One of the first things you will need to do when you move to Spain is to get your NIE number.
You can get your NIE at the same time as your residency/TIE however, you may find that you need it sooner in order to get on with renting a property, opening a bank account and so on.
What is an NIE number?
NIE stands for Número de Identificación de Extranjería and is a Spanish tax identification number for foreigners similar to your National Insurance number in the UK.
Your NIE will be printed on a piece of A4 paper with your name, date of birth, and an official stamp from the police station where it was issued. It is important that you do not lose this piece of paper once it has been issued!
Why do I need an NIE?
You will be asked for your NIE number for many different things including when you apply for residency, get a job, exchange your UK driving license for a Spanish one, and open a Spanish bank account. You will also be asked to show your NIE for things like buying a car, renting a property, and even collecting post from the Correos.
How do I apply for an NIE number?
It is a good idea to get your NIE sorted before you move to Spain as without this there are so many things you cannot do.
NIE numbers are issued by the National Police of Spain but you can apply for an NIE number while you are still in the UK. There are two ways to apply for an NIE without being in Spain:
- Visit the Consulate of Spain in London, Manchester or Edinburgh in person. The Consulate acts as a courier and will send your application to Spain to be authorised and returned to you by the Spanish authorities.
- If you cannot get to the Consulate of Spain offices you can use a Power of Attorney to apply for you. You will be required to sign a Power of Attorney at a Notary Public’s office near you so that a representative can attend the appointment on your behalf.
If you want to apply for a NIE number when you are in Spain, you will need to apply by booking an appointment online to attend your local police station in person.
What documentation do I need to apply for an NIE?
To apply for an NIE number you will need the following documentation:
- The completed application form EX-15
- A valid passport (with a minimum of 6 months left)
- A photocopy of your passport
- Proof that you have paid the €10 fee, using the Modelo 790 form
- Proof of why you need an NIE such as a job contract, rental contract, school acceptance letter etc
If you need help filling out the EX-15 form, see this guide.
How quickly will I get my NIE number?
How quickly your NIE number is ready will depend on the region where you have applied. It may be ready immediately or you might have to go back in a few days to collect it.
How long does an NIE number last?
Once you have been assigned an NIE number by the National Police it will be yours for life. You do not need to renew it.
Important: You must not laminate your NIE and you cannot request copies if you lose it. For this reason, it’s a good idea to make plenty of photocopies!