Well it is official, we received our notification of approval and paid our fees. Fingerprints and passport photos have been taken, so in a few weeks we will have our new Spanish Resident Cards, valid for another two years! Will we stay that long? Who knows, but we can if we want to. Woo Hooo!
So let me catch you up on what’s going on with us recently. We will also detail the entire process for the Spanish Resident Card Renewal. I know you are excited!
Of course you know we returned to Spain in June, after our nomadic 11 months away in Southeast Asia. The main reason for our return was to renew our Spanish resident cards, which in turn gives us access to Europe. They were due to expire at the end of August 2015. We applied on July 3rd for our renewal and here we are exactly 3 months later and finally have the approval. Of course we still need to wait a few more weeks to have the new updated cards in our hot little hands.
For the past few months we have kind of been living in “limbo land”, not sure if they would approve our renewal application. We did meet all of the criteria, we were just concerned they would not like that we were out of the country for 11 months. We did read the fine print prior to our departure (if you are 6 months or more in any given country, you are considered a resident there). Taking this to heart, our travel plans ensured we were not in any one country for more than 5 months, as we wanted to be clear we were Spanish Residents.
So anyway, it is a big relief to know it all was approved. Because we were in limbo, we were hesitant to purchase a car, commit to a monthly internet plan, cell phone plans and so on. We gave in on the phone plans right away and decided it was worth the risk of the early cancellation fee to have the full phone and data plan. Cell phones done!
We finally gave in on better internet at the end of September. We were hoping everything would be approved by August, but we just couldn’t wait any longer. Again, we signed up for the 6 month plan with a fee if we cancelled early. Internet done!
Life without a car in Spain!
As far as a car, we rented in June and July as the prices were fairly reasonable. You can read all about our tips for Car Rental in Spain. In August, the prices sky rocketed to over €1000 for 4 weeks, so needless to say we didn’t rent that month. Luckily for us, our neighbors were on holiday that month an offered us their car. For 1 week in Aug and 3 weeks in September, we got a killer car rental deal. Of course when that rental was up, the rates jumped up again.
At that point, we still had no word about our resident card, but it was getting very expensive to keep renting cars. We decided to give it a try without a car, so we returned the rental late September. We have been living without a car the past couple of weeks and it has been a bit of a challenge. It didn’t seem to be any problem at all the 11 months we were nomadic in Southeast Asia, but it is different in Spain.
If you want to hear me slightly whimper about it read on. We live in a smaller town, about an hour from the nearest big cities (Malaga or Granada). It’s not that we need to go there often, but it is nice to go when you want to. We can access these cities via the bus, and from there we would have access to the trains and planes.
For our day-to-day life, putting around town, we don’t really need a car. We are usually within a 10-30 minute walk to most things in our daily life. For the past 2 weeks, we are realizing how busy our daily life really is. Getting settled with school, optometrists, dentists, meeting up with people, Spanish classes, sports sign-ups and all of these little things, usually mean a walk to the other side of town. We are feeling like we are living in the “suburbs” on our side of town all of the sudden. When we had a car, it didn’t feel this way.
It would be great if it were all organized and we could do things all at once. Of course life doesn’t work out like that and the kids come home from school with “I need this book today.” Without fail, it is on the day I just spent 3 hours walking around or literally “running errands” already and need to repeat again. Not to worry, we do walk a couple of miles for some fun too. Last weekend it was an impromptu wine tasting and loads of fun with new friends! Wine Tasting & Roman Aqueduct Tour
To top it all off, I am creating a trip design proposal for Travelove, you can read more about them here. It is just a proposal, but I have been meeting with several locals to see if they are interested in offering local tours or experiences for the trip. Of course, I have been meeting people all over town, starting the week we returned the car. It has been great meeting with people and getting to know them better. Fingers crossed, Travelove approves my Almuñécar trip design. If so, it is a paid one-time fee, so paid is good!
A trip to the police station / foreigners office
Anyway to complicate things, we also had to figure out the bus system to get us to Motril (a bigger town about 20 miles away and the location of the closest foreigners office). We picked up the bus schedule from the station and were very pleased to see the low price of about €3 round trip. We opted to take the 7:30am bus to Motril, arriving a bit after 8:00am.
This of course meant we needed to leave our house about 6:50am to walk to the bus station. Once we arrived in Motril it was a quick 10-minute walk to the foreigners office, but a bit of a wait for them to open at 9am. It has been so busy there lately, they are handing out numbers prior to opening. In July we arrived there at 6:30am and received numbers 14-17. Anyway, it was all to be sure we had time to make the return bus at 1pm.
So they handed out our numbers and we were numbers 4-7, yippee. They opened at 9am and we were in! Of course by the time we followed the below process, we finished up at the foreigners office by about 11am. It is located fairly close to a big Target type store, named Al Campo, so we stopped for a bite to eat and did a little shopping too. We made it to the bus for our 1pm pick-up and back to Almuñécar we went. Like clockwork we arrived at the bus station on time and headed towards home. Of course because it was nearing 2pm (Siesta and stores closing), we stopped off at the optician to order Lars a new pair of glasses.
After all was said and done we were gone from 6:50am to 2:40pm. So that is a day without the car. Had we been in the car it would have been about 8:00-12:30 or so. Of course the kids missed an entire day of school, but fingerprints were involved on this visit, so they were required to be there.
We’re gonna get some wheels
Life is good and we are adjusting to having things just take a bit longer without a car. We are looking into purchasing bicycles for the family and getting around town that way. We do have an issue with where to store them, so they all just may go in the living room. We will see how long we can keep it up without a car, but so far we are doing it. It is great for our physical activity and health, so we are going to keep going.
So that is just how exciting our life is right now. We were living in limbo and are literally running errands and getting settled. Of course we are working on several projects and we will be telling you more about all of that in the near future. Stay tuned!
If you are curious about the resident card renewal for the non lucrative visa, we have more information below.
Spanish Resident Card Renewal Information (non-lucrative visa)
You can apply for renewal 60 days before expiration and up to 90 days after expiration. We applied for our second renewal, see below for renewal validity.
UPDATE 2017 The Motril office now requires appointments check for phone numbers or online appointments here. Though this listing is for the Motril office, the links are the same through Spain, just select your local office when making the appointment.
Resident Card Validity (non-lucrative visa)
- The actual visa is valid for 90 days to enter Spain. This visa will also have your permanent NIE – National Identity Extranjeros (Foreigners).
- You must register with foreigners office within 30 days of arrival in Spain and request your Spanish resident card
- 1st resident card was valid for 1 year from original date of arrival in Spain.
- 2nd resident card, 1st renewal is valid for 2 years from original date of arrival in Spain.
- 3rd resident card, 2nd renewal is valid for 2 years from original date of arrival in Spain. (We are here!)
- 4th resident card, 3rd renewal is valid for 5 years from original date of arrival in Spain.
- Who knows after that, one step at a time.
Spanish Resident Card Renewal Process
We detail the full visa renewal process in our eBook. Read more here.
It seems with each Spanish resident card renewal the process has been the same for us. We document the full process with tips, forms and time saving information in our eBook.
- Visit 1 to Foreigners Office (Extranjería) – Apply for Renewal
- Await notification that processing has begun.
- Visit 2 to Foreigners Office (Extranjería)
- When notification is received, you will need to go to the bank to pay the fee for processing your residency renewal
- Await next notification (possible notifications: more info required etc., or that you are approved and need to request cards)
- Visit 3 to Foreigners Office (Extranjería) This is only if they require additional information or clarification. For us, this is when they requested proof that we will renew our health insurance.
- Visit 4 to Foreigners Office (Extranjería)
- Notification – you are approved and resident cards need to be created.
- When notification is received, you will need to go to the foreigners office again.
- You will need to go to the bank to pay the fee for processing your TIE residency card renewal
- Once you go to the bank to pay the fee, return to the foreigners office with the receipt.
- They will then scan your fingerprints and provide you a receipt.
- Await notification your resident cards are ready (usually about 3 weeks)
- Visit 5 to Foreigners Office (Extranjería) – Pick up your new Spanish Resident Cards! Each person must be present to pick up their card. They will scan your fingerprint to pick up your card.
Our eBook covers the entire process in detail, with links to forms, timing and tips. Read more about Renewing your Spain Visa here.
Okay, so there you have it. We’ve caught you up with our exciting life and you now know the process for renewing a Spanish resident card. Let us know if you have any questions, just comment below or contact us.
Much more information is available on the Non Lucrative Residence Visa Spain (Application, Getting Settled, Renewal, Driving and Education) in our Wagoners Abroad publications.
If you want to move to Spain, we offer excellent consulting packages to help you in addition to the info below!