2018.04.16 Finally a NIE !

They did warn us [14]

Every time we visit the police station in Carabanchel they give us an inside view on their well organized archive. 😀
It makes us smile every time, starting off our appointment well.

And this time we were really happy, because at last we have our NIE. Yeah!
I expected a card – it’s just a number on a piece of cheap paper. Making us still wonder if this bureaucratic process can’t be handled another way. But never mind now. We have the number.

We went straight to a bank to open an account. This process is going a lot quicker, because all the paperwork will be ready tomorrow. Meaning I can have a phone contract tomorrow.

Happy, happy, happy.


2018.04.06 Light at the end of the tunnel?

They did warn us [12]

Today, a Friday, at 13:00 hours we had a cita previa (an appointment) for a NIE number at the office of the Policia Nacional (National Police) in Carabanchel (Madrid). By now we know how to make such an appointment.

We were some twenty minutes before the appointment at the designated place, just in time to be send away because we were not allowed to park our car there. So with some effort and lots of luck we managed to get the one open spot on a parking area with over 500 places. Did we know all these people had an appointment at the Police office …

Still, when we arrived we had some 5 minutes spare time. We asked a police man where we should go and he said ‘walk through the door and ask there’. Lucky for us, because a large cue of people was waiting for their turn. We walked through the door to be send out again and told to cue up. But only some 10 seconds later the same officer who had send us out, asked to see our papers again and told us he had made a mistake. We had to go upstairs to the second floor and cue up there.

Fortunately this was only a small cue. A very efficient officer helped us, telling us we had first to download a form and pay at a (any) bank a fee. After that we had to return. He put a stamp on the form with a cita previa for Monday.

By then it was already 13:15 hours. Banks close in Spain at 14:00 hours, at least we thought, and we had to download the form. By sheer chance we managed to get with the form to a bank at 14:26 hours. After having been shoved away at another one for being there exactly at closing time (14:15 hours).

But no matter what the bank employees tried, they were not able to register our payment. They promised though to look into it and asked us to come by at 08:30 hours on monday morning. We thanked them and said we would be there. (To be continued)


2018.02.27 Bureaucracy prevails

They did warn us [11]

We had more fun today watching the birds flying up above the sea, then we had trying for the umptieth time to get a NIE.

Either we are total knobheads, or the system here sucks big time.

As they advised us in Málaga we went to the police station in Torre del Mar this time. In Motril, Málaga and Léganes you can’t enter the police station without a cita previa – an appointment – you have to make through the internet.

Not in Torre del Mar. Here you can’t make an appointment in advance. Here you have to go to the police station at 7:30/8:00 a.m., queue up outside and wait for someone who is gracious enough to hand you a number. And mind you, they have a specific amount of numbers – once they have handed them all out, everyone later in the queue has tough luck.

Stupid system. I am about to give in.


2018.01.05 Loser

They did warn us [9]

Yesterday at 11:13, I received a ‘no-conteste-a-esta-direccion@correo.gob.es’-email. This official email from the Spanish Government confirmed that I had an appointment (‘cita previa’) at 10:15 hours at the Policia National on January 5th in Motril to apply for a NIE-number. When we went there for the first time, they said we had to make an appointment through the internet. I was very surprised this succeeded and that I received the email confirming the appointment.

So at 10:00 hours on the 5th we arrived in our best outfit at the office of the Policia National in Motril. However polite the gentleman at the counter was and however obvious the email I showed him which confirmed the appointment, the answer was ‘No. For a NIE-number you can only apply on monday. Not today.’ All in Spanish of course, because public servants in Spain do not speak any other language but Spanish.

Returning from the office of the Policia Nacional, Hannie noticed the word ‘loser’ sprayed on the wall of the entrance to the car park. The question is who is the biggest ‘loser’, the underperforming bureaucracy or the citizens who drown in it. By the way, until now nobody called or emailed me yet to ask me why I had failed my 10:15 appointment.

Tomorrow I will try to make a new appointment through the internet. For next monday. I will keep you posted.


2018.01.03 Civil servants not being civil at all

They did warn us [7]

Some people remark that the Americans are so insincere with their “Hello, I am your waitress for tonight”. But I prefer that level of customer service way beyond the treatment you get over here.

Last time we went to the police station in Motril we were sent home with a web address. At that time we were not allowed to wait for an available person and we couldn’t make the appointment then and there.

So yesterday I entered the web page and looked for ‘cita‘ which is Spanish for appointment. I couldn’t find it. Tom had a look as well, he couldn’t find it either. But he did find a telephone number, so I called.

Although I do speak some Spanish at the moment, in situations like this I prefer English. So my first question was “¿Habla inglés?” Since his reply was “un poco” I started explaining I couldn’t find where to apply for an appointment. After hearing me out he decided he was not the right person to answer my question and gave the phone to somebody else. Again I started with “¿Habla inglés?” “No” was the very firm answer.
I requested for the other person to come back on the phone, but in the meantime his English was vanished into thin air. In the end I got another telephone number which I could call in the mornings.

They did warn us [8]

This morning I called the number. Nobody replied. After several unsuccessful attempts I looked up the number in Google and found some more telephone numbers that were related to this one. The first one got an immediate connection. Yeah!

I started my “¿Habla inglés?” but again got a very firm “No“. I keep wondering why you would want to have employees at the foreign office that speak no foreign languages, but I guess that’s my short-sightedness.
I thought the better of it and stumbled my question in Spanish.
A deep sigh on the other side of the line.
He gave me a different web address and said I could make the appointment through that one. Looking at it I had no clue which button or link to choose so I asked.

Another deep sigh and the remark I should look for “cita previa” (this is also something I find odd, because previa means former and I am still trying to make my first appointment, but never mind).
I said I couldn’t find it and he snapped at me that everybody could find it, so I shouldn’t fuss or else find somebody who speaks Spanish to let him do it.

A very interesting encounter with the civil servants of Motril.

PS The page above is where I ended up when I finally found a link that seemed to be the right one – an empty page 🙂


2017.12.14 Spanish bureaucracy

They did warn us [5]

In our ongoing search to get a NIE-number we went to the Oficina Extranjeros today. Our son went along to translate, maybe that would help.

A very friendly security officer told us our form was wrong, and where did we need a NIE-number for anyway since we are Europeans. Right, that’s what we can ask ourselves as well, but that does not help.

Anyway, we were sent home empty-handed except for a scrap-paper with an email address. “Ask your questions on this address, that will help”.

Hmmm, maybe…


2017.08.04 We are the knights who say NIE

They did warn us [4]

I give in. In a chat conversation with another bank the employee said she had never heard of a statement a bank should deliver for a foreign customer in order to obtain a NIE number. So they won’t do that.

We are in Spain at the moment for a month, and I really wanted to get the papers organized on forehand. Probably I am too Dutch or too precise. We’ll see when we get here for a longer period.


2017.08.03 NIE is German for never

They did warn us [3]

Internet banking is not as common in Spain as it is in the Netherlands. According to my source (aka my son) there is only one bank that is suffcient and that is ING Direct. A bank that does not have many offices, so we have to go to a village about 25 km from where we are right now.

Unfortunately this ride was in vain, ING does not want us as a customer: we are not (yet) residents. According to the man we should better go to another bank, Caixa for instance.
(I think it’s hilarious that a bank employee recommends another bank)

To be continued…


2017.08.02 We are the knights who say NIE 2

They did warn us [2]

Tom and I have downloaded the right forms from the internet, filled and printed them, and went to the police station.

Everyone going in was obliged to explain the nature of their business, put their things in a scanner and themselves through a security gate. I can understand that.

When it was our turn I said I came for a NIE number. We had to follow the police woman. No stuff through the scanner? No, that was not necessary. Even the blaring sound of the security gate was no problem, she just waved to another guard that we were cool. (I sure hope I am not putting any wrong ideas in someone’s head, lol).

Oh well, we can’t request a NIE without a statement of for example a phone company or a bank in which they state we really need it. I made remarks about ‘Kafka’ and ‘odd’, but it’s better not to be funny in a Spanish policestation!

To be continued…

(Not being funny reminds me of a sign in an Australian airport that actually said: don’t try to be funny, because customs might take it the wrong way!)