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LIFE IN SPAIN

EXPLAINED: What should I do if I lose my wallet in Spain?

It can happen to the best of us, but what should you do if you lose or have your wallet/purse stolen in Spain?

lost or stolen wallet spain
You should report your wallet as stolen or lost through the 'denuncia' process in Spain. Photo: Steve Buissinne/ Pixabay

Whether you’re visiting Spain or live here, losing your wallet or purse can create a huge amount of stress, not to mention the potentially laborious bureaucratic processes you have to go through in order to sort everything out.

Anyone can drop or misplace their wallet, and although Spain is a safe country, like any big city in the world pickpockets do operate. This is particularly true in the more touristy areas of Barcelona.

READ MORE: How Barcelona is once again Spain’s pickpocket capital

Hopefully it never happens to you, but what should you do if you lose your wallet in Spain? 

  1. Search – This one almost goes without saying, but be sure to retrace your steps, search thoroughly at home, and in bags, pairs of trousers etc before reporting the loss of theft. If you start the denuncia process (more on that later) and then find your wallet or purse, you’ll have wasted a lot of time and energy navigating the quirks of the Spanish bureaucratic system. Many cities in Spain have a lost and found office (oficina de objetos perdidos) which you should also consider visiting before getting in touch with police authorities. There are plenty of honest people in Spain, so fingers crossed the person who finds it will hand it in.
  2. Cancel your bank cards – If you’re certain you haven’t just misplaced it, consider cancelling your bank cards. Although many people now use their phones to pay, if you’ve lost your wallet or had it stolen it makes sense to cancel any debit or credit cards you had in there. Be sure to call your bank as soon as you’re sure you haven’t misplaced them.
  3. File a ‘denuncia’ – If you suspect your wallet was stolen, you should go to the nearest police station as soon as possible and file a report (denuncia in Spanish). It is also possible to do it by phone (the Spanish emergency number is 112) or online, but you will have to go to the police station to sign the denuncia at some point eventually, so it’s better to do it all in one go, and to do it as promptly as possible.

    It’s worth noting that very few Spanish police officers speak English, so, if possible, try to go with a Spanish speaker who can help you. Some police stations in larger cities may have a translator on site, but don’t count on it.

  4. Replace your ID cards – If you keep all your bank and ID cards together in your wallet, then losing it will mean that not only are you left without any money, but no identification to prove who you are.
    1. Passports – If you’re visiting Spain on holiday and lose your passport (or ID card, if you’re from an EU country) you should contact your embassy and arrange a short-term emergency passport in order to travel home.
    2. Driving license – if your driving license was in the wallet, you’ll need to go down to your local Jefatura Provincial de Tráfico and request a replacement. It is not usually necessary to make an appointment, but you will need to bring some kind of ID with you. Obviously this could be much more difficult if all your ID cards were lost or stolen in the wallet. If this is the case, bring any official documentation with your name, date of birth and crucially, photo, to help your case.

      You’ll also need to bring two passport photos and pay a fee of €20.

      All being well, you’ll be given a temporary license to allow you to drive until the replacement arrives.

    3. TIE/NIE – If you live in Spain, it’s likely you kept your TIE or old residency card (the small card-sized green document) in your wallet and have also lost that. As a foreigner living abroad, getting a replacement is important.

      To get a replacement, you’ll need to make an appointment (cita previa) at the extranjería. You can do this online by choosing the ‘card duplicate after theft or loss’ option on the dropdown menu. Some of the documents you’ll need are:

      – Form EX-17, (download here)
      – Proof of payment of the fee (790/012)
      – Original and copy of your passport.
      – Three passport photos.
      – Your denuncia.

FIND OUT MORE: What to do if you lose your TIE or other Spanish residency document

Member comments

  1. Following on from getting a replacement TIE, you haven’t mentioned about an NIE. My husband requires a hard copy from the police station as our bank won’t just accept the number on their system. Is there a particular form to complete for this copy/ must it be reported lost? Any help greatly appreciated.

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LABOUR RIGHTS

‘A long way to go’: Spain’s domestics fight to end discrimination

For years, Aracely Sánchez went to work without counting her hours, always fearful she could lose her job from one day to the next.

'A long way to go': Spain's domestics fight to end discrimination

“They would always ask me to do more and more and more, as if I were a machine,” she told AFP of her employers at a house in Madrid.

Within a collective of domestic workers, this 39-year-old Mexican has been trying to assert her basic rights to have time off every week, to be paid for working overtime and to have unemployment cover.

But given the precarious nature of this type of work in Spain, it is a challenge.

“There are employers who are very humane and who respect us, but there are many who try to take advantage of the situation,” she explained.

“They say: if the job doesn’t suit you, there are plenty more where you came from.”

According to the Workers Commission union (CCOO), nearly 600,000 women serve as domestic staff in Spain where taking them on for housework, cooking or childcare is widespread.

Of that number, nearly 200,000 are undeclared, working in the black economy without an employment contract.

“Many of them come from Latin America and they don’t have papers and find themselves in a very vulnerable situation,” said Mari Cruz Vicente, the CCOO’s head of activism and employment.

‘Exposing violations’

Following a ruling by the EU’s Court of Justice (CJEU) and pressure from the unions, the government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez adopted a reform this month aiming at ending the “discrimination” suffered by these workers.

READ ALSO: The new rules for hiring a domestic worker in Spain

Under the changes, dubbed by the government as “settling a historic debt”, domestic workers are now entitled to claim unemployment benefits and cannot be dismissed without justification.

They will also be covered by healthcare “protection” and be able to access training to improve their “professional opportunities” and job conditions.

“This is a very important step forward,” said Vicente, while stressing the need to step up efforts to register those who are working without a contract and don’t benefit from the reform.

“This reform was very necessary,” said Constanza Cisneros of the Jeanneth Beltrán observatory which specialises in domestic workers’ rights.

“Spain was very behind. Every day we have people coming to us whose rights have been violated. We have to end such practices now,” she said.

“Such situations have to be exposed.”

SPAIN-DOMESTIC-WORKERS

Around 200,000 domestic workers who are working in the black economy without an employment contract will not benefit from Spain’s new labour reform. (Photo by Ezequiel BECERRA / AFP)

‘Not seen as people’

Mexican home help Sánchez has often experienced such abuses in more than two decades of employment.

In 2001, she arrived in Madrid to take up full-time employment caring for an elderly person for €350 a month.

She then spent the next 15 years working in short-term jobs, almost always without a contract, despite the fact she had a valid residency permit.

“When I said I wanted a contract, they never called me back. They didn’t want to pay contributions,” she said, describing her work as “undervalued” with domestic staff seen as “labourers” and not “as people”.

Amalia Caballero, a domestic worker from Ecuador, has had a very similar experience.

“We often finish very late, or they change our hours at the last minute assuming we’ll just fall in line. But we also have a life that we need to sort out,” said Caballero, 60.

She also talks about the “humiliations” often endured by those who live with their employers.

“One time, one of my bosses asked me why I showered every day. It was clear he thought (the hot water) was costing him too much money,” she told AFP.

But will such attitudes change with the reform?

“There’s still a long way to go,” she sighed, saying many domestic staff “have completed their studies” back home and even hold a degree.

“People need to recognise that,” she said.

Cisneros agreed.

“Our work needs to command greater respect, not least because it’s so necessary. Without staff to pick up the children, run the household and look after elderly people, what would families do?”

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