Congratulations! You made it to Spain! You have successfully applied to the Auxiliares de Conversación program. You’ve overcome the hurdle of applying for your visa! You booked a plane ride over the Atlantic and into the land of tapas, vino, flamenco, and bullfighting! ¡Olé! You may be asking yourself, “What comes next?” You should probably begin the daunting task of finding an apartment (ok, I’ve heard this is not so bad if you’re not in Madrid, don’t let me scare you!). And, of course, you’re going to want to apply for your TIE!
Your Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE) is a small identity card that you must apply for within 30 days of arriving to Spain. You’ll only need to make your appointment within 30 days. In many regions of Spain (such as Madrid) it can take close to three months before you’re actually able to get in! This depends on when you check for availability (in my case, I looked online on September 16th and booked my appointment for September 23). It seems that if you look online in September, you can get in quickly. Wait until October and you might not find an appointment until much later. However, as long as you have your appointment booked within the first 30 days, you’re fine. If you let your temporary visa lapse before you have an appointment booked, you’ll have to return to the USA (or wherever you’re from) to apply for a whole new visa, so don’t let this happen! Attend your region’s orientation to get more information on this process, but just in case, here’s a step-by-step as well (especially helpful for those like me who still need a bit of improvement on their Spanish skills).
Your NIE is the number that will appear on your visa after you’ve successfully applied to the program.
You’ll need this little card to do just about everything in Spain, so don’t brush it off or think that your visa is enough! It is the TIE card that credits the assistant’s legal stay in the country, as a student, taking part in the Comunidad de Madrid Language Assistant Programme, for the period of time specified in your carta de nombramiento. The TIE card indicates the NIE number and your personal details, picture, and fingerprint, as well as the validity of the card and the reason why the document has been granted. This is, essentially, your green card to be authorized to live and work (or study) in Spain.
Steps in Applying for your TIE:
- Make an online appointment using this website.
- Select your Spanish region. In this case, “Madrid”
- Click “Aceptar”
- On the following page, after selecting your region, click on “TOMA DE HUELLAS (EXPEDICIÓN DE TARJETA) Y RENOVACIÓN DE TARJETA DE LARGA DURACIÓN” and click accept.
- You’ll be prompted to enter more information, including your NIE, Name, Country of origin, and current visa expiration date (typically three months from your issuance date, check your visa). (Note: When I initially tried to make this appointment with my passport number/expiration date, it said that there were no appointments available. I did it again with my NIE and it gave me three options.)
- Once you’ve finished, you’ll print out your appointment slip and make sure to keep it. You’ll need this when you go in to apply for your card in person – where you go varies depending on your region.
Applying for your TIE in Madrid:
Once you’ve successfully completed the steps from above, it’s time to prepare for your in person appointment. Here are the documents you’ll need to bring with you:
- Document you printed from step 4 stating your appointment date and time
- Your carta de nombramiento (and a copy)
- EX17 Form which you can find here and fill out online and then print before your appointment
- Note: the address you fill out on this form will be considered your permanent address in Spain. If you later change residence, you will be required to communicate it to the “Brigada de Extranjería de Madrid” office (SACE office, on 1st floor). Just walk in and let them know.
- Proof of Payment of your TIE fees
- To show proof of payment, you will need to fill out the 790 Código 012 form. After you fill out the proper form (check initial TIE and fill in the amount for €15,45 as of 2016) , you’ll need to bring the forms to ANY bank and they’ll give you the proof of payment. This must be paid with cash. According to the TIE application instructions, you will need to go get this form at the “Brigada de Extranjería de Madrid” or at a police station (I went to a police station). It will also be available during the Orientation Session at “CRIF Las Acacias” center. You can also visit this site to print off the document (use that site at your own caution, however, as you’ve been informed to get the official documents from the previously stated sources). Some people have had success printing it off, but it’s easier to just go to a police station. The downloadable form is not in color, however, and doesn’t have the carbon copy receipt pages.
- Original & Photocopies of the following documents:
- Passport Information Page
- Entry Stamp
- It is mandatory to provide evidence that you arrived in Spain within a month of your initial appointment. The date will be really important for the “Brigada de Extranjería de Madrid” office. The best thing to do is to have your passport or visa stamped when you cross the border into the Schengen Zone, even better if it’s into Spain. If you cross through another border, like say France or in my case Frankfurt, you must show the stamp from France/Frankfurt and keep your bus/train/plane ticket from France to Spain for proof! I kept my ticket stub and scanned it with my visa stamp, all on the same photocopy I turned in.
- A passport sized photo, bare-headed, on white background. It’s recommended that you bring the picture yourself, though you can find a photo booth in the “Brigada de Extranjería de Madrid” office. I totally forgot my pictures so I went to the little booth right outside the office and used that. It costs €5 and takes less than 2 minutes. The pictures were actually different than my passport ones, so it was easier to just take the pics there.
- Empadronamiento: proof of your legal address in Spain
- Basically you take your signed lease to an office around your barrio. You make an appointment to get the address official and get a sheet of paper called an empadronamiento that says, yes, you live there! For specific steps on completing this in Madrid, you can click here. Note: I did not have to turn this in, which was good since I didn’t have it! On the form I mentioned above, EX-17, I filled out my address and that was it. In the appointment, the guy asked if it was my permanent address and I said yes. However, I have heard that some students needed to get their empadronamiento for the TIE appointment! It’s kind of a gamble if you go without it because technically they can turn you away and make you come back with it. From the Facebook group, it sounded as though this is more important if you are renewal and the directions I found didn’t mention it so… no pasa nada!
Getting to Brigada de Extranjería in Madrid:
I was a little bit nervous about navigating the public transportation in Madrid! Remember, I come from a small town in Montana. I drove, walked, or rode my bike wherever I needed to go! The public transportation back home was a joke… In Madrid, however, it’s quite amazing. The directions on how to get the the Brigada de Extranjería obviously vary depending on your starting location. I took the metro from Argülles to Aluche and it was quite easy. I used an app called Citymapper but I’m sure Google Maps would also be fine. I didn’t load my abono for the first two weeks I arrived, instead opting for a 10 punch metro pass. Unfortunately, I just turned 26 like a week before arriving in Madrid which meant I wasn’t eligible for a joven pass anymore 🙁 goodbye cheap transportation! Anyway, if you’re using the metro, head towards Aluche (green line 5). You’ll exit at Aluche, an above ground metro station. When you come down the stairs, turn left. You’ll find that it says Salida: Avenida de los Poblados. Go through those doors and you’ll see a road. Turn left again and head down that road (Avenida de los Poblados). You’ll have about a 7-10 minute walk before you turn left and head towards Brigada de Extranjería. A good indication you’re turning at the right spot is that you’ll see a lot of other people walking with either blue folders or clear binder pockets full of documents and passports. The building is large and there is a big gate around it. You’ll pass through a little metal detector to get inside. Once there, you’ll wait first in a line outside, and then in another line inside. When you hit the front of the line, you simply go to the next available person who will process all that paperwork we talked about above! Note: you’ll probably be speaking Spanish at this appointment! I thought that surely an office for foreigners would have English speakers, but this is not the case. That being said, my limited Spanish skills were sufficient to complete the process without any complications!
After you’ve handed all of these documents over to the officiate at the Brigada de Extranjería, you’ll get your fingerprints scanned and you’ll be given a justifying slip to come back and collect your TIE card. They say it takes about 40 days to process. After 40 days, take your justifying slip & passport with you back to the “Brigada de Extranjería de Madrid” office to get your TIE card! Mine also noted that I should come back before 45 days, or the justifying slip would expire… You can pretty much go anytime between 30-45 days.
You’ll receive the small identity card with your personal information, picture, NIE number, signature, and fingerprint (on the back). The expiration date (VAL.) is typically the end date of your program, so June 30 for Madrid or May 31 for the rest of Spain. If you’re in Madrid, you can click here to view the documents and detailed instructions from the regional office. You can also view a slide show presentation by clicking here.
Remember, if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of this, you can always ask your school for help! If you’re in a big city like Madrid, there are definitely other auxiliares around who can help you. Try and connect with some on Facebook! I was lucky and as soon as I was given my school assignment, I immediately connected with a couple of girls who had been/were still working at my school. They were immensely helpful in finding out information about the school/places to live/the commute, etc. I know if I had run into any questions about applying for my TIE or anything like that, they would have willingly helped me out!
There you have it! Some information to help you apply for your TIE in Madrid. Remember, the exact directions of what to do will be outlined for you in the email containing your carta de nombramiento. These directions were specific to Madrid, but booking the appointment/the application process should still be similar for all regions. For specific instructions, email your regional coordinator. If you have any questions, feel free to ask below! I will help if I can! Good luck 🙂