Spanish NIE Number Guide: How to do your NIE application

The NIE (Foreign ID Number) in Spain - why do you need it and how to get one. Spanish NIE Card explained.

1. What is a Spanish NIE number?

The national tax identification number (NIE) for foreigners in Spain (Número de identidad de extranjero) is used to complete all official procedures, such as, obtaining official permits, processing financial documentation in Spain, wages, driving licenses, mortgages, including registration in the social insurance system (the medical insurance system, unemployment benefits, granting subsidies, pension etc.), and also serves as an identification card for any operations where confirmation of the identity of a foreign citizen is required.
The NIE number starts with a letter, followed by seven digits and another letter in the end (example A – 3213213 – B). The NIE is personal. It is neither transferable nor does it expire.
NIE is regulated by Article 58 of the Spanish Law on Foreign Citizens. All foreigners who carry out financial activities in Spain, whether they are residents of Spain or not, must have the NIE. The nature of the NIE is linked to legal residence in the country so that any illegal residents cannot request it.

As stated in Article 101 of Chapter 1, Section X of Law No. 4, of 11 January 2000, "On the Rights and Freedoms of Foreign Citizens in Spain and Their Social Integration", any foreign nationals who have been given documentation for their residency in Spain, where administrative cases based on the legislation in force in their relation, and those individuals whose professional, financial or social interests are connected with Spain are given their individual serial number for personal identification.

2. Why do you need one?

The NIE is an obligatory number for all types of transactions, opening a bank account in any Spanish bank, registering a company in Spain, buying a property or a car, preparing a tax return, or filing any formal application on behalf of a foreign national in Spanish public institutions.

3. NIE Requirements

Depending on whether you are outside the country or in Spain, you can apply for an NIE in the Honorary Consulates or in an Embassy in the country where you reside. Sometimes you will have to justify the reasons for requesting the NIE.
In most cases, a foreign citizen draws up a notarial deed of intent to purchase property in Spain and requests the NIE for the execution of a deal. In this case, the applicant is not required to actually purchase a property in Spain, the act of intent does not impose such a duty on him. Another common reason for obtaining NIE is the establishment of a company, that is, starting a business in Spain.

It is important to remember that to open a bank account or to buy a car you need the NIE number, but these procedures are not considered by the migration authorities as a satisfactory reason for issuing the NIE.
All foreign documents must be legalized by the Spanish consular office with jurisdiction having been granted in the country of origin in which the document was issued.
Non-EU citizens will be given a receipt at their appointment which they should pay at any Spanish bank.

4. How to apply for a Spanish NIE number

Applying in person in Spain

You can apply for the NIE in a police station in the province where you reside. After you apply for it, you will need to pay a fee of around 10 euros in the nearest bank.
Documents for the non-EU residents:
1
Book an appointment in the local Police office and print the application.
2
2 copies of filled-out and printed application form (EX-15) For an example, please follow the link
3
Passport and a photocopy of all passport pages, or travel title/registration card.
4
Proof of entry into Spain. You will need the entry statement (declaración de entrada) if you arrived from a country which doesn't have borders with Spain, meaning that you do not have a Spanish stamp in your passport. The entry statement must be made at any Police Station and Foreigners Office within a maximum of 72 hours from the moment of entry.
5
Documentation of a professional, economic or social nature which justifies your NIE request (generally it is an act of intent obtained from a notary who then confirms the need to issue an NIE for a particular economic transaction, like buying real estate or buying/renting a car etc.). All documentation must be translated into Spanish and you must provide the original documents. However, this requirement now depends on the region, although most do not ask for these documents.
Documents for the EU residents:
1
Book an appointment in the local Police office and print the application.
2
2 copies of filled-out and printed application form (EX-15). For an example, please follow this link
3
Passport and photocopy of passport details pages, or travel title/registration card/ID card for the EU citizens.
4
Documentation of a professional, economic or social nature which justifies your NIE request (generally it is an act of intent obtained from a notary who then confirms the need to issue an NIE for a particular economic transaction, like buying real estate or buying/renting a car etc.). All documentation must be translated into Spanish and you must provide the original documents. However, this requirement now depends on the region, although most do not ask for these documents.
view of the coast
Citizens of the EU have the right to freely enter and reside in the territory of Spain without receiving travel documents. However, if they are expecting to live in Spain for more than 3 months, they should receive a certificate with an NIE number.
The application for the receipt of NIE must be filed no later than the expiration of 3 months in Spain. The certificate with the NIE number is issued immediately after submitting the application.

5. Applying in person via a Spanish Consulate abroad

Documents required when applying in person via a Spanish Consulate abroad:
1
Рassport and photocopy of all pages of the passport
2
2 copies of any relevant application forms, which must be completed but NOT signed, this is because it is signed in the presence of a consular officer. The consulate will not give you forms, so you need to prepare them in advance. This is an EX-15 form, you can download it here
These documents must be personally submitted to the Consulate of Spain in your country. Please note that the Consulate does not assign the NIE but assumes the obligation to transfer your papers to Spain. After a week, you will receive the NIE via email in PDF. If you want the document to be sent to your Spanish address, indicate it in the application form and on the envelope with the return address.

After submitting the documents, you will be issued a special receipt (resguardo) with a time when you can come to collect the NIE (you will receive a notification by email). It can take from several days to several weeks, it all depends on the number of applicants in the queue.

Anyone can collect the NIE, it is not necessary to do it personally. To do this, simply submit a receipt.

6. Authorize a third party

The Spanish government allows foreigners to request the NIE through their legal representative in Spain. To do this, you need to contact the Spanish Gestor, issue a power of attorney in his name (in Spain it is called "Poder") and give him a notarized copy of your passport. Notarization is possible both in Spain and abroad (in this case, the document must be with an apostille). However, experts recommend certifying copies with Spanish notaries, so that the migration office accepts your documents for sure.

Secondly, send the representative your passport or a notarized copy of the passport.

7. How to get a Spanish NIE number in the UK?

You can apply for the NIE in the diplomatic mission or Spanish consular office corresponding to your place of residence. Spanish consulates in the UK operate in London and Edinburgh, see link. The fee for the issue of this document is £8.60.
You should present the following:
  • Passport and photocopy of passport details pages.
  • 2 copies of the printed application form (EX-15), which must be completed but NOT signed, because it is signed in the presence of a consular officer. The consulate will not give you the forms, so you need to prepare them in advance. For an example, follow this link.
  • Also, print out and take with you this payment form
  • If you are non-EU resident, with the UK residency, you will also need to provide your residence permit with its copy, along with the proof of why you need the NIE (It can be a preliminary contract on the property etc.).
It will take about 1 month to prepare and send your NIE.

8. Terms of resolution

In accordance with Spanish law, the time for review of documentation cannot be more than 5 days from the receipt of documents by the competent authority. It means that if you submitted documents directly to the migration department, after 5 days you must be informed about the result of the examination of the documents. In reality, this period often increases to up to 10 days, for example, in Barcelona.

If the documents are submitted through the Consulate of Spain, the period for receiving the answer can also be longer than 5 days.

9. How long does a Spanish NIE number last?

In accordance with Spanish law, the validity of the certificate of NIE is 90 days. However, NIE is assigned to a foreign citizen permanently. This means that, if in the future a foreign citizen wants to renew a certificate or submit documents for obtaining a residency in Spain, they will be provided with the same NIE number.

The certificate for the provision of NIE can be renewed after 90 days. However, in this case, it will be necessary to reconfirm the existence of the circumstance that caused the issuance of the first certificate. In some regions of Spain, the certificate is renewed only in exceptional cases.

10. Conclusion & Frequently asked questions

How to update NIE in Spain?
Usually, the agency fees are covered by the seller of the real estate, or the developer in case of a new property. Normally the fee is 5-10% of the property price and is already included in it. In some cases, like in Valencia and Malaga, historically the fee is paid by the buyer and accounts for 3% for the secondary market. This is why we advise you to thoroughly clarify this matter with the chosen agency!
Documents are submitted without an appointment, the period for consideration of documents is 5 to 10 days.

What to do if I have lost my NIE?

You should go through the same procedure that you did for the first time. You will need to provide the same details that you did when applying before. It is required for the migration office to prove that you are the same person.

Do I need to carry NIE with me?

It is advisable to carry both your passport and NIE with you. But in reality, no one does it. If the police stop you in an intoxicated condition, then you will be asked to show these documents.

If you just need an NIE number when filling out a form, you can simply write it down, but for the registration of a mortgage and other important documents you need to show the original paper with NIE.

Other useful information

  1. Not long ago it was necessary to provide documents confirming the reason to getting the NIE (for example, a preliminary contract for buying a car or property), but currently, in most of the regions, there is no such requirement.
  2. Is there any NIE or so for children? No, NIE is only required for those who pay any kind of taxes in Spain.
  3. How long does it take to receive a NIE? After you submit your documents, you may have to wait up to one week. However, the wait for an appointment can be up to two months! Remember to book an appointment here: https://sede.administracionespublicas.gob.es/icpplus/ (choose Asignación de NIE)
For more information please contact the managers of our agency. It is our pleasure to assist you on a way to your dream!

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