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NIE number in Spain: Why you need it? How to get?

If you own property in Spain or live here as a resident, you are going to need an N.I.E. number. In this post we explains what an NIE number is, why you need one, and how to get one, either in or outside of Spain.

What is the Spanish NIE?

It is the abbreviation for “Número de Identificación de Extranjero”, it is a tax ID for foreigners in Spain. Is issued by the Administración General del Estado  (General Administration of the State) as a fiscal identification number for foreigners who want to stay more than 3 months in Spain, or in oder to be able to process certain transactions in Spain like buying a property. The equivalent of NIE for Spaniards is the NIF (Número de Identificación Fiscal).

The NIE number is different from the Empadronamiento or Padron Municipal which is about getting registered in your living community.

The Spanish NIE number starts with a letter, followed by seven numbers and another letter in the end. Each NIE number is dedicated to one person and it is neither transferable nor does it expire.

Who needs an NIE in Spain?

  • Any foreigner who becomes resident for tax purposes in Spain needs an NIE number in Spain.
  • Any non-resident foreigner who buys property in Spain. If a couple buys a property in Spain together, and they register the property in both their names, then both of them must obtain an NIE number in Spain.
  • Anyone who wants to work in Spain, or start a business in Spain.
  • Anyone who needs opens a bank account
  • Anyone who gets a mortgage
  • Anyone who signs an internet or a phone contract
  • Anyone who needs opens a utility contract
  • Anyone who want buy a car or get a driving license
  • Anyone who sign a work contract and get Social security

How to get a NIE number – Step by Step

Step 1: Fill in the application form

EU citizens: the Spanish NIE number application form you need to fill out is called EX – 18 Solicitud de inscripción en el Registro Central de Extranjeros_Residencia Ciudadano de la UE which you can download here

Non-EU citizens: you need t0he EX-15 Solicitud de Número de Identidad de Extranjero (NIE) y Certificados which you can download here.

Both forms are in Spanish

If you are en EU citizen you should only need to fill out the EX-18, however, it is best to have both this form and the EX-15 ready and filled out as the documentation asked for can vary greatly. Likewise non-EU residents should bring both just to be safe.

EU citizens you will also need the Modelo 790-012 which in 2017 MUST be filled in online, printed and brought to the appointment. You will then have to pay for the NIE at a nearby bank.

Non-EU citizens will also have to pay but should be given a receipt at their appointment which you then take to a bank to pay.

Step 2: Make an appointment online

You have to make an appointment online first before coming in person; otherwise you will not be served. To do that, click on this link and choose “Acceder al Procedimiento” at the bottom.

  • In PROVINCIAS DISPONIBLES choose the province do you live.
  • In TRÁMITES DISPONIBLES PARA LA PROVINCIA SELECCIONADA choose Certificados UE (if you are from the European Union), or Expedicion de tarjeta de identidad de extranjero (heullaif you are from overseas
  • Click Aceptar
  • Click Entrar
  • Fill in your information:
    • Choose PASAPORTE and enter your passport number below
    • Nombre y apellidos = name and surname
    • País de nacionalidad = your nationality
    • In Caracteres enter what you see on the picture above
    • Click Aceptar

You MUST bring your printed appointment confirmation with you on the day.

It can be a bit of a nightmare trying to get an appointment in the first place so we highly recommend looking to book an appointment as soon as possible

Step 3: Prepare all the necessary documents (checklist)

For EU citizens:

  • Passport and copy
  • Proof of address in Spain – your rental contract (in your name) would be sufficient
  • Completed EX-18 form
  • Completed Modelo 790
  • Proof of health insurance – this can be private health insurance or an EHIC card
  • Document* proving why you need a Spanish NIE number, which differs depending on your intentions. In most cases it is:
    • a contract showing that you’re going to buy a property in Spain like real estate, car, etc.
    • employed:  job contract from the Spanish company
    • self-employed: a company ownership certificate
    • persons with sufficient funds: proof that you can live in Spain without working
    • students: acceptance letter from the school plus proof of payment to the school
    • job seekers: you can go only with passport, but you will be issued a temporary NIE number valid only for 3 months
  • Enough to pay the NIE fee (less than 15€)

For Non-EU citizens:

  • Passport, Visa and copies
  • Completed EX-15 form
  • Empadronamiento – you will need to go to the town hall and register yourself as living in the area
  • Non-EU citizens will need the additional proof of legal entry into Spain (for instance a landing card, known in Spanish as a declaración de entrada)
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Two passport size photos (check as this can vary from country to country – the Spanish size is called carnet)
  • Document* proving why you need a Spanish NIE number which differs depending on your intentions. In most cases it is:
    • a contract showing that you’re going to buy a property in Spain like real estate, car, etc.
    • employed:  job contract from the Spanish company
    • self-employed: a company ownership certificate
    • persons with sufficient funds: proof that you have enough funds to live in Spain without working
    • students: acceptance letter from the school plus proof of payment to the school
    • job seekers: you can go only with passport, but you will be issued a temporary NIE number valid only for 3 months

Step 5: Useful Spanish terms

Some simple Spanish phrases that you might need:

Hello! I would like to apply for NIE number = Hola ! Me gustaría obtener mi número de identidad de extranjero (NIE) .

Where can submit my NIE application? = ¿Dónde puedo inscribirme?

I have an appointment to get my NIE = Tengo una cita para obtener mi número de identidad de extranjero (NIE).

Step 6: Keep calm and wait for it

All you lucky EU citizens will receive your NIE immediately however, non-EU citizens will have to wait.

After submitting all the documents, a photocopy of the application, a paper indicating when the card is available (keep it safe, you will need to show it to them later when you pick up your NIE card) and your passport will be returned to you. Usually after two weeks the NIE card should be available to pick up, but the process can sometimes take as long as 6 weeks. So stay patient!

Who can get the NIE Spain number?

  • Yourself
  • A duly mandated representative

Where I get my Spanish NIE number?

At the Spanish consulate in your own country

We found the most demanded Spanish embassies and consulates here below but if you don’t find your country, here is the main site from to find any Spanish embassy or consulate in the world.

Here are the addresses of some Spanish consulates and their Instructions for the NIE:

In Spain, at the Directorate-General offices of the Police,

Your NIE card

  • The NIE number certificate described in this article does not mean Spanish residency. This requires separate documents and procedures, although the Spanish residency card (or A4 sheet) shows your NIE number.
  • Your NIE number is assigned permanently. Formerly, numbers were issued temporarily for three month periods in some regions, but this was stopped in 2016.
  • You won’t be able to exchange your foreign driving licence in Spain if you only have an NIE number. You’ll have to have Spanish residency.
  • Take your NIE number certificate with you, along with your passport, if you need to make a police report.
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1 thought on “NIE number in Spain: Why you need it? How to get?

  1. Joannes

    The article is good information, easy to read and full of information what I need to know by setteling in Spain.

    Reply

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