Saturday, March 10, 2007

An end to the long wait

Our main bureaucratic headache, the residence card procedure, has been scrapped by a royal decree that finally brings Spain in line with EU directives.

That means that we will no longer have to queue up for hours to obtain or renew our ‘residencia’ cards thanks to Ministry of Presidency Royal Decree 240/2007 published in the BOE official state bulletin on February 28.

The decree states that EU citizens who wish to live in Spain more than three months must personally request their signing on the Registro Central de Extranjeros register – a procedure that can be carried out at the provincial Foreigners’ Office or at a National Police station.

All you have to do is to present a valid passport or national identity card to sign on the register and a certificate would then be issued on the spot indicating your name, nationality, address, NIE number and registration date.

Those of us who already have residence cards will not need to re-register until our residence card expires. When it does we will be issued with a certificate.

A word of caution though:

A press release on this subject from the British Embassy in Madrid recommends British citizens in Spain always carry with them some proof of identity.

Despite the non-obligation of carrying a residence card, residents are advised to carry existing non-expired residence cards or a passport when approaching certain local administrations or purchasing items with credit cards – as formal ID should be requested.

Turning up with the Registro de Extranjeros certificate, although officially sufficient, could prove an obstacle course that will be easily avoided by carrying ID.

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