What is a Spanish NIE number anyways?
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.
Why it is important?
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 all 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 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:
- Study in Spain
- Buy, sell or insure a property in Spain or purchase any asset over € 3,000
- Buy a vehicle in Spain
- Inheritance of assets in Spain
- Setup a company, start a business or simply work in Spain
- Pay Spanish taxes
- Apply for a mortgage or other loan in Spain
- Register for national Social Security Health plan
- Register with social services and arrange receipt of social security benefits
- Apply for a driving license
How to get NIE number – step by step
Step 1: Fill in the application form
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
Step 2: Make an appointment online
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.
- In PROVINCIAS DISPONIBLES choose Barcelona.
- In TRÁMITES DISPONIBLES PARA LA PROVINCIA SELECCIONADA choose Expedicion de tarjeta de identidad de extranjero (heulla)
- Click Aceptar
- Click Entrar
- Fill in your information:
- Choose PASAPORTE and enter your passport number below
- Nombre y apellidos = name and surname
- País de nacionalidad = your nationality
- In Caracteres enter what you see on the picture above
- Click Aceptar
Step 3: Prepare all the necessary documents (checklist)
- Passport and copy of all pages
- Address in Spain
- Completed EX-15 formula
- 2 recent Passport photos
- Document proving why you need a Spanish NIE number, which differs depending on your intentions. In most cases it is:
- a contract showing that you’re going to buy a property in Spain like real estate, car, etc. or
- employed: job contract from the Spanish company or
- self-employed: a company ownership certificate or
- persons with sufficient funds: proof that you can live in Spain without working or
- students: acceptance letter from the school or
- job seekers: you can go only with passport, but you will be issued a temporary NIE number valid only for 3 months.
- non-EU citizens will need the additional proof of legal entry into Spain (for instance a landing card, known in Spanish as a declaración de entrada)
- NIE application fee 10,40 euros (rate in 2014)
Step 4: Go to the authorized office – Where to apply for NIE number in Barcelona
You can apply for NIE number at police stations with a Oficina de Extranjeros (Foreigners Office). In Barcelona they are located on:
- Carrer de Balmes 192, 08006 Barcelona
- Rambla de Guipúscoa 74, 08020 Barcelona
- Carrer de Múrcia 42, 08027 Barcelona
- Passeig de Sant Joan 189, 08037 Barcelona
- Monday to Thursday from 9h to 17h30
- Friday 9h to 14h
- Summer (June 16th to September 15th) from 9h to 14h
#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.
Step 5: useful Spanish terms
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).
Step 6: keep calm and wait for it
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!
Apply for NIE number before you come to Barcelona
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!