If you want to start the process of becoming a Spanish resident or renewing your residency before 31 December and Brexit, you’ll need to get things in motion now. David Holzer explains how he made the process straightforward with Mallorca Solutions.
Up until the summer of this year, I was confident I was a resident of Mallorca. I had my dog-eared green certificate. I’d checked it several times and there was no expiry date.
But I kept seeing posts on the Mallorca “I have a question” Facebook group from well-meaning people that contradicted each other. In response to one of these posts, a member of this excellent group recommended Mallorca Solutions to anyone wanting to sort out their residency.
I got in touch with Mallorca Solutions.
As the name suggests, Mallorca Solutions offers help with all aspects of the administrative side of life in Spain: the things their website says can sometimes leave us expats “queuing for hours and getting nowhere.”
I’ve done plenty of that in my time on the island.
Mallorca Solutions told me that my residency was valid for five years and did not hold permanent status so it had expired. I needed to renew it and get one of the new biometric TIE Spanish residents cards. They organised an appointment for me at the foreigners’ office behind the Palma Congress Center – the big glass-fronted building on the Paseo Maritimo next to the beginning of Portixol.
I arrived a little before nine and was immediately thankful I’d gone with Mallorca Solutions.
A queue already snaked down the street from the door to the building. One of these was a kind of general entrance into which people would disappear into from time to time only to reappear scratching their heads. The other door was marked police.
Most of the people waiting were Spanish. If they’re confused, I thought, what would it be like for me?
Mallorca Solutions takes charge
On the dot of nine, the Mallorca Solutions representative appeared. She clearly knew precisely what she was doing. Her English was perfect, her accent a charming mixture of what sounded like Irish or Liverpudlian and Spanish. Striding to the head of the queue for the general door, she asked the first person what they were waiting for. It turned out that the queue was for the wrong door. It should have been in front of the door marked police.
The Mallorca Solutions rep took charge and shifted the queue over to the correct door.
With that, she ushered me and the two couples in our group in through the general door. We had our fingerprints taken – they’re needed to prove your identity when you pick up the card. Next we handed over our paperwork, which was checked by a relaxed, friendly, informally dressed police official. And we were done.
The entire process took not much more than 15 minutes once we were inside the building.
We were told that our cards would be ready for collection in 45 days. Having spent years wrestling with Spanish bureaucracy, I wasn’t convinced. But at around 50 days, I was informed that my card was ready for collection.
Unless you speak fluent Spanish, or have a kindly friend who does so, I would be surprised if you could navigate the process of obtaining or renewing your residency.
With the situation as it is, you don’t have time to waste.
It’s not just that those of us already living on the island are rushing to sort out our residency before the 31 December deadline. There’s also the fact that more and more people are discovering that Mallorca is the perfect place to relocate to if you can work from home anywhere in the world. They too are hurrying to become residents.
(As I understand it, the date of 31 December is not a cut-off point. You can still apply for your Spanish residency afterwards. It’s just that, if you want to avoid uncertainty, it’s better to do it before Brexit finally happens.)
As I strolled along the Paseo Maritimo in the direction of Palma centre, the beach on one side and the cathedral on the other, shining in the sun, I was relieved and happy that the process had gone so smoothly.
I was reminded of when my partner and I moved to Mallorca. We drove down from the UK through France and across the Pyrenees, arriving at a border checkpoint on the road that leads to Figueres before the sun rose. As we approached, I could hear the border guard singing. He waved us through with a big smile.
We were in Spain.