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Not all went bad in Badalona - Chuck Fisher's LiveJournal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
From Bay Area to Barcelona

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Not all went bad in Badalona [ Monday, 04 Aug 08 | 18:18 ]
ursine1
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[My Location |El Masnou (Barcelona) España]
[My Mood |relievedrelieved]

Badalona (Baetulo during Roman times) is in the comarca of Barcelonès, the same as Barcelona. Current population is around 220,000 and the home of the BadaFUCKERS.

Last Tuesday I arrived at the Comisaría de Policía around 07:20 in the morning. I counted about 20 people who had already arrived before me. It was the usual mix of Africans, Latin Americas, and Middle Easterners. Unlike Mataró, there were also a number of East Asians. Again, I was probably the only estadounidense there.

Around 08:30 some police came out and told us to make two lines: one for españoles and the other for extranjeros. A number of people who had arrived after me cut in line in front of me. So much for coming early and waiting longer.

Fifteen minutes later they handed out numbers for your turn. Mine was T034, so I was 34th in line for extranjeros. They let us inside the office promptly at 09:00. It was a big room with a lot of chairs for waiting and a few desks where agents sat. There was one agent for foreigners and several for citizens.

While waiting, we were treated to a little bit of drama. A sub-saharan was told to sit and wait. A bit later a casually dressed man from the back came out and asked “are you XXX?” The sub-saharan answered “yes” and then the man said “accompany me” and pulled out his wallet and showed his gold police badge. The sub-saharan reached into his pockets and gave some of his belongings to a couple of his friends. Many in the room watched as the sub-saharan was led out of the room and then placed in an unmarked car and driven away. It was “just like in the movies.”

Finally after waiting inside for about three hours it was my turn to talk the woman agent. I had all my papers in proper order and along with my passport and photos. After a moment she asked where was my “solicitud” (application) form. I pointed to my visa application and she said “No, no, no.” She showed me another form from a different person. I recognized it and said I didn’t have one like it. In fact I had filled out a similar form and presented it to the Oficina de Extranjeros in Barcelona the previous week and the woman there said I didn’t need it at the Comisaría. But that was the Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) or MAE and this was the Ministerio del Interior (Ministry of the Interior) or MI.

I was stunned and didn’t know what to do. I had brought along the FAX that was given to me at the Spanish Consulate in San Francisco that was the “resolución de concesión de autorización de residencia” meaning that I had been authorized for residency in Spain. But that wouldn’t do. I shook my head and said that I didn’t know what to do.

I had double-checked things at every step and had Ruben go over everything in case I had missed something. I didn’t want to fail on a technicality. But here I was with one form “missing”.

The woman said “su consulado es muy malo.” I wanted to say that it wasn’t my Consulate, it was hers, but I didn’t. Then she said three words that were music to my ears: “No pasa nada.” Which in this case means that it didn’t matter. Of course she could look at the record of my travails on the screen of her computer. She mentioned that I had applied in 2005 and that my request had been approved. I said that the Consulate never informed me of the decision and that I had to repeat the whole process again.

Then we had the typical conversation about why I chose to live in Spain and what I thought of the current financial crisis, while the rest of the room waited their turn.

She pulled out a form along with a plastic sheet with holes cut in it. She said to sign in two places which I did. Next she took out an ink pad and had me put a finger print of my right index finger at two locations. I realized that the plastic sheet was so you wouldn’t get ink on other parts of the mainly blank form.

Next she said that I could return in a month in order to pick up my tarjeta de identidad. Of course I had another tasa (fee) of 10 € to pay in order to get the card.

After waiting five hours I was finally done. When Ruben heard all the details, he was incredulous and said that he was embarrassed for his country.

LinkReply

Comments:
From: square_baker
Monday, 04 Aug 08 | 16:53 (UTC)
Probably still worse here than there.

Congrats.
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Tuesday, 05 Aug 08 | 04:34 (UTC)

Probably still worse here than there

That's hard to believe. But I did hear from another expatriate who lives here that when his Spanish lover stayed an extra day (3 months and 1 day) in the US, his lover was forbidden to return. And the expatriate was told not to communicate with his lover in the future. The expat moved to Spain, which resolved that situation, but he still has not been able to legalize his residency here.

Chuck, 23 days and counting until I get my ID card
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: kodanuki
Monday, 04 Aug 08 | 17:08 (UTC)
Congrats!

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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Tuesday, 05 Aug 08 | 04:47 (UTC)

Congrats!

Thanks! It's not over until I have my ID card in my hot little hands.

Chuck
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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Tuesday, 05 Aug 08 | 06:09 (UTC)
I agree with Ruben. Now you understand a reason why we want to become independent from Spain.
The funny thing is how she could process your application even if she wasn't supposed to do so. And how they take you around and around for idiot stuff.
I'm so ashamed of this
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Tuesday, 05 Aug 08 | 10:41 (UTC)

Idiot stuff

The woman at the Comisaría de Policía in Badalona wasn't going to process my application as that had already been done by the MAE in Barcelona. She just wanted to see it. After all, she could see the complete chronology of my case on her computer screen, including my original application of 3 years ago (which was also approved).

She didn't take my original application for residency nor the other papers that the Consulate in San Francisco insisted were necessary to present (health "certificate" and police clearance reports.) She did take the letter given to me by the woman at the Oficina de Extranjeros (MAE) last week in Barcelona and also my Justificant de residència from the El Masnou town council (Ajuntament del Masnou). The latter I assume is for my street address which will appear on my ID card.

Ruben showed me his DNI and I believe my ID card will have similar information along with indicating my status as a residente temporal.

So far I haven't been convinced that the locals would do any better at this. The decision to grant residency was done in Barcelona, although as part of the "gobierno civil" of the state. I was told at the SF Consulate that the decision to authorize residency is done at the provincial level. There could be better communication between the MAE and MI.

My annoyance comes from the fact that the SF Consulate did not inform me that my original application had been approved and I had to repeat the whole procedure again (at some expense.) There was no "sorry", it was like I was the only one at fault. If such a transaction had been governed by California law, they would have been required to show "proof of service." Unfortunately since you conduct business on "foreign soil", i.e. a foreign consulate, California law doesn't apply.

Chuck, I had problems with Social Security in the US that only the woman at the US Embassy in Madrid could fix, and I think she is a Spanish national
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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Tuesday, 05 Aug 08 | 12:51 (UTC)

Re: Idiot stuff

That major sucks.
But I don't even understand the whole procedure anyway... We should have married with you and nothing else...
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Tuesday, 05 Aug 08 | 13:35 (UTC)

Re: Idiot stuff

I would have gone crazy if I wasn't retired and could dedicate as much time as needed. Ruben was a big help checking my Spanish translations, making phone calls, surfing the Web for information. Also staying in Alameda less than 30 km from the Consulado General de San Francisco was an advantage. Imagine the people who had to travel more than 1.000 km from Washington state only to find that they had a wrong or missing form. And then had to reschedule an appointment.

I felt that the Consulate staff in SF discouraged me from applying for a residency visa based on their comments and behaviour (which I have already documented.) The people I encountered here in Spain didn't seem negative, maybe even a little surprised that someone from the US wanted to reside in Spain. At the Comisaría in both Mataró and Badalona I probably was the only estadounidense there.

Chuck
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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Tuesday, 05 Aug 08 | 16:25 (UTC)

Re: Idiot stuff

So basically you have to wait for your NIE now and that's all? What I know is that the "resguardo" is already your NIE
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Wednesday, 06 Aug 08 | 03:52 (UTC)

NIE

The resguardo has my NIE printed on it. So does my resolución de concesión de autorización de residencia. All I am lacking is my "photo ID" which I can pick up at the Comisaría in Badalona on the 29th.

Chuck, patiently waiting
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[User Picture]From: gorkabear
Wednesday, 06 Aug 08 | 05:52 (UTC)

Re: NIE

But this means you're legal already :)
Congratulations!
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[User Picture]From: stoicbear
Wednesday, 06 Aug 08 | 03:28 (UTC)

I'll say it again...

Congratulations!
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