So, together with the brother in law, I popped into the “Oficina de Extranjeros”  in Almeria. To get his NIE, of course.

We queued with a lot of… shall we call them “non EU citizens”? Lovely fellas. Pity the majority don’t seem to know about deodorent. Still, they smile a lot, even if they don’t seem to have all of their teeth.

After about 45 minutes, we got called up to desk 47. A very happy Spaniard was on duty. He was either drunk, on drugs, or was about to go for lunch with a lady who he previously thought was out of his range. Chortling away.

After a quick look at the vast quantity of paperwork we had, he said it was useless. Said he could process it anyway, but it was a waste of money on our part. Leaning over the desk, conspiratorially, he confided that 4 months ago the paperwork was what we needed, but now the rules had changed. What you need, he muttered, was a NIE Comunitario, not a simple NIE. So not form ME14, but ME16 (I think). And  hand it in quick, he added, before they changed the rules again.

He tore up our paperwork and gave us new papers. This, for the application. This one, to pay the fee. This one, with a secret number on it, to call for an appointment and a reference number. Make sure you have this letter, and this paperwork. Call for an appointment on the secret number first, pay the fee together with the reference number, and come back at the appointed time, it won’t be long before you get the NIE!

I don’t know why people complain about Spanish government offices. Lovely people. Never had a bad experience, even in the notorious Vera Catastro office. Maybe it’s just me, but I find them helpful and anxious to make sure you get what you need. Actually, it’s just me, even my Spanish in-laws say they hate going to the Government offices. But I find that if you go in with a smile, a basic knowledge of what you need, and make sure they always feel in control – and they fall over backwards to help you. Lovely people.

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