Registration for Public School in Spain

As of Friday morning we had all of the required paperwork for registration for school in Spain. We finalized out rental contract Thursday afternoon and stopped by the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) to obtain our Certificado de Empadronamiento (register as official citizens of the community).

Registration for School in Spain

With this paper, we can do the following things in your Spanish community:

  1. Enroll your children in local schools. (yippee)
  2. Get married. (been there done that)
  3. Apply for a local health card (el carnét para la asistencia sanitaria).
  4. Apply for certain visas.
  5. Apply for residency by way of a general amnesty.
  6. I am sure it means we can pay taxes too (if we were working).

Registration for School in Spain

So with this paper, we head straight for the local school nearest our domicile (this is what it is called here, so gettin’ into the swing of things). We enter the school and found the Secretaria office. Inside was this very nice young man. We fumbled through explaining we had all of the paperwork to apply for admission to his school. He then handed us the application form to fill out for each child. We determined if we filled it out right away we could have the kids start school on Monday with all of the other kids. So we eagerly went to the “lobby”, a bench in the hall, and sat down to fill out the application. It was 6, count then SIX, pages long and of course every spec in Spanish!

We can get by with Spanish just fine as a traveler and have been doing ok with looking for a rental. After all, it isn’t much different than looking for a hotel. Well this was one of our first big challenges. It was an official document all on our own. We both had a moment of anxiety and decided it was best to fill out the forms with some thought over the weekend. So, Saturday passed and we didn’t even look at the paperwork.  Sunday morning we were on line and Alan suggested we find a translator and hire them to help us. It may be $20 or so and that would be worth it right? We found out the hard way that most things are closed on Sunday. We were on our own if we wanted it done by Monday morning.

Later that afternoon, I sat down with our huge dictionary. I was thinking, I can figure out the easy words and just look up the big ones. NOT! LOL, It was painful. My next thought was to send out an SOS to close friends in NC (Juan or Roberto). Then I thought “NO WAY!”. We put ourselves in this situation to accept the challenge and learn. This was a stretch and you grow and learn so much when you are in these situations.

Off I go with the paper work, Alan and Goggle Translator! Google is my best friend right now. We went through section by section and I typed in the Spanish and it spit out the English. We then knew not to tick the “disability” or “state aid” boxes and so on. PHEW! This was a life saver. We had both applications complete in about 40 minutes and I learned loads of new vocabulary. In fact, I used one of the new words the very next morning, proud as a peacock of course.

Monday morning arrives and we are good to go. We organize all of the required paperwork and off to the school we go. The same your gentleman was there to greet us and asked that we return at 2pm, this will allow him time to enter the data into the computer. We were very pleased with ourselves. We were finished so quickly, we had time to take the quick drive to Motril to complete the police paperwork for Anya, Lars and me.

Off we went to Motril and we waited in line for our number. We had number 43, which was the same number we had when we went on Friday. We were hoping for the nice man to help us again, but we got the irritated lady. Turns out she really liked us! We were organized and had everything in order. She even mentioned to the man that this is the family you helped on Friday, with a smile. We must have made some impression on them. Stamp, stamp (they like the in stamper and pounding sound here, makes things official)
and we were out of there with our temporary NIE cards.

Back to the school at 2pm and our young man was not there. Instead there was a lady that spoke 90mph in Spanish and handed us more forms and sent us on our way saying “return in the morning at 9, with those papers”. We said, the nice young, patient man advised us to return at 2pm for our “ticket/coupon” for school books. NO, NO, NO, tomorrow morning at 9. All in Spanish! (I don’t need to remind you, but very few people speak English is this small village).

Luckily the form was just one page and we could fill it out on our own and just had to look one item up in the dictionary. The one item that we looked up was the check box for Sex of the applicant V or M. We weren’t sure what V stood for. After a quick look, it was determined Lars was “V” (Varon) and Anya was M (Mujer). Didn’t want to mix that one up.

Lars and Anya are so excited to start school. They were very disappointed that we didn’t complete all of the paperwork Monday, so they won’t start school on Tuesday. Fingers crossed that the paperwork we turn in on Tuesday will be the last and they can start on Wednesday. Lars said he wants to make his friends and is ready to burst wanting to speak Spanish.

12 thoughts on “Registration for Public School in Spain

  1. I went through the same language struggle my first few weeks in Columbia too. Trust me, it will get better. If you’re ever in a pickle, call my cell. My Spanish is rusty but still serviceable.

    Your Friend,
    Nelson Sebright

  2. This blog gets more and more interesting each day. Better than any reality show on TV! Love you and thanks for sharing your adventures. I am curious to see if the kids pick up the language faster than the adults..
    First time using this comment page. Want to see if it works for me.

  3. Hi Heidi!
    I love reading your blog. I am learning new things every time I stop by!
    We are waiting on many things now (RCMP clearance checks, medical notes, etc, etc) but we feel like we are on the road to submitting our visa application by the end of June. Fingers crossed! And lots of help from your blog! You definitely got us started.
    School is about to wrap up here in Toronto and I am wondering if we need to get anything from the school here to register our daughter in Spain? Any idea? Or is it different at every school/every district?

    • It is different in every school district. To be honest, our school didn’t ask us for anything! I am not sure if that is good or bad.

      I would have your vaccination records, if you do that, from your Doctor. I would also have a copy of the end of year grades for the past 2 years. Really, the grading system and subjects are so different it isn’t really useful. What we did was scan it all in on the computer, along with examples of work etc. We haven’t needed it at all and on our laptop didn’t take up as much space.

      In our school they just wanted birthday to show what year they are. It is calendar year here (in Almunecar), so Anya actually went up a grade. Her birthday is September and in North Carolina the cut off was August. You can request for them to be in a lower grade as well. I hope that helps and guess I should write more about school soon. 🙂

      • So helpful thanks!
        Seems we have everything. Fingers crossed. 🙂
        Wondering also about medical insurance. I am told we need a company authorized to operate in Spain. Mind if I ask who you used?
        Apologies if it is elsewhere on your blog but I haven’t come across it yet!

        • Hey Kathryn, So glad you found it helpful. Over the next couple of months I am going through and updating and reorganizing old content. We do have a post on health insurance and that will be one of the first to be updated, as we are going through the process of obtaining health insurance in Spain again. Here is the previous post. The information is accurate, but we will be adding more about the new insurance we will purchase. It is looking like we will purchase DKV Serguros this time around.

          Here is a link to most of our moving to Spain info

          I hope that helps.

  4. wow i was just net surfing and found your site…. I am very interested in moving to spain as well…. your blog is very informal

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