Make sure you know how to go about applying for your essential Número de Identificación de Extranjero…

An EU-citizen applying for their Registration Certificate (certificado de registro) will be issued an NIE number at the same time, as the two application processes are combined.

Applying for an NIE if you are not a Spanish Resident

Those intending to stay in Spain for less than 3 months not planning to apply for a Residency Certificate can make an application for an NIE number separately. The number comes in the form of a certificate on an A4 sheet of paper.

Applying for an NIE as a Spanish resident

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.New legislation requires that the application should be made in person.

An NIE number can also be obtained from the government website

The following documents are required:

  • An filled-in application form, and two photocopies. The form is the Solicitud de Número de Identidad de Extranjero (NIE) y Certificados, number EX-15. (PDF in Spanish)
    • Note: Do not sign the completed application form until in the presence of an official
  • Receipt for payment of the fee, stamped by the bank. Doing this before the application can save time and an extra visit to the police station.
  • Identity card or original passport and photocopy
  • Two passport photographs
  • Proof of current address in Spain

Certified documentation stating the reasons for applying for the NIE may be required. This can be a personal statement, or a letter from a future employee, bank manager, accountant, notary, agent etc.

Note: In some parts of Spain (including Costa Blanca) the application should be made at the office in question where the forms used are auto-carbonated copies. However, in others areas the printable form, EX-15 is accepted. Some areas like Barcelona also require an appointment.

Once the application is made, 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.

Help with the Application

A non-resident needing an NIE number (for example, to purchase property), may be able to apply through the Spanish Embassy or consulate of their home country. There are also companies and individuals – gestor/gestoría – able to help with this process remotely. However it is important to note that even though an application can be made via a legal representative some police station branches will not accept power of attorney documents. It is wise to check the local police branch to see what practices are adopted in that area before making an application.