Less Strange, Still in the Dark


We were back at the Foreigners’ Office again this afternoon.  Our bag-on-wheels was filled with our passports; our visas; and every single piece of paper (in duplicate, triplicate, or quadruplicate) we have filled out, signed, had translated, notarized or apostiled, and then stamped by the Los Angeles Consulate, Customs, or one or two places in Sevilla.  We were told last time that we would only need four items for this visit, but we weren’t taking any chances.

We also brought the form (one of those aforementioned four items) we were given two weeks ago by the Foreigners’ Office.  We went to a nearby bank the other day, paid our 15 euros, and watched as the form was stamped, scanned, and registered.  It was a tremendous relief when the woman at the bank went online to look us up using our NIEs (Numero de Identidad de Extranjeros, our Foreign Identity Numbers) and easily found us in the NIE database.  We thought that was a good sign.  We figured we were ready to face La Rubia, Thing 1 or Thing 2 — or even Thing 3 again if we were allowed direct access this time!


Our appointment was during a range of time, from 3:30 to 6:00 this afternoon.  So, we taxied over and got in line at 3:21 and waited for the doors to reopen after siesta, this time fully understanding the check-in process.

We were given our numbers.  They began distributing with ticket #10.  We were 18 and 19.  We sat in the waiting room for less than 10 minutes until our numbers were called.  We then waited in the next room (where Things 2, 3, and 4 worked) for about 3 minutes.  And then we met Thing 2.  He didn’t look up.  He didn’t smile when I said, “buenas tardes,” but he did at least return the greeting.  I gave him our forms that indicated we had appointments and we were there to continue the residency card process.  He didn’t look at me and muttered in Spanish.  Well, what are you here for?  I told him we had appointments to continue the process of obtaining our residency cards.  Without another word, he began taking documents from me.  He only needed four documents (we had been correctly informed and we were overly prepared).  He took two of our new photos and trimmed them to the correct size in a nifty little contraption.  I commented on how much I liked the contraption and we then became friends.  Before I knew it, he was done with my paperwork, handed me a receipt and began to work on Jerry’s.  I joked again about the contraption (telling him how much I love contraptions) and he was then truly my friend.  He showed me Thing 3’s contraption, which was much more contemporary and he complained that his was an antique.  I told him I was an antique, so I liked his better.  He laughed out loud.  He told us we would receive notification (an official appointment letter) within about 25 days when it was time to come pick up our cards. He then bid us both a very warm good-bye.  We were done in about 35 minutes and went to Starbucks to celebrate with Frapucinnos and large pieces of expensive and stale chocolate cake. But we ate it anyway.  Because we were happy.


I had a funny conversation with the lawyer at 11:00 this morning.  It made me appreciate that, although he may not work with our same sense of urgency, the “luz” company (Endesa) is not entirely innocent.  The lawyer said he phoned Endesa yesterday and was told he couldn’t call again until Friday.  This was because on Monday they informed him it could take up to four days for them to get back to the apartment to turn on the lights, and Friday will be four days.  They had committed to turning on the lights no later than Friday, and therefore (he laughed as he said this) they allowed him the right to phone Friday and not before.

But, the truly exciting news is that the lawyer phoned me again at noon while I prepared a draft of this post (before heading over to the Foreigners’ Office).  The man from Endesa will be there for the “luz” Friday afternoon at 4.  Is it possible we will be home this weekend?!?  Let’s hope this light at the end of the tunnel is not just the headlight of an oncoming train!

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

25 thoughts on “Less Strange, Still in the Dark”

  1. I'm giddy with excitement at the prospect of luz…
    You'd think that it would all be straightforward in Spain after all the crap you had to go through in LA.
    It does make me appreciate being an EU citizen in as much as you can relocate anywhere within the EU without any such trauma.
    But you're 90% there!

  2. Mitch,
    I feel as though we should have an orchestra tuning up the wings in preparation for Friday. It will be like the curtain rising for a new act in this wonderful adventure you guys are having. I must admit to a little chuckle when you were telling of the observation of the “contraption” in the Foreigners Office. I guess that Thing 2 proves that boys and their toys is an international commonality and point source for helping bridge cultural gaps, Hmm, wondering who our ambassador to Spain is and may be we should see about bumping him/her to another embassy and having you appointed to the post, hmm, just a thought. – gary

  3. Craig:
    What's strange is that what we've done here to apparently successfully obtain our residency cards has been really very little; the problem is that we have no idea what the process is supposed to be. Too bad someone won't just publish the official steps/requirements.

    We also think everything has worked out relatively easily for us because the Los Angeles Consulate was so good at what they did. We actually arrived here with letters from Sevilla that confirmed approval of our income, FBI clearance, etc., and even provided our NIEs.

    Yes, we have often wished over these past months that we were already EU citizens.

    And giddy does not begin to describe it!!!

  4. Gary:
    Wow. I never thought of a career in the foreign service! But does this mean you DON"T have an orchestra tuning up in the wings? So disappointing.

  5. I am thinking that you should be there at 4 on Friday and throw a celebration, making sure to include the "Luzite" who turns it on. Bring him/her a nice gift and thank them profusely. You may be doing someone in the future a big favor if they think they are so important.

    Good Luck and best wishes on your official moving in.


  6. WHAT A RELIEF!!!! i am so glad hearing you will have the Luz-Man on Friday. CONGRATULATIONS.

    While reading your experience in the foreigners office, i felt so bad about the "unpolite funcionario", but i see you have great socials skills and touch his weak point.

    With that kind of super power you are gonna get famous in Sevilla.

    Best wishes guys , and im really happy about the luz.

    Take care and enjoy the city.

  7. Jazintosh:
    The exchange at the Foreigners Office ended up being a pleasure. It's amazing what a little warmth and humor can do. Thanks, as always, for your very kind words, good wishes, and for joining in the adventure. This is a very exciting day!

  8. I'm back from my mini vacation and am trying to catch up. I was sure you'd have luz by now! Ugh! Congrats on making it to the next level of residency. Organization is the key; good for Jerry! Here, have a few more exclamation points!!!!!!! I have more than I need.

  9. Hello:
    Let there be light in all directions! You are obviously making good progress with all of the paperwork but, as we know ourselves, it is all so time consuming and just a little tedious.

    Have a good weekend and avoid any stale cake, chocolate or otherwise!

  10. J&L:
    That stale chocolate cake was definitely a waste of time. We are mentally exhausted. So looking forward to puttering around the house for a little bit. I'm heading to the apartment shortly to wait for the man of light. Can't wait to share the good news.

  11. Great news…….Paul and I went through this process in Germany and also in Hungary and the first time was before the fall of communism! Still, that time we were there as "guests" of the Hungarian government and had a liason person helping. It is daunting dealing with immigration people even for a temporary stay and has always given me a lot of sympathy for people without much education or resources who have to do it. So glad your process went so well! And luz soon! That's great news. Let there be light!

  12. Kristi:
    We had a passing thought to hire a gestor (a liaison) to help us with the process. Couldn't get one to return our calls! So glad we didn't need one anyway. And there IS light!

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