This post is intended for current teaching assistants in Spain (auxiliares de conversación) who are planning to teach again for the 2011-12 school year. I cannot provide definitive information on the NIE renewal processs (I don’t think anybody can, because answers vary widely depending on your region, who you ask, and how lucky you get when you go to the Foreigner’s Office). All I can do is share my personal experience and provide some information which will hopefully be helpful.
On Friday, May 13th, I went to the Jaén Foreigner’s Office with Ben to attempt to renew my NIE. We both currently work in the region of Jaén and are switching to Cataluña for next year. Though we both had scheduled appointments, only Ben’s was in the system, so he went inside to turn in his documents and I accomplished nothing that day. They accepted Ben’s application and told him his new card would be mailed to him this summer. In this blog post he explains all the documents they asked for, though for reasons I am about to explain, be skeptical that your experience will be the same as his.
Yesterday, May 23rd, I returned to Jaén with exactly the documents Ben had turned in. I was with another auxiliar friend who currently works in Jaén and will be in Jaén again for her 2nd year. Though we had both the same forms as Ben, we were both told that NIE renewal is impossible for us. The only document they even looked at was my placement letter from Cataluña. My friend and I were ultimately sent to a man who is supposedly the boss, and he said that because we finish teaching in May and don’t start again until October, they will not renew our cards. Instead we have to go back to the U.S., apply for visas and then restart the process to apply for NIEs in the fall. They insisted they were doing me a favor by rejecting all my documents, because they said eventually they’d get rejected anyhow and I would have wasted a month waiting. For this reason, Ben is now planning to apply for a visa too, in case his renewal request is ultimately denied.
There is a Facebook group where other auxiliares have been sharing information and I found this quote there from an email sent to a Jaén auxiliar. I hope nobody minds me pasting it here:
“He hablado con la Oficina de Extranjeros y me confirman que, en efecto, la renovación como auxiliar de conversación es efectiva desde el 1 de octubre próximo, por lo que desde el 1 de junio, y hasta esa fecha, se ha perdido la condición de auxiliar de conversación. Según me explica la persona con la que he hablado, es necesario obtener un nuevo visado para proceder a un nuevo permiso de estancia en España. He hablado también con las personas de la Consejería de Educación. Me dicen que han notificado al Ministerio de Educación esta incidencia, aunque no garantizan que esto sea finalmente útil. Lo lamento.”
I think auxiliares in other regions of Andalucía may be having more success, but I am really not sure. If you are in Jaén though, you will probably need to get a new visa, so let’s hope there is enough time to get all the forms processed this summer to have visas by the fall. If anyone has more information or advice, please share in the comments.