The NOTEBOOK Madrid.comExpert facts from local expats since 2001
Moving to Madrid
The Essentials

Before the big moving day, do not forget the essentials: valid identity card or passport, parental permission for students with less than 18 years of age, student visa and especially the European health insurance card. 
For American students staying in Spain for more than 90 days, it is required to obtain an extended visa, at least 60 days before entering the country.
In order to work in Spain, it will be necessary to apply for a NIE 'residency' card.  This process is more simple for EU students, but more complicated for other nationalities.
To apply for your residency card, visit this page for the most recent info:
The basics you will need:
- To Request for a private appointment within a month from entering Spain
Oficina de DNI y Pasaporte, Avenida de los Poblados - Metro Aluche 
(Request online at
- Contract from your landlord
- Formal letter of enrollment from your school (in Spanish)
- Receipt of payment of 15 euros to a local bank
- 3 passport photos
- Completed forms from online (either the TX-15 or TX-17 printed from
Be aware that requirements change quickly in Spain.  
For the most recent info and to answer any questions, visit the Ministry of the Interior:
Police Office, Calle Moratin, 43, 28014 Madrid
Tel.: 900 15 00 00

You must ask your student insurance or your health insurance for international coverage, at least 15 days before departure. Valid for one year, this document must be submitted if you visit a doctor or if you go to the hospital. If you do not have this card, you can not receive care at medical centers of social assistance and you will pay the full cost and get your money back later from your local social security office and your mutual complementary.
Most insurance companies in the USA don't offer insurance coverage abroad.  You can buy a supplment or you can usually buy cheap insurance in Spain with your local university.
Students from the EU, UK or other EEA countries in Spain should apply for their free EHIC card online at: 

Erasmus students shouldn't forget your student card and your Erasmus contract. 
We also recommend that you have an international student card. It entitles you to many discounts home and abroad. The ISIC card costs 9£ in England or $25 in the United States. Prices vary depending on your home country. In addition, it is also recommended that Americans get an international driver's permit (IDP) before leaving the states, which can be obtained at AAA or National Out Club offices for the price of $20. This is good to have if you want to rent a car to travel around Europe because most EU borders do not have tolls.

Finally, for a stay of one year, it is not necessary to open a bank account in Spain, unless you receive a job in Spain. If you want to stay longer, check with your bank. It is very beneficial for Americans to open a Spanish bank account and to receive a European card with a pin.  Banco Santander is an international bank, reliable and does not require an initial deposit when opening an account.

For a complete list of Embassies and Consulates in Madrid, Click Here.

General Emergencies Tel.: 112
Police Tel.: 112 or 092
Firefighters Tel.: 112 or 080
If you are assaulted, you can call 24h/7 on 902 10 21 12
For an updated list of English-speaking medical services:
To find an open pharmacy nearest to you: 

INTERCAMBIOS (Language Exchange)
J&J Books and Coffee
Weds, Thurs and Saturdays at 20:00pm
Tel. 915 21 85 76
Espiritu Santo, 47 - Metro Noviciado 

Café Madrid
Wednesdays at 21:00
Escalinata - Metro Opera

Tuesdays at 22:00
Tel.: 915 21 20 30
Calle de Príncipe 12 - Metro Sol

Molly Malone's

Every Thursday and every-other Saturday at 21:30
Tel.: 915 94 16 35
Calle Manuela Malasaña, 11. Metro Bilbao