Shops Opening times: Shops are generally open from 9:00 to 19:00, Monday to Friday and from 9:00 to 13:00 on Saturday. Shopping centres and big surfaces are usually open daily from 10 to 21 except on Sundays.
Banks are open from 9:00 to 15:00, Monday to Friday. In major cities, some agencies are also open in the afternoons.
Post Offices open at 8:30 and close at 18:30, Monday to Friday. Public and Administrative Services are generally open from 9:00 to 15:00. However as there are some exceptions it is advisable to phone and inquire about the exact schedule.
Sports: There is a broad spectrum of sport activities in Spain. The offer of open air sports is very wide: sailing, windsurfing, mountaineering, hiking, wild water activities, flying, fishing, riding, golf, tennis, ski, etc. In many towns are sport clubs and sport facilities. For further information you can contact:
Spanish Sailing Federation : 91 519 50 08
Spanish Mountain Federation: 91 445 14 38
Spanish Flying and Gliding Federation: 91 547 59 22
Any E.U. citizen can enter Spain by simply presenting her/is Passport or ID card. For a stay longer than 3 months, a residency permit will be needed. It will be issued by the immigration authorities "Oficina de Extranjeros" in the province that you chose to live in or in the "Comisaría Provincial de Policía" during the first month in Spain by presenting the following documents:
· Passport or ID card
· Photocopy of the passport or ID card
· 3 passport-photos
· A copy of your work contract
EU residence permits are also issued to the spouse and children of EU nationals if it were the case. However, a Visa permit would be needed in the case that a member of your family is not a citizen of a country of the European Union.
The inscription with the consulate of your home country is encouraged as it may facilitate a possible repatriation process if necessary.
When you first arrive you may need to find some form of temporary accommodation. Finding accommodation is not always easy, mainly in big cities; you should try to ensure that you have at least a temporary accommodation arranged before coming to Spain. This is particularly important for fellows with families, who might encounter more difficulties. Many universities or research centres have some students Halls (Colegios Mayores) or flats for students and visitors that you can rent at a low price.
Lodging is, as usual, more expensive in major cities and tourist oriented regions in high season. However it can be very cheap in low season but you should leave the flat in summer or pay a lot of money for it. Offers can be found in the local newspapers or in real estate agencies. Most contracts have a minimum duration of 8-12 months. Most apartments are proposed with only minimum furniture: cupboards, wardrobe, and closet. Central heating is not always available. The landlord/lady should pay for maintenance, repairs and taxes of the flat but some other expenses (e.g. neighbour community cleaning, etc.) can be responsibility of the tenant.
A one-months payment is generally requested in advance and sometimes it is not recovered at the end of the contract. You should not sign any agreement unless you are sure that you understand it - if you are unsure, seek advice from your University or Research Centre accommodation office.
Money and banks
Money transfers and payments can be very slow, thus it is advisable to bring enough money to deal with first expenses. Cash is generally used to pay for minor amounts (until 10 000 pts), although bank cards are usually welcomed in shops (except in very small ones or small villages) and restaurants but not in "tapas bar" for instance. All other amounts are often paid by credit/debit card. Cheques are not usually accepted in shops, but it is the normal way to pay larger amounts of money such as rent. Usually they will check your signature asking for your ID card or passport.
Once you are in Spain you will probably need to choose a bank or "Caja de Ahorros" (which is a banking enterprise using some of its gains to finance social and cultural events). The most useful form of account is a current account, which allows you to deposit money and draw it out simply using a cheque-book at the bank office or Switch card at an automatic cash dispenser. If you have money which, you do not need immediately other types of account are also available in case you want to invest some money and get a higher interest. Credit cards must be applied usually in the bank office. In addition some banks have agreements with universities to offer special terms to category 20 fellows; you should ask in your university.
To open an account you will have to complete an application form from your chosen bank or Caja de Ahorros, which is then taken along with proof of identity (e.g. a passport), Spanish address (e.g. a utility bill) and student/employment status (e.g. a copy of your contract will help a lot) to your local branch and to make an initial deposit into the account.
Usually capital gains tax is deducted from the interest of the bank account. You should keep this amounts when filling your "Declaración de la renta" or tax statement at the end of the tax year (in June).
Kindergarten and school
The educational law of 1990, the "Ley Organica de Ordenacion General del Sistema Educativo" (LOGSE) (Law on the General Organisation of the Educational System), established a new system which started in 1991-92 school-year. The main points of the new system are the following:
Basic education is compulsory and free of charge, and it is extended up to the age of 16, the legal age for starting work.
The educational system includes general and special education, i.e. the different levels of education are adapted to suit students with special needs.
All students have basic vocational training, which is given in secondary education. Specific vocational training is organised at two levels, the first at the end of compulsory secondary education, and the higher level at the end of the 'Baccalaureate'.
Improvement in the quality of teaching must be achieved via the renewal of the contents of the courses, improvement in human resources and material resources, and better use of the various instruments of the educational system.
Special systems are applied for artistic education and language learning.
General education is organised as follows:
Nursery infant education (0 to 6 years)
Primary education (6 to 12 years)
Compulsory secondary education (12 to 16 years)
Post-compulsory secondary education, including the baccalaurate and the middle grade of vocational training
Upper grade vocational training
University education (To become university student a university entrance examination must be passed).
Up from 3 years old, children can go to kindergarten, which is optional. In major cities, vacancies are hard to find in the public system. The private systems also run kindergartens where vacancies are more easily found. Moreover, they even take younger children. After 6 years old, children must enter the mandatory education system. Main cities have international schools, fully equivalent with E.U. systems.
Main cities are usually well communicated either by plain, train or coach. There is underground in big cities with stations near the universities, however you will find local transport by bus or train to the city centre from small surrounding towns. In small cities, bus is the normal public transport available, but many campuses are out of the cities and sometimes not very well communicated, especially during student's holidays.
Driving-Licence and Automobile
Following the implementation of the Second EC Directive on driving licences, since the 1st January 1997, drivers who take up residence in another Member State can continue to drive using their own national licence for as long as it remains valid. This is known as "indefinite mutual recognition" of driving licences.
If you are bringing a car into Spain for long-term use you are required to register it in Spain. This is not aggressively policed, but if you are stopped for a traffic violation or involved in an accident and are found to have been in Spain with the vehicle for some time it could be serious not to have transferred registry.
A technical control is mandatory for any vehicle with more than 4 years ITV (Inspección Técnica de Vehículos) which involves taking it to an official garage and having it tested. Expected cost of 3000 pts.
Many insurance companies for cars have agreements all over Europe and the price widely depends on the driver's age, service required, car, etc.
It is mandatory to register your car at the local council by filling a form that they will provide you with on request. There is a council tax for cars (Impuesto de circulación de vehículos) to be paid annually (ranging from 8000 to 12000 pts, depending on the city and cylinder capacity of the car). Again, this is not aggressively policed but you may find problems in case of accident or traffic penalty if your car is not registered or in case you want to sell it in Spain.
Arriving Formalities. The fellowship contract.
3.1 The Host Institution and the Contract
The-focus of this document is on the contract between the host institute and the fellow rather than that between the host institute and the European Commission. Such a contract is legally binding and should be agreed upon and signed by both the host institute and the fellow. Unfortunately, some complications concerning the contract were experienced time and again by host institutes and the fellows. It is hoped that this document can help fellows avoid unnecessary repetition of misunderstandings by explaining the principles behind the contract and some of its possible implementations. Information in this document is applicable to all fellows - Postgraduate fellows (funded under category 20) and Post-doctoral fellows (funded under category 30 and category R; return fellowships)- unless mentioned otherwise.
At the beginning of your Fellowship, you never know if the relationship with your host institution is going to turn into a romance, a tragedy, or a comedy. Here is some guidance for successfully managing this relationship. This seems to be especially important since our experience shows the administrative side of the Fellowship often turns out to be the worst part of your stay in the host country.
Arriving and Establishing Contact
These steps are intended to guide you through the administration of your host institution during your first days. Although we know that these first days are often terribly, with so many things to do and to take care of, your approach to the management of the contract will influence the remainder of your time in the host institution. Mistakes made in this phase are often very difficult to correct later.
Find out who is responsible for the administration of your Fellowship in the host institution.
Sometimes this is more difficult than it sounds. You might be the first Fellow of this Framework Programme to arrive. Or, the institution is small and has never dealt with Marie Curie Fellows before. Or, the management of your grant is split, e.g. between Finance and European Affairs. A good first port of call is your application for the scholarship: The person who signed the contract (usually the Rector of the University or the Director of your new Research Institute) is not often the person who is responsible for bureaucracy. Your supervisor possibly can help you to find the right person. In some universities the OTRI (Oficina de Transferencia de Resultados de Investigación) is the office in charge to arrange the contract but they are not responsible for payments so you should find moreover the civil servant at the administration office of your laboratory and contact him/her.
After dealing with the rush of the first few weeks, you will have time to deal with administrative issues in more detail. Read this document! Read the leaflets, which are referred to - adopt a professional attitude to the management of the grant: It is your Fellowship! It is you who contributed the biggest part to getting selected!
Meet the administrator and talk about your grant.
It is always easier to deal with people you know - this works both ways: for you as well as for the person responsible for your grant. Meet the persons, introduce yourself, if possible with your supervisor or someone from the laboratory who knows how the bureaucracy works. The Spanish bureaucracy is sometimes so complicated and slow that administrative staff may be very busy (or boring) doing always the same repetitive job and they may not be very enthusiastic resolving additional problems. Be patient, smile, but be sure you are well informed in each step.
Here, you should get down to all the nitty-gritty, i.e. all the details, which determine your rights, your status and - most importantly - the money. It is a good idea to ask your supervisor to join the meeting, which helps to strengthen the academic side and can actually be very helpful for you to argue your case.
If you are asked to sign the contract immediately at the meeting: Do not!
Most professional university administrations do not use such kind of salesmen style anyway, but you have to be prepared. It makes sense to read through the contract, sleep it over, and ask questions (either to the administrator, the supervisor, another Marie Curie Fellow or someone in the Spanish Group of the Marie Curie Fellowship Association). Even better, if you can compare it with any other fellow that signed one before. Contracts are often written in a very formal language, which can be difficult to understand for non-native speakers, so it is not embarrassing to ask questions at all!
3.2 The Contract
This section aims at providing you with some hints, which you should consider before signing the contract. Not all of the issues covered here are necessarily stated in the contract itself, some might be dealt with more informally in the meeting between you and the administrator. It is important to emphasise, again, that our guidance is in no way legally binding and a suggestion only. In addition to the contract itself, the legally binding and relevant documents are the contract between the European Community and your host institution and its Annex II, i.e. the general conditions applying to any Marie Curie Fellowship Grant. It has become good practice to attach copies of the latter two documents to your contract; if this is not the case in your host institution, do ask for it.
3.2.1 The basic features of a grant contract
A typical contract should state clearly the obligations on the side of the host institute and on the side of the fellow as well as a detailed budget plan. The detailed budget plan should state all deductions performed by the host institution from the amount allocated to the fellow. The plan should itemise the various contributions and the ways they are calculated.
Each host institution has its own standard contracts which are difficult to change. On the other hand, the Commission can only accept such a contract, if a number of formal requirements are met. It is usually sufficient to amend an existing local contract with an agreement which contains the items of the following checklist:
(1) A reference to the contract between Commission and host institution.
(2) An affirmation including the General Conditions given in Annex II and III in the contract.
(3) The status of the fellow (e.g.). The contract should state the status of the Marie Curie Fellow: i.e. doctorate student (category 20), employee as Doctor researcher (category 30), Reincorporated Doctor (category R) or visitor (category 40). Make sure that you are classified as a doctorate student if you are a category 20 fellow!
(4) A statement saying that the fellow is in full time and exclusive employment.
(5) A statement about intellectual property rights.
(6) The total amount of the grant and the monthly amount allocated to the fellow distinguishing between scale and mobility allowance.
The contract must contain a reference to the amounts received by the Host Institution, their allocation and their arrangements for payment. "Any deduction made from the amount paid by the Commission will have to be identified and justified (amount and legal basis);" (Annex II, Article 8.2 b). In particular, payments should normally be monthly with the travel allowance paid as a single payment with the first monthly instalment (Annex II, Article 7).
Under the Spanish trade union agreement the salary is distributed in 12 monthly amount allocated to the fellow plus 3 supplementary instalments (extra salary payments) to be made in June, September and December. As the amount allocated by the EU is fixed, the administrator of the host institution will divide the total amount by 15 monthly payments. The resultant quantity is the net amount of money to receive. However, the remainder three payments will be given to you in a proportional basis depending of the time worked. This procedure may bring to you some complications if the administrator do not explain to you the procedure. Anyway, you should make sure that at the end of the year you have received the total amount allocated by the EU to your salary. If you are not sure, please ask to the administrator to include a new clause in the contract stating that at the end of the contract they will make a balance and pay to you the amount not received before if it were the case.
It is convenient to attach to the contract an annex with the details of the gross salary, net salary, tax deductions, social security payments, etc. It may help a lot to clarify the complex system of taxation in Spain. An example is given below.
(7) Statement about the unique travel allowance, to be paid with the first monthly payment.
(8) Statement of holidays period (30 days for year of contract already passed, or the proportional to the time of the contract passed)
(9) Statement of the dates of starting and ending the contract.
(10) Signatures of the fellow and of the legal representative of the host institute.
To avoid any unnecessary misunderstanding, it is highly preferable that a written agreement be reached well before the beginning of the fellowship.
There should be a clear and explicit agreement about the distribution of the flat rate paid directly to the Host Institution by the European Commission. This has been a contested issue, so make sure you know exactly how much money is allocated for general overheads (paid to the university), indirect costs paid to your department/research centre/research group, tuition/college fees, money for general travel and subsidence, equipment and consumables. Although a few institutions do not provide any money for equipment, consumables, and general travel and subsistence, it has become standard and recommended practice to devote funds for such purposes. If the host institution fails to provide you with a written statement about the distribution of the flat rate paid to the institution, please contact the National Contact Point and inform the Spanish Group of the Marie Curie Fellowship Association.
The employer (university, research institute or company) must by law send a copy of your contract to the "Instituto Nacional de Empleo" (INEM) office closer to your address.
Troubleshooting Should any problem in the management of your Fellowship occur, you should ideally try to find a solution first by talking it over with the administrator of your host institution. If a solution can not be found, or if you want further help and advice, please do not hesitate to contact the following bodies listed below:
Spanish National Contact Point (NCP).The role of the NCP is to provide information and advise prospective fellows and to fellows in Spain as well as their host institutions on the administration of the Fellowships. The NCP maintains close contact with the European Commission and other Spanish government institutions.
Spanish Group of the Marie Curie Fellowship Association (MCFA). The MCFA is the European organisation of Marie Curie Fellows and as such deals with current and past fellows rather than prospective applicants. We therefore have a lot of experience to draw upon! It would also be helpful if you could inform the MCFA of your current problems. This will help us to provide a better service to future fellows. More information on the MCFA Spanish Group and how to contact us can be found on our web pages at http://listserv.rediris.es/archives/mcfa_spain.html
European Commission. Before you go down the route of contacting the Commission, we suggest that you discuss your enquiry with the Spanish NCP. As you can probably imagine, the people in Brussels are very busy, so the chances of your enquiry 'hitting' the right person within the Commission with the right priority are very low. The Spanish NCP can supply details of who to contact in the Commission, if the issue can't be dealt with locally.
3.2.2 The calculation of the grant allocation by the Spanish law
The calculations of the net salary are based on the relative positioning of the grant with respect to the national salary system. In this section are included some details to be stated in the above-mentioned annex to the contract if it were the case. In any case, the gross amount allocated to the fellow by the EU should be stated in it.
For Category 20
A Marie Curie Fellowship is considered as taxable income in Spain. As mentioned above Category 20 grant holders are considered in Spain as students. It means that neither the host institution nor the grant holder must pay for social security. It is understood that they are covered by the contribution of their respective families, however it is the responsibility of the grant holder to find a private health care assurance company providing medical assistance if needed when the earlier condition is not meet. Usually the host institutions have agreements with companies at reasonable prices. The company of assurance may cover other members of the family if it were the case. Generally they do not cover payment for medicines but you can agree with the company this or other service you require paying extra money for that. However Category 20 are taxed in accordance whit the normal Spanish tax-system. This means that some amount of money will be deducted from your salary as "Impuesto sobre la Renta de las Personas Físicas" (I.R.P.F.) (Taxation depends whether you are single or married, with or without children, taking care of a disabled person, etc.).
For Category 30/R/40
The Marie Curie fellowship contract falls into the category of the "Contrato de duración determinada" specifically in "Contrato por Obra o Servivio Determinado" you can find much more general information about this type of contract and many other under the Spanish law at
http://www.inem.es Under the Spanish law (Orden del Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguridad Social de 27.1.97) a 32,78% of the total amount allocated to the grant holder is paid by the host institution to the social security as employer contribution. The gross salary is calculated by subtracting this amount to the gross amount allocated to the grant holder by the EU to the grant holder.
The gross salary is the taxable amount of money. You should make sure that the mobility allowance is not included into the salary, otherwise you will have to pay taxes for it. Taxation depends whether you are single or married. You can choose to do the declaration of incomes (Declaración de la Renta) together with your partner (wife, husband, girl- or boyfriend if you are living together for more than one year, etc.), with or without children, taking care of a disabled person, etc.
In Spain the financial year correspond with the natural year. This is important because taxation is based on the salary received during the year (e.g. if your grant starts in April, your taxes should be calculated from April to December on the one hand and from January to March on the other hand). Different scales of taxation will be applied for each period. The host institution will retain some money as taxes (I.R.P.F.) but in June you should make the Statement of Incomes (or Declaración de la Renta, explained below) for the previous year -from January to December-. This "Declaración de la renta" may result positive, in which case you should pay more money as taxes, or negative, which means that the Hacienda Provincial Delegation will return to you the surplus money the host institution retained from your salary.
Over the gross salary a fixed 6,4%, which is the employee contribution to the social security, will be deducted. You should notice that this amount is taxable. Besides this fixed percentage of the gross salary another percentage is deducted as taxes (the I.R.P.F.). The administrator of the host institution use to apply a balanced percentage so when you make your "Declaración de la Renta" in June you should pay, or the "Hacienda" should return to you, small amounts of money. You have the right to ask for a minimum retention of your taxes (up to a 2% of the gross salary) to your administrator, but then you will have to pay a lot of money in June after your "Declaración de la Renta".
The net monthly salary is then calculated by dividing the gross salary by the time of the Fellowship in months, plus the supplementary instalments (e.g. if 12 months are considered, the gross salary should be divided by 15 = 12 months + 3 supplementary instalments), then the above-mentioned percentage of the I.R.P.F. plus the 6,4% of employee contribution to the social security is deducted.
You should also know that the host institution signs a contract with the European Commission asking for the 75% of the total amount allocated to the host institution for your contract (Annex III.A). It means that the money will arrive to the host institution after this request signed by the grant holder once you have already started the project. Usually the host institution enables an internal account to your project advancing the money so you can receive your salary and start laboratory experiments if it were the case. However, in some small institutions have been some problems at this point, so it is convenient to make sure that you will receive your salary after the first month at work, otherwise you can find unexpected finance problems.
The Holiday Act states that every employee is entitled to 1 month holiday within one year. The right to leave depends on the number of days worked, in a direct proportion. As the research fellowships from the EU are for fixed periods where the remuneration is inclusive, the sum paid must be assumed to include paid holiday, in fact the supplementary instalments are conducted with this philosophy.
4. General Conditions for the Community Provisions on Social Security General Conditions for the Community Provisions on Social Security: Extracted from the leaflet "The Community Provisions on Social Security" prepared by the Unit for Social Security for Migrant Workers, European Commission, Brussels, 1995. You can find more information at
The Community provisions do not replace the different national social security systems by a single European system. The Community provisions provide rather for a simple co-ordination of these systems. Every Member State is free to decide: who is to be insured under its legislation; which benefits are granted and under what conditions; how these benefits are calculated; and what contributions should be paid. The Community provisions establish common rules and principles, which have to be observed by all national authorities, social security institutions, courts and tribunals when applying national laws. The person who has exerted his or her right to move within the European Union and the European Economic Area may not be placed in a worse position than a person who has always resided and worked in one single Member State.
The migrant worker is subject to the legislation of only one Member State.
(S)he is insured in the country where (s)he exercises his professional activity, even if (s)he still lives in another EC country.
(s)he has the same rights and obligations as nationals of that country.
Social Security in Spain
EU citizens should obtain their E-111 from before coming to Spain. This form allows the access to any Social Security service in Spain or any other EU country while contributing to the Social Security in the home country.
Because the Marie Curie Fellow lives and works in Spain, (s)he benefits from the Spanish National Health Service and the Social Security. If the Fellow is employed, as soon as the employment contract is signed, (s)he joins the Spanish Social Security. (S)he pays normal National Insurance (N.I.) contributions which are deducted directly from the gross salary. The fellow must go to the nearest Department of Social Security, with an employment certificate and a passport (or identity card), to be registered where a code with a card "Tarjeta de Afiliación a la Seguridad Social (TASS)" will be given to you. The host institution will provide the documents needed. However, the Fellow can also pay voluntary contributions in his own country at the same time, in order to get pension and other benefits from this country.
You can find the nearest Department of Social Security at
http://www.inem.es clicking at "Índice de servicios", then "Ministerio de trabajo y asuntos sociales", then "información general", then "direcciones provinciales", and then click on the map. You will be able to find there any office in the country.
You can also find the office in your home country with agreements in social security matters with the Spanish government in case you would like to make any consultation at
http://www.inem.es clicking at "Índice de servicios", then "Ministerio de trabajo y asuntos sociales", then "información general", then "oficinas en el extranjero", then "situación de las oficinas de enlace de paises extranjeros con los que se ha suscrito convenio de seguridad social"
More general information about the TASS can be found at
http://www.inem.es clicking at "Índice de servicios", then "Ministerio de trabajo y asuntos sociales".