Documents, paperwork, “sign here, and here”, bank statements, and “come back tomorrow”. These are a few phrases and words that will induce an immediate headache and nausea, but who doesn’t detest paperwork? For any of you who live in Barcelona and have had to gone through the hellish process of renewing your NIE or Visa, wouldn’t it have been nice to have some free advice? Someone to make a clear list of what you need, hold your hand, and I don’t know, maybe speak English? I am writing this article to do just that, my friends. Although renewing my Visa here in Barcelona was made as difficult and painful as any government paperwork process can be, I got it done, and it was the worst. I am on a student Visa here, so this blog post is only relevant to those who are wishing to stay here in Barcelona to study. After grueling hours of vague research, and nothing concrete, I decided to create a check-list for all of those struggling expats. I was in your shoes, last week actually, and I am hoping these lists and tips will collectively serve as a beacon of hope when dealing with this seemingly impossible task.
Paperwork to have (PLUS COPIES)
*When I write “plus copies” I mean make 2, even 3, of every item you have to bring to save yourself a lot of trouble.
NIE, Passport, and 3 passport size photos– pretty explanatory. You can begin your renewal process 2 months before your NIE expires, and after the expiration date, you have one month to try and figure it all out. I also bought extra photos JUST IN CASE.
Papel de aprovechamiento– This is a paper you should get from your former place of study, whether a language school or a university, saying that you are either making progress, or completed the course. Your place of study should know exactly what you are referring to when asking about this certificate. It needs to either have a stamp or a signature in order to be accepted.
Carta de aceptacion- Letter of acceptance. Pretty self explanatory, but this should come from either your current, or if you are changing schools, new place of study. It needs to include signatures stating that not only you are accepted but enrolled in school. A receipt or bill would very much work in your favor if you have access to that.
Related article: How to find a job and get your NIE number in Barcelona
Health insurance– I made the mistake of buying the cheapest possible health insurance, which apparently did not come with hospital coverage. Although emergencies and hospital coverage is usually free here in Spain, my health insurance has to include “hospitilizacion” in order to be accepted by the Spanish government. I bought insurance from Caser Seguros, however so long as it covers hospitalization, most insurances should be accepted. Although you may have coverage from back home, you have to get it here, just one of those things that has to be done!
Extracto bancario- This is your bank statement, and you have a few options with this one. Option 1: you have had a checking account (cuenta corriente) here in Spain open for more than 6 months, and have a monthly average income of the last 6 months of 3192,72€ (where do they get off making these random numbers up?), then you are in the clear. Option 2 (my personal dilemma): If you haven’t had a bank account for the last 6 months, then your current salary or number (saldo actual) in your bank account has to be 6385,44€ (again, where do they get off?), and this qualifies you to provide for yourself for the school year. The bank that I chose is Deutsche Bank, strictly because they have a partnership with Bank of America, my bank from back home, and they have yet to disappoint me! Option 3: If you cannot complete either of those two, then you can ask your parents (if you have the luxury) to send a notarized, official bank note saying they will provide enough money for you to survive every month and for how much, including a statement of the bank account they will be sending you money from. All paperwork you are bringing from outside of the country must be officially translated and notarized.
EX-00 Solicitud de autorizacion de estancia y prorrogas- What a mouthful, right? You need to have this paper completed correctly and with a signature. It is crucial that you bring 2-3 copies of this paper to your appointment.
This is not a 100% guarantee, this is just to offer some friendly, free help. This is all that was asked of me at my appointment, but each student is different, each study and career is different, and different paperwork may pertain to each particular case. AKA, no one come at me with a pitchfork because I maybe didn’t include paperwork that you needed.
Making the online citas (appointments)
Firstly, to make your appointment, you have go online to this site , choose Barcelona as your province, and then click prorroga de estancia por estudios, not autorizaciones y renovaciones, like I did. From there you will enter NIE info, birthday, and your name, and after that you will pick an appointment time if you are offered one. Often times it says that you cannot choose an appointment at the time and that the appointments are all booked. KEEP TRYING. Set an alarm at the wee hours of the night, during your lunch break, wake up early; whatever you do, get this appointment because they are difficult to come by, and take whatever you are offered. Your office and or school will understand because haven’t we all been in this horrible situation? The office you are going to go to is on Carrer de Murcia 42, and the nearest metro stop is Navas (L1). Get to your appointment 20 minutes early and see if you check in by then, although it clearly states you can only check in 15 minutes before. Always try your luck, because the lines are what you would expect at any government office: a nightmare.
Where to make copies and find a translator
Around each office there are always “copisterias” that are there to provide overpriced copies, scans, faxes, and printing galore. Although they are always overpriced, they saved me when I was on a time crunch. There are two copy places right next to the police office on Murica that open at 8:30. Get there early, especially if you have an appointment at 9:00 when the office opens, because there will be a line of procrastinators like myself. Also on this street, right at the corner, you will find a translator that can take care of last minute translating and paperwork for you. I’ve never used one so I cannot speak for the service, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
Although I personally think this post will save a lot of trouble and insufficient research, I highly advise you to do your own research on the NIE website. Good luck and don’t give up, this city is more than worth it!