Auxiliar in Spain:
Bank Account, Apartment, Phone, TIE, etc…

I remember this time last year, I received my carta de nombramiento for the Auxiliares de Conversación program. I was so excited because I wanted to live in Spain more than anything. I started emailing the school, did my research about the town, and even stalked my director in Facebook. HAHA. It was all exciting and romantic until you realize there’s loads of things you need to do to get your new life started.

After months of anticipation, anxiety and all that visa hassle, you can finally breathe. Congratulations, you’re finally going to Spain! But wait, where are you going to stay? How will you get paid? What happens after your visa expires? How can you get a new Spanish phone number? Here I wrote some tips and info that might help ease your mind and answer some of your questions about moving to Spain as an auxiliar.

finding an apartment spain

  • This is the first thing you need to take care of because you wouldn’t wanna spend days or weeks in a hostel while you look for a permanent apartment.
  • Email your school to find out where most of the teachers live. This way, you get an idea where the ideal place to look for an apartment is. Plus, there’s more chance you can carpool with your co-teachers to school.
  • You can start looking for apartments online. I decided to live in my school’s pueblo because I wanted to be able to go to school by walking and of course, rent is cheaper. I found mine through Fotocasa. Other websites you can scour are Idealista, Enalquiler and EasyPiso. You can also join Facebook groups of auxiliares or Erasmus students so you can watch out for available piso announcements.
  • Yes, it’s risky to pay the fianza before seeing the piso in person but I have some friends who did it. They paid via moneygram to reserve the apartment they liked. What’s the rush? When you get here in late September, you have less options because the best ones are already taken.
  • Rent depends on many factors. Expect to pay more if you decide to live in the center and/or by yourself. Most auxiliares live with roommates – sometimes with fellow auxies or sometimes with Spaniards. I shared a 2-bedroom piso with my boyfriend for 150€ per month plus gastos (electric and water bill).
  • There’s also the option of doing au pair if you’re lucky enough to find a decent family you can get along well and whose kids aren’t little devils.


getting phone number spain

  • To save yourself a ton of hassle, bring an unlocked smart phone. My iPhone contract with Globe was not yet done so I requested it to be unlocked a hundred of times. I paid everything to have it terminated but you know the customer service of that company is such a mess and they told me lots of contradicting answers whether they could unlock it or not. Long story short, they unlocked it when I was already a month here in Spain.
  • Everyone uses whatsapp so no need to find a good SMS or call plan. I recommend getting pepephone’s data plan. I’m pretty sure it’s the cheapest deal you can get here. I pay 15€ a month for 3GB and if I go over the limit (which usually happens), I can just extend it to another 3GB for the same price.


setting up bank account spain

  • Try to do it on your first week in Spain. Your school would require it because you would be most likely paid via bank transfer.
  • Choose a bank that’s available all around Spain, not just regional. I went with laCaixa because many auxies were recommending it. If you’re under 26 years old, the account is free. You just need to have a maintaining balance of 10€. I deposited 50€ and I was surprised that they deducted 30€ for being ex-comunitaria. It sucked but it was just a one time thing.
  • Just go to the bank of your choice, submit the requirements (photocopies of your passport, visa and your carta), sign some stuff and voilà! nope you won’t get your card yet. They’ll call you in a week or so to pick up your new, shiny debit card.


getting empadronado spain

  • The Certificado de Empadronamiento is not required for all. In some comunidades, they require it to apply for your TIE. In Andalucía, I think it’s not required (in Málaga at least).
  • If you do need it, go to your town’s ayuntamiento and bring your apartment contract and your passport. There are two types of documents you can get, a volante and a certificado. A volante or the temporary proof can be issued on the day of the application while a certificado takes 2 days.


applying for tie spain

  • This is the answer to the question “what happens when my visa expires??“. You need a TIE – tarjeta de identidad de extranjero. Once you get here, find out where you need to go to apply for it. It depends on your town or comunidad. In Málaga, TIEs are processed in comisarías de policía, while some in oficinas de extranjería.
  • NIE refers to the number. You get it once they grant you a visa. It never changes even when you renew your card. TIE is the card that you need to get before your visa expires.
  • Police offices in small towns usually do everything faster and there’s no need to request for an appointment. I first went to the comisaría in Málaga center and I waited at least an hour just to get a cita. I didn’t wanna wait weeks for my cita so we asked a comisaría in a nearby town if they could do it there. No cita previa needed, I got it all done in less than an hour. They asked me to pick up the card 45 days later.

Still got questions you keep on obsessing over? Don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments section!

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  • Reply
    July 26, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    How fast is it to open a bank account in Spain? Can I open an account from here (Philippines)? And what do you think is the better option between La Caixa and Caixa de Catalunya?

    This urgency stems from the requirement of the University housing services in providng a Spanish bank account within three days of stay. Quite unreasonable actually for a foreigner…


    • Reply
      Joanne Skywalker
      July 26, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      Hi Coelem! Some banks only require your NIE (in your passport) while some banks require empadronamiento too. I’m not sure with other banks but laCaixa was super easy to deal with (and there was one close to my apartment). They opened my account the same day and I got my card a week later. If you’re under 26, the account is free. They deducted 30 eur though for being an ex-comunitaria. I’m not sure about opening an account from the Philippines. I think it’s definitely doable even in your first day here in Spain.

  • Reply
    October 1, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    Hi Joanne! I’d like to ask how you got your iphone unlocked from Globe? 📱 They are currrently telling me that it cannot be done since I am already in Spain. I can’t use any local sim here yet because of it. 😭

    • Reply
      October 1, 2016 at 11:33 pm

      Hi Celine! Yes, they CAN do it. But you have to be persuasive I guess. They told me that several times too but I didn’t take no for an answer. I paid my contract so they should set me free. I was already here in Spain when they unlocked it but my mom back home was helping me follow up. Good luck!!!

  • Reply
    April 19, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    Hi! What a right timing for me reading your life experiences in Malaga Spain because I am also heading there to be with my husband. Good thing i found your blog ‘coz i am learning so much from It. Hoping to read some more. More power!

  • Reply
    December 9, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Hello, will be entering Spain as an auxiliar from January to June 2018, do we need to be empadronado since it’s just six months? I’m assigned in Alicante.

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