How to get the NIE number in Spain

12 Jul 2021 - Category: Blog /
NIE number in Spain

So you want to get settled in Spain. Well, there are a few official things you’ll have to do before you can properly live and work in Spain. One of the most common questions asked by people wanting to move to Spain is, “how can I get an NIE number?” This is a standard and important question because this NIE number is essential for your residence in Spain. If you want to send money to your home country you’ll need to know how and where to get a NIE number.

In this blog we’ll explore what a NIE number is, why you may need one, how to get one and what you can do with it.

What is the NIE?

The NIE, an abbreviation for “Número de Identificación de Extranjero”, is a unique identity number. Basically, it is identification documentation that officially declares who you are. The document is issued by the Ministry of the Interior and it is the equivalent of the Spanish National Identity Document.

Who needs to get an NIE number?

The NIE is useful for specific groups. Not all foreigners arriving in Spain need to apply for one. However, if you are in one of the following 3 categories then you should think about getting an NIE number as soon as possible:

  1. You want to stay in Spain for a long period of time, but you do not have a VISA
  2. You have professional, economic or social interests in Spain, such as a job or a property
  3. You need to initiate an administrative file/form

Why do I need an NIE number?

Well, it’s quite simple. You’ll need a NIE number for almost everything. Any administrative procedure you undertake in Spain will require an NIE number. If you want to open a bank account or rent an apartment, or set up a small business or make your income tax declaration, you will need a NIE number.

Without a NIE number, normal life in Spain will be difficult. So, where do you get started?

Where can I get an NIE number?

Well, it depends. If you live abroad the process will be different to if you live in Spain.

If you live abroad:

In some cases you will be able to apply for the NIE while living abroad. If you go to the Spanish embassy or consulate office of the country in which you reside you will be able to carry out this procedure.

If you live in Spain already:

If you are already in Spain, you just need to go to the General Directorate of Police in your province. On the website of the National Police you can check exactly where to go depending on where you live.

Getting an Appointment for the NIE

In order to begin the process of getting an NIE number you need to request an appointment. To do this you must go to the website and follow the instructions. If you can’t speak Spanish there will be an option to translate the information into English or whichever language you speak.

Some foreign citizens have had trouble when requesting an appointment and it is common for there to be delays during the admin procedures. In order to avoid having to wait, we recommend that you make a request first thing in the morning as soon as you get into the system. We also advise that you have all the information ready and filled out in advance so that it doesn't take too long to fill out a form.

What documentation do I need?

So you’ve made your appointment and now it is time for the meeting. To ensure everything goes smoothly and to make sure you get your NIE number as soon as possible you have to have the right documents. For the meeting you will need:

  • Completed EX-15 Form
  • Valid passport of identity document (bring your original and a copy)
  • A passport sized photo on a white background
  • Documentation supporting the application
  • Government fee, which you can pay at the bank using a 790 NIE form (If you have already made the payment make sure you bring along proof that you have paid the administrative fees)

How long does it take to receive the NIE?

Once you have made your NIE request you will usually have to wait around 10 days before you can receive your document. It is important to bear in mind that you must be the one to go and collect the document in person, verifying your identity.

What you collect will be the TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero). This is your foreign identity card that bears all the information about your identity, including your NIE number. If you need to renew your card you can do that online or at the General Directorate of the Police as long as you have made your request for an appointment. If you lose your card you will not have to request a renewal. Instead, you can receive a duplicate of the existing document, since the original will still be in force. Hopefully you now have a good idea of how to get an NIE number in Spain.

How important is an NIE number?

If you are born abroad but live in Spain, the NIE will be the easiest way to prove your identity when you have to go through administrative procedures in Spain.

If your passport is invalid, you will not be able to use it for any procedure. Even if your passport is valid, many Spanish companies and organisations prefer a document issued in Spain, such as the NIE, to one issued abroad. The NIE is vital if you plan on staying a while in Spain.

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