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How to Get an NIE Number for Spain

Gobierno de Espana

Planning to move to Spain or engage in anything more official than ordering a café con leche? You’ll need an NIE number. This stands for “Número de Identificación de Extranjero,” or in plain English, “Foreigner’s Identification Number.”

Getting your NIE number might seem daunting, but really, it’s a straightforward process once you know the steps. So, let’s cut through the confusion and get you on your way to living your Spanish dream, hassle-free. Ready?

What is a Spanish NIE?

Let’s break down the NIE. It stands for ‘Número de Identificación de Extranjero,’ which is essentially your unique ID number in Spain. It’s important for anyone who wants to do more than just visit Spain. 

Whether you’re working, living, or involved in any economic or social activities, this number is your identifier.

Everyone who interacts with Spanish authorities needs an NIE, regardless of whether they’re from the EU or elsewhere. 

And here’s a key point: your NIE once assigned, is yours for life. It’s personal, it’s unique, and it’s non-transferable. So, think of it as your permanent Spanish ID number. 

Who needs an NIE number?

Wondering if you need an NIE number? The answer mostly depends on what you plan to do in Spain.


Whether you’re from Europe or elsewhere, if you’re in Spain but not living here full-time, you’ll need an NIE for certain things. Planning to buy a house, rent a car, or open a bank account? 

Then, yes, an NIE is required.

European Residents

If you’re from the EU and moving to Spain, you’ll go through a registration process to become a European resident here. When you get your EU Registration Certificate, you’ll find your NIE number on it. 

Non-European Residents

Coming from outside the EU? When you get your residence permit and the accompanying Foreigner’s Identity Card, your NIE number will be on the residence permit card.

What do you need an NIE number for?

Curious about what you can do with a Spanish NIE? Well, it’s vital for various activities and necessities. Here’s a rundown of where this handy number is required:

  • Social Security Registration: Planning to live, work, or retire in Spain? You’ll need to register with the Social Security system, and your NIE is required for that.
  • Banking: Opening a bank account in Spain? Most banks here will ask for your NIE number. It’s a standard part of financial procedures.
  • Business Ventures: Dreaming of starting a business under the Spanish sun? Your NIE is step one in the business setup process.
  • Employment: If you want to work in Spain, you will need your NIE number to do so.
  • Buying Property or Vehicles: From a cozy apartment in Barcelona to a car for cruising the Costa del Sol, a Spanish NIE is essential for any significant purchase.
  • Taxes: NIE is crucial for filing income tax declarations, ensuring you stay on the right side of Spanish tax laws.
  • Public Services: Accessing essential services like healthcare often requires an NIE.
  • Corporate Roles: If you’re aiming to be a director or shareholder of a Spanish company, an NIE is a must-have. It’s part of every official document you’ll sign.

Remember, having an NIE doesn’t automatically make you a fiscal resident in Spain. You can have an NIE and be a fiscal resident elsewhere. 

Think of your NIE as your identification number for most official and legal activities in Spain, but not necessarily tying you down as a resident for tax purposes.

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What requirements must be met?

Thinking about getting your NIE? Here’s what you need to know about the requirements. Basically, if you have any sort of connection to Spain – be it economic, professional, or social – and you don’t already have an NIE, you can apply for it. 

But there are a couple of key boxes you need to tick:

  • You need to demonstrate that you have legitimate economic, professional, or social interests in Spain. This isn’t just a formality; it’s a crucial part of the process.
  • Be clear about why you need the NIE. Are you buying property, getting a driver’s license, or opening a bank account? Your reason for requesting the number needs to be specific.

In short, the Spanish authorities want to ensure that your need for an NIE is genuine and tied to real activities or commitments in the country. It’s not just about being in Spain; it’s about being part of the Spanish system in some way.

How to Apply for a Spain NIE number

The process of getting your NIE in Spain might seem daunting, but we’ve broken it down to make it more manageable. Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Fill Out the Application

Download, complete, and sign the EX-15 application form for the NIE. Remember, you need two copies, and it’s only available in Spanish.

Step 2: Gather the Necessary Documents

Along with your completed EX-15 form, you’ll need:

  • Your passport and photocopies of all its pages.
  • Two passport photos.
  • A certificate of residence (from the local council where you live).
  • Proof of entry into Spain (non-EU citizens). This could be a passport stamp or a plane ticket.
  • A completed 790 form for NIE and payment for this form.
  • A document justifying your need for an NIE.
  • Your fingerprints.

Step 3: Request an Appointment Online

In Spain or have a representative there? Go to the Government’s NIE assignment page and follow the instructions.

Outside Spain? Contact the nearest Spanish diplomatic mission or consular office and arrange an appointment as per their local procedures.

Step 4: Pay the Fee

Use the online form (form 790 Code 012) for payment. Fill it in, indicating your payment method, and then download and print it. You can pay in cash at a bank or via direct debit from a bank account. Remember, this form is also in Spanish.

Step 5: Submit Your Documentation

Go to your scheduled appointment and submit all the documentation you’ve gathered.

Step 6: Receive Your NIE

Once everything is processed, you’ll receive your NIE number. Congratulations!

Remember, each step is crucial in ensuring your application goes smoothly. With a little patience and careful preparation, you’ll be holding your NIE in no time and officially stepping into your new life in Spain!

Important information about the Spanish NIE 

When it comes to the NIE in Spain, there are a few key points you should be aware of. Understanding these will help you navigate the process and its implications:

  • The Role of the NIE: It’s a unique number given to foreigners for identification in Spain, linked to your economic, professional, or social activities.
  • NIE from the Consular Office: This NIE is recognized by Spanish public administration but doesn’t grant residency rights or serve as proof of residence.
  • Residency and Visas: Non-EU individuals might need a visa to become residents. EU citizens must register at the Central Registry of Foreign Nationals upon settling in Spain.

Remember, the NIE is essential for official processes in Spain, but it’s not a residency permit. It’s a key part of your Spanish journey, important for legality and identification.

Frequently Asked Questions About How to Get an NIE Number for Spain

Can I work with a Spanish NIE?

  • Europeans: Yes, you can use the NIE to obtain a social security number and work in Spain. However, if staying beyond 3 months, you’ll need an EU Certificate.
  • Non-Europeans: No, you can’t work with just an NIE; a residence permit is also required.

How long is my NIE number valid?

The NIE doesn’t expire. Your identification number remains the same for life.

How long does it take to get a Spanish NIE?

While the NIE is typically issued within two weeks, it’s important to note that this timeframe isn’t set in stone. There can be external factors that might extend this period. 

These factors, often beyond the control of the administration, could include high demand, public holidays, or administrative delays. So, when applying for your NIE, it’s wise to allow some extra time in your plans for these potential delays. 

What is the difference between the NIE number and the TIE card?

The TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero) is a card for non-EU residents planning to stay in Spain for more than six months. EU nationals don’t need it. 

The NIE number is included on a TIE card.

Can someone else apply for my NIE number?

Yes, you can appoint an official representative like an accountant or lawyer to apply on your behalf. You’ll need to provide the same documents and a signed power of attorney for your representative.

Can Lexidy help me obtain an NIE number?

We’ve got you covered! Whether you’re looking to purchase property, rent an apartment, or engage in any activity in Spain, Lexidy is here to make the NIE process smooth and hassle-free for you.

If you want a hassle-free way to obtain your NIE without traveling to Spain, Lexidy offers a convenient solution. Our team of experienced Immigration Lawyers can efficiently manage the NIE application on your behalf, saving you time and the need for international travel. 

Ready to get started? Let Lexidy simplify your Spanish administrative journey.

Simply fill out the form below to begin!

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