The Spanish NIE numer, 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 X – 1234567 – B). Each NIE number is dedicated to one person and it is neither transferable nor does it expire.
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:
The Spanish NIE number application form you need to find is called EX – 15 Solicitud de Numero de Identidad de Extranjero NIE y Cert . Download it here
The actual form is in Spanish, but don’t worry because you’ve reached the right place. We have the document with the most essential fields translated to English so you can refer to it.
This is sample image of our translation. For higher quality one, download the pdf version here
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 can apply for NIE number at police stations with a Oficina de Extranjeros (Foreigners Office). In Barcelona they are located on:
#Useful 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).
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, either by asking the Spanish consulate in your country or using a specialised agency of which many are available online, and the fees vary as well. But since you have read our guide, getting it all on your own won’t be such a pain. It’s not so complicated, right?
Beside this we also have many other helpful tips if you’re moving to Barcelona like 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!