Spanish bureaucracy

I’ve long complained about Chinese bureaucracy, but now that I’m experiencing Spanish bureaucracy… I don’t know which one’s worse!

As it looks like we are going to stay in Spain for at least one year, there were several things we needed to do. The first one was registering as residents in my hometown. To do this, we needed to go in person to the town hall after getting an appointment. Getting one through the designated phone number was impossible as no one was ever picking it up, but I finally found a website where it was possible to get the appointment. Getting registered was quite smooth, except that if they had provided in the website the information regarding the required documents, I could have done it at once instead of having to go twice…

Cáceres, my hometown.

The next thing I had to do was getting Baby A. into a public school. The preinscription period had already finished, so instead of talking directly to my school of choice, I had to register my application through the Provincial Schooling Commission. This was also quite smooth but I am still waiting for a reply. The school told me there were still spots for his grade so there shouldn’t be any problem anyway.

Then I had to register Baby A. as a beneficiary of my national health insurance plan. This was fairly easy too and I could do it online, although not on their website as the software they require is so outdated that my computer cannot even run it anymore. Now I am waiting for his health insurance card, which should be arriving by mail soon.

We also got a library card!

And now we are currently in the process of applying for my husband’s residence permit. As the spouse of a European citizen, he is entitled to live here with me for as long as we want, but of course there is a bunch of documentation to provide. My main problem here was that, although I phoned the immigration office in my hometown several times, no one ever picked the phone. So I got an appointment online anyway and went with the application documents that, according to a government website, were the ones needed. Well, when I went to the immigration office they obviously wanted some totally different documents, including a marriage certificate that would take ages to be sent from the Central Registry in Madrid, as per their own words. But there was another way, they said. I could have the Spanish Consulate in Shanghai (where our marriage was originally inscribed in the Spanish registry) prepare the certificate directly and then get someone to pick it up and send it to Spain. That’s what I did and I just received it (meanwhile, no news from the Central Registry in Madrid). The other document that they wanted and it’s kind of a pain in the butt is my work contract, translated into Spanish (it’s 12 pages of legal blah blah in bad English). Luckily I’m a translator myself, albeit a very busy one so I didn’t manage to finish it yet. I did manage to get another appointment with the immigration office, although it’s in 3 weeks time. They must be on holidays and have only one person working there now… I just hope that everything goes well in this second appointment and I don’t need to go again!