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).
With this paper, we can do the following things in your Spanish community:
- Enroll your children in local schools. (yippee)
- Get married. (been there done that)
- Apply for a local health card (el carnét para la asistencia sanitaria).
- Apply for certain visas.
- Apply for residency by way of a general amnesty.
- 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 thought we would 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 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 the kids 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 our son was “V” (Varon) and our daughter was M (Mujer). Didn’t want to mix that one up.
The kids 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. Our son said he wants to make his friends and is ready to burst wanting to speak Spanish. Read more about the first day of school.