Everything you need to know about the NIE in Spain

If you have decided to move to Spain or spend an extended period of time in this sunny country, you have probably come across the term “NIE” on more than one occasion. But what exactly is the NIE and why is it so important for foreigners residing in Spain? In this blog post, we will explore all about the Foreigner Identification Number (NIE): what it is, what it is for, how to obtain it if you are a foreigner and the different types of NIE that exist.

What is the Foreigner Identification Number?

The NIE, or Foreigner Identification Number, is a unique tax identifier assigned to foreigners who need to carry out legal or financial procedures in Spain. It is a fundamental requirement for a variety of transactions, from opening a bank account to buying property or working legally in the country.

What is the Foreigner Identification Number for in Spain?

The NIE serves a number of vital functions in the life of a foreigner in Spain:

  1. Financial transactions: a NIE is needed to open a bank account, apply for a mortgage or perform any significant financial transaction.
  2. Employment: Employers require the NIE to formalize employment contracts with foreigners.
  3. Real estate purchases: If you are interested in buying a property in Spain, the NIE is essential to carry out the transaction.
  4. Business and legal procedures: In order to establish a business or carry out any other legal procedure in Spain, such as obtaining a driver’s license or registering for social security, a NIE is required.

How to obtain a NIE if you are a foreigner?

Obtaining a NIE in Spain is not complicated, but it requires certain steps and documentation. Here is a basic guide:

  1. Requesting an appointment: You must request an appointment at the Immigration Office or at the police station closest to your place of residence.
  2. Documents required: For the appointment, you will need to present certain documents, such as your original passport and a copy, the completed NIE application form (model EX-15), and proof of the reason for which you need the NIE (e.g. employment contract, offer to purchase a property, etc.).
  3. Payment of fees: Before attending the appointment, you must pay the corresponding fees at the bank and present the receipt at the appointment.
  4. Attend the appointment: Attend the appointment on the assigned date and time, where you will present your documentation and be fingerprinted.
  5. Collect the NIE: Once the process is completed, you will be given a certificate with your provisional NIE. Subsequently, you will receive the definitive NIE by mail.

The different types of NIE

There are two types of NIE. The administrative procedures are the same, but you must make the right choice for your situation:

  • Provisional NIE

Issued on white A4 paper, it is valid for 90 days. It will allow you to carry out all the formalities you need in Spain, without exception.

  • Resident NIE

It is mandatory for people who wish to stay more than 90 days (retirees, workers, long-term students). It is not necessary to live in Spain to apply for it and obtain it. You can be a foreign citizen. The application is always made in a second step, after having applied for a provisional NIE. In fact, the provisional NIE is almost essential from the first day of installation in Spain, and the resident NIE requires you to prove a stay of at least 3 months in Spanish territory. 

In short, the NIE is a fundamental piece of information for foreigners residing in Spain, as it allows them to carry out a variety of legal and financial transactions. If you are a foreigner and plan to spend some time in this beautiful country, be sure to obtain your NIE as soon as possible to avoid setbacks in your paperwork and fully enjoy your experience in Spain.

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