NIE certification - Identification Number for Foreigners - how does it work?

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NIE certification - Identification Number for Foreigners - details

Get the NIE - Número de Identidad de Extranjero

This is a foreigner's unique identification number, assigned by the Immigration service in Spain to foreign nationals. The tax service in Spain identifies a foreigner by the NIE number. A foreigner can file a tax return in Spain and pay taxes using his NIE number.

The NIE number is assigned automatically when a person obtains a residence permit in Spain or is issued with a student visa for more than 180 days.

A positive decision on the issue of a residence permit or a student visa in Spain is taken for economic, professional or social reasons.
The NIE number consists of 2 letters, one at the beginning and the second at the end of the NIE number, plus 7 numbers, and may look, for example, like this: A1234567-B.
The NIE number is issued by Spain’s National Police (Policía Nacional) on an A4 sheet of paper containing the applicant's name, surname, date of birth and place of birth.

Any activity in Spain on which taxes must be paid as a non-resident requires application for an NIE number; it doesn't mean that the applicant must change his tax residency. Below is a list of purposes for which you might need the NIE number in Spain:

  • Opening a bank account in Spain
  • Insurance registration  in Spain
  • Importing, buying and selling cars in Spain
  • Importing, buying and selling floating crafts in Spain
  • Work in Spain
  • Study in Spain
  • Receiving social benefits in Spain
  • Buying and selling real estate in Spain
  • Renting an apartment in Spain
  • Registration of gas, water, electricity, internet and phone in Spain
  • Inheritance in Spain
  • Granting a loan or obtaining a loan in Spain
  • Registering children in schools,etc  in Spain 

Who needs the NIE number? 

  • Any foreigner who moves to Spain
  • Foreigners who do not live in Spain but intend to own assets in Spain, such as cars, floating crafts, real estate, shares in companies, etc.
  • Any foreigner planning to work, study or start a business in Spain
  • For any legal transactions under spanish jurisdiction

How do you apply for the NIE number? 

  • In person outside Spain or by power of attorney at the Consulate of Spain
  • In Spain in person at the Immigration Office (Oficina de Extranjería)
  • Through an authorized representative, such as a law firm or agent

What do you need to apply for the NIE number? 

  • International passport
  • Completed NIE Application Form
  • Payment of administration fee
  • Indication of the reason why the NIE number is needed

Terms of registration of the NIE number

In the case of the applicant applying for the NIE number in person at the Immigration service, the NIE number can be issued to EU citizens on the same day.

In the case of an application for the NIE number being made through a representative by power of attorney, the waiting period can be up to 10 days from the date of submission of documents. In this case, a notarized power of attorney is required, which clearly states that the applicant trusts the attorney to apply for the NIE number.

The cost of applying for the NIE number in Spain

In the case of applying for the NIE number directly at the Immigration service in Spain or at a Consulate outside Spain, the applicant personally has to pay only a state fee of about €10.00

If the applicant entrusts the NIE number registration to an agent in Spain, then the agent's fee can range from € 75.00 to € 250.00

The NIE number’s validity period in Spain

NIE numbers issued prior to 2016 had an expiration date or were limited to a period of 3 months. NIE numbers issued after 2016 do not have an expiration date and have lifelong validity.

That is, if in the future a foreign citizen wants to update the certificate or apply for a residence permit in Spain, he will be provided with the same NIE number.

When updating the NIE certificate it is necessary to re-confirm the existence of the circumstances that supported the issuance of the first certificate. In some regions of Spain, the certificate is updated only in exceptional cases.