I'm tagging this Spain, but I suspect they're not the only country doing this. Three-page info sheet on visa application for long-stay includes:
Only applications IN PERSON are accepted …
… process may take approximately 2 months from the day all documents are presented …
ORIGINAL and ONE PHOTOCOPY of each of the following …
3. Original Passport: Valid passp…. Your passport may remain at the Consulate.
8. House property or leasing contract in Spain.
So, if I take this literally, I am supposed to buy a round-trip ticket, skip classes to go to to Spain, find a house or apartment, buy it or sign a lease, return to USA and go in person to the consulate to seek permission to go live in it? And I have to tell the seller or landlord that if I get permission, I won't move in for at least two months?
And I'm told that I can't buy or rent without a bank account and an NIE, and can't get a bank account or NIE¹ without an address.
I know there are Americans and other non-Spanish living there, so it must not be as silly as it sounds. Advice?
¹Número de Identificación de Extranjero (Foreigner's ID number)