Okay, I admit it. We are stupid. We've lived in Madrid for about eighteen months now, and only just got registered with the local Health Centre. And that was only because MamaDuck needed to see a doctor. Yes, yes, we always planned to get registered before the need actually arose, but there's always something more interesting to do than dealing with Spanish bureaucracy.
We have a folder that we thought contained every document that could ever be needed for any dealings with the government, and we took it along to the Health Centre.
Here's what you need:
1) Empadronomiento. This is a document from the Census and Statistics Office, and is considered to be proof of where you live. It's important because if we lived in a different barrio they'd have sent us to the Health Centre there. We have the empadronomiento.
2) Original NIE certificate. This is your Foreigner's Identity Number, and it proves you have the right to live in Spain. I had mine. MamaDuck has lost hers. Poo.
3) Social Security Number. Yes, we both have these, but the Health Centre insists that we get a document that says what our numbers are. But here's MamaDuck's number on a payslip, and here's mine on a tax document. No good, go to the SS and request the document. Double poo.
So MamaDuck retires to bed with her cold/flu/chest infection, and I trudge off to the Social Security office in pouring rain, strong winds and freezing cold. It's on a street quite near us, but it turns out to be an insanely long street and the office is at the far end of it. I get two forms, and am called to the desk before I have a chance to fill them in. I explain I need one document for me, and one for absent wife. Oh, no, absent wife must complete the authorisation section on the back. More poo. I trudge home, wake MamaDuck from her slumber, fill in the forms, and get the Metro back to the SS office. They issue the two documents, and then I return to the Health Centre.
They do my registration, give me a temporary document that allows me to see a doctor, and eventually they'll issue a Medical Card. They absolutely refuse to process MamaDuck's application without the NIE certificate. But we know the number of the NIE, it's on her payslips, so why do they insist on this crappy bit of paper? It's the rules, that's why.
But listen, they say. Your wife can see a doctor, but you have to pay 45 Euros. If you return within five working days with the NIE certificate, we'll refund the money. I roll on the floor laughing, and explain that I don't think there's any possibility that we could get a duplicate certificate within five weeks, never mind five days.
Anyhoo, the next day MamaDuck got some photocopies of the certificate from the admin people where she works. The original is still missing. She went back to the Health Centre and they accepted the document. So she's now stoked up with antibiotics, and hopefully will be better soon, although the doc says half of Spain currently has this infection, and it can take a while to go away.
I was talking to an Irish rocket scientist (stop giggling at the back) about this. He's been in Madrid for a few months and has just got his appointment to get his NIE. In June. When I told him about the 45 Euros fee, instead of outrage, he said that in Ireland, you have to pay 50 Euros every time you need to see a doc. And it never gets refunded.
I guess we don't know we're born.
Food on the Missouri Pacific Line, 1948.
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