As some of you might already know, two years ago, I quit my job in the Philippines to grab a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live in Spain. I worked as an assistant teacher through the Auxiliares de Conversación program of the Spanish Ministry of Education. I was given a monthly salary and health insurance but on paper, I was there as a student since they could only grant us student visas. They were paying me to read things aloud and to talk about myself so I couldn’t really complain. My situation was great, if not ideal, but things happened. I fell in love with Spain and… with a Spaniard. So much that I wanted to make it my second home. I had told myself “I’m just gonna live in Spain for 2 years and that’s it, back to reality,” only to find myself wanting to stay there for good.
In December last year, I finally got the pink card officially saying I can work and live anywhere in Europe for the next 5 years. News flash: They don’t just hand those things out like candy! You have to actually go through the nine circles of bureaucratic hell. You can escape it but you have to know upfront that it’s one helluva tedious journey. Some have decided to try, myself included, and I want to share my experience with you, souls out there who are looking into moving to Spain.
What is the tarjeta comunitaria?
Family members of a Spanish citizen or of another European Union/European Economic Area (EEA) member state, who do not hold citizenship of any of the aforementioned states and who wish to reside in Spain for a period of more than three months are eligible to apply for a 5-year residence card called the Tarjeta de Familiar Comunitario.
This card allows you to move and reside freely within the member states of the European Union, show employers that you’re allowed to work in the EU and EEA member states and qualify for certain benefits and services.
- tarjeta de familiar comunitario – residence card for family members of EU/EEA nationals
- pareja de hecho – civil partner/ civil partnership
- alta en la seguridad social – status in Spain’s social security if you’re working
- Oficina de Extranjería – Immigration Office
- cita – appointment
- DNI (Documento Nacional de Identidad) – main identity document for Spanish citizens
- carta de nombramiento – school assignment (only for language assistants)
- funcionario – public employee
- resolución favorable – favorable decision
- tasa – fee
- Comisaría de Policía – Police station
- resguardo – receipt
- pueblo – town
You can apply for a residence card if you are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and the family member of an EEA national who fulfills ONE of the following conditions:
- working in Spain
- self-employed in Spain
- financially capable of providing for himself and his or her family member/s during their period of residence
- studying AND with enough economic resources
Spouses, parejas de hecho, children or any member of the family who is dependent on the qualified EU national is eligible for the 5-year residence card. The boyfriend and I took the pareja de hecho route and this guide will mainly cover what we went through. Bear in mind that I’m no expert on the subject, this is just my experience and other offices or cities might proceed differently.
- Duly accomplished EX-19 application form and copy
- Valid passport of the applicant and TIE if applicable
- Proof of relationship to the EU/EEA national family member that can be ONE of the ff:
• marriage certificate
• pareja de hecho (civil partnership) certificate
• birth certificate
• if unmarried, proof of a long-term and stable relationship with EU national
• for other family members, proof that they are dependent on EU national
- DNI of the Spanish citizen or Certificado de Registro del Ciudadano de la Unión if from another EU member state
- Proof of EU national’s economic means that can be ONE of the ff:
• if employed, employment certificate
• if self-employed, registration in the Census of Economic Activities
• if not employed, proof of sufficient resources and proof of public/private health insurance
- 3 passport size color photographs with white background
- Collect the documents.
While waiting for our pareja de hecho certificate to arrive, we prepared the rest of the documents. At that time, the boyfriend was working so he asked for an employment certificate from his employer and he also had “ALTA” status in the seguridad social.
- Book an appointment at the Oficina de Extranjería.
As soon as the certificate arrived, we booked an appointment at the Oficina de Extranjería in Málaga through this website. Print it and bring it to your cita.
- Make a personal appearance at the Extranjería and turn in the documents.
I was nervous when we were at the Immigration office because my situation was kind of unique. I applied during summer holiday when my student TIE had already expired and I still couldn’t renew it since I hadn’t received my carta de nombramiento. We had been living in Málaga but I was assigned to teach in Madrid. We weren’t sure in which city we were supposed to apply for it. The funcionario, albeit hesitant, took my documents and gave me a stamped photocopy of the EX-19 form.
- Wait for the resolución in form of a physical letter.
The letter should have arrived in less than a month but we ran into some problems. It was time for us to move to Madrid so the boyfriend had to leave his job in Málaga. When we were already in Madrid, they sent us a letter asking for a proof of sufficient resources from the boyfriend since he was no longer alta in the seguridad social. We had to ask his parents in Málaga to submit a bank certificate on his behalf to the Extranjería.
- Once you have the resolución favorable, pay the 10,20 euro fee at the bank using Tasa modelo 790 Código 012 and have your fingerprints taken at the Comisaría de Policía.
While waiting for the resolution, I received my carta de nombramiento and immediately applied for a student TIE in case we got rejected. The waiting drove me crazy because we had already bought our tickets to Vienna-Budapest and if I couldn’t get either of the two cards by then, I couldn’t fly out. Three weeks prior to the trip, my TIE application got approved but still no word about the tarjeta comunitaria. At that point, I didn’t care if the other one was rejected or if I had to cry in front of a funcionario (yes, I had to cry in exchange for a certificado de empadronamiento), I just needed to get a goddamn ID card for my trip. LOL priorities.
I booked the earliest appointment available (even though it was in a pueblo outside the Madrid capital), paid the tasa and went to the police station to had my fingerprints done. You’re not gonna believe what happened. As I was being attended by the funcionario, the status of my residence card application changed to Resolución Favorable! She discarded the paperwork for the student TIE and got the documents for the tarjeta comunitaria! Good thing I had everything! Sometimes it pays to be an overthinker. I left with a resguardo (receipt) with the number of processing days before I can pick up my card.
- Receive your shiny new pink card!
I counted the 25 processing days from my comisaría appointment and I picked up my pink card… just days before my trip!
Thanks, Mother España for adopting your hija bastarda!