After applying for our visa in parts one and two we did not hear anything for ages. This was even though the government portal (sede.administracionespublicas.gob.es) was showing “resuelto – favorable”. The consular portal (sutramiteconsular.maec.es) was still showing as pending.
I tried contacting the consulate in Manchester, but the telephone just rang out, no matter what time of day. So I emailed instead. Sometimes I would get a response, and other times just be greeted by silence. I did not take this personally, the office is very busy.
When you meet the staff in person they are all very friendly and supportative, I think they are just very, very busy.
As we were in Spain as tourists, our 90 day Schengen time limit was fast approaching, so we took the decision to head back to the UK to sort things out in person. We had a few other bits to resolve and it would be nice to visit family and friends so it was not really a hardship to come back for a little while.
Heading back to the UK turned out to be the right move. It was so much easier to sort things out face to face. The consulate is appoinment only in the morning, but after lunch you can turn up without an appointment.
The final issue with our visa applications was the proof we were not working. I think if we were retired it would not have been necessary, but because we are both still of working age, they wanted proof that we no longer had jobs.
We both had to present our final P45 and letters from our HR departments showing that we were no longer working. The P45 had to be original, so make sure you do not lose it as HMRC or your payroll department are not able (or willing) to reprint it.
Anyway, we took the documents to the consulate. The person behind the counter checked them over and said that was it. Nothing else was needed!
Less than a week later we were invited back to the consulate to have our visas issued and stuck in our passports!
At this point you have a month to collect your visa (we did it next day). Once collected you have three months to head back to Spain. Once there you have a month to apply for your TIE (foreigners identity card).
You need to be in your home country to start the ball rolling with your visa application. I would also stay in your home country until the process is complete, or at least be ready to go home to deal with any issues that may come up.
Communication seems to be difficult sometimes. After a month, I would email the consulate weekly to check on progress and ask if there is anything they require. Do not email more frequently because they will ignore you! Make sure in the subject of your email, you put your name, NIE and “VISA APPLICATION” so they can easily see what the message is about.
Sometimes their emails can be rather curt. Do not take offence, they are just busy people with many emails like yours to deal with.
Keep checking the government and consulate portals. In my experience, the government one changes quite quickly, but it is the consulate one that really matters. You will probably hear from the consulate directly before the portal is updated.
Dont forget to enjoy the moment! It feels great once you have the visa in your hands!
Once you have your visa, you will want to head to Spain to become a resident.
You need to apply for a foreigners identity card, the TIE (Tarjeta de identidad de extranjero). You need to do this within a month of arriving in Spain.
I will write a seperate blog post detailing the process, but basically you need to fill in a form, pay a fee (and get a receipt), and prove your address. To do this you need something called a padrón which is similar to being on the electoral roll in the UK. I will write a seperate blog post about this.
We were not on the padrón so had to quickly get that sorted before we could apply for our TIE. Our TIE appointment is next week and I will let you all know how that goes!
Thanks for reading this, hopefully it helps someone. If you want any more information, feel free to drop a comment below.