The Spanish Visa is one of the most attractive parts of the Auxiliar de Conversación program. That, my friends, is a one-year ticket to Europe that’s worth every moment of confusion or frustration, every boogery nose and eye roll along the way.
The only downside is that you have to go through a renewal process to keep your grubby little hands on it for longer than a single school year. When I first received the card last fall, I was dismayed that learn that it was only valid through May 31, the actual calendar date our contracts terminate. I had planned to stick around for the summer and travel.
The good news is: you can renew the NIE card if you’re going to be an Auxiliar again, which grants you permission to live and travel in Europe during summer. I promise, I followed these steps in 2016 and I did not get deported 🙂 Regardless, it’s a good idea to go through the renewal process regardless of whether you’re booking it back to the good old US of A as soon as you finish with your last class this year, or you’re like me and trying to milk this permanent vacation for what it’s worth. Why?
1. Without a renewed NIE, you will need to get another student Visa through the consulate back in the US.
And ain’t nobody want to do that again. With the gathering of the documents, and the appointments, and the money. All that money.
2. It’s one less thing you have to do when you get to the city where you’re going to teach.
Imagine arriving and not having to spend afternoons searching for print shops to make copies and then sitting in the extranjero’s office. So. Much. Better.
I am going to catalog what it requires as I go through the process. I know some people have had nightmares doing it before, so I’ll let you know if there are any hiccups or hoops to jump through along the way.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- The EX 00 form (& a copy)
- Your Carta de Nombramiento (& a copy of it)
- Your current NIE
- Copies of every single page in your passport
- A form that says you’re not a child sex offender (unless you’ve already done this in the initial application process)
I was pleasantly surprised when the regional coordinator from Asturias reached out with instructions for renewing our NIEs before they expire.
Here is how it should play out:
1. Go to the Oficina de Extranjería
Ideally, you want go to the office of the comunidad where you’ll be teaching. Theoretically, you can do it from any region in Spain. However, my experience proved this wrong. The extranjería in La Rioja told me I needed to go to Asturias to renew, since that’s where I would be teaching the next year.
So, then I rented a car and drove the four hours to Asturias. When I arrived at the government offices in Oviedo, I was seen by a person who scanned in all* of my documents. The whole thing took about 10 minutes, and they told me the next step was waiting to receive a piece of mail in La Rioja.
*The bad news was, they didn’t actually scan all of my documents. Remember how I listed above that you need a copy of all of your passport pages? Well, they never asked for mine. I falsely assumed it wasn’t necessary, but it was. So I had to go to my local ayuntamiento offices and ask them to fax a copy of the pages to the Oviedo office. Lesson learned: always give them all the paperwork you have.
2. Pay the 16 euro renewal fee at the national bank of your choice
You should get a notice in the mail stating that you have to pay a fee for the NIE renewal (16 euro or something) at a bank. Go, pay the amount, and take proof of payment to the office.
3. Receive a form confirming the renewal is a go
After they process the payment, you should get another piece of registered mail that says the renewal is in progress.
I received this form about two to three weeks after I visited the extranjería in Oviedo, which was longer than I expected. If you’re in the region where you’re renewing, you have to go into the office and turn it in. If you’re renewing in another region, you need to go to a local office, fill out a form and fax it back to the region where you’re renewing.
Heads up: You have to physically go to the post office to sign for these pieces of mail. They will only leave a notification of delivery in your mailbox.
4. Wait for another piece of mail
After I faxed in the form, I had to wait another couple of weeks to receive another piece of registered mail. It was a letter confirming that my application had been processed and my NIE number was re-registered through May 2017. The next step was to report to the Oficina de Extranjería in Oviedo again.
5. Go to the Oficina in the Comunidad where you’ll be teaching
I got a little bit of a runaround when I went to the office in Oviedo. They immediately turned me around and told me to go to the police station in the town where I would be working, Avilés. When I went to the office in Aviles, they told me I needed to schedule an appointment for two weeks down the road – the day before I was returning to the United States.
When you go in for your appointment, you will be assisted by someone in the extranjería who finalizes the renewal process. You’ll need to:
- Give them all of your paperwork
- Take your fingerprints
- Sign a form
- Turn in your empadramiento (This is proof of local residency that you can get from the registrar in the ayuntamiento. It only took 15 minutes and I just had to show the registrar a copy of my lease and a copy of my landlord’s NIE.)
- Pay another fee
The extranjería worker told me I needed to pay another fee for the card to be created (I think 20 euro). After I brought back proof of payment, he stamped a paper that said the card was being processed. He pointed out the batch number and told me to call to see if the card was ready.
6. Pick up your new NIE card within 30 days
Thirty days later, I called in and they said it was ready. So I went back and picked it up – all set for the next year.
As a sidenote, I didn’t really run into any problem going back to the US while my card was being processed. The Visa people in Portugal asked to see my paperwork and asked me a couple of questions, but let me through with no problem.
What’s your experience with this? Was it easier or harder than you anticipated?