Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How to Apply For a Carné Joven in Spain (European Youth Card)

After the disaster that was almost getting kicked off the train in France back in December, I resolved to get whatever carte jeune meant in English to ensure cheap European train tickets for future jaunts across the continent. I love traveling by train, but train tickets are usually much more expensive than buses (which don’t even exist in France!), so applying for a European Youth Card was high on the to-do list after I got back home from Christmas vacation travels.

Carné Joven / European Youth Card from Spain
My Carné Joven a.k.a. European Youth Card
I kept putting getting one off until I read Cat of Sunshine and Siesta’s blog post about “How to get a Carné Jóven Andaluz” a couple weeks ago. She made the whole process sound really simple, so one rainy Monday morning I set off to Úbeda’s local Oficina de Información Juvenil (“Youth Information Office”) and formally applied for a carné joven or “youth card.” After handing over the requisite paperwork and paying a fee at a nearby bank, I got a provisional card printed on a sheet of paper—enough to get me the discounts on the trains I was taking to Toledo that weekend.

Just last week, the official, plastic card came in the mail and will last me through the year 2021 (when I turn 31...terrifying).

In this post I want to explain how you, too, can go about getting a European Youth Card, assuming you’re probably a language assistant like me. Apart from the biggest advantage of getting 20% off the price of train tickets on Spain’s Renfe network (and 25-60% off in, for example, France), other bonuses include small price markdowns at stores, gyms, and other services.

How to get one

This is how I got mine in Andalucía (southern Spain), but beware that, since Spain is such a decentralized country, your experience may vary from region to region, so double-check the links below for requirements specific to your region.

1) Gather together a filled-out application (Anexo I in Andalucía), a copy of your NIE and your original card, six euros, and—just to be safe—your carta de nombramiento stating that you’re a language assistant (or whatever other documentation you have to prove you’re residing in the region).

2) With all of the above from #1, apply for the card at your local youth office: provincial capitals in Andalucía like Sevilla, Córdoba, Jaén, etc., have an Instituto Andaluz de la Juventud; outside the capitals, every city should have an Oficina de Información Juvenil; and if you happen to have a bank account with CajaSur, CajaSol, Unicaja, Caja Granada, or Caja de Jaén, you can also apply there and get a joint debit card/European Youth Card.

3) Run to the closest bank, pay the six-euro tax fee, and go back the office to get your provisional card.

You’re good to go! Your provisional card functions the same as the official card, which should come in the mail in a week or so. Now go out and start saving money!!!

Links to regional carné joven websites

* Andalucía
* Aragón
* Asturias
* Balearic Islands
* Basque Country
* Canary Islands
* Cantabria
* Castilla-La Mancha
* Castilla y León
* Cataluña
* Ceuta
* Extremadura
* Galicia
* La Rioja
* Madrid
* Melilla
* Murcia
* Navarra
* Valencia
* the European Youth Card’s website
* the national government’s page

Have you gotten your carné joven yet? Have you had much luck saving money while traveling across Europe with a youth card? Talk about it in the comments below!
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