Registering as a Spanish resident can drive you crazy

I read today that the town hall of Teulada (Alicante) has unanimously passed a motion in support of making it easier for EU nationals resident in Spain to register their residency with the authorities. The motion urges the government (well, actually, just the ministry of interior office in Alicante) to come up with a more convenient way for EU nationals to register as residents in Spain. We appreciate the gesture, but it won’t make life any easier.

Thanks to a moronic new law (Real Decreto 240/2007) passed in February 2007 and in force since 2 April 2007, all EU nationals wishing to reside in Spain now have to apply for a certificate of permanent residency (certificado de registro como residente comunitario) from the nearest immigration office. Even if you have been resident for 20 years, and had a foreign identity card, you still have to register when your card expires, (the old card was valid for 5 years).

This new law is proving to be extremely inconvenient for EU nationals resident in Spain. The registration process seems to be designed to make life as difficult as possible for EU nationals residing in Spain. Then again, anything that involves dealing with Spanish bureaucracy is a kind of torture.

To get registered you have to go in person to the local immigration office and queue for hours. Being bureaucrats they don’t give a fig, and they will only deal with a limited amount of people before they shut down for the day and go off for lunch. In some popular places like Benidorm the queue starts to form before dawn. Get there after dawn, and the chances are you are too late, and will have to come back another day. Many people have to drive an hour or more to get to the nearest immigration office, so this is driving people mad.

If you are lucky enough to get seen to it works like this.

  • You get given 2 formularios (forms); 1 is a application form for registering (solicitud de certificado de registro) and the other is a payment form (modelo 790).
  • Both have to be filled in, the 790 then has to be taken to any bank where you need to pay €6,80 and have it stamped.
  • Then you have to make a photocopy of the application form and your passport.
  • Take everything back together with your old foreign ID card (if you had one). They retain the card and issue you with a piece of paper confirming your permanent residency.
  • Note you must already have your NIE number to do this

    Apart from the huge inconvenience of registering, what makes this law so moronic is that it abolishes the ID card for EU nationals in Spain (tarjeta extranjera). I’m no fan of ID cards, but in a country like Spain you can’t get by without one. You need to show ID almost on a daily basis, for example every time you pay for something with plastic, or deal with any type of bureaucracy. The new certificate is a just a piece of paper, and can’t be used as ID. So by discontinuing ID cards for EU nationals resident in Spain, we now have to carry around a passport at all times. Marvellous.

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    One thought on “Registering as a Spanish resident can drive you crazy”

    1. magnaman

      my father, who lives near Benidorm has a nifty trick – has had his passport photo page, photo copied, reduced to a handy credit card size and laminated the card – no problems so far!

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