Sooner or later you have to tell the Spanish authorities that you have moved in, and the NIE*, although fairly vital to everyday life, doesn’t cut it. You have around six months grace – time enough to know whether you will be sticking around or not – but after that it’s not only polite to register, it is required. It is free, and adds you to the population of the town or city where you spend the most time. I have the stamped copy on my desk, and at some point the policia will knock on the door and ask to see my passport or NIE to confirm I am me. Sorted.
The Padron – short for empadronamiento – if you live more than 180 days a year in Spain, you are legally required to register on the Padrón Municipal de Habitantes. It’s not unlike getting yourself on the electoral roll in the UK, but has more benefits and is a vital step towards eventually applying for permanent residency.
So – this is how you get it. Well, how I got it. Call in at the local town office, which rejoices in the name of Ayumtamiento (saying ayoomta me ento will get you pointed in the right direction) and ask for the form. (Necessito padron, if you speak pidgin Spanish as I do, I still sound like a 2 year old). Requirements can change, apparently, but they asked me to complete the form and bring it back with a copy of my NIE and my escritura (deeds) or lease.
Tiny problem there as I don’t have my deeds yet – this is an old house, and the seller’s grandfather’s death certificate was destroyed during WW2 and that’s delaying things, but presenting the first page of the formal document I signed in front of the notary when I bought the house was acceptable.
Completing the form was, even with the aid of my online translator, a bit tricky, and I finally hauled in a Spanish teacher I’ve met socially and paid for a couple of hours of her time (there were other forms we tackled as well). For example, I use two surnames, unhyphenated, as a matter of course, and the form asks for 1st Apellido and 2nd Apellido. I was advised, though, to put Elizabeth Lamprey as my nombre, and my surname as 1st Apellido, as this is the way my name appears on my passport.
(In Spain it is common to include the surnames of both parents in a name, the 1st being mother’s maiden name and the 2nd being father’s, and you more or less have the choice of which to use as your own surname, but should stick thereafter with the one you chose. Hence 1st and 2nd apellido. Confused yet? I did borrow this ambiguity for my book The Money Honey and have no idea how it doesn’t cause more confusion, but everyone seems to understand it without any problems)
Back to the form – I had to then enter my most recent previous residence (Edimburgo, Reino Unido) and my date and place of birth (which, according to my NIE, is Durban, Natal, Reino Unido, there you go, Natal always did say it was the last outpost of the British Empire), my NIE and that was pretty much Bob’s your uncle.
The only other pause for thought was my estudios terminados – level, you could say, of education – and on the advice of my helper I chose 43 from the list on the back of the form – i.e. some studies after completing school, or the equivalent of a BA.
Presented, accepted, stamped, copy issued, and waiting only for the knock on the door.
*The NIE, more than the UK NI, is part tax certificate, part ID number, essential to prove existence, and comes as pretty much part of the deal when you buy property anyway. NIE stands for Número de identidad de extranjero and you will be asked for your number constantly, even when accepting a delivery at your door. Passport number is accepted if you are an obvious outsider, but the NIE is preferred. I know it takes a while to obtain – up to a month – but as mine was sorted by my Spanish lawyer while I was still in the UK I can’t report on the process.
I mentioned we were tackling other forms – the digital signature, which is proving a bit of a mission, and my licence to offer rooms to let as a rural property owner, watch out for future exciting blogs. So far I have a reference number for my digital signature but must present myself at a suitably authorised authority for verification (closest may be Motril but may be Granada) after which I will get my confirmed virtual document on their website which I can download and send with every online application for anything.
I also have my temporary CTC reference to advertise my rooms to let, but need to confirm that in full within the month, more bureaucracy, oh joy. I am joyful that as I live in a town of under 20K residents I am considered a rural location and didn’t need to jump through the draconian requirements of letting rooms in a big city, where you have to offer full hotel standard with all the health and safety requirements of same. Yikes!