NIE in Spain

A NIE (Número de Identidad de Extranjero) is required for almost everything in Spain, and applying for a NIE should be one of your top priorities when you arrive in Spain as a newcomer. But what is a NIE and how do you get one?

All resident and non-resident foreigners with financial affairs in Spain – regardless of whether they are EU citizens or from a non-EU country – must have a foreigner’s tax identification number or NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero). This is the equivalent of a Spaniards Número de Identificación Fiscal (NIF) which serves as a fiscal identification number. The CIF number (Certificado de Identificación Fiscal) is equivalent
to the NIF, but applies to companies. Anyone with financial, professional or social interests in Spain needs a personal identification number. The NIE is essential for any fiscal transactions in Spain where money is paid to the Spanish Inland Revenue office.

The NIE number should be quoted in all dealings with tax authorities. The number appears on all documents issued in Spain. Here are a few instances in which a NIE is absolutely required:

1. Open a bank account
2. Buy, sell or insure property
3. Arrange credit terms or a mortgage
4. Pay taxes
5. Be paid for employment
6. Use short-term employment agencies
7. Apply for a business permit and start a business
8. Register with social services and arrange receipt of social security benefits
9. Apply for a driver’s license
10. An EU-citizen applying for their certificate of residence (certificado de
registro) will be issued an NIE number at the same time.

Applications for an NIE can be made at a police station with a foreigners’ department (Oficina de Extranjeros) of a national Spanish police station (comisaría), or by contacting the local regional government; either in person or through a representative.

The following documents are required:
1. An application form, the Solicitud de Número de Identidad de Extranjero (NIE) y Certificados (form EX-15), filled out and signed
2. Do not sign the completed application form until in the presence of an official
3. Receipt for payment of the fee, stamped by the bank
4. Identity card or original passport and photocopy
5. Two passport photographs

Certified documentation stating the reasons for applying for the NIE may be required. Note: In some parts of Spain (including Costa Blanca) the application should be made at the office in question where the forms used are autocarbonated copies. However, in others areas the printable form, EX-15 is accepted.

Once the application is submitted, processing may take a month or more. Usually, the office will issue a date to collect the NIE which should be done in person; notification is not made by post or telephone. In some locations (Madrid is one such) the NIE may be issued immediately.

A non-resident needing an NIE number (for example, to purchase property), may be able to apply through the Spanish Embassy of their home country. There are also companies and individuals – gestor/gestoría – able to help with this process remotely.

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