The visa is what you apply for at your designated Spanish embassy in the US to enter the country
correctly (i.e. not as a tourist); residency is what you must apply for once you have entered
Spain under the correct type of visa. Once you have residency, all of your renewals happen within Spain.
NIE is just a number, think of it like a social security number in the US. You get one and then you have that for life.
The residency card is a physical card [which says "Permiso de Residencia"]. The thing is most people refer to the
card (incorrectly) as the NIE. ... [The card may be valid] to a concrete date (as happens with student visas)
or a set number of years depending on your personal situation.
Online, earliest cita I could get was for 2+ months later. So I decided to try
the office anyway, with no cita.
I filled out the application form and made two copies, copied my whole passport, made a summary-sheet
showing when I'd gone in and out of Spain, gave copy of bank account summary,
letter showing medical coverage, copied my Permisso de Residencia (both sides), copy of padron.
Summary-sheet, bank summary, medical letter are in English.
On 9/21 I went to the National Police office in Jerez (Plaza del Arroyo 17) without a cita. At 11:30 or so,
there was no line, and I walked in and sat down in front of an officer. I put my Permiso de Residencia and
passport and stack of photocopied documents on the table.
I pointed to the application form and "1st Renovacion" check-box. She asked if
I had a cita, and I said no, can't get one until
November. She said something like "I can give you a cita for Friday (2 days from now)" and she looked on a computer and
in a logbook.
Then instead she thumbed through the top few of my documents for a moment,
had me date and sign the two application forms,
then said "The documents will be sent to Cadiz for processing. Take them upstairs to be stamped,
then either you're done or they'll send you back down here." I went upstairs, the two application forms got stamped,
back downstairs. Officer gave me one stamped application form back, took the rest of the stack, said you'll
get a letter in the mail, done !
It happened so quickly that later I wished I'd checked the stack of documents more carefully before handing it over.
I think I gave them all the right stuff, maybe with a couple of duplicates.
Six and eight days later, tried to check status
[may have changed to here
got "no information found". Tried various submission dates, no luck.
Eventually figured out I've been using it wrong all along: the "Cl@ve" icon
is hiding ALL digital ID methods, not just Cl@ve (which I don't have).
Clicked on it, clicked "eidentifier", used my digital certificate, and it found my tramite !
In progress, two weeks after I submitted it. And it gave me the expediente number,
which I didn't have before.
On 10/17, received a letter (dated 10/5) saying I must pay tasa of €15.76, which means they're
approving my renewal. Have to pay the tasa within 10 days of receiving
the letter. Then within 15 days of paying the tasa, have to mail the paid tasa
to the extranjeria office in Cadiz.
Paid the tasa and mailed one copy on 10/19.
10/29, online status still says "en tramite". So I guess it won't change through
the various stages of this process, until done at the end.
11/8, I had a cita I got long ago, so I went to the office. They said "still en tramite,
you just have to wait for a letter in the mail, and anyway you won't be coming to this
office, you'll be going to aother office". And they gave me a slip of paper with another
office's address, also in Jerez (Plaza Domecq 46-47).
Then I said "I'm traveling to USA, do I need to get a regreso ?", and they said yes.
[Note: I'm in the renewal stage after paying tasa, before having fingerprints taken. Not sure if that matters.]
So I got tasa forms from them (€10.30), went to bank and paid the tasa, back
to office and applied for regreso (submitted EX-13 form, passport and copy of ID page, one of the stamped tasa forms, maybe copy
of residency renewal application form). At first they said come pick it up in 2-3 days, then they
said 3-5 days, then said 2-3 days.
Went back 3 days later (11/11) first thing in the morning, and regreso was done.
Handed over passport, got back passport and a one-page regreso
good for up to 3 months.
1/16, went to the office, they say renewal status still is "en tramite", and the status will change online
when the letter is mailed.
On 1/17, the online status changed to "resuelto - favorable" !
On 1/26, received letter saying go to Extranjeria to pick up your card.
1/27, went to Extranjeria. They handed me a tasa to pay (€18.54), said come back
in a couple of days with the tasa, two pictures, and copy of passport ID page (as well as original passport,
old residency card, and letter showing approval).
Tried to check status
got "no information found". I think their system is having problems.
[May have changed to here
But that doesn't find my expediente either.]
1/30: Back to Extranjeria. Handed over: passport and copy of ID page, renewal sheet I received in mail
AND a copy of it, old residency card, paid tasa form, two photos. Guy grumbled that I handed over copies of same
photo I used 1.5 years ago on my original card, but accepted them. Lots of electronic fingerprinting
of my index fingers, pressing them, then rolling them, several times. Finally done,
but no new card yet. I couldn't quite understand what he was saying, but sounds
like we'll get an automated phone call or SMS in a couple of weeks, come pick up the card somewhere.
I asked if it will be this same office, but couldn't get a straight answer.
He gave me a "resguardo" paper that says it's valid legal ID for 45 days.
Paper he gave me says when that phone call comes, bring passport and old residency card and the resguardo,
come to same office, pick up new card.
2/7 and 2/28: Still can't find my expediente online.
3/1: To Extranjeria. My card still is not available, somehow they received batch 16 but not batch 15 (mine).
Try again in 2-3 weeks.
3/15: Back to Extranjeria, and they had my card. They never called us, and now they say we were supposed
to call them. Card has an issue date of 1/30 on it, so it took 45 days to get from the main office in Cadiz city
to my hands. Valid for 2 years since start date of previous card.
So, the whole process took 1 week short of 6 months.