How to get a NIE Number in Spain

What is a NIE number?

A NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero) is a foreigner identification number in Spain. It is a unique number assigned to non-Spanish residents who need to conduct certain official transactions in Spain, such as buying a property, opening a bank account, paying taxes, or obtaining a work permit.

The NIE is a ten-digit number that consists of a letter, followed by seven numbers, and another letter at the end. The letter at the beginning and the end is a code that indicates the reason for the issuance of the NIE.

NIE Card Example

How to obtain a NIE number?

To obtain a NIE, non-Spanish residents must apply at a Spanish consulate or at a police station in Spain. The application process typically requires filling out a form, presenting a valid passport, and paying a fee. In some cases, additional documentation may be required, such as proof of residence, proof of income, or a criminal record certificate.

Once the application is approved, the NIE is issued and can be used for various official transactions in Spain. It is important to note that the NIE is not a residency permit, and it does not entitle the holder to live or work in Spain. Non-Spanish residents who plan to stay in Spain for more than 90 days must apply for a residency permit.

Why do I need a NIE number?

  • Legal residency: If you plan to reside in Spain for an extended period, such as working, studying, or retiring, you will need a NIE number to establish your legal presence in the country.
  • Employment: If you intend to work in Spain, a NIE number is usually required by employers for tax and social security purposes. It allows you to be registered with the social security system and pay taxes.
  • Starting a business: If you wish to start a business or become self-employed in Spain, you will need a NIE number to register your business, obtain permits, and fulfill legal obligations related to taxation and social security.
  • Buying or selling property: When purchasing or selling property in Spain, a NIE number is necessary to complete the transaction. It is required for signing contracts, opening bank accounts, and paying taxes related to the property.
  • Opening a bank account: Most banks in Spain require a NIE number to open a bank account. It is a common practice to have a local bank account for various financial transactions and to facilitate daily life.
  • Study or research: If you are planning to study at a Spanish educational institution or engage in academic research, a NIE number may be required for enrollment, accessing educational resources, obtaining scholarships, or applying for residence permits.
  • Legal matters: For legal proceedings, such as inheritance, obtaining permits, or dealing with administrative matters, a NIE number might be necessary to establish your identity and comply with legal requirements.

step-by-step guide to obtain a NIE number:

  1. Identify the reason you need a NIE number, such as for work, study, or buying property.
  2. Obtain the EX-15 form (Solicitud de Número de Identificación de Extranjero). You can download it from the Spanish National Police website or obtain it from the police station or immigration office. Fill out the form with accurate and complete information.
  3. Prepare the necessary documents, which generally include:
    • Valid passport: Provide the original and a photocopy of your valid passport or another acceptable identification document.
    • Application fee: Pay the required fee, which can vary depending on the region and the purpose of your NIE application. Check the current fee and payment methods.
    • Supporting documentation: Additional documents may be required, such as proof of reason for the NIE application (e.g., job contract, university acceptance letter), proof of accommodation, proof of financial means, etc. Check with the specific office where you will submit your application for the complete list of required documents.
  4. Contact the Spanish National Police or the designated office responsible for issuing NIE numbers in your area to schedule an appointment. This can usually be done online or by phone. Some regions may require appointments to be made well in advance due to high demand, so plan accordingly.
  5. On the scheduled date and time, go to the designated office with all the required documents. Submit your completed application form and provide any additional information requested.

After submitting your application, you will be given a document confirming that your application is being processed. This document may serve as a temporary NIE until you receive the official NIE card. Depending on the region and processing times, your NIE card may take a few weeks or even months to be issued. Once it’s ready, you will be notified to collect it from the designated office. Bring the necessary identification and any other documents requested for collection.

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