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GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE COUNTRY

GEOGRAPHICAL SITUATION, CLIMATE, EXTENSION, POPULATION, DEMOGRAPHY, ETC.

Spain  Spain flag



Gallery of photos

Go to:

galeria.universia.pr/thumbnails.php?album=9

espana.photosite.com/

www.elsemnaldigital.com/galeria.asp

Geography

Spain occupies 85% of the Iberian Peninsula, which it shares with Portugal, in southwest Europe. Africa is less than 10 mi (16 km) south at the Strait of Gibraltar. A broad central plateau slopes to the south and east, crossed by a series of mountain ranges and river valleys. Principal rivers are the Ebro in the northeast, the Tajo in the central region, and the Guadalquivir in the south. Off Spain's east coast in the Mediterranean are the Balearic Islands (1,936 sq mi; 5,014 sq km), the largest of which is Majorca. Sixty mi (97 km) west of Africa are the Canary Islands (2,808 sq mi; 7,273 sq km).

Government: Parliamentary monarchy.

National name: Reino de España

Prime Minister: José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (2004-2008)

Land area: 192,873 sq mi (499,542 sq km); total area: 194,897 sq mi (504,782 sq km)1

Population (2006 est.): 40,397,842 (growth rate: 0.1%); birth rate: 10.1/1000; infant mortality rate: 4.4/1000; life expectancy: 79.7; density per sq mi: 210

Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Madrid, 5,130,000 (metro. area), 3,169,400 (city proper)

Other large cities: Barcelona, 1,528,800; Valencia, 741,100; Seville, 679,100

Monetary unit: Euro (formerly peseta)

Ethnicity/race: composite of Mediterranean and Nordic types

Religions: Roman Catholic 94%, other 6%

Local Council of Mos (promoter of Immilabour Project) www.concellomos.es

Government of Galicia www.xunta.es

Ministry of Culture and Educationwww.mcu.es/

Others links of interest:

www.red2000.com/spain/1index.html

www.red2000.com/spain/culture1-index.html

www.inspain.org/infogeneral_espana.asp

www.inspain.org
http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/7314/
http://www.rediris.es/recursos/servidores_www.html
http://ibgwww.colorado.edu/~gayan/spain.html
http://www.DocuWeb.ca/SiSpain/spanish/index.html
http://donde.uji.es/

http://www.google.es/search?hl=es&q=informaci%C3%B3n+general+sobre+espa%

LANGUAGE/S

Castilian Spanish in all the territory (74%), and too as official languages: Catalan (in Cataluña, 17%), Basque (in País Vasco, 2%), Galician (in Galicia, 7%), and valencian (in Comunidad Valenciana).

More information:

Ministry of Culture and Educationwww.mcu.es

Institute Cervantes www.cervantes.es

Others links of interest:

www.constitucion.es/constitucion/index.html

www.red2000.com/spain/culture1-index.html - 8k

www.inspain.org/infogeneral_espana.asp

www.inspain.org

CUSTOMS, TRADITIONS

The Spanish culture has roots in Celtiberian, Latin, Semitic , Roman Catholicism, and an ongoing tension between the centralized state (dominated in recent centuries by Castile) and numerous regions and minority peoples. In addition, the history of the nation and its Mediterranean and Atlantic environment have played strong roles in shaping its culture.

A strong sense of regional identity exists in many regions of Spain. These regions or nationalities—even those that least identify themselves as Spanish—have contributed greatly to many aspects of mainstream Spanish culture.

Most notably, the Basque Country, Catalonia and Galicia have widespread nationalist sentiment. Many Basque and Catalan nationalists back statehood for their respective regions.

The great names in Spanish arts have all been strong characters, with the confidence to break away from established mores, and have always been closely involved in the society in which they lived and which they portrayed. Think of Goya and Velázquez in painting, Cervantes and Quevedo in literature, Falla and Albéniz in music, etc. This very Spanish characteristic has given rise a very Spanish culture, in a nation whose cultural heritage has been enriched by the many external influences to which it has been subjected in the course of its long history. The Iberian Peninsula's geographical position has made it a natural bridge between cultures of the north and the south of Europe and Africa. The vicissitudes of its history have transformed it into a crossroads for many different cultures. For this reason, its cultural heritage offers enormous wealth and diversity, and perceptible in it is the human imprint of an agitated and intense past.

Customs

While the siesta, an hour-long mid-afternoon break from work, is generally in decline, the typical rhythm of the day in Spain is now similar to the European norm. Many shops and some museums (though relatively few other businesses) still split their hours into two distinct periods of opening with a two or three hour break in the middle; a paseo (stroll) in the early evening remains a common custom in many smaller cities and to some extent even in the larger ones.

The dinner hour is the latest in Europe, typically about 9 p.m. (in the east) or 10 p.m. (in the west); night-life begins accordingly late, with many dance clubs (even in relatively small cities) opening at midnight and staying open until dawn; during summer in Madrid, there is nothing unusual about a live musical performance being scheduled for one or two o'clock in the morning. By a fortunate coincidence, the Sun too happens to rise and set also one or two hours later than in the rest of Europe.

"Fiestas" and Traditions
All Spanish towns and cities have their own special celebrations, as well as the national holidays such as Christmas, Easter Week, All Saints Day etc. The way in which the national events are celebrated also varies from place to place. Most festivities are of religious base, mainly Catholic.

Bullfighting
We understand that many people do not agree with this sport but IdealSpain.com felt it right to attend and report on this Spanish tradition.

More information:

Ministry of Culture and Educationwww.mcu.es

Council of the Culture of Galicia www.consellodacultura.org/

Institute Cervanteswww.cervantes.es

http://www.tourspain.es/es/TURESPANA/Organismo/

Others links of interest:

http://www.spain.info/

www.inspain.org/infogeneral_espana.asp

www.red2000.com/spain/culture1-index.html - 8k

www.inspain.org

www.turgalicia.es/

www.puntoinfo.idecnet.com/index.php?lang=2&ID=4669

National Institute of Statistics www.ine.es/

 

ECONOMY, RESOURCES

Spain was a latecomer to economic and industrial modernization. Early in the twentieth century, economic progress was made in fitful starts, but in the 1960s the process of renewal began in earnest. Before then, the Spanish economy was one of the most underdeveloped in Western Europe, and it was sometimes characterized as a Third World economy. A spectacular period of growth and modernization during the 1960s and the early 1970s profoundly transformed the Spanish economy, bringing it much closer to the West European consumer society prototype. A new spectaculair growth is going on the last few years thanks to the Eurpean Union, but as a side effect unemployment has also grown to almost 25%. But the growth of the economy still depends on the banks, rich families, state companies and large landowners and not on the small and medium-sized businesses which would be healthier.
In 2001 the working population of Spain counted 18 million people.
8,3% of the labour force work in agriculture, although it uses more than 50% of the land surface for it. But the production per hectare is less than in other European countries. 29,9% of working population work in the industrial sector and 61,8 % in the service industry, the latte being the biggest contributor to the National Gross Product.
Most important sources of income at the moment are tourism and export.
Some Numbers (1998):
GDP: $646 billion
GDP per head: $16,500
Annual growth: 4%
Inflation: 2%
Major industries: textiles & apparel, food & beverages, metals, chemicals, shipbuilding, tourism
Major trading partners: EU (esp. France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, UK, Benelux), US
Member of EU: yes
Euro zone participant: yes

More information:

Ministry of Economy and Property www.meh.es/

Ministry of Foreign Trade www.mcx.es/

Ministry of Industry and Commerce www.mityc.es/

Institute of Fiscal Studies  www.ief.es/

Tributary agency  www.agenciatributaria.es/

Others links of interest:

www.la-moncloa.es/

 

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Public transport is generally very good in Spanish cities, most of which have efficient bus and rail systems. If you plan to remain within the principal Spanish cities, public transportation will likely prove far more convenient and pleasant than driving.

Intercity Rail: The Spanish rail network is operated by a state owned company called Red Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Españoles (RENFE). They operate a wide range of services and fares. Their fastest trains, the AVE, are among Europe's best with their slowest travelling about the same speed as a bus.

The RENFE provides a service to all major cities, although it doesn't run to many small towns, and is supplemented by networks such as the FFCC city lines in Barcelona and private railways.

There are also a huge variety of local, short-distance trains called tranvía (also a tram). Suburban commuter trains (cercanías) are second class only and stop at all stations.

Buses: The local bus services in Spanish cities run from around 0600 until between 22:00 and midnight, when a more expensive night system comes into operation. Most buses don't have a lot of seats, opting instead for maximum standing room. Urban buses are quite slow although some major cities provide dedicated bus lanes.
Most towns have a bus terminal. Keep in mind that when waiting at a bus stop, the bus may not always stop for you unless you indicate you wish it to.

Taxis: You should only use taxis that display a special licence. They are of a very high standard as they are governed by strict legislation. They display a green light when they are free (libre). They can be flagged down or found at a taxi rank and are metered but have a set price for certain journeys. Tipping is a customary 5-10%.

Metro: There are metro lines in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. They offer the fastest way to get around these cities and are unsurprisingly crowded during rush hours. Special tickets are available including a cheap day return, a metrocard allowing three / five days unlimited use, and weekly and monthly passes. A map (plano del metro) showing the lines in different colours can be obtained from the ticket offices or from the area guides on this site.

For more in depth information on this topic, we highly recommend:

Living and Working in Spain: A Survival Guide

Ministry of Public Works and the Economy  www.fomento.es/

 

DRIVING LICENSE

In order to get the Spanish driving permit or licence one has to be a resident in Spain.

In cases of loss, deterioration or theft of the permit, or a change of address, the Provincial Traffic Headquarters will issue a duplicate and in the last case they will do so free of charge.

Driving licences are valid for a certain period depending on the type of licence and the holder’s age.

This validity will be renewable by means of a revision carried out at the Provincial Traffic Headquarters. Interested parties have to certify that they still have the required physical and psychophysical abilities to get the licence in question. The driving licence can be used throughout the European Union as long as it has not expired.

Procedure for the validation of driving licences from non EU countries

The current procedure is to go to the information desk at the Police Station and ask for the licence validation form.

The following driving licences are valid in Spain:

* National driving licences from other countries which are issued according to Appendix 9 of the Geneva Convention, or according to Appendix 6 of the Vienna Convention, or which differ from the aforementioned models only in the adoption or suppression of non essential signatures.

* National driving licences from other countries which are drawn up in the Spanish language or are accompanied by the official translation.

* International driving licences issued abroad according to Appendix 10 of the Geneva Convention or according to Appendix E of the Paris International Convention, if it refers to nations which have signed this Agreement but not the Geneva Convention.

*Those licences recognised by international agreements of which Spain is a part and under the conditions established in those agreements.

Conditions:

To be valid, the different licences listed above should be within the validity period, the holder must be over the required age in Spain to obtain the equivalent Spanish driving licence and, in addition, these licences must be validated within a maximum period of six months from the time the person gets the residence permit in Spain.

After the said period has expired, those licences will not be valid to drive in Spain and if the holders wish to continue driving they should get a Spanish driving licence, by passing the corresponding driving tests except in those cases where an Agreement with the issuing country exists and an exchange for the equivalent licence is possible. At present, an Agreement has been signed with the following countries: Andorra, Switzerland, Korea, Japan, Bulgaria, Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador.

Required documents:

  • *Official Application form which is provided at the applicant's nearest Provincial Traffic Headquarters.
  • A photocopy of a valid Identity card or else the passport or the foreigner’s personal identity card (N.I.E.) which certifies the habitual residence or the condition of student in Spain for the minimum period required, together with the originals, which will be given back after being verified.
  • Psychophysical aptitude report, issued by an authorised Centre for the Physical Examination of Drivers issued in the province where the applicant lives, where an up-to-date photograph of the applicant should be attached.
  • Two up-to-date photographs, size 35 x 25 mm.
  • A Declaration in writing stating that your motor vehicle or motorcycle licence has not been taken away by a judicial ruling nor has it been suspended.
  • A Declaration in writing stating that you are not the holder of another driving permit or licence, issued in Spain or in another European country, of the same type as the one requested.
  • The applicant’s Declaration in writing where he or she takes responsibility for the authenticity, validity and force of the licence and, where necessary, the official translation into Spanish. The aforementioned translation should be done by sworn translators, by Spanish consuls abroad, by Consuls from the country the licence was issued or by the Royal Automobile Club in Spain.
  • The Driving licence to be validated along with a photocopy.
  • In cases where the licence is in doubt, the Provincial Traffic Headquarters may request the applicant to provide a report issued by the Royal Automobile Club in Spain stating the validity and force of the said licence, specifying which vehicles the licence permits the holder to drive and other characteristics of the licence.

NOTE: For the validation of professional driving licences from Bulgaria, Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador additional tests will be carried out which will vary according to the country of origin. For more information you can go to your nearest Provincial Traffic Headquarters.

More information:

Department of the Interior. Main directorate of Traffic  www.dgt.es

"http://www.dgt.es/portal/en/oficina_virtual/conductores/canje_permisos/?tit=Permisos
%20válidos%20para%20conducir%20en%20España
valid Permissions to drive in Spain: 

 

HOUSING

 

Types of accommodation

Renting:

If during their stay in Spain somebody wants to rent a “flat” (apartment), the best option is to check the property sections in all the newspapers.
You can also go to an estate agency. They will charge you a deposit of an extra month’s rent in advance and a commission, which is usually equivalent to one month’s rent. In the Golden pages of the directory inquiries you can check the Estate Agencies.
It is necessary to establish a lease contract with the owner. A property lease contract is valid, legal and licit in any form, even by word; however, it is advisable to use the written medium. For this purpose, an “official contract form” on stamped paper exists which can be bought at tobacconists (shops which sell tobacco products).

Seasonal Accommodation:

While one is looking for accommodation, the person or people interested can go to the tourist office, which may provide a list of seasonal accommodation available.

Buying property:

At the moment, many estate agencies of the European Economic Union are involved in buying Spanish property. In Spain, you can go to a local estate agency. For information on buying property in Spain: Foundation Institute of Foreign Property Owners.

If you wish to be informed about the housing prices regarding new developments, The Society of Appraisal carries out extensive market research study where it analyses the new housing developments which are built in the provincial capitals.
Some autonomous communities have a service called the Young Person's Housing Bursary, where you can get general information about house renting and buy and sell, etc.

Minimum requirements in order to rent

All landlords require that the tenant has a payslip or in other words, that the person can prove that he or she has a monthly income to cover their basic needs and the payment of the rent. For this reason, they normally demand to have a copy of the last payslip stamped and signed by the employer.

The use of guarantors and deposits in advance can also be the way to get the rent contract, but these types of agreement are not common.

Alternatives to these options

There are some alternatives which depend on the migrant’s condition. There exists the possibility of renting a room or sharing a flat/apartment with some other family. There are many offers in this regard and the first option (room rental) is much easier and there is a larger amount on offer. It is the renting of one or several rooms with one or several beds and with the right to use the building’s facilities. There are cases where up to 3 or 4 families live in the same flat.

Location of the house- the case of Madrid

Living in one of the main cities is always more expensive than in the near suburbs. For example, the city of Madrid has a group of suburbs which are very well connected by train and bus and which take you into the city centre in no longer than 30 minutes.

Compared to some cities in the United States, for example, Madrid has an excellent public transport service, so it is not strictly necessary to own a vehicle. Cities such as Mostoles, San Sebastian, Alcobendas, Leganes, Tres Cantos, Las Rosas, etc. are very well connected to the centre of Madrid so choosing a home can result in a financial difference of 150-300 Euro monthly. That is why these are now considered as “sleeping cities”, where citizens work in Madrid but reside in other peripheral cities. Being small cities, they provide a pleasant peace and calm without forgetting that they have the same quality of services that can be found in the centre of Madrid.

The costs of renting property in Spain

The cost of renting a home in Spain varies from one city to another and it is difficult to generalise.

However, generally speaking, we can conclude that the most expensive rentals are found in the main cities:

 Barcelona, Madrid, Bilbao, Victoria and San Sebastian.

The average cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment per month is between 400 and 600 euros. If the flat has two bedrooms, the price can be estimated at between 500 and 900 euros. Renting a single room can cost between 180 and 270 euros per month, without including the related expenses of electricity, water, gas and telephone bills, which are usually paid every two months. Generally it should be paid within the first 7 days of each month.

The costs of buying a house in Spain

Buying a house in Spain is very expensive, so it is a delicate investment which requires paying a lot of attention. The following is a table showing the average cost/m2 of a used home, which may give you an idea of house prices and differences between the different regions in Spain. Location makes a difference is the first important conclusion. The supply and demand are also influenced by the investment factor. This also applies when one wants to sell. In certain areas, it is easier to sell at high prices due to the high demand. A higher price is not always synonymous with a better deal. Additionally homes tend to increase in value in Spain.

Average prices/m2

Province

euros/m2

Malaga

1.660

Cadiz

1.095

Girona

1.442

Tarragona

1.296

Murcia

1.156

Alicante

1.341

Castellon

1.007

Valencia

952

Madrid

2.593

Barcelona

2.075

Spain (average)

1.458

Source: INSA

When is the best time to look for a house?

The best time to look for a flat (apartment) is between May and July. August is complicated because of the holidays and September is usually the worst month, as it is the month when people come back from holidays and also when students start their courses. At Christmas, there is not much activity in the real estate market either.

Many local newspapers and magazines have a property section offering rented accommodation. Segundamano (€2,70), published from Monday to Friday is the newspaper with the best organised rented acccomodation adverts. Many publications offer the possibility of placing a “looking for a house” advertisement for free but is is a waste of time as there are very few chances that the landlords Hill call you. These advertisements are usually useful if you are looking for housemates.

How does a lease contract work in Spain?

Once you have found a place to live, negotiating the lease contract is usually a bit easier. Even so, you must take into account the following points:

Contract: Contracts usually last for a year. Read it carefully and make sure everything is clear. If the contract specifies an inventory (dishes, linen etc.) check that everything is in the apartment and that all the appliances work properly. Do not accept an oral guarantee saying that faulty appliances will be repaired later on, that should be added to the contract or ask to have them repaired in the moment.

Supply of water, electricity and gas/ Community Service Charges: Whether or not supplies and service charges are included in the rent price depends on the landlord. Services Charges generally include porter costs, general maintenance and rubbish collection and sometimes one or more supplies. Make sure to ask what expenses you have to pay; central heating, for example is usually quite a high cost.

Deposit: Most landlords ask for a month’s deposit and sometimes two if the apartment is furnished. Do not agree to pay more. You can try to negotiate the date for the reimbursement of the deposit or try to use it to pay for the last month's rent. It is better to put down in writing any additional agreements.

Other guarantees: Given that the Spanish legal system does not offer enough protection to landlords, it is very common for them to ask for additional guarantees. If the person works, a copy of the payslip, which guarantees that you earn more than the rent’s cost every month. If the person is a student, a letter from the School certifying that he or she has enough means to rent the apartment

More information:

Ministry of House and Ground  www.mviv.es/

Council of House and Ground of Galicia  www.xunta.es/auto/igvs/

AIDS, GRANTS, SCHOLARSHIPS IN THE SOCIAL FIELD

See web page :

http://www.mtas.es/Guia/texto/guia_8_20_1.htm

Ministry of Work and Social Affaires www.mtas.es/

Concil of Social welfare (Galicia) www.bsocial.gva.es/portal/portal?id=S

 

EMERGENCIES TELEPHONE NUMBERS, HOSPITALS, TOWN HALLS

EMERGENCY TELEPHONE: 112 only one for the whole Spain and Europe

If you need sanitary attention, extinction of fires and rescue, civil safety, of civil protection, anyone that is the Public competent Administration for the material service of the assistance needed in every case.

It centralizes all kinds of emergencies or urgencies in an only number for the whole Europe. The mobiles without card SIM can also call 112 and it is free.

          Other useful telephone numbers

Organization

Teléfono
Firemen
112
Civilian Guard
062
City police
092
State police
091
Medical urgencies
061
Telephone of the Youth
900152535
Telephone of the Minor
900202010
Telephone of the Woman
900400273
Telephone of the Voluntary Work
900400800
Concello de Mos
986331200
Policía Municipal
686777777
Juzgado de Paz
986331824
Correos
986487921
Guardia Civil
986331223
Servicios sociales
986337278
Protección Civil
636409073
Centro de Desenvolvemento Local
986487786
Aeropuerto de Peinador
986268200

 

Consellería de Educación
981545443
981545400
Consellería de Traballo
981544678
981544614/612
Consellería de Traballo
986 817634
986 817202/4
Sectretaria Xeral de Emigración
981547297 - 913637237
981957156 - 913637024
Secretacia Xeral de Inmigración
913631676
913637135
INEM O Porriño
986335063
986331262
Universidade de Vigo
 
986812000
Ministerio de Educación
225103151
225191100
Ministerio de Traballo y AA.SS.
986438455
986430600
Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores
 
913799700
Oficina pasaportes
 
 
Oficina de Inmigración Concello de Mos
986486612
986487733
Concello de Vigo
 
986810100
Registro Civil de Vigo
986212598
986202621
Registro Civil de O Porriño
986337119
986331367
Registro Civil de Pontevedra
986805766
986805767
Delegación del Gobierno en Pontevedra
981122596
981989000
Oficina de extranjeros (pasaportes) Vigo
986235441
986820313
Policía Nacional Vigo
986235441
986820313
Oficina de extranjeros (pasaportes) Tui
 
986501864
Policía Nacional Tui
 
986501864
Oficina de extranjeros (pasaportes) Pontevedra
986868338
986868324
Policía Nacional Pontevedra
986868338
986868324
Protección Civil Mos
 
986288000
Seguridad Social de O Porriño
986 336228
986 335784

More information:

www.euroresidentes.com/seguridad/telefono_de_urgencias.htm

Ministry of Health and Consumption www.msc.es/ - 22k

Council of Health and Galician Health Service www.sergas.es/