October 19, 2020
A NIE (a “Número de Identidad Extranjero” or Foreigner’s Identity Number) is a tax number given to all non-Spanish citizens who need to carry out any procedures with the Spanish government.

Also, it is essential if you need to: to work, receive salary, buy or sell a house, take out insurance, to open an account, take out a mortgage, pay taxes, register with social security, apply for a driving license, buy a car, take out a mobile phone subscription, etc.

There are two types of NIE, a temporary NIE (NIE temporal) and a permanent (NIE permanent).

Temporary NIE

You can apply for a temporary NIE if you want to carry out a legal action in Spain. This could be, for example, buy or sell a house or start a business. You can apply then for this temporary NIE, which will allow you to perform this action, it is valid for 3 months and therefore not suitable for emigration. You can apply at the consulate in your country of residence.

How to apply for a temporary NIE?

If you want to apply for a temporary NIE number, you must complete the following steps:
  • First you need to complete the application form provided at the Embassy or Consulate.
  • Your passport or proof of identity will be requested, possibly including a copy of the residence permit and reason for application.
  • Payment of the NIE, which is 9.55€. Renewing a temporary NIE costs 7.10€.

The NIE will be sent to your home after a few weeks.

Permanent NIE

If you want to move permanently to Spain, you need a permanent NIE. Having a NIE number alone does not ensure residency rights in Spain. Do not rely on having a NIE number alone to guarantee your residency. Also, you can get a NIE but still live mainly in another country, and it does not necessarily affect your tax-resident status.

Obtaining a NIE number is very simple: Firstly, fill out the NIE application form (EX-15), available here. The form should be filled out in Spanish. However by clicking here you can see a useful translation of the form (for guidance only) provided by the Spanish government. There is no need to complete the Appendix (anexos) on the third page.

  You should take to a National Police station (“Policia Nacional”) the papeerwork. Click here for the appointments link. You need to arrange online a pre-booked appointment at the National Police station of your choice:
  • A copy of your passport and the original
  • Two copies (originals) of the filled-out form
  • You will need to pay a small fee (under 12 euros) by filling in 790-012 online here(external link). You MUST fill it in online and print it out, taking the form to any bank to pay it, before going to the police station.

You will be given a white certificate with the number on, or in some cases may be asked to collect it another day.

If you are a British national, how to register as an official resident in Spain before 31st December 2020 to ensure your pre-Brexit residency rights are maintained. Even after Brexit and until 31st December 2020, as a British national you are automatically entitled to register for residency if you are staying longer than three months (and permanent residency if in Spain already for five years), meaning your rights are protected and you can still live in Spain beyond 1st January 2021 under the EU Withdrawal Agreement conditions.

Please read the Spanish government’s detailed guide for UK nationals living in Spain covered by the Withdrawal Agreement by clicking here. (document in English).

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