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NALCAP series

NALCAP series: Complete timeline for the NALCAP program

The timeline for the NALCAP program is very fast-paced. You need to be prepared in order to successfully receive a position within the program. You cannot start this process last-minute, so the sooner the better!

The details in this timeline post can change by year, so please be mindful of the changes by checking the official timeline on NALCAP’s website.

Mid to late fall

Apply for or renew your passport if necessary + make a Profex account

This can take a few months, so start it ASAP if you don’t have a valid passport. Make sure it is valid for at least 3 months after the end of June, and the passport needs to have enough empty pages. The application itself and username for your application account through Profex require your accurate passport number. You’ll be getting the visa stamped on one page, and then a stamp each for entering and exiting Spain after the program ends. If you wish to travel during the program, you’ll need pages within your passport for those additional stamps for exiting and re-entering Spain.

Follow the instructions in my How to Apply for NALCAP post and the Profex handbook to make your account and fill in the necessary pre-application sections. Filling in the sections before application time rolls around helps you save time once the hectic application period begins. This video posted by the Spanish ministry also helps walk you though this process if you need visual instruction. I would get to know the process prior to applications because it can help you get through the application more quickly.

NALCAP series + How to: How to apply to NALCAP
Get your documents ready

Request your college transcripts or make a copy of your college diploma. Find someone to write your Letter of Recommendation to be dated no earlier than September 1st prior to application. For more information on the documents required for this program, read my detailed post about the NALCAP application documents.

Gif shows a man in a newsboy hat and large black glasses gesturing with a stack of papers in his hands. The text on the gif reads "I have papers!" as he says it.
Decide on your top three Spanish regions to select on your application.

The application groups regions into three groups and you can only pick one per group, so look at the sections and decide which ones fit your first, second, and third choices. I selected Andalucía, La Rioja, and Cantabria, respectively, and was placed in Andalucía. Prior to picking, you need to look into the climate, cost, work hours, and pay for each region.

For example, Galicia is known to be very rainy, so if you don’t like the rain, find another region. For a complete overview of the climate, work hours, salary, basics, languages, and timeliness of pay for each region, check out the following post:


Guide to Spain’s regions for auxiliares de conversación

GROUP AGROUP BGROUP C
Asturias
Ceuta y Melilla
Extremadura**
La Rioja
Navarra
País Vasco
Aragón
Cantabria
Castilla-La Mancha
Cataluña
Galicia
Islas Canarias
Andalucía
Castilla y León
Islas Baleares
Madrid
Murcia
Valencia**

**An important note about Valencia and Extremadura: Historically, Valencia has had major payment issues for the program. From what I have heard, politicians in Valencia despise the auxiliar program and try to starve out NALCAP auxes by withholding their payments and being nasty. Valencian auxes have reported not being paid for months (some even as late as April) before having to pack their bags and leave because they can’t afford to stay. This has caused strikes and protests. Many auxes have chosen to boycott Valencia by not selecting it and not accepting Valencia placements. This is not the fault of the schools nor the NALCAP program. Extremadura has had issues as well, but not nearly on the scale of Valencia. Choose Valencia or Extremadura at your own discretion!


Recommended reading: NALCAP series: Why you should NEVER teach in Valencia!


Gif shows Jim from the show The Office making an awkward yet serious face by squashing his lips together and widening his eyes. He's staring at the floor.

January to April

During this time, you’ll complete the application using the Profex portal. Hopefully, you completed the mandatory CV sections in Profex prior to the application window to save time. The application period began for the 2023-2024 school year on February 9th. However, in previous years, it was sometimes in late January. You can check out my How to Apply for NALCAP post and the Profex handbook for a detailed guide on how to apply, and even watch this video made by the Spanish ministry for more visual support.

You’ll upload the four required application documents (and once again, I’ll refer you to my detailed post about the documents required to apply!) and complete some information about your preferences. This is the most stressful part of the process other than waiting on your visa. The Profex site crashes for hours after applications open due to the number of people using the website! Take a deep breath and you’ll push through. I’ll write more about this in a later post before the next application window!

Once your application is successful, you will be given an inscrita number. Your inscrita is the last 4 numbers of the code-like string of numbers and letters. This is shown in both Profex and in an email you will receive after applying. Make sure your application is complete to get the inscrita! A borrador status means draft.

My inscrita was 1015 and I got my first choice in region, Andalucía. 0079 indicates an inscrita of 79, while 0908 indicated an inscrita of 908, etc. The following image is a screenshot of the official email that I received.

The title of the email says "Inscripción solicitud." The email is from eadministracion@educacion.es. It arrived Thursday, February 9th at 2:13 AM. The body of the email is in Spanish and reads, "Su solicitud ha sido inscrita, el número generado por la inscripción es: 23_2AXC001015."

Mid to late February

Sometime around this point, you will receive your “Solicitud admitida” email. Keep in mind that this does not mean you have been awarded a place in the program yet! This means that your application is correct and meets the guidelines. I submitted my application on February 9th and received my Solicitud admitida email on February 20th. Below is a screenshot of my official email.

The title of the email says "Solicitud admitida." The email is from eadministracion@educacion.es. It arrived Monday, February 20th at 7:47 AM. The body of the email is in Spanish and reads, "Su solicitud con número: 23_2AXC001015 ha sido admitida, eso no significa que se le haya adjudicado una plaza, sino que reúne los requisitos exigidos para participar en el programa."

Mid April to August

This is the time that you will find out if you received a placement in the NALCAP program!

Receiving your placement email

Once you get your placement, you will have three (3) days to accept your placement within Profex after receiving the email. Failure to accept the placement automatically forfeits your place in the program. If you miss the deadline by only a few days, it’s worth emailing administrators to see what they can do. Your chances of success diminish with every passing day after the deadline.

This is a regional placement. You won’t know yet what city and school you are assigned to, so be patient! And please know that your regional placement is final. There’s no emailing anyone about switching. You get what you get. Don’t waste their time by asking to get another region than what you were assigned.

Below is a screenshot of my official adjudicación email. I followed the instructions contained in the email, accepted my placement in Andalucía, and received the status of Plaza Aceptada.

The title of the email says "Adjudicación de plaza." The email is from eadministracion@educacion.es. The body of the email is in Spanish and reads, "Ha sido adjudicada la plaza en Andalucía - España a su solicitud 23_2AXC001015 del programa de Auxiliares de Conversación en España." The next two lines are in Spanish and begin the instructions for accepting my placement in Profex.
Requesting your background check

Depending on how early or late you received your Plaza Aceptada status, you can request your background check and schedule your medical clearance appointment. The medical clearance appointment needs to be 90 days or less before your visa appointment, so plan out when to schedule this.

The requirements of your background check depend on which consulate your state is designated to. Once you’ve figured out which consulate you’re under, check the consulate requirements for the background check. The NALCAP website gives a complete directory of Spanish consulates at the bottom of their Applying for a Visa page. My state is Tennessee, so I fall under the jurisdiction of the Houston consulate.

You will also need to start as many visa requirements as you can. This means scheduling your doctor appointment, requesting your background check, planning your apostille, filling out your visa application, finding translation services, making photocopies of your ID and passport, and making passport photos. Some of these can take weeks or even months, so start them as soon as you’re allowed to!


My NALCAP visa experience with the Houston consulate

Scheduling your visa appointment

If your consulate requires an appointment to apply for your visa, do that as soon as you can. Visas take up to six (6) weeks to process, so try getting an appointment by the first week of August. These appointments fill fast. Make sure you give yourself enough time before the appointment to get the documents you need for the application!

Some consulates allow mail-in visas. This was the case for my Houston consulate for the 2023-2024 school year. If your consulate allows mail-ins, you don’t need an appointment. You just mail in your application with the documents needed when you’re ready.

May to August

Around this time, you will receive your Letter of Acceptance (or Carta de Nombramiento) from your school! Congratulations, you’re an auxiliar! This letter is required for the visa application process. It gives the details of your job offer, financial means, and health insurance information. Be patient, as there are thousands of applicants to assign. Don’t panic if things are slow for you!

Sometimes, the Andalucía placements get to pick their own schools. If you were given an Andalucía placement, this is around the time that you get the option to choose. You have five (5) days to choose once you receive your email. Details will be given in an email that you receive. Below is a screenshot of my Andalucía placement email.

The title of the email says "Plaza seleccionada en Andalucía / Placement in Andalusia." The email is from no responder.ced@juntadeandalucia.es. It arrived Friday, May 19th at 6:32 AM. The body of the email is in Spanish and reads, "Estimado/a Auxiliar de conversación" followed by Spanish instructions to choose my school within the next 5 days or lose my placement.

Once you receive your letter, contact your school. Introduce yourself and ask what you can expect from the school. Most Spanish schools are closed during the summer (and especially August), so you might not hear back until September.

June to September

Around this time, you’ll start to get back your visa documents or maybe even your visa itself! Congratulations, you’re very close to Spain!

Gif shows a man happy screaming with his mouth wide open and his eyes closed. He's wearing a white collared shirt with a dark tie. He's doing a fast jazz hand motion out of excitement.

The program strongly recommends that you do not buy a plane ticket until you have your visa in hand. This is to prevent your flight date coming up without you having your visa yet! However, if you’re paranoid like me and are willing to shell out the money, consider buying a refundable ticket from your selected airline. I picked Delta, and my ticket came with the ability to change the flight date without a fee. I bought my flight for mid September and my visa arrived at the end of August.

Remember, the timeline for the NALCAP program isn’t set in stone. You will probably go through bits and pieces of your process at different times than others. I wish we were all guaranteed the things we need by the time we need them, but that’s not always possible. If you buy a refundable/changeable ticket, you’ll probably be rescheduling your flight at least once.

Late August or September

Hopefully by this point, you have your visa in hand. Yay! You can book your flight if you haven’t already. If you also haven’t already done so, reach out to your school. Introduce yourself, tell them you’ve got your visa, and that you’re ready to meet them in October.

Now, you want to collect the paperwork that you need once you’ve arrived in Spain. From what I’ve heard, you will definitely need your Carta de Nombramiento (letter of acceptance) for your TIE residency card. Most schools also require a copy of your background check upon arrival.

With your visa in hand, your flight booked, your paperwork ready, and your bags packed, it’s time to get on over to Spain! You might attend an orientation run by the program and the regional government. Check with your school or your regional coordinator for the dates.

October

By October 1, the program has begun. You should be in Spain by now and starting your job as an auxiliar de conversación! Head over to your school and have a fantastic first day!

May 31 or June 30

Depending on where you were placed, your school year ends either May 31 or June 30. Congratulations on a successful year with NALCAP!

After this, you’re either heading home or renewing for another year. Good luck!

A blond boy sitting at his computer. He turns to look at the camera and gives a thumbs up.

I am so happy to put together this detailed post about the timeline for the NALCAP program. I wanted to expand on the timeline that NALCAP provides on their website with personal experiences and things I have learned from other auxes. Hopefully you’ve learned something and are ready to tackle the program!

Thanks for reading!

Beka

1 Comment

  • Nicole
    February 27, 2024 at 6:14 pm

    I’m a first year who is applying for the 2024-25 year and this post has been super helpful so far! Thank you 🙂

    Reply

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