Thursday, October 15, 2015

Empadronamiento and the TIE

The immigration system in Spain works a little differently from what we have dealt with in the United States and Mexico. When I received my permanent resident visa for Mexico, I just had to receive a stamp in my passport on the visa page and proceed straight to the nearest immigration office in my hometown in order to complete the process. Here I had to get a rental contract and take it to the local town hall (ayuntamiento) and register our residency (empadronarnos), and get a confirmation paper called an empadronamiento. Then we went to the Oficina de Extranjería and picked up four application forms (EX-15) and the payment slips that we had to take to the bank and pay around 15each. We went back the next morning and turned in the forms and payment receipts. It took about 45 minutes to get through all four applications. The girls each signed their own applications and got their digital fingerprints taken. The office is under the umbrella of the National Police as opposed to an individual immigration office so that was a little different. Our region does it on a walk-in basis so we were able to get in and out very quickly. I went back on Wednesday October 14th to see if they were ready as they had told us about 30 days before we could pick them up. They were ready so I was able to pick my TIE (Tarjeta de Extranjera) up and then bring the family back the next day to grab theirs. Our cards are our ticket to a stay within the Schengen Zone for a period that exceeds 90 days, the golden ticket envied by so many travelers. My Master's program is a year long program so our residency cards are valid through September 5, 2016. I should defend my thesis in July but worse case scenario, I have until September so I'll be able to travel back and forth and finish up the program. Somewhere in the next year, I still have to figure out how we are going to hike the Camino de Santiago. Each card has our NIE (Numero de Indentificación de Extranjero) printed on the bottom and we are asked for it all the time! When the delivery man brings a package, I have to provide my number and sign. When we purchase something like a TV, we have to provide it. For domestic travel within Spain, we only need our TIEs for identification and plane trips. For international travel, we'll need to carry both our passports and the TIEs so that we'll be allowed to remain within the Schengen Zone outside of the 90 days. 

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