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How to get the Spanish NIE (a guide)

Introduction

The NIE number or “Número de identidad del extranjero” in Spanish, is a number you’ll require for pretty much anything in Spain.

In this post we’d like to go over what the NIE is, the different ways you can obtain one, and all necessary documents.

"The NIE can be requested in Spain or the consular office from which the applicant is from"

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What is the Spanish NIE

The NIE is a personal and unique number issued by the Spanish government to foreigners.

This number will be granted when the foreigner needs to be engaged in Spanish activities. These activities can have economic, social, or professional reasons. For example, you’ll be required to have a NIE while purchasing a property in Spain.

This number is only issued once per person and has a lifelong validity. It is merely an identification number and has nothing to do with being able to work or reside in Spain. Both EU and non-EU citizens get issued a NIE.

How to obtain the NIE

You can get your Spanish NIE number in Spain, or via your local Spanish consulate / embassy.

This can be done in person or via a representative.

Let’s have a look at all the alternatives.

Tip: All documentation submitted must be in Spanish. If you possess original documents in a different language, you must have them translated by a certified translator and apostilled with The Hague Apostille.

Get your NIE while you are in spain

Here are four easy steps to get your NIE while you’re in Spanish territory:

1) Get an appointment at the police station or the “Oficina de extranjeros” (office for foreigners).

Bureaucracy in Spain is slow, and appointments might not always be available. If you’re experiencing problems while getting an appointment please refer to our frequently asked questions below.

Follow this link to get your appointment now.

  • Select the province where you’re currently located
  • Select the police station/foreigners office closest to you
  • Select “Policia – certificados y asignación NIE” if you’re from the EU
  • Select “Policia – certificados y asignación NIE (no comunitarios)” if you come from outside of the EU
  • Fill out your personal information
what you need to fill out for your NIE appointment in spain

2) Gather the necessary documentation you’ll need to bring to your appointment

  • You’ll need to download and complete two copies of the Nie application form (EX-15). The form must be filled out in Spanish, otherwise it will not be accepted. But if you’d like to see the form translated for guiding purposes, here you can find the English version and the French version.
  • Photocopies of all your passport pages.
  • Passport original.
  • Documentation that credits why you’re soliciting a NIE. This for example, during the purchase of a property, could be a letter signed by the real estate agency declaring that you’re in the process of purchase.
  • Copy of the online confirmation of your appointment.
  • Tax form 790 as described below and proof of payment.

3) Pay your taxes for the procedure

  • Fill out and print the tax form 790.
  • Print out three copies. One for the appointment, one for the bank and one for yourself.
  • Proceed with the payment which can be done in cash at a bank or via transfer.
  • In 2024 the payment for the NIE procedure is 9,84€.

4) Go to your appointment

  • Remember to bring all documentation as described above.
  • After the appointment the government official will deliver a receipt for you to bring when you pick up your NIE.
  • Approximately five days after your appointment, your NIE should be ready for pick up.
"The EX-15 form must be filled out in Spanish, otherwise it will not be accepted"
a coffee mug in front of a laptop used to get the NIE appointment

Get your NIE through your local Consulate / Embassy

Here are three easy steps to get your NIE from within your country of residence. The process might seem to take longer at first (around three weeks). But consider that in Spain, especially in the big cities like Madrid & Barcelona, getting a NIE appointment is very, very hard.

Also, re-check the following steps with your local consulate. Depending on your country of origin the requirements might differ slightly.

1) Get an appointment at your local Spanish consulate or Embassy

  • Follow this link to find all Spanish consulates / embassy’s around the world.
  • Once you’ve located the consulate / embassy nearest to you, get an appointment to solicit a NIE. For example, if you live in Stuttgart, Germany. First, find “Alemania” (Germany) -> Press on “Stuttgart” -> Which will then re-direct you to your local consulate. -> There you can find the “Foreigner Identity Number (NIE)” procedure in Consular services
  • If you can’t book an appointment online, give the consulate a call, they’ll be able to give you an appointment over the phone.

2) Necessary documentation (re-check with the local consulate since there might be small variations)

  • You’ll need to complete and print two copies of the Nie application form (EX-15). Wait until your appointment before signing it. The form must be filled out in Spanish, otherwise it will not be accepted. But if you’d like to see the form translated for guiding purposes, here you can find the English version and the French version.
  • Photocopies of all your passport pages.
  • Passport original.
  • Documentation that credits why you’re soliciting a NIE. This for example, during the purchase of a property, could be a letter signed by the real estate agency declaring that you’re in the process of purchase.
  • Copy of the online confirmation of your appointment.
  • Document proving residence in the consular area.
  • Tax form 790 duly completed. On the day of the consular appointment, you’ll have to pay a fee of approximately 10 euros.

3) Processing time

  • Since the consulate depends on the Spanish government for the processing of your NIE number it cannot shorten the time it takes. Normally it will take around three weeks for the NIE to be issued, but this period could be extended by factors outside of the consulate’s control.
  • You’ll receive a digital copy of your NIE number in your e-mail account.
"Normally it will take around three weeks for the NIE to be issued"

Get your NIE via a representative

You can also obtain your Spanish NIE number via a representative. You’ll have to grant a power of attorney to said representative and this power will have to be translated by a sworn translator and get the Hague Aspostille, if it is not in Spanish.

1) Get an appointment 

  • Your representative should get an appointment for your NIE number as explained above.

2) Necessary documentation to get your NIE via a representative

  • Power of attorney where it’s expressly stated that this representative has the faculty to present a NIE application. This power will have to be translated into Spanish by a sworn translator and have the corresponding Hague Apostille if necessary.
  • Passport original and copy for the representative
  • Copy of the online confirmation of your appointment.
  • The applicant will need to complete, print, and sign two copies of the Nie application form (EX-15). The form must be filled out in Spanish, otherwise it will not be accepted. But if you’d like to see the form translated for guiding purposes, here you can find the English version and the French version.
  • Certified copy of the applicant’s passport.
  • Documentation that credits why the applicant is soliciting a NIE. 
  • Document proving residence in the consular area, if the applicant is soliciting the NIE via a consulate.
  • Tax form 790 duly completed. On the day of the consular appointment, the representative will have to pay a fee of approximately 10 euros

What does a Spanish NIE look like?

Example of a spanish nie number document

Frequently asked questions

When you’re trying to get a NIE appointment but receive this message “No hay citas disponibles” (no available appointments) over and over again it can be very frustrating.

Since COVID-19 the government has decreased appointment availability. That combined with the factor that cities like Barcelona or Madrid are overwhelmed with NIE applications might make the process difficult.

Also, there might be a black market where individuals are getting appointments via computer scripts and selling them afterwards.

Here are some workarounds:

  • Try to find out when new appointments get loaded into the online system of your city. In Barcelona for example, new appointments are made available Mondays and Wednesdays at 8:00 am.
  • Try to get an appointment at a smaller city/town near your location. The police in that town might not have that many requests.
  • Try to get your appointment from a different device since the government web remembers your IP address and clear out your browser cookies.

Yes, you can.

You’ll be able to solicit the NIE (foreign identification number) from your local Spanish consulate or embassy. It takes about three weeks.

Also, you can get the NIE via a representative in Spain, by granting a power of attorney to somebody you trust.

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