So, in the end it was easy. If yesterday hadn’t happened I could have been left with the impression that all the stories I’d read online about this and that going wrong were pure fabrications.
I got up early this morning and walked to Banco Sabadell, where I said good morning to the woman behind the counter. ‘Can I pay this tax here in cash?’ I asked, showing her the form.
She looked at it briefly, and said ‘Sí.’ No fuss at all.
I left there after less than ten minutes, one stamped form in my possession. Now I just had to brace myself for the big one: the appointment with the police.
I arrived about 20 minutes early and was shown into an almost deserted waiting room and given a number: 77. The electronic display was already showing 76, so I was next in the queue! Amazing when I’d been warned to expect a long wait.
After about five minutes, I was just wondering whether I should have got my book out after all when the door opened, a couple walked out and my number appeared on the screen. It was my turn to go in.
The office wasn’t huge. There were just two people behind the desks, both men, neither of them dressed in anything particularly official-looking. I smiled at the man on the left who signalled for me to sit down in front of him.
‘I’m here to get my NIE number,’ I said, passing all the forms over to him.
‘Passport,’ he said, pushing some of the forms back to me. ‘And a copy.’ He proceeded to look at them, but I can’t say I noticed him checking my likeness with the photo. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. ‘And why do you need it?’ he asked, sounding almost bored.
‘Well, you see, I’m doing the CELTA course,’ I said.
‘To teach English as a foreign language. And I need to open a bank account and then to look for work.’
He nodded, tapped away at his keyboard and a minute later printed off and stamped a form, which he thrust at me.
‘There you are,’ he said. ‘That’s it.’
‘That’s it?’ I repeated.
And so I left.
Of course, I soon discovered that the next thing you need in order to open a bank account is an address. Suppose I’d better work on that next.