The Spanish NIE number, short for Número de Identificación de Extranjero, is a Foreigner Identification Number 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 (example Y – 1234567 – B). Each NIE number is dedicated to one person and it is neither transferable nor does it expire.
It is worth remembering that a Spanish NIE is not the same as a TIE. EU citizens will need the NIE number only and can use their passport as identification whereas non-EU citizens will need a TIE (Tarjeta de Identificación de Extranjero) which is both a NIE and a form of identification.
The Spanish NIE number is basically used as a code to serve people who don’t have Spanish Nationality. It is of essential for virtually every activity that requires your identification. Many people are not aware of the real importance of the NIE number. For example, your very first steps after moving to Barcelona, like opening a bank account and getting internet/phone contracts, will require a NIE.
A quick anecdote: One of our colleagues here at SuiteLife had just arrived to BCN and wanted to get Internet installed in his apartment. He spoke to most of the Internet companies and there was one that told him he could sign up without having a NIE. To make a long story short, after weeks of talking back and forth with the company, it turned out they were misinformed and he did indeed need a NIE number. Moral of the story is just get the thing! It’ll make your life a lot easier.
The Spanish NIE number is important for those who have a professional or economic interest in Spain, because for certain they must have a NIE in order to:
You can pay an agency to sort out all of your NIE documents for you but remember that, even if you give them power of attorney, you must be present on the day.
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 the EX-15 Solicitud de Número de Identidad de Extranjero (NIE) y Certificados which you can download here.
Both forms are in Spanish, but don’t worry because you’ve reached the right place. We have the EX-15 document with the most essential fields translated to English so you can refer to it (the EX-18 has the same vocabulary so you can easily compare the two).
This is sample image of our translation. For higher quality one, download the pdf version here
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.
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.
You MUST bring your printed appointment confirmation with you on the day.
It can be a bit of nightmare trying to get an appointment in the first place so we highly recommend looking to book an appointment as soon as possible – it took me nearly 3 months to get mine!
TIP: try looking a little further afield if you can’t find an appointment in the centre of Barcelona. I got mine in Sant Adria de Besós which is about 30 minutes on the metro from station Jaume I.
*Any documents must be translated into Spanish or Catalán (unless they are official EU documents) and you must bring the original
*Any documents must be translated into Spanish or Catalán and you must bring the original
You can apply for NIE number at police stations with a Oficina de Extranjeros (Foreigners Office). In Barcelona they are located on:
TIP: it is possible you will have to wait in queue hours until your turn at the office, so bring something that can keep you occupied for example a book or a magazine.
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).
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!
It is also possible to apply for Spanish NIE number before coming to Spain by contacting the Spanish consulate in your country.
Getting the NIE is no easy feat but with our guide you should be good to go! Remember, if you are applying outside of Barcelona, the required documents can vary so it is best to have copies of everything as well as the originals.
And they can even vary inside Barcelona so don’t be surprised if they ask you for other documents or only ask you for half of the documents above. I only needed my passport, a copy of my passport, the EX-18 and proof of my reason for needing a NIE but I know people who have been turned away for not having their proof of insurance!
But its best to just bring copies and originals of everything you could possibly need rather than get turned away at the last moment; better safe than sorry!
Beside this we also have many other helpful tips to make moving to Barcelona a piece of cake. Check it out
Is there any other problem you have in Barcelona? Do tell us in the comments below, we would love to help!