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Spanish Bureaucracy: A True Test of Patience

3 Oct

Getting in line at 6:00 am in Seville to hopefully get a number to pass in your documents

Inefficient + Annoying


Calling for a cita previa (appointment) here in Madrid and being told that the earliest available is in mid July (10 months from now)

= Inexplicable + Nonsensical

This morning there were definitely tears shed. I mean, I expected things to be difficult—a challenge here, long line there, unfriendly funcionarios… but a 10 month wait to renew the tiny piece of plastic that allows me to live and work like a normal citizen? How can it be? And the most frustrating thing of all is that we just became empadronados* in Madrid to be able to renew my NIE here. If we were still empadronados in Seville we could just have gone there, waited in the ridiculous line, and been done with it! Spanish bureaucracy at its best.

*Empadronarse means to register your new address with the town hall of your city. It serves to register the number of people living in each city and region. It’s necessary for other immigration processes.

In fact, our plan is now to return to El Puerto, empadronarnos in Ale’s parents’ house, and renew there. I’m super disappointed, above all because I already had an interview lined up for a really interesting job. Silly American me, thinking it could be so easy!

But what can I do? I have to stay positive. I still consider myself lucky to

  • be American and therefore have less immigration problems than many other nationalities
  • be a native English speaker and allowing me the opportunity to give private classes and earn my rent money (hopefully!)
  • have a smart and supportive husband who I’m sure will find a great job here in Madrid
  • have a wonderful and encouraging network of family and friends
  • be able to express myself on this blog, which I will treat as my job until I really have one (so keep reading—you guys motivate me!)

Any other horror stories out there? Advice for dealing with disappointment? Thanks!

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