How to Renew Your Student Stay Card (TIE) – Tarjeta de Estudiante

You’ve finished another year in Spain and it might’ve been your first one working as an English language teaching assistant. Or it might be your second, third or fourth year as an auxiliar de conversación. Whether or not you’re familiar with how to renew your student stay card (Tarjeta de Estudiante – TIE), this post will serve as a reminder on how to do the process, step-by-step. Bookmark this post and go back to it at the end of each school year you’re in the program to refresh your memory on how to renew it. I will say, of all the bureaucratic processes I’ve done in Spain, this was one of the least painful. Well, I’ll tell you this, it requires a lot of patience in terms of waiting for the application to get approved. On the bright side, the steps to complete the process are less of a headache and become more routine the more you repeat this process.

Or at least it will become more routine the more student or residency TIEs you renew, the more practice you get with this process.

Whether you will be turning in your application in person or submitting it virtually via the Mercurio platform, prioritize treating yourself to a cup of coffee, a full breakfast (see above) or an alcoholic beverage afterward. You deserve it!
(Photo from a hidden gem in Northwestern Madrid, Madridelicia)

Before I get started breaking down the TIE renewal process, I need you to answer two questions:

  1. Do you have your new carta de nombramiento from either the school where you’re renewing or from the new educational center(s) you’ve been assigned to?
  2. Will you be spending less than 90 days outside of Spain this summer?

If you answered yes to both of those questions, gather your documents and renew your student stay TIE in Spain before you travel for the summer. If you are unable to stay even for just a month (say the month of June or July – if you are living in Madrid), then I would recommend you go back to your home country and apply for a new student visa there. However, you will run the risk of not being eligible to apply for a residency permit after living in the country on a student visa for three years. My best advice for you is to consider both your short-term (working at a school in Spain for another year) and long-term (working and earning full residency years in Spain) plans wisely.

If you’ve got your new school or educational center assignment in hand or it’s on its way shortly, ¡enhorabuena!, you are ready to start the renewal process for your student stay TIE in Spain.

My Backstory

I lived in A Coruña from September 2014-June 2015 but made frequent visits in 2016 after I moved an hour away. I definitely loved being in the city in August when it’s beach weather, though! (Photo of Playa de Rizaor, August 2020)
From September 2015-August 2016, I lived in the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage destination of Santiago de Compostela. But, I only saw the ever-present scaffolding cease to exist on the Catedral de Santiago on a quick visit in August 2020.

During my time as an auxiliar de conversación, I worked in three different cities and schools across three different cities (and two different regions). I had a relatively positive experience at each one of those schools but each of them did not want to renew me to work there for another year. Now, it wasn’t because I hadn’t fulfilled my auxiliar duties or didn’t get along with the teachers and students. You might be familiar with this phenomenon that has occurred on a number of occasions all around Spain.

Have you ever had a bilingual coordinator or director relay the following sentence to you?

We want the children to be exposed to other cultures and accents and so we don’t renew assistants for another year at our school.

A classroom in CEIP Pîo XII – where I worked in Santiago de Compostela (November 2015)

In other words, they wanted to spin the auxiliar roulette wheel and try their luck at getting an assistant from a different part of the US, an English, Irish or Scottish (or Australian or New Zealander). They don’t consider the fact that you, as the current language assistant, have hopefully formed bonds and relationships with the children at your school and are familiar with them. They don’t consider the adverse effects of uprooting a familiar person from the children’s lives after just nine months of getting to know them.

Granted, this could be what some teachers or coordinators say to assistants who don’t bend over backward to do anything they ask or are not extroverted actors instead of polite, professional, introverted teachers who mainly strive to be good ambassadors of both their home country and native language. Everyone’s experience and tolerance in the Spanish public school system are different so I digress.

When Spanish bureaucracy gets you down -and it inevitably will-, head out of your city and get into nature!
(Rascafría, October 2021)

Staying in the Same Province at the Same School

If you are staying in the same province and renewing at the school where you were placed last year, all you need to do is submit your application to one of the Extranjería locations in your province. It’s really important that you remember that your student stay card (both the first-time card and all renewals) is tied to the province where you live, not necessarily the region where you live. Unless you live in the Comunidad de Madrid where the province is the same size as the region, you will need to go to the Extranjería in your province, which will likely be the same one where you submitted your TIE application at the beginning of the school year.

So, the general guideline is to submit your renewal application as soon as possible. Based on my previous years’ experience and current assistants posting on Reddit and the Facebook Auxiliar Groups, most school assignments are sent out in May and June in most of Spain.

Future or current Madrid auxiliar hopefuls should expect to receive their school assignments in mid-July once the regular school year is over. You won’t get in trouble for staying in Spain over the summer or encounter any problems with your visa status. With that being said, I recommend you don’t travel outside of Spain and especially in the Schengen Zone until you do turn in your application and get the confirmation receipt for it.

Important Note: You can renew your student stay permission starting 60 DAYS before your TIE card expires or up to 90 DAYS after the expiration date. Be vigilant and count (and recount) how many days before or after your TIE’s expiration if you are cutting it close on either side of the deadline. You will run into problems (and possibly fines if you turn the paperwork in late) if you submit the application too early and too late. And you have to submit it either yourself or have a lawyer do it for you, though I strongly don’t recommend the latter.

Student TIEs for the auxiliar program tend to expire on May 31st when the program ends around most of the country (except for assistants who are working under the Comunidad de Madrid it will end on June 30th). Keep in mind that you most likely won’t be able to apply to renew your student stay card before it expires due to when different regions tend to assign school placements.

Now that we’re sort of in the digital age in Spain, the Extranjería is encouraging student TIE holders to renew their cards online through their platform called the Mercurio Platform. To get specific instructions for how to do the process in your Comunidad Autonóma or the one you’ll be moving to next year, go to the Delegaciones de Gobierno on the Ministerio de Política Territorial’s website and click on your region. Once the page loads, click on “Extranjería” underneath the Servicios category.

For anyone living in the Comunidad de Madrid or moving here for the 2022-2023 school year, this comprehensive PDF explains how to do a prórroga de estancia por estudios in this region.


Documents to Gather

Madrid’s Financial District with outdoor terraces (near Azca and the Torre de Picasso, July 2021)
  • Two completed and signed copies of the Solicitud de autorización de estancia y prórrogas EX-00
  • Photocopies of all the pages in your passport (Note: printing shops no longer print these in color)
  • Photocopy of your affixed student visa from the Spanish Consulate where you first applied
  • Letter of appointment (carta de nombramiento) from your current school year (2021-2022)
  • Letter of appointment (carta de nombramiento) for the upcoming school year (2022-2023)
  • Letter of completion (carta de aprovechamiento) for fulfilling your language assistant duties for this past year (2021-2022) and at least one or more schools, if you worked at two schools this year*
  • Copy of proof of payment of the Modelo 790 Código 052 tasa (processing fee)
    Cost: 17,49€ (as of May 2022)
    Download the form here. **See instructions below on how to fill it out
  • Copies of your current student TIE (front and back in black and white or else the application will NOT be accepted)
    For ID purposes:
  • Your original passport
  • Your current student TIE

*I only worked at one school at a time in my years as an auxiliar but I have heard from more recent assistants that you only need to get a carta de aprovechamiento from one school. Don’t take my word for it, double-check with your own assigned schools to confirm what you need to do.


**Select the province where you will be submitting your application from the map on the next page. In the category labeled, “AUTORIZACIONES Y DOCUMENTOS PARA EXTRANJEROS,” check the box next to the line that says, 1.3 Prórroga de la autorización de estancia por estudios, movilidad de alumnos, prácticas no laborales o servicios de voluntariado (titular principal y sus familiares).

Translation into English: Renewal of Authorization to stay for purpose of study, student mobility, unpaid internships or volunteer work (primary cardholder and their family members/dependents).

The above line on the tasa form is still the line you will check if you are renewing the student stay TIE for yourself (titular principal) or the TIEs of any dependents you might have (sus familiares). Fill in the remaining personal information, save and print out the form and pay it in person at a bank or pay online.

If you don’t find a bank that will let you pay the fee for your application, keep trying other offices until you do. I have been with Abanca since 2014.

I always recommend paying in-person at the bank teller’s window vs. online or at an ATM in case there are any technical errors or failures. Aim to pay the fee and get the stamps on your forms from the bank between the hours of 8 to 11 am, unless you are an account holder at one. I’ve been turned away from banks on Gran Vía at 12 pm because I had missed the allotted time to pay immigration fees. It is one of the most frustrating parts of these processes and that is why I recommend doing this in advance.

You can even pay the first tasa up to 90 days before you submit your application so remember that if you just want to get ‘the visit to the bank’ part of the process out of the way before the heat really starts to get intense. Don’t sign any of the forms (except for the bank’s copy) until you get to your appointment at either the Registro General or the Extranjería office in your province.

Book Your Appointment at the Correct Office

A Note on Switching Regions & the Applicable Rules


How long do you have to apply?

There are no special exceptions when changing regions and applying to renew your student TIE in a new province. The rules on the Extranjería’s website state that you can renew any student or work permission starting 60 DAYS before your TIE card expires or up to 90 DAYS after the expiration date.

For example, if your card expires on May 31st (as it will for many language assistants’ cards), then you will have 90 days starting from the day after the card’s expiration date. The last day will not be August 31st as you may be estimating in your head right now.

Why is that, you ask?

Well, it’s simply because the months of July and August each contain one extra day each in them, which puts your 90-day maximum limit just a couple of days before that date on August 28th. It’s very, very likely -if not guaranteed- that you will get your school assignment and accompanying letter well before that date so you won’t be running up against that deadline. However, on the other hand, submitting your student TIE renewal application within the “60 days before” time frame, won’t exactly work either.

You’ll barely be getting your regional placement any earlier than the month of May. Why? New and renewing assistants’ cartas and placements have gotten a bit delayed in the last couple of years thanks to the stress of the pandemic bearing down on the Spanish educational system and government offices.

If you find any of this stressing you out just thinking about it, bookmark this post and head to the beach – both literally or figuratively. For anyone unable to leave Madrid, visit Café del Rey and enjoy their beach-themed terrace. (Located behind
Prîncipe Pío station)

My best recommendation for anyone who has the common TIE expiration date of May 31st (for everyone except Madrid) or June 30th (only for Madrid auxiliares working under Cupo Comunidad) is to stick around in Spain until you get your carta de nombramiento (placement letter). If you have some money saved up from the school year, want to continue your private classes with Spanish students or don’t mind the idea of working short-term (1-2 weeks) at a summer camp, then you can certainly stick around until you receive your letter in hand.

I feel that a lot of people doing the program make the mistake of leaving Spain right after their contract ends and going home to get a new student visa to return the following year. Unless you have a guaranteed summer job that you’ll be going back to and therefore must be home by a certain date, it doesn’t really make sense to rush home to me. Especially when renewing your TIE in Spain vs. getting a brand new student visa for the following year could result in whether or not you could one day get approved for a work permit and earn full residency years in the country. It’s just not worth the risk, though not enough language assistants know this. So, part of writing this post, albeit years after I last renewed my final student TIE, is my way of educating my readers on how the renewal process and teaching you guys some of the lesser-known but highly valuable immigration tips.


My story about moving from Galicia to Madrid

Settle in for a bit of a rather interesting anecdote about one of my craziest experiences with Spanish bureaucracy to date. (Pictured: Cafe de la Luz in Malasaña)

I must preface by saying that while I was in the auxiliar de conversación program in both La Coruña and Santiago de Compostela, my student TIE expired well after May 31st.

Why?

I don’t have the exact answer other than the fact that it was a clerical error. The very first TIE I ever had expired on July 31st, 2015. And when I renewed it for the first time and changed schools (but not provinces) did the office worker who processed my paperwork at the Extranjería in A Coruña fix the error?

Nope. It was either just accepted as true despite my school assignment letter stating that the program years for auxiliares ended on May 31st or the error simply wasn’t ever caught.

Did I mention how confusing and perplexing Spanish bureaucracy is?

And it still didn’t get fixed when I renewed for my third and final year in Madrid, where the program ends on June 30th* every year.

*If you’re wondering why that is, the short answer is funding. There are many more language assistants who get placed in Madrid due to its size and there is more funding to keep auxiliares working through to the end of June, which is the official end of the school year.

What I realized as I was writing this post is that I’ve never had to think about what I would do if my cards had expired on May 31st like everyone else’s. Nevertheless, I’m going to tell you what I did and what I would do differently since having that thought.

In 2015, I stayed in Coruña for almost the whole month of June and put in my renewal paperwork around June 12th. I also must mention here that I did not desempadronar (essentially “deregister”) from the apartment where I was living near Riazor so that I could submit my renewal app in Coruña vs. having to wait to submit it in Santiago without a place to live yet. The registry listing lasts for two years and technically you are supposed to go to the office where you registered (or in your new city) and change your address. I would have likely had to have gone back to the US to apply for another student visa and I just did not want to pay triple the cost of what it was going to cost to renew the student TIE in Spain.

In hindsight, it was a good thing I kept the registry at that apartment – even though my landlords kindly asked me several times to take my name off that address- because I couldn’t find a room in Santiago that came with a landlord who was willing to let me register at my new address (and I had two of them that year).

Nothing like the classic stone architecture and gleaming windows to keep you entertained in Coruña

Anyway, about two and a half weeks later, I applied for the autorización de regreso to fly home to the US for less than 90 days. I had already booked my round trip flights about a month in advance and had to beg the funcionaria at the Coruña Comisaría to issue me the authorization form by the following day (a Friday, I believe) because I was going to be on a train to Barcelona that very weekend in order to fly out for my international flight the following Monday. I did get the form – which the workers there told me usually takes a week to process – and my travel plans worked out just fine.

However, little did I know, my TIE renewal application got approved about a month after I turned it in and the letter was waiting for me at my old apartment. I couldn’t do anything about it until I got back to Spain in late September. I learned that this was fine to do so at this province’s Extranjería but I always advise anyone else to check and see if there are expiration dates for these processes or if they throw TIE cards away after a certain length of time.

It is never a bad thing to be too careful with immigration applications in a foreign country.

The most epic festival I ever experienced in Galicia and I was so glad to have done it: Día da Patria Galega on July 24th/25th. (Photo from July 2016)

In 2016, with the knowledge that my card would last me through most of the summer and that I would need to submit the application in my new province (Madrid), I stayed in Santiago de Compostela until the end of August that year. I was working on a couple of large translation projects with local and international clients (the local one was a friend who paid me in cash) so I had things to do and my very affordable rent (175€ + utilities) was paid up with the extra cash I had earned and my deposit for the 2-bedroom apartment I was sharing and renting.

I traveled locally and enjoyed a surprisingly dry summer in Galicia that year, a phenomenon that I was convinced did not typically happen. I moved in with a friend in Coruña and stayed in her spare room with all my belongings to date, minus a suitcase I had left in storage with someone from my church in Santiago. I finished work on the large translation project I was collaborating on with a native Spanish-speaking editor and organized my things and life before heading down to Madrid on the train. I had an apartment lined up with a friend/acquaintance at the time so I delayed the whole nightmare piso – hunger games search that anyone who moves to Madrid at least once during their stay and paid a surprisingly low price of 250€ for the room. It later turned out to be a nightmare experience of its own but telling that story would just get us off-topic. So, since my student TIE card didn’t expire until July 31st that year, I roughly had until October 28th to submit my renewal application.

The only time I’m happy to see multiple small photos of my face is when I have to get my fingerprints done. Here I had to hide the fact that I took the photo in October but needed to submit it in March of the following year.

After taking some time to get settled in my very temporary housing (unbeknownst to me) for only five full weeks, I researched the Extranjería and local government pages and got my head around the process. My roommate at the time almost sabotaged both Fridays I was planning on going to the Extranjería office (which was located at the opposite end of where I was living at the time – Carabanchel -) by making tons of noise and Skyping late into the night.

I succeeded in turning in my application in full and managing not to look too sleep-deprived in my ID photo on October 7th that year. I remember it took until February 21st, 2017 to receive the approval letter, which showed up at my school, much to the surprise of my bilingual coordinator. (I don’t see a problem with having done that because my insurance policies always got sent to my schools, so…) It was a good thing I had put the school’s address down because I was in my 3rd and final apartment for that school year.


Tips for Appointment Day

Regardless if your appointment is in the morning or not, make sure you start off the day with a good breakfast and a satisfying hot (caffeinated) beverage. (Pictured: a chai tea latte from Rebel Café)

In general, I want to advise you to stay calm and relaxed when your appointment day arrives. I hope by reading this post and following these steps, which have been double and triple checked through the years, you will gain confidence and your nerves will fall at the wayside. You’re more likely to make mistakes or forget to grab a document or a folder if you are hungry, tired or anxious (or all of the above).

The best thing you can do is keep track of your documents in either a physical or digital folder and organize them a couple of days before your set appointment day arrives. Or when the time comes for you to submit your application online, but more on that later in this post.

A note about the EX-00 application form itself: leave any line of it blank if you’re unsure of what to put or have a question about any line on the form. I always did this when I was doing these renewals by myself and asked the funcionario who reviewed my case what I should put in each missing gap. The most important thing not to check on your application form is the box with the following line at the bottom of the first page: “CONSIENTO que las comunicaciones y notificaciones se realicen por medios electrónicos.

Translation to English: I consent to receive letters and notifications through an online digital portal.

You are essentially saying that you only wish to receive any letters and updates about your approval status for your application electronically through the Extranjería’s Sede Electrónica, which is only accessible to applicants who have a digital certificate installed on their computers. The office won’t notify you by regular mail and you’ll run the risk of not knowing what is wrong if your online application status doesn’t properly reflect your situation.

If you are handing this application in person at an office and are staying at the same home address for the coming year, there’s really no reason to check and consent to receive electronic notifications. A friend of mine a few years ago accidentally checked this box thinking it would make the notification process easier for him and his dependents but it did the exact opposite. It delayed his application up to twice as long as the regular wait time in Madrid and was a huge headache for everyone involved.

A Coruña Province Tips

A Coruña is not pictured here but it’s a park in central Pontevedra – another Galician town you should visit after you finish this process. (Photo from November 2015)

I honestly don’t have any insider tips for applying at the A Coruña Comisaría, which I felt acted as an Extranjería too, but I didn’t know all that much about immigration back then. I just remember it being helpful if you got to the office a few minutes (10-15 minutes) before your appointment to avoid any long lines.

It looks like you can’t make an online appointment to turn in your application (but you can for the toma de huella cita later on) but you can call the office to make one. Check out this link to get the correct phone number and extra information about submitting an application at the A Coruña city office or any of the other provincial ones.

Madrid Tips

Seeing as I’ve lived in Madrid for several years now, I’ve naturally collected more tips for doing these applications here than anywhere else in Spain.

Take all of your documents to be registered at your nearest Registro General. I submitted my application at the Extranjeria Office – formally located on Calle Manuel Luna- and the approval letter later got sent to my school a few months after that. FYI, the Calle de Silva location (off of Gran Vía) is no longer processing this type of application in person.

Make an appointment using this booking system for the Registro General and choose the location that’s most convenient for you (ie: most centrally located, closest to your school so you can do it on a break, the closest one to your apartment so you can pop in and out of the office and go back home, etc).

After you click, “Solicitar Cita,” choose “Conserjería de Presidencia, Justicia e Interior (Oficina 360). Another box will drop down labeled, “Conserjería.” You can either choose the “Calle Gran Vía, 3 (Oficina 360)” **most popular** or the “Calle Carretas, 4 (Oficina 360)” location. For the “Servicios” part, select “02 Registro de Documentación.” On the next page, type in “1” to answer the número de registros question on the next step.

On the following pages, you’ll choose the day and time for your appointment (which gives you up to two weeks’ worth of appointments if you’re checking this on a Monday. Then, fill in your personal information (NIE, Nombre y Apellidos, Número de móvil and Correo) and agree to have a text code sent to your phone to confirm your appointment.

Appointment – Submission Day

Take a few minutes out of your day before your appointment to go on a little walk and maybe enjoy the beautiful seaside, balconies or mountain (or all of the above) views. (Pictured: balconies in one of my old Madrid neighborhoods: Cuatro Caminos)

When Going to the Extranjería

My biggest piece of advice is to double-check that you can even submit your application in person at your local Extranjería office. After some investigation, it seems to me that the offices all around Spain are encouraging students and language assistants to apply for their TIE card renewals online via Mercurio. You can confirm what the office in your province recommends student TIE renewals do by going to the Extranjería en las Delegaciones del Gobierno website.

Near Plaza Mayor in Madrid (July 2017)

When Going to a Registro or to a Correos Office

The biggest tip I can give you here is to hold on to the receipt (generated by their system at the Registro or from Correos) or stamped/stickered application form they give you. Also, remember the offices can only send a 15MB-sized file via their digital registry system.

If you are an American like me who applied for the 56-page US passport this time around, try and make the scans of your passport pages as small but as readable as possible. I almost had an issue with the number of passport pages (plus, my old passport which expired in 2019) I needed them to send the last time I renewed my residency TIE.

When Submitting the Application Online Through the Mercurio Platform

You will need to have the highest form of a security certificate, the certificado digital, downloaded and installed onto your laptop before you can even consider this route as an option. You’ll also need to install a program called AutoFirma to be able to sign and submit all of your documents properly. I have yet to submit a residency application (either first time or renewal) online through the Foreigner’s Office’s portal but I have had a couple of clients and friends of friends do this. The Universitat Politécnica de Cataluyna has a very helpful guide on how to submit an application correctly and I recommend giving it a read!

I will update this section once I submit an application of my own through the Mercurio Platform. Although, from what I’ve heard from other applicants and other expats in Facebook groups, is that this is by far the fastest way to get your renewal approved. Turn around time can be under 2 weeks from the time you submit the application to when you get approval. So plan accordingly for your situation and whether or not you’ll be in Spain over the summer to be able to do your fingerprints and then, later on, pick up your new TIE.

Apply for an Authorization to Return (if you plan on traveling)

It’s the form I should’ve paid for and gotten again before traveling to Italy that year just as I had done for my Scotland trip (February 2017)

Chances are you will want to travel while your renewal application is processing. I don’t blame you with all the ample time you’ll get off in the summer. Funding your travels or having saved up throughout the entire year are different stories but it’s definitely possible to stay and travel around Spain in the summer. Here are my reminder tips for getting the authorization to return form:

  • For Madrid, apply early and check for available appointments on Friday mornings
  • For Galicia/La Coruña or other provinces, please note that the turnaround time for the form could take up to 1 week (or you could get it reduced to 24 hours if you beg them and show confirmation of your flight leaving from another Spanish city as I did several years ago).
    You can try to negotiate a faster turnaround time but it will depend on who you get assigned to your case and how long it will actually take to process.
  • Plan to book your appointment well in advance if you need it in the month of June or stay on top of looking at how long appointments are booked out for.

For in-depth information on the whole process of obtaining an autorizacion de regreso, check out this blog post.


Check and Monitor Your Application Status

For tips on how to beat the Spanish heat, especially in Madrid or in Andalucía, take a look at my tried-and-true summer survival list.

Go to this page (recently updated) to check your TIE renewal status. It might take at least a week or two for your file to be entered into the Extranjería’s system, which is totally normal. Don’t worry if you don’t see the en trámite status the next business day. Depending on how your local Extranjería functions on a daily basis (read: or lacks organization), there might be a bit of a backlog and therefore delay in inputting new applicant’s data into the online system. If on the off chance you don’t see it after one month has gone by, I would get in touch with someone at the office where you either sent or submitted the application to.

Receive Letter or Print Out Online Approval Status **Can Take up to 5-6 months to get approved if in Madrid or Barcelona**

If your application is denied for whatever reason, email: auxiliares.conversacion@educa.madrid.org (or your region’s coordinator) or reach out to fellow ex-pats (and lawyers) in the Spain Guru Facebook Group by posting and explaining your situation. You’ll often find that you’re not alone in this Spanish bureaucracy wild goose chase!

You should get a similar-looking letter in the mail with a familiar letterhead and the word, “SALIDA” at the top. If it’s not familiar now, no te preocupes, it will be soon enough!

In my case, the one time I renewed my student stay TIE in Madrid back during the 2016-2017 school year, it took just about four months for me to receive my approval letter. I didn’t have a long-term address until December 2016 so I put my school’s address in the section labeled “Datos a Efectos de Notificaciones” in order to guarantee the letter would come into my possession. And I wanted to ensure that it wouldn’t get intercepted by a roommate or landlord with whom I was no longer in contact.

Due to the fact that it took four months for my application to get approved and when I looked at available appointments at the Comisaría on Avenida de los Poblados, they were booked 6 weeks out from late February 2017.

(A place that is often referred to as Aluche or Dante’s Inferno – can you guess why?

The long walk from the Metro station Aluche to the Immigration Center on Avenida de los Poblados. It’s either blistering hot, freezing cold or sopping wet – there’s nothing in between. (May 2021)

If you remember how my annual TIE card’s expiration date was set for July 31st each year, I didn’t want to waste 6 weeks of its validity waiting around for my fingerprint appointment. Especially since I had plans to travel to Italy for Semana Santa that year and I didn’t want to be without a valid ID card.

I had heard of people in the Facebook groups and from friends who had booked their fingerprint appointments in one of the Comisarías around the outskirts of Madrid. A few of the most popular ones are Alcobendas, Pinto, Parla, Pozuelo de Alarcón, Alcalá de Henares and Arganda del Rey.

On the way to Alcalá is Coslada, which is where I made my appointment for March 10th of that year. The reason? It wasn’t too far away from where my school was located which was near Metro Canillejas, Line 5 (northeast inside Zone A).

And since the director at my school only allowed me to run any personal or immigration-related errands on my day off, I did it on a Friday afternoon just to spite her. For reference, I had Fridays off during the first semester and then Mondays off for the second semester.

I remember I only worked until 12 pm on Thursdays and Fridays, which was right until the morning break time. I skipped the break and went straight from my last class and out the door, heading in the direction of the metro with all my documents in hand. As much as I would have liked to have gone for lunch or have done something equally as fun after another week working at a school in Madrid, I felt sweet relief completing both the workweek and getting that appointment out of the way on a Friday afternoon. All before 2 pm!

If you come across the same problem as I did a few years ago, I would recommend booking an appointment at the Comisaría closest to your school and going to get your fingerprints done on one of the days you don’t work the full day. Or if you come in later one day of the week, schedule it for the morning that day and get it out of the way. However you set up the appointment, just make sure you plan your transportation route out at least the day before and add 6 extra minutes to your travel time for each Metro/bus/Cercanías line transfer you’ll make.

Current and future Madrid language assistants can find more tips and tricks for using public transportation like a pro in my new e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Madrid’s Transportation Networks.


Book & Go to Your Fingerprint Appointment

The ominous yet surprisingly cool, above-ground station at Aluche. If you have been visiting this Madrid district annually, you’ll remember the 20-minute round trip walk from this station to the Comisaría on Avenida de los Poblados.

Documents to Gather & Bring:

  • Book your cita previa
  • Print out or screenshot of email confirmation (bring a hard copy in case your phone dies)
  • Fill out the EX-17 (like you did for your first student stay card)
  • Volante de Empadronamiento (which you can request by booking an appointment through your local city hall’s website. This one is for anyone in Madrid.) or copy of your most recent bill
  • Passport (original and copy – just in case)
  • Expired TIE (original and copy)
  • Modelo 790 Código 012 to cover the cost of the card
    –Check the box next to the line, “TIE que documenta la renovación de la autorización de residencia temporal o la prórroga de la estancia o de la autorización para trabajadores transfronterizos,” under the Tarjetas de Identidad de Extranjeros (TIE) category. Follow same steps as above when paying for the initial processing fee for your student stay card.
    Cost: 19,30€ (as of May 2022)
  • 3 ID-sized photos
  • Resuelto favorable (approval) letter from the Extranjería
    or
  • Printout of your resuelto favorable status screenshot (from the Extranjería’s Sede Electrónica)
  • Copy of your carta de nombramiento for the 2022-2023 school year

Collect Your New Tarjeta de Estudiante (TIE)

There is a light at the end of the tunnel! You’re almost there. (Pictured: a view of Madrid from La Rosaleda -Rose Garden- near Metro/Cercanías station Príncipe Pío)

Around 25-35 days (depending on your province) after you get your fingerprints done at your local police station, do the following:

  • Make an appointment through the same website where you made your fingerprint appointment and choose the exact same office where you submitted your application (they do NOT transfer residency cards from one office to another)
  • You most likely will have to do this step for a while if you live in cities like Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. Check your local Facebook city group or Extranjería’s website for confirmation.
  • Choose the line “Recogida de la Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero” and go to the next screen which will show available appointment times.
  • You might have to enter a text code within a certain period of time (10 minutes or under) in order to confirm the appointment so have your phone handy for this step.
  • Go a bit early to pick up your card and bring your old TIE (mandatory) and your passport or else they will refuse you entry inside the office and you’ll have to make another appointment and do the whole process over again!

Total Cost of Renewing Your TIE in Spain: 36.79€ (cost as of May 2022 vs. $200+ for applying for a new student visa at your local Spanish Consulate in the United States)

Dehesa de la Villa, Madrid


Frequently Asked Questions about Student TIE Renewals

Is your legal status (estancia) still ok while you renew?

The answer is yes, but it’s highly recommended to start the renewal process as soon as you possibly can. Once you receive your school assignment, gather up all the other documents and make the necessary copies.

Will you get penalized for submitting your application after 90 days have passed from the expiration date?

Yes, and there is a fine now, can be up to 500 and is not worth it! Applications can also be refused or automatically denied if submitted more than 90 days after your card’s personal cutoff date.

And that’s a wrap! Another TIE renewal application is behind you – congratulations! Make sure you save this post and share it with your friends or co-workers if they need a refresher on how to renew their student stay TIEs in Spain.

If you’ve had a different experience with this process or want to add some extra tips for future language assistants, drop them into the comments below!

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