When we were preparing to move over, Nick and I told ourselves that we would take at least two weeks out to have a holiday and enjoy ourselves. We told ourselves that we would soak up the sun, see all the things that needed seeing and do all the things that are here to be done before we buckle down and get on with real life. That’s not quite how it’s worked out.
I previously shared how we successfully collected our pets from the airport with the little Spanish we know, so all the Adventurers are here. We have endured the necessary two weeks of cat house arrest,not that he gave us much trouble. Boris The Cat spent most of his first few days here hiding under a duvet, occasionally coming out to check for escape routes, having some food, and trying to find a new duvet to sneak under. The Dog has been having a wonderful time exploring our local area with us on walks. She is desperate to understand what (read: catch) a lizard, and is really enjoying the sunshine.
As we’re both spending all day at home, I’m sure that all the extra time and attention is making Widget The Dog very happy indeed.
I couldn’t relax because I kept think that there are three key official documents I wanted together as soon as possible. These were our tenancy agreement, our N.I.Es and our bank accounts. We were fortunate enough to find our home through a fairly close family connection. This certainly made the prospect of living in a house I hadn’t seen easier [classy family😉] but also meant that we had no real concerns about being “allowed” into the house, and there as no need to deal with estate agents. The tenancy agreement is a formality, but as our property comes with bills paid, it is the only real proof of address we would have for the foreseeable future.
With our tenancy agreement in hand, we set about registering with the police (which you have to do as a non-Spanish citizen). We read a lot about the número de identidad de extranjero (N.I.E.), the foreigner’s identification number. All the posts were telling us to get to the police station early – like 7 a.m, to make sure that we took a Spanish Speaker with us, and to be prepared to wait all day long. Online research and a few real experiences make it very clear that you need an N.I.E number to do anything. It is even a requirement for opening a bank account.
There were several useful sites about getting your N.I.E number in Tenerife, including this post from Tenerife forum and Practical Spain, however, most of the pages i found, including other sites were quite old, with the most recent post I found having been updated in 2014. The infomation is generally correct. The process and the translations that folk have posted on sites about relocation to Spain or blogs like mine are many. None of the posts I read were true to my experience, however.
As part of the N.I.E. process, you have to leave the police station to go to a bank to pay the admin fee. We asked about the process of opening a bank account, fully aware that we would have to return once our N.I.Es had been issued. We were pleasantly surprised that Banco Sabadell have a product for non-Spanish citizens where you can open your account using your passport only. As we happened to have those, we went through the process an appointment to collect account numbers and debit card pin codes!
In hopes of making the most of our momentum, we also managed to arrange for a Wi-Fi connection to our home. This was initially quite difficult as our command of Spanish is nowhere near what it needs to be, and all the websites for the major providers are Spanish. We filled in a few on-line forms with the help of Translate, but ended up going to a branch. We figured we would have better luck (and confidence in the products we were signing up for) if we spoke to someone, face to face. As the south of Tenerife is full of tourists, we have found that most service providers will have a member of staff who will be able to speak basic English. This has resulted in many opportunities to practice what we are learning.
So we have all the tools we need in order to get our lives going, and to settle into Life in Tenerife. With all the adult things sorted, we have more driving and vistas to enjoy, a visit to the volcano of El Teide to look forward to, and our first house guests from the UK! The job hunt is now in progress, and now ‘real life’ begins!
I can’t remember the last time I was this excited to go grocery shopping.
Until the next one,
Be good, or be good at it.