heard of anyone reference it but find some of the information is nice – especially about restuarants.
For Madrid/Spain General information
Madrid Insider – Good for the tourist planning a short stop over in Madrid