Improving residence card applications


The video you have here could well be the queue for a Bad Bunny concert in Puerto Rico, but it’s not. It’s about the Aluche immigration office in Madrid.

I have extracted the video from a news item in El País, which reflects the reality of what happens when a foreigner wants to do some paperwork related to their residency in Spain.

But if only this were the biggest problem. Foreigners in Spain encounter numerous difficulties in this process, but which ones? you ask me. Here I will tell you about them.

First steps

I tackled this project using Design Thinking, a methodology based on generating ideas by focusing on understanding and providing solutions to the real needs of the users.


According to the Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE), there were a total of 6,143,000 foreigners living in Spain in 2019, representing 12.57% of the country’s total population. The majority of foreigners in Spain come from Latin America, followed by Europe and Africa. The largest foreign community in Spain are Romanians, followed by Moroccans and the British.

Apart from the very long queues, the difficulties that a foreigner may encounter in issuing his/her documents are:

  • The interface of the foreigners’ portal is very user-unfriendly
  • Several months of waiting to get an appointment
  • Resale of appointments with prices of up to 400€
  • Poor ease of making online payments
  • After payment of fees, new appointments to be made
  • Minimum 40 day wait to collect card once issued


To obtain a residence card in Spain, the following steps must be followed:

  1. Request an appointment at the Consulate or Foreigners’ Office nearest to your place of residence.
  2. Present all the required documents, which include your passport, census registration certificate, criminal record certificate, a recent photograph and proof of sufficient financial means to cover your needs.
  3. Take the Spanish language proficiency test and the Spanish Constitution and fundamental rights test, if necessary.
  4. Have an interview with an official from the Consulate or the Oficina de Extranjería, in which you will be asked about your reasons for applying for residency and will be asked questions about your personal and employment situation.
  5. Wait for the decision on the application, which will be notified by post or can be consulted on the online Aliens Portal. If the application is approved, the residence card will be issued within three to six months.
  6. All of these steps are best-case scenarios, if no complications arise, etc. So given this situation, consider the following:

El proceso de diseño

Design Thinking is an innovation methodology based on empathy for the user, a focus on problem solving and iterative experimentation to arrive at creative and viable solutions. It is a thinking process that involves problem solving through creativity and collaboration, and uses techniques and tools such as observation, prototyping and feedback to validate and improve solutions. It is applied in a variety of fields such as technology, education, health and business.

I could go on at length and tell you about the whole process, but I’m preparing that on Medium, just give me a few more days.

And how did it turn out?

As I said, while I prepare how I did the whole process, you can see the prototype I made from here.

Or, if you prefer, you can see the whole project yourself.