It’s now five months since my original appointment to renew my NIE, and I have heard nary a word on its progress. I doubt very much that I will get it before I leave the country.
This presents a problem. Because, as previously discussed, each time you leave the country with the intent to return, you are supposed to have a costly (10 euros and TIME) piece of paper that says you are allowed to come back.
Back in November, I got my first Autorización de Regreso with the plan to use it for Christmas travel. Sidenote: On the day of my flight back to Spain from Canada, I helpfully misplaced the folder where I’d put it for “safekeeping,” along with my other travel-related photocopies. (Sorry Mom.) (I put it away absentmindedly while cleaning.) (I found it before I had to go.)
I connected through Frankfurt on my way to Madrid and no, nobody asked me for it.
Autorizaciones de Regreso are valid for three months, so that one expired on February 14th.
Over Semana Santa (Holy Week – the big-deal Easter holiday) I am going up to Irelaaaaaand, the homeland. So I need another Autorización de Regreso. It’s been so long since I got my first one that I consulted my own blog post to remember what I had to do.
And guess what I discovered? They have made the system EVEN WORSE. Marginally, yes, but in an important way.
When you go through the steps of getting an appointment to get the Autorización it leads to the page where you can select an appointment.
Back when I did this in November, you could select from a number of dates with a number of available appointment times.
I usually don’t work on Wednesdays, so I could choose a Wednesday appointment time. NO MORE. Look at this:
Now you get the choice between three specific times. No more, “choose the time that works for your schedule from a list of available times.” No. NO. Now it’s “Here are three available times. You can choose one of these and if they don’t work (for example, if you HAVE A JOB) tough luck, you can hit ‘cancel’ and try again later and hope for some different times.”
WHAAAAT THE WHAT? Why are you making this so difficult? Why can’t you let me choose from any number of available dates in the near future? Why do you insist on complicating things? Why do you make me feel like, actually, I don’t WANT TO COME BACK. Why don’t you love me? Can’t we just get along?
Anyway. Trip begins Friday, March 30 and I’m going to spend some time clicking and re-clicking to try to get an appointment time that works with my schedule. There are plenty of stories out there about whether or not anyone actually cares if you have an Autorización de Regreso, but I have heard of enough (I’m cautious… so even one would have been enough) cases where people weren’t allowed to leave without it (in-Spain passport control) or weren’t allowed to come back that I’m going to suck it up, pay the 10€ and click away waiting for a suitable appointment time.