To get this, I need the following items:
- $100 money order made payable to the Consulado General de España
- 2 recent passport pictures with a white background
- 2 copies of the Schengen Student Visa application filled out correctly
- Medical clearance letter from my physician
- Police clearance from Chicago
- Police clearance from Tennessee
- Copy of my driver's license
- US Passport
- Letter from Madrid outlining my compensation, insurance, duration of stay, etc.
So far, I have the TN police clearance and my passport. Once I get the letter from Madrid, I will take care of everything else in one day and get the application sent off. Some of the Spanish Consulates make you come in person to apply for the visa. Thankfully, the Houston Consulate, the one with jurisdiction over Tennessee, does not require this. After I get all of the documents, I will FedEx them to Houston and wait for the Consulate to respond. I have heard that Spain should be sending me their official letter by the end of this month, but we will see. Even 2.5 months before I depart for Europe, I am beginning to learn that things there are not necessarily as strictly tied to deadlines as they are here. In other words, I am not counting on getting that letter by the end of this month.
Once I have my visa in hand, all I have to do is buy a one-way ticket and pack my things. I will hopefully be moving to Spain in early September in order to find an apartment and to apply for my Número de Identidad de Extranjeros, or NIE. This is sort of like a temporary Social Security number that will allow me to open a bank account and to do other official stuff.
...2.5 months to go...