If you’re planning to relocate to or purchase property in Spain, you’ll need to apply for an ID number. Spain has different types of ID numbers for various purposes. The one we’ll focus on in this article is the NIE number, also called the Número de Identidad de Extranjero. It’s necessary for all foreign residents and non-residents who are living or conducting tax-related business in Spain. 

Here’s how to obtain an NIE number whether you’re in Spain now or heading there soon.

What is an NIE Number?

An NIE is an all-purpose application number in Spain. It consists of a letter (such as X or Y) followed by seven digits then another letter. If you’re an EU or EFTA national, then you’ll receive an NIE card. This is a green laminated paper card. If you’re a non-EU/EFTA citizen, then you’ll receive your NIE number on a Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE). A TIE more closely resembles a credit card. 

You’ll use it for anything that involves an official process or “tramite.” Here are some common instances when you’d use an NIE number: 

  • Purchasing or selling a property
  • Buying or selling a car
  • Getting connected to the utilities 
  • Paying your taxes 
  • Starting a job
  • Registering a business
  • Working as a self-employed individual or freelancer
  • Opening a Spanish bank account
  • Registering for social services and receiving benefits 
  • Studying in Spain  
  • Getting a Spanish driver’s license 
  • Dealing with Spanish inheritance
  • Getting a SIM card in Spain
  • Incorporating company

Your NIE number also serves as a tax number in the same way that a Social Security Number functions as a tax number for American citizens in the United States. However, don’t get the NIE Number confused with the Social Security Number (Numéro de Seguridad Social) in Spain. This is a separate number that you must apply for in Spain if you want to work and access social security in the country. 

Even if you’re a non-resident property owner, you still need an NIE number. Spanish tax authorities use it to process annual tax payments like income tax (IRPF) and annual wealth tax (Patrimonio). These are both declared by property owners in Spain regardless of whether you’re a resident or not. 

Why Do You Need an NIE Number?

An NIE number is an ID number for foreigners in Spain. You will need one if you relocate to Spain for longer than 3 months. You’ll also need one if you live outside of Spain but continue to carry out financial or legal transactions in the country. 

Where to Get an NIE Number

The Ministry of the Interior (Ministerio del Interior) issues NIE numbers in Spain. You’ll need to submit an application to them to obtain one. You can do this in a few ways.

  1. Make an appointment at your local immigration office in Spain. This is only an option if you’re already in the country, and you’ll need to conduct the appointment in Spanish (usually you can catch an available appointment in the next 30-45 days), which isn’t an option that everyone is comfortable with. If you choose to conduct the application process in Spain, you’ll visit the Government Delegations and Sub-delegations via their services and the Provincial Immigration Office.
  2. Visit a Spanish embassy or consulate in your home country if you live abroad. This is a superb option if you’re comfortable executing the process alone.
  3. Use our NIE online service that can take care of the process on your behalf. At e-residence.com we are dedicated to simplifying the process of obtaining services. Our goal is to help our clients beat bureaucratic moments, language barriers, and prepare all necessary documents, all from the comfort of their own home. With our support, our clients never have to face these challenges alone. We are with them every step of the way, ensuring a stress-free and seamless experience.

Required Documents for an NIE in person

Documentation is required for a Spanish NIE number. Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand for the application. 

  • An official NIE application form
  • A passport photo
  • A document certifying the reason for the NIE application 
  • An identifying document or passport (both the original and photocopy of all the pages)
  • Payment of administration fee  – €10,94

Step-by-Step: The NIE Application Process

1)  Decide how to apply

If you’re already in Spain, then you probably want to get your NIE number as soon as possible. Having a small card in your wallet makes opens up so many possibilities in the country. Since it can take a couple of weeks (or even a couple of months) for your case to be processed, there’s no time to waste! Because you’re on the ground in the country, you can access the various offices. We’ve included the process for how to book and attend your NIE appointment in Steps #3 and #4. However, you can still choose to have an agency help you navigate this process. 

If you have some time before you depart for Spain, seeking additional assistance may be an even more obvious route. While you can obtain an NIE on your own, it’s pretty difficult, especially without visiting Spain. Many people realize how challenging this process is once they’ve started the process, and they wished they reached out for help. Read through the process below and consider whether you’ll want to navigate it on your own — accounting for the time difference, language barrier, and other logistical challenges. 

2) Gather your materials 

Above, there’s a list of materials that you’ll need to have prepared for the application process. Regardless of which route you choose (applying yourself or partnering with a company), you’ll need to have these materials. However, by partnering with our company, you can avoid this bureaucratic hassle. Our systems and processes are designed to streamline the document collection process, making it quick and easy for you to access the information you need. By utilizing our services, you will be able to save time and effort, allowing you to focus on your core business activities. We have the expertise and technology to ensure that all necessary documents are collected, organized, and made easily accessible to you.
We believe in making things as simple and straightforward as possible, and that’s exactly what we offer with our partnership. So, let us help you minimize the stress and hassle of document collection, and allow you to move forward with confidence.

3) Book your NIE appointment online 

Booking an appointment online at one of the Spanish offices can give you a good indication of whether you can navigate this process on your own. The site is entirely in Spanish, which can present a language barrier that you’ll encounter through much of this process. You should only book an appointment at this link if you’re in Spain (or planning to visit), and you’re able to attend the appointment in person. 

  • Visit https://sede.administracionespublicas.gob.es/icpplus/
    You’ll likely see a “Not Secure” warning, but do not worry about this
  • Select the province where you’ll be living and press “Aceptar”
  • Use the dropdown box to select the application you wish to submit and press “Aceptar” 
  • Read the notes which state that you must attend your appointment with all forms completed, a copy of the forms, all required documentation, and with corresponding taxes already paid, and then press “Entrar”
  • Complete the personal details regarding your type of document 
    Use your passport number when applying for an NIE
    Make sure you input your names identically to your passport 
  • Select the box to request an appointment in the next step 
  • Choose where you want to have the appointment and then press “Siguiente”
  • Confirm your details to ensure they’re 100% accurate
  • Select one of the available appointments and press “Siguiente”
  • Check the details again and click on the 2 small checkboxes to ensure you’ll receive an email confirmation of your appointment booking
  • Press “Confirmar” to complete the process
  • If you notice a mistake, select “Volver” to cancel and start the process over. 

NOTE! You should have a Spanish phone number to confirm your appointment,

If you are not in Spain, you’ll need to either book an appointment at a Spanish consulate or embassy in your home company or partner with a company to obtain your NIE. The appointments with Spanish consulates and embassies vary, so do your research and reach out to them individually to learn more information. 

4) Attend your appointment 

If you’ve made an appointment at either a local Spanish immigration office or a Spanish consulate/embassy in your home country, you’ll need to attend your appointment on the selected date. Make sure you’ve completed your entire application and have all the appropriate materials on hand on the day of the appointment. If you don’t, then you could further delay your ability to get an NIE number. 

If you’re not able to attend an appointment in person, get your NIE number online in as little as two weeks with a service like NIE Spain online.   

5) Wait for processing  

Whether you’ve applied on your own or with a company, there will be processing time. This isn’t an overnight process because the Ministry of the Interior must review each application and issue the NIE for the applicant. 

Collect the physical NIE: After your appointment, you can collect your physical NIE document from the Foreigners Office.

How Long Is the NIE Application Process?

The length of the NIE application can vary on the availability of the immigration office. Generally speaking, you should receive your NIE number in a document via email within two weeks of application. However, the application process can take up to two months. 

NOTE: The pandemic has impacted the speed of the application process. Working with professionals who navigate the process every day can mitigate any issues that may cause a delay. 

Do NIE Numbers Expire?

The number itself doesn’t expire. However, the card itself is valid for one year. You should renew the card around 30 to 60 days before expiration. 

Can You Get a Duplicate NIE?

If you lose your NIE or residence card (or have it stolen), then you’ll need to report it to a police station. After this, you’ll be able to go back to an immigration office to receive a duplicate NIE. 

Do You Need Your NIE Number Fast?

Some people don’t have time to waste when it comes to getting an NIE number. Whether they’re moving in the next couple of weeks, or they’re hoping to start a job, pay taxes, or buy property, an NIE number is essential to living life in Spain as a foreigner. 

Get Your Spanish NIE Effortlessly with Our Expert Assistance

Are you tired of navigating the complex process of obtaining a Spanish NIE on your own? Let us help you make the process quick and easy. Our experienced team is dedicated to guiding you every step of the way and ensuring that you receive your NIE in just a few short weeks.

Don't waste any more time navigating bureaucratic obstacles and confusing procedures. Partner with us and take advantage of our expertise to simplify the process and get your NIE quickly and efficiently.
Apply with us today and experience the difference that working with a dedicated and knowledgeable team can make. Your satisfaction is our top priority, so let us help you get your Spanish NIE with ease."