Germany is known to be very correct. Lots of offices, lots of paperwork, slowly working officers… and in the end you need another paper to confirm you have received this paper. So I was expecting something less complicated in Spain. Oh well.
Everyone has a number here. While I was used to signing contracts and showing my identification at some places everyone here has a personalized number called DNI. As a foreigner you need a number as well but it’s not the same. It’s called NIE – Number for foreigners (Número de Identidad de Extranjero). People need it to sign contracts, start working, open a bank account, buy a car, buy a house etc. It took me 2 days to figure out how to register for an appointment online but I managed to do this from Hamburg. Last week was the special day and I had to go to a police station here in Benidorm. It was full of foreigners from everywhere – British, Russian, other East-European countries, Dutch… and we were only allowed inside with an appointment. Funny story: the officers were seated on 3 different desks, everything was so small you could listen and understand every conversation and they called out the names of the people waiting. And now imagine Spanish people that don’t speak any other language calling out foreign names… Usually the first names were okay like Elena, Andrej, Anja, Anna but then everyone was really focused and quiet trying to guess if it was his or her last name.
All of us were missing at least one or two documents that could not be found online and we all met again in a bank were we needed to make a payment. The sneaky bank employee handed me a paper with all the information on how to open a bank account at his bank (A+ sales skills) and then we all went back to the second round. My name was called again, everything was fine and I could go pick up my number later during the day. All in all very successful and I even managed to receive another number I need to be employed. That went a lot faster and smoother.
Next step was to register in Finestrat. That also went a bit differently. As Finestrat is so small I could just enter the city hall, head to the office to register, there was no waiting room or anything and no one was waiting anyways. It took me 5 minutes and now I am officially a Spanish resident!