July 28, 2022
Will new regulations affect auxiliares who receive supplemental income in Spain? What should I do before leaving for Spain? How do I find an apartment? What steps should I take first when I arrive in Spain? The 2022 NALCAP webinar covers topics that can help new auxiliaries and returning auxiliaries. Find out more below!
The Spanish embassy has released a video discussing the ins and outs of being an auxiliar de conversación for the school year of 2022-2023. They give advice, personal experiences, and interesting updates. In this post, I will summarize and provide timestamps to the key information. I will also discuss the game-changing highlight for auxiliaries.
NALCAP Webinar 2022
Supplemental Income and Student Visas
The student visa from the NALCAP program does not typically provide the right to work in Spain without first getting authorization from the Oficina de Extranjería through a company request. It was difficult for many auxiliaries to get work permission this way, and even then, you were only allowed to work 20 hours a week. For that reason, many auxiliaries provided and continue to provide under the table private lessons.
There are a few changes for 2022-2023 participants due to a newly announced law during the 2022 NALCAP Webinar. The work authorization will be expanded to 30 hours a week, and in the future it will become easier to convert to a work visa. Additionally, many individuals are automatically receiving the work permission with the student visa TIE.
How to Get Work Permission on a Student Visa in Spain – Guide (if you don’t already have permission)
This is a separate blog that does a great job of explaining the steps in getting your work permission.
“A lot of people have been asking also about supplemental income. I have breaking news today. When you go on a student visa, you’re not allowed to have any other kind of job because you’re a student. As of today, there is a new regulation in Spain that will be in effect, I was told at the end of August, where you will be able to do something up until 30 hours (a week), so you might be able to find some private classes. I’m sure at the school where you go they will be able to help you out with that kind of stuff, so that will help you a little bit because the grant is the grant. It is what it is.
The government of Spain makes a huge effort to provide language assistants for the school system, and it adds up, so it is hard to increase that grant. Now it is perfectly legal to look for private classes to supplement your income while in Spain.”
Source: 2022 NALCAP Webinar
From what I’ve read of the law, it appears that the main change for auxiliary teachers with student visas is the work hour permissions. It also includes sections that help facilitate the change from a student visa to a work visa in the future along with small changes that help improve the work authorization process for many foreigners.
What this means to you, though, is that employers, such as English academies, will be more likely to provide work authorization for people on a student visa due to the greater flexibility in work hours. Remember, your position will be taxed unlike the stipend provided through the auxiliary program.
Private, Under-the-Table Lessons
Those that are unable to find an employer willing to provide work authorization typically provide private tutoring lessons. It is common and well known by the schools involved in the program. In fact, both schools I’ve worked with have offered me private lesson opportunities.
Individuals working and providing private English lessons without work authorization always work under the table only using cash. They are unable to pay Spanish taxes on their income because they legally don’t have the right to work outside of the program.
They are able to find private lessons by using the following common advice:
- Get in contact with the teachers in your school. Usually they will have connections and can help you out.
- Get in contact with other auxiliaries. Many auxiliaries are in contact with English academies, and there is always a lack of English teachers to go around. When auxiliaries offer lessons, they often get asked by the academy and the students they work with if they know any native teachers that are available to teach. Most are unable to meet demand.
- Contact local English academies. Especially now with the changes to work permissions as an auxiliary, it is a great opportunity to directly get in touch with local English academies to set up lessons. Many academies provide under the table private lessons too, even if they are unwilling to go through the work permission process.
- Join a regional auxiliary Facebook page. Throughout the year, people post private lesson opportunities online.
(I do not *officially* recommend anyone pursue private, under the table English lessons.)
Housing in Spain
Do not look for housing and purchase it while you are state-side. You can look and browse, but do not sign/send/pay/book anything.
If you need to use a permanent address while still looking for an apartment, use your school’s address.
Things you can do:
Browse and familiarize yourself with key websites that will help you find an open listing.
https://www.idealista.com/en/ – Highly recommended link. It is the most common method of finding a place in Spain. Browse apartments and check out the posted pictures and conditions.
Plan your temporary stay when arriving in Spain.
https://www.airbnb.com/ – Great option for temporary stay upon arrival (3-7 days would be a good short term stay while you look for an apartment. You can also discuss possible extensions if you have difficulty finding an apartment.)
Join specific Facebook groups for housing and roommates in your region. Auxiliar de Conversación groups will also have posts looking for roommates around the time of entry.
Prepare a short, 50 word introduction for when you apply for an open listing. Mention who you are, the program you are in, and how long you will need the lease. You can give some information about your interests and background. Talk yourself up. In my experience, landlords are more eager to rent to people they like. You can copy and paste this to emails, whatsapp numbers, and open postings.
If you are placed in a small town without these resources, you can ask for help through your school. More than likely a teacher or family member of a teacher or student will have a room available.
Opening a Spanish bank account should be one of the first things you do when arriving in Spain. It is necessary for acquiring an apartment, getting a phone contract, and it allows the school to transfer you your stipend. It is one of the highest priority items upon arrival.
It can seem very difficult to get a Spanish bank account as soon as you arrive in Spain. You haven’t registered your address yet or received your residency card, but many banks only require a passport, such as BBVA. I personally have Sabadell which only required a passport, but I’m looking into switching bank accounts because I will start receiving maintenance fees once I age out of the special offer.
Other recommendations include online banking with a Spanish IBAN (The IBAN is your account number + routing number for European banks. You need a Spanish IBAN while in Spain). In the Webinar n26 online banking was personally recommended because it does not have withdrawal fees or exchange fees.
When opening an account, you may find that the bank asks you to come back at a later time or day. It is typical to have limited hours at a branch when new bank accounts can be made. Be proactive and flexible.
For transferring money from your U.S. account to your Spanish account, I recommend using an online service instead of your bank. If your bank is like mine, you can be charged $50 plus a percentage of the transfer amount when sending money to your Spanish account.
Instead, I use an online service. In the past, I used Paypal, but they can create limitations on transfer amounts, and you get charged a markup on the exchange rate when transferring to an international bank account. So even though it appears you are not getting charged huge fees, you end up losing a lot of money in the exchange. Using Wise has saved me a lot in transfer fees, and you make sure you get an accurate currency transfer. I also appreciate how they are transparent about the cost of transferring money abroad.
Wise Referral Link – get a fee-free transfer up to $600 USD
If your transfer exceeds $600 USD, get a significant discount.
Disclaimer: By using the referral link, you will be supporting this website. Feel free to use Wise without the referral link. I still highly recommend it, and I use it personally. Regardless, the referral offer of a fee free transfer can benefit you when going to Spain.
What should you prepare on your first day of class?
The school staff member in contact with you will inform you what to prepare for the first day. If you do not receive information about this, you can ask a few days before your first day what they would like you to prepare.
Typically, your first lesson would involve a form of introduction to yourself, your culture, where you’re from, and traditions from there. Keep it interactive and interesting. It’s also a good idea to bring something with you such as a souvenir or culturally important item with a story behind it. I highly recommend having a powerpoint with pictures since images can help fill the language gap in your introduction.
The first day is an opportunity to let the students learn about you, and for you to learn about the students.
In general, bring basic school supplies with you to your first day. It shows that you care and that you are prepared.
What should you wear on your first day of class?
A good recommendation is to dress business casual the first day (nothing crazy – khakis and a button up shirt work), and see what the other teachers are wearing. Mirror their example. If they are wearing jeans and t-shirts, you can feel free to do the same.
Be flexible, and try your best to be helpful to the teachers you are working with. Communicate with them and ask what they would like you to prepare for class. I’ve been involved with preparing activities for lessons, participating in school-wide fun events, doing mock-interviews with students, and a variety of other extra activities. I highly recommend making an effort to learn your students’ names.
Remember, you are an assistant, not the main teacher. Make yourself helpful, and allow the school to use you as a Native English resource with unique cultural knowledge. Do not try to take over a classroom. Some days you won’t have as many responsibilities as an assistant, and that’s okay.
Also, even if you speak Spanish, do not speak Spanish in the classroom! It’s a good idea to claim that you don’t speak Spanish when your students ask. You are in the English classroom to teach English, not learn Spanish.
Cell phones and Internet
Getting your Spanish Number
Make sure your phone is unlocked before you go to Spain. If you aren’t sure, call your provider and ask!
When you first arrive in Spain, it can be beneficial to get a temporary plan while you are looking for an apartment, working on your TIE, and getting in touch with the school.
Good options for providers: Movistar, Vodafone, Orange, and Yoigo. I personally have a plan through Vodafone which has a very low rate for the service. The unfortunate thing is that in order to get a contract, you need a TIE (the residency card), so in the meantime, you can use the temporary plan such as a prepaid account. Contracts are typically lower rates for less hassle.
When using the Spanish SIM card, it can be a good idea to hold on to your American SIM card. Most phones can easily exchange SIM cards. This will allow you to maintain access to your old phone number.
It is a program that everyone in Europe uses for communication. This program is often necessary to contact someone in Spain.
Many apartments come with internet service already set-up. You simply have to pay the monthly utility bill. If you apartment does not have internet, you need to contract an internet service provider and go through the set-up process. When you sign up for a plan, the internet service provider will ask for your proof of ID (if you don’t have your NIE, you can use your passport number for many providers) along with your bank information (you need to have a Spanish bank account).
Many of the same companies that provide cell phone plans also provide internet plans, so if you’re in a situation where you need to have an ISP installed, get in contact with these companies. I personally use Movistar and have had no problems. More information about getting internet installed can be found in the following link:
Transportation in Spain
Public transportation! Each region in Spain will have some form of public transportation that will get you to where you need to go. Spain’s public transportation system is well-planned with bus routes, subways, trams, and local trains. Look out for abonos and youth cards in your region. You can find great discounts for what you need, especially if you are young and qualify for a youth card.
If you are placed in a town, it is much more likely that you will use the bus system. Sometimes in very remote and small towns, you will not have access to public transit. In that situation, you will have to get help car pooling from someone at your school. Don’t underestimate the kindness of others when living in a small community, but make sure to offer gas money as well. Gasoline prices are much higher than in the U.S. Along with public transit and the help of others, you can get a used bike and use that for your transportation needs.
Google maps will work for most of your navigational needs, but there are other apps that provide real-time transportation and directions. These apps can be quite useful, so check them out and find out what works for you.
NIE – Identification number. Some consulates provide this with your visa, and others don’t.
TIE – Identification/residency card that allows you to extend your stay in Spain past the expiration date of your visa.
You need to first get an appointment to have your fingerprints taken. The process is explained in the Google Doc. There might not be an available appointment when you check. Keep on checking occasionally to find an availability.
In general, the Google Doc explains everything thoroughly about the TIE process. Make sure to work diligently to collect the necessary documents.
Tasa: When paying the Tasa, you might have difficulties with the barcode and payment at an ATM. I always went inside the bank to pay the Tasa in person with cash. You bring exact cash, present the tasa at the front desk, and make sure you get a copy with a stamp before you leave. This is the proof that you paid the Tasa. Bring it with you to the appointment.
Certificado de empadronamiento: In my experience I found it difficult to get my landlord to sign the lease even though we were already living in the apartment and paying rent. I was able to bring a handful of utility bills addressed to me with the apartment address included to prove that I lived in my stated residence. An unsigned leasing contract is not valid.
Topics and Timestamps
- 0:00 – https://youtu.be/2-woQlbjiNw – Introduction video with B-roll while mentioning the benefits of the NALCAP program.
- 1:23 – https://youtu.be/2-woQlbjiNw?t=83 – Webinar officially begins with the education counselor of Spain for the U.S. and Canada. Further discusses the benefits of the program.
- 4:38 – https://youtu.be/2-woQlbjiNw?t=278 – Embassy of Spain in Miami takes over with a handful of interns. Introduces webinar and discussion structure. 6 major topics will be discussed: Housing, Bank Accounts, Class Preparations, Cell Phones, Transportation, and NIE/TIE.
- 5:55 – https://youtu.be/2-woQlbjiNw?t=355 – Introducing the offices involved in NALCAP. This will give a clear picture to whom you should reach out to in case you have difficulties.
Important information: some, not all of Consulates General of Spain offer the NIE (Your Spanish ID number) with your visa.
- 10:12 – https://youtu.be/2-woQlbjiNw?t=612 – “What to expect in Spain” information.
“You are allowed to renew up to 5 years within the program, but you have to be careful and be informed because there are shorter limits for different regional educational offices. As far as placements go, priority is given to first year renewals in the same region. Then to new applicants and first year renewals who want to change to a different region in Spain, and then 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year renewals.”
- 11:34 – https://youtu.be/2-woQlbjiNw?t=694 – “Before going to Spain”.
Get the visa before going to Spain.
Contact your school when you receive the Carta de Nombramiento (Spanish schools are closed in August, so be patient).
You will not receive your first stipend until the first week of November. Some regions have administrative issues and often have delays in getting the first stipend to you. You need to plan accordingly, especially because you will have extra expenses when you first come to Spain.
Bring your medication with you if you have a chronic condition. Especially enough for the first few months.
Unlock your phone before leaving so you can get a Spanish SIM card when you arrive.
- 14:35 – https://youtu.be/2-woQlbjiNw?t=874 – COVID Related Issues.
For up to date entry and exit COVID related requirements for travel: https://es.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/
Entry into Spain will be 2 weeks before October 1st for Auxiliary English teachers – Consulate of Spain in Miami. Ask your regional consulate when you pick up your passport with the visa because the rules may be different for you.
- 16:46 – https://youtu.be/2-woQlbjiNw?t=1006 – Language assistant’s roles.
- 17:50 – https://youtu.be/2-woQlbjiNw?t=1070 – Documents to take to Spain + 3-4 photocopies.
Passport with information and visa page
Medical certificate used for visa application
Background check used for visa application
Carta de Nombramiento
In general, save all of the documents you have used for the visa process to a flash drive and the Google Drive.
- 20:19 – https://youtu.be/2-woQlbjiNw?t=1219 – Housing.
- 28:12 – https://youtu.be/2-woQlbjiNw?t=1692 – Bank Accounts.
- 32:59 – https://youtu.be/2-woQlbjiNw?t=1979 – Class Preparation.
- 46:20 – https://youtu.be/2-woQlbjiNw?t=2780 – Cell phones and Internet.
- 53:54 – https://youtu.be/2-woQlbjiNw?t=3234 – Transportation in Spain.
- 1:01:44 – https://youtu.be/2-woQlbjiNw?t=3704 – NIE/TIE.
- 1:11:16 – https://youtu.be/2-woQlbjiNw?t=4276 – Supplemental Income.
- 1:12:43 – https://youtu.be/2-woQlbjiNw?t=4363 – Extra questions
What were the first few weeks like in Spain?
What is life like in Spain?
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