Mar 212011


Well, bureaucracy in Spain can be frustrating like anywhere else in the world. That is certainly the view of many Spaniards – who often despair of bureaucracy in Spain and this is wonderfully illustrated in this hysterically funny video:

Actually, although the video portrays bureaucracy in Spain I think that anyone in the world would be able to recognise the characters and the situation and warm to the heroine!  Is the UK any different – or France, Italy or (Heaven help us!) some Third World countries?

Of course, I have had to deal with bureaucrats in Spain (funcionarios) and, at times, they have driven me absolutely crazy.  However, in almost equal proportion, I have been delighted by their efficiency and helpfulness – so much depends upon the person concerned and, needless to say, your own manner.

Certainly, if you lose your temper with a funcionario and attempt the ‘this is not the way it is done in the UK/Germany/US approach’ then you are doomed!

Frankly, the best approach when you have a problems with bureaucracy in Spain is to walk away (smiling!) and return to the fray another day, preferably as well prepared as the lady in the video.  This is because one thing is for sure – and that is if the bureaucrat concerned ‘digs in his heels’ (and you upset him) then you will never succeed in what you are attempting!

As I have written before, if you obtain a job with the Spanish state then it is for your working life.  You pretty much possess that job and you are virtually immovable.  Indeed, in some ways, this is so extreme that funcionaries (in a moment of honesty) will sometimes declare that they have no real boss.

So, if you think that you can bully your way into getting something done by bureaucrats in Spain – think again!  You are dealing with a part of the culture of Spain that needs an approach very different from Northern Europe (on the whole).

In fact, there is a ‘secret’ weapon available to make your life in Spain a bit easier when it comes down to dealing with bureaucrats in Spain.  This weapon is a Gestor and anyone living in Spain needs one and a good Gestor can make your life in Spain infinitely easier than it would be otherwise.

A Gestor is a professional who is, effectively, the interface between the Spanish state and the general public and there are gestors in virtually every town in Spain.  Apart from dealing with all your tax affairs, a Gestor is also someone who will get you registered for your health care (SIP card etc), set your business up, get your driving licence changed, do all your documentation when you buy or sell a car etc. etc.

Indeed, a good Gestor is essential and is the person who can appear on your behalf at the office of Spanish buraucrats – thus avoiding the trauma of having to attend yourself.

Happy days!!


The state sector in Spain


(80,000 words, 327 pages, 26 sections and 9 expert contributors – e-book 14.96 euros)

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