P#4 Murphey's Law Strikes Again and Portugal NIF/Bank Account
Before I get into the ins and outs of the NIF and Bank Account, I thought I would share another one of my adventures. As established in the Spanish Saga, I am the definition for Murphey's Law. If it can go wrong, it will. Fortunately for myself, I have learned to have a good sense of humor about it and try to find my silver lining.
To be able to start the banking/NIF process, we realized we would need our passports and driver's license, which at the time was still with the Spanish Consulate. We had sent our prepaid box to have it returned and had been waiting for about two weeks. I was worried that it would take months for them to get to it. Here we are in Los Angeles, paying a buttload of money to be close to the consulate, so why not just show up there in person?
We load up the crew and, terrifyingly, go to the consulate. We walk into a room with about 15 chairs that are spaced apart for Covid restrictions. Roughly half the chairs are filled, so we grab some seats and sit down. Now at this time, Johnny and I are super afraid that they will be pissed at us for just showing up as our last correspondence didn't seem that we were a fan favorite.
A woman employee is processing a Visa, and another woman employee is grabbing paperwork, etc. After about half an hour, we are texting back and forth about whether we should go up there and state our purpose or wait until they finish with the appointments. After texting back and forth, trying to get the other one to go up, the woman processing finishes and asks if we are all here for our appointments. I raise my hand and say, we are here to get our rejected paperwork.
The woman has me approach the window as she can't hear me. I say hello and that I am here to pick up my rejected paperwork. She says, "Oh yes, my colleague will be with you." I go and sit back down and wait for the woman to return. The woman in yellow, as we called her, returns from her break. She sits and calls us to the window. I told her that I was here to get my paperwork but wasn't sure if it had been shipped yet. She says, yes, let me get it for you, walks to the back table, grabs a large box, and waves us over to the side door.
She opens the door and steps out to speak to us, holding our box of paperwork. She was very friendly and told us she felt terrible for us because our application kept getting rejected, but they had no choice. I explained the issues with the lawyer and that we were misdirected. She informs us we have everything correct now but it's all expired, and we just have to update everything and they will help get us to Spain. She explains that the email sounded frustrated due to only 2 of them processing 1800 emails and she apologized. We thanked her and headed out.
Once we get to the car, it hits us, how Murphey's Law we are. These two women have been handling 1800 applications, so they are seeing 1000s of people. During this entire interaction, I never said my name one time, not one. This means that out of the 1000s of people they have seen, our applications were so messed up that they knew exactly who we were without us ever having to identify ourselves!
Good thing we showed up in person because we were also informed that for whatever reason, our box was undeliverable, so they have been trying to ship it back to us for weeks without any success...ughghg
My luck, apparently also applies to my cars. I have a 2012 Hyundai Sonata. I bought it brand new in 2012 due to how safe it is supposed to be. I have had nothing but problems. Flashback to 2018. No exaggeration, the engine broke while driving. I had just given birth. My husband drove my car back to the house to swap vehicles and get everything ready to take me and our newborn home. I got a call from the hospital bed that in 107 degrees weather the car just shut down about 15 minutes from our house. He had to get towed and had the whole engine replaced! Luckily we weren't in the vehicle at the time but really?
Fast Forward to last Saturday. We were selling my car to Carmax before driving up to Oregon, so we don't have the two vehicles. We drive the truck and my car and pull up to Carmax. We were quoted about $4000 a few weeks ago but weren't expecting that. Anyways we drive up. I leave the car running and run inside. They have someone follow me to my car, and they ask me to wait about 15 minutes, and then someone will come up and check out the vehicle and tell me to have it running when they get there.
They walk away, and I go to turn my car off, but the key won't come out. No worries, I'm probably doing some ADHD thing where I forget how to use everyday items. They wanted it on anyways, so I will leave it on and deal with it later. 10 mins later, they checked out the car and let me know they would get back to me with a quote within a half hour. They walk away, and I turn off the car. To my surprise, I can move the key and turn the vehicle off, but the key will not come out of the ignition! I text Johnny, who is in the truck, that no matter what I do, I can't get the key out.
He walks over laughing because this is a very me thing, and I'm telling him that this is not a me thing this time. The key won't come out! For the next 20 mins, Johnny tries everything he can to get the key out. I'm texting him youtube videos etc. Nothing is working!!! The CarMax person walks up to me after johnny walks back to his truck to stay with Jackson, and says we are going to be very happy because they can offer us $6000!!!
Confused by my lack of reaction, the man looks at me and I inform him that I can't get the key out of the ignition. Johnny walks over and explains that he tried as well, and the guy tells us he will grab his manager and see what to do next. The man and the manager look up videos, move the car to a flatter surface, and try everything, and nothing will get this key out. They would need a mechanic who would have to disassemble the ignition to get the key out, which they don't have. The manager lets us know that he will go inside and speak with the higher-ups and see what they can do. We frantically tell them even if they need to take money off the price, please do it as we don't have time to take it to the dealership.
We sit in the car, shaking our heads and laughing at the ridiculousness of our situation! Yet, how this might be lucky, as this could have happened at several places where we would have had to figure out how to leave the key in the ignition without it getting stolen. A few minutes later, they walk up to us, and they will take the car and still pay us the $6000 woo hoo!!! They said they will figure it out. Such a relief but can nothing ever be simple, huh?
Get the NIF out of here and get you some money!
On to the piece de resistance! One of the criteria for the Portugal Visa is getting an NIF number which is kind of like a social security number for team US. You use it to open bank accounts, buy property, etc. Every person applying needs to get one, including minors. This part was super easy, in my opinion, but anything seems easy at this point.
Of course, it could not be hiccup-free. One issue we had was we needed a copy of our passports that had been signed. At this point, all of our documents, including passports and licenses, were still at the Spanish consulate. I found that we had copies but had never signed our passports! So I grabbed the copies, signed those, and wala! Good to go.
We dodged that bullet and thought we were in the clear, but nooooo. You will need to show proof of address, which can be done by driver's license or recent bill. As we no longer owned our home, we did not have any current accounts. To top it off, our driver's licenses at the time were still at the Spanish Consulate. I wasn't worried at first because I took copies of our driver's licenses, or so I thought...and wouldn't you know I had copies except for the back of Johnny's driver's license ahhhh. This is what jump-started us getting our paperwork back from the consulate, which we did, so phew...
There are a few ways to go about getting the NIF and bank account. Some people online have used lawyers that they can refer to you. Some sites help. We used Bordr https://www.bordr.io/nif and so far have been super happy! They have a couples deal where they get you 2 NIFs and a joint bank account in a package. We got that and then paid for an additional NIF for the kiddo. It was pricier than some of the other sites but well worth it! We got our NIFs in 2 days and are processing our bank accounts now.
You will need proof of address; we just used what was on our driver's licenses, a complete picture of the signed passport book, and if you are employed, proof of employment (pay stubs, w2, etc.). The company becomes your power of attorney to be able to sign you up in Portugal. Once all the paperwork is submitted (a very user-friendly website), they will have you make a zoom appointment with a lawyer that witnesses you sign the paperwork. We then shipped our paperwork through DHL to Portugal and it got there in 2 days.
It's been about 3 weeks and e are waiting for the bank account to process, and like f***ing always, there was a damn holiday on Monday, which is delaying it..also due to our lack of paperwork it has extended it slightly. We have a little over a week before our appointment to get the bank account and wire funds, so fingers crossed! Oh, and that is the last part. Once you have the bank account, you will need to wire the amount required by the consulate to qualify for the D7. For us two adults, and one minor it comes out to around 16,000 euro. I've been told by a couple of people that as long as you can show proof you started the wiring process, it doesn't have to be fully processed to pass your appointment.
We will not fail!
We have bumped our appointments a couple of times and now have flights, hotels, and everything set for November 8th and 9th. Johnny wants to bump it a few more days in case the bank account is not opened in time, but it would be such a pain to move everything. I am hoping that if we don't have it, I can show them that the account is processing and that we have the funds in Euro ready and that they will take that. If anything, they will process us and may just have us mail them proof when it goes through.
There you have it, bing, bang, boom. If you are not us, this should be a very streamlined, easy process overall. Bordr https://www.bordr.io/nif has been super attentive, answered all our emails, super friendly, and efficient. It has been such a relief to have a company that does their job...ahhhh, I'm afraid I'm going to jinx us, and some freak bank account thing will happen...please pray to all the things for us, so that this works out for once!
On our next whirlwind episode, I will walk through the FBI background check and other essential paperwork...and then bum bum bum we will tackle the joys of figuring out the one-year rental you need to have. I haven't had a mimosa-fueled post in a few, so I think I will try to bust one out by the weekend! As always, thank you for hanging on during this ride, and if you have questions or comments, please send them my way!
Obrigada! (Portuguese is hard, but I'll get to that later) ; )