Is it such a ‘beast’? Do people go crazy as a result of it? Is a PhD in Astrophysics required to pass its continuous and strict tests? As usual, several factors determine complexity, timelines and outcome of the bureaucracy in Spain.
First and foremost, be prepared to encounter your enemy/tester. Our guest Amber Lattimer suggests to always bring with you all the documents you might need (passport, proof of residency, labour contract, etc.) together with copies of them all and photos. Murphy’s Law can be reframed within this context with “what you might not bring, you will be asked for”. A folder to put in all those materials can help you in that task.
Knowing Spanish or having someone (when possible a local) doing so is also recommended, not only to ensure that you present what it is required, but also because they can dig into bureaucrats’ way of thinking/living and make them treat your case more diligently, reducing also the timeline. Please be aware that bribing is not an option in Spain at this level. Despite the corruption encountered at high-levels, first-line civil servants and police officers will react angrily and even might charge you if you try to influence them with money or presents.
The kind of procedure you try to fulfill is also an important variable. Yes, Visas are tough to obtain but if you meet certain criteria (qualifying for teaching English or studying to do so, coming with a multi-national corporation, having money to invest), there are shortcuts into the process. Interestingly, the other day I helped a colleague who had just arrived from Mexico (with an outdated Spanish passport) to fix his residency at my place (because he needed it in order to obtain the National Id Card that would then allow him to obtain the Passport (yes, a typical chicken and egg situation)) and the process was very fast when I went with him and also left him in the Police station to obtain the Id Card once he had the certificate of residency that was expedited immediately after going together to the council – the alternative for him would have been to wait in Mexico for several weeks till they sent him a new passport, with also less control and means to deal with the Spanish bureaucracy.
Although we will of course deal in further detail with this issue in future episodes, one last consideration is the people you will face. Yes, different persons might lead to different outcomes for bad… Or good. From my personal experience, I remember that when living in the US a bureaucrat did not want to expedite me a driving license arguing that he couldn’t do it. After my colleagues reassured me he was wrong, I came back with someone else and when I saw that person was going to attend me again, I asked the guy who was with me to deal with him and the next civil servant who took my case resolved it almost immediately. Of course, it was the US, but I am sure it can also happen in Spain – another comparable anecdote from my time in Germany will come in future posts…
What are your thoughts on bureaucracy overall? Have you had the ‘pleasure’ to deal with the Spanish one? Did you survive it? Any other remarkable factor you would highlight?
Links of Interest
Public Administration and Visas (Your Way in Spain): http://www.yourwayinspain.com/resources/public-administration-visas/
La Losa de la Burocracia en España (Libremercado): http://www.libremercado.com/2017-05-25/la-losa-de-la-burocracia-espana-publica-900-leyes-y-960000-paginas-de-regulacion-al-ano-1276599688/
Photo: Spanish Ministry of Economy, Madrid.