I still have many posts that I haven’t found time to write and my time here in Spain is zipping to an end but I feel Spain and I have run our course and I am ready to move along and make room for someone else. If that may be you, check out this link.
As for me, I’m looking for an adventure in South Korea. The application process got off to a light speed start, forcing me to jump right into the bureaucratic mess of requesting, notarizing and apostilling documents from 4,000 miles from home.
Suggestion one: when planning to live abroad bring a folder with important documents including several sealed copies of your transcripts, diploma, and maybe even a general letter of reference or two.
This experience may have been easier if i were living in a bigger city like Madrid or Barcelona, where the United States has an Embassy or Consulate, but here in Sevilla it has been quite the process. So, hopefully if you are looking to transition to a new program in a different country and are a US citizen this short entry will help make your life a tiny bit easier.
I had no idea where to go for fingerprints but when I moved here I had to have my digital prints taken by the national police to get my TIE [Immigrant Identification Card] so I figured maybe they could help me. I rushed to the Extranjeria in Plaza de Espana from work and took a number and waited about 45 minutes. I was told I would need to go to the Policia Cientifica en la Jefatura de Policia National on Avenida Blas Infante in los Remedios.
Knowing Spanish business hours, I didn’t even attempt to deal with the process further and instead I headed to the Policia Cientifica the following day, arriving 20 minutes before they headed home for siesta. When I got into the fingerprinting office they asked me for my authorization letter from the US Consulate… “Excuse me!?” I need Permission from the US government to have my own fingerprints taken? anyhow, no sense in arguing, much less in a police station. They were nice enough to look up the Address of the consulate here in Sevilla.
“But wait!, didnt you say there wasn’t a consulate in Sevilla”, i’m sure you might have though. I was as surprised as you might have been. I sprinted over to Plaza Nueva and asked around. You would think there might be some hint, maybe a United States Flag, a seal of the USA or even just some people gathered around speaking English outside [then again that last one is pretty much anywhere in sevilla, especially Calle Betis and Calle Alfalfa].
I finally came to building 8B and noticed a sign in the entry way and took the stairs two at a time til I hit the second floor. After ringing the buzzer and banging on the door, staring into the camera, probably, secretly fed into some NSA database, I mouthed to the camera, “I guess no one actually works here” and went down stairs. looking more carefully at the sign it turns out that they only work 10-1, almost as good as my hours.
The following day was nasty weather; cold, windy and rainy but I got out of work early and was feeling confident, having paid my dues, going through the run-around. The prints were at my finger tips; I knew where everything was and what to bring. It would just be a matter of facing [or avoiding as much as possible] the elements and I would have the fingerprints done.
Sucessfully navigate through the casco antiguo’s narrow windy streets without getting lost while heading to US consulary office in Plaza Nueva. Check.
Remember to bring Passport. Fail [but I managed to provide sufficient identification]
Bring 38 Euros to pay for authorization letter. Fail [but I was allowed to pay by credit card]
Get an authorization letter and ask for two blue Standard FBI Fingerprint Forms, which they should have on hand. Ask them to put it all in a big envelope and make it look extra official.
From there head to Puerta de Jerez to catch the metro [get a card from the machine you need two viajes with zero saltos the price should be about 3.50 and at the end you get back one euro]
Get off at Blas Infante [when you come up the stairs and exit the metro station the police office will be across the street from you.
Stop at the guard shack at the entrance. You may be asked to wait for 5 to 30 minutes for someone to come out and accompany you to the fingerprint office. They will go and make copies of your prints and they will keep your authorization letter and you will leave with your fingerprint cards and a new letter from the police station.
To send the documents via FedEx get off at Metro San Bernardo. When leaving the station look for a little tan box which will take your card and spit out a Euro. You will find a Mailboxes Etc at Calle Camilo Jose Cela, 2 , which is close by. To expedite shipping [2 days] it will run you 35 Euros or Standard [5 days] for 25 Euros. You can pay with card.
When dealing with bureaucracy it’s hard not to get frustrated but this time I feel like I’ve pulled Excalibur from the stone. I Wish you luck.