Do you feel overwhelmed and discouraged by the amount of paperwork that moving to Spain involves? It’s understandable. Spain’s bureaucracy can seem depressing at times.
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Don’t feel alone, there are ways to deal with paperwork that will make it seem easier – namely, take one step at a time and don’t have too high expectations and deadlines.
There are even ways to make it happen with minimum involvement on your side.
Spanish bureaucracy is pretty overwhelming for Spaniards too. So, they have created a whole business industry that specialises in filling out various bits of paperwork and taking it to the right places in the right order – gestorias.
Who are gestors
People working in gestorias – gestors – can deal with all the paperwork on your behalf that doesn’t require specialist training and licencing.
Gestors are advisors who can act as your intermediary with the authorities.
However, they cannot really do more than you can as a member of the public.
The advantage of using a gestor is their knowledge of the existing system and how best to work it. When dealing with paperwork, gestors know exactly how to fill in all the forms correctly and what is the correct order of steps you need to take to achieve your goal as fast as possible.
A gestor cannot perform the functions of a licenced professional, an accountant or solicitor, for example, so they cannot give you tax advice or calculate your taxes.
What gestors aren’t allowed to do
Gestors cannot give you advice or provide services related to law and legal matters, including preparing documents for representation in courts.
They can’t give you tax advice or calculate your taxes (however, they can fill in your tax return for you), or consult on other financial matters.
They cannot legalise documents such as power of attorney, wills, or your Title Deed.
It’s advisable to keep any dealings with the gestor to really basic administrative issues. This way you will know your gestor wouldn’t be dealing with anything they shouldn’t deal with.
How gestors can help
Most gestors can speak one or more foreign languages, and almost all of them can speak English. As dealing with most officials involves knowledge of at least some Spanish, gestors can be a great help when it comes to sorting out your documentation.
You might use a gestoria for:
- Applying for residency and NIE
- Opening a bank account in Spain
- Everything related to a car purchase, car registration and your driving licence in Spain
- Self-employment and social security related paperwork
They can also help you with filing your Spanish taxes, translation of documents, council tax, filling in various forms, and even acting as your interpreter in some cases.
Gestors charge for their services, but they save you a lot of time and leg work.
They know things you don’t: which queue to take in a public office, how to approach an official if you have a problem, how many copies of each document you need, and in which order you should collect signatures and stamps.
They also speak English.
It’s worth asking advice from fellow expats before hiring a gestor. They will tell you whether what you want to do is easily done yourself or whether it’s worth recruiting help.
How to find a gestor
As we have mentioned already, gestor is not a licensed occupation and anyone can start a gestoria.
The best way to find a reliable gestor is to seek personal recommendations.
If there’s no one to help you with recommendations, try searching in the Spanish Yellow Pages (paginasamarillas) under Gestorías Administrativas. If it’s an agency also operating as an abogado, you should be okay.
It’s important that you and your gestor can communicate adequately with each other. Either you must speak fluent Spanish or the gestor must speak fluent English so that you can convey exactly what you want and the gestor can explain what’s required from you so that you can achieve your goals.
When you are appointing a gestor, remember that a gestor may advise you on filling in different forms, however, it’s you who signs them, so you are responsible for your own declaration.