Spain Explained

How to obtain an NIE document in Spain: all you need to know

Last updated on March 27th, 2024 at 05:00 pm.

The NIE is essential for any major transaction you wish to carry out in Spain. It is your tax number and you will need it for buying a house, car, or even collecting your mail on occasions.

In this article we explain in more detail about the NIE document in Spain, why it’s so important and how you can obtain one.

What is the NIE card in Spain?

If you are thinking of buying a property in Spain then your first step is to acquire an NIE or Número de Identidad de Extranjero. This is the individual tax number for foreigners that you must have when completing large financial transactions here. It’s not only for buying a property that having an NIE is necessary. If you want to buy a car or make any similar major investment such as this, then you will be required to produce one. It’s also necessary to have an NIE in Spain in the case of inheriting or being donated property and your relative would be well-advised to have one before they need to use it.

To have an NIE you do not need to be a resident. Non-residents also need one to enable them to purchase property and to pay their annual non-resident taxes. You cannot hold a bank account or maintain official financial arrangements without having one. If you wish to become a resident then obtaining your NIE is the first step on the road to obtaining your residency card which requires further information about yourself including income and health insurance.

The NIE in Spain consists of a letter, followed by seven digits, followed by another letter. For example A-1,2,3,4,5,6,7-B. The NIE shows your name, NIE number, date and place of birth and your nationality. It does not include photo ID and so cannot be used to confirm your identity. However, it will be worthwhile committing it to memory, as there will be many occasions when you are asked to produce it, particularly if you live in Spain.

How to obtain an NIE document?

So, we’ve established that having an NIE in Spain is vital for many reasons. How do you go about obtaining one? As always when we talk about processes in Spain, there are likely to be variations depending upon where you have property. Autonomous regions do differ in what they expect, when and how. However, there are some general rules to follow that you can expect to apply wherever your property is located.

In Spain

If you are currently in Spain or are expecting to travel there soon then you can apply in person. You will need to book an appointment online at a National Police Station in your region to do this.

The application form is the EX-15. On this document, you will need to include the reasons why you wish to apply for an NIE in Spain. For example, that you are buying or inheriting property in the country. You will also need to produce your ID such as a passport, and you will need some copies.

You should also have available two passport photos, your address in Spain and you will need to have proof of payment of the administration fee which is currently around €12 and paid at any bank using form 790.

Where you are applying for an NIE for a child then you will also have to show the birth certificate (original documents and official translation into Spanish) or family record book along with the valid passport or ID of the parent or guardian.

It depends very much on the time of year and demand for how long the NIE will take to process. Normally you can expect to wait two weeks. Nevertheless, there are times, particularly during holiday periods, when it will be longer. The good news is that there is no expiry date to the NIE in Spain. It’s your number for life.

From your home country

It is also possible to obtain an NIE without being in Spain. You can request one from the Spanish consular office in your own country and you can do it in person or by a representative through power of attorney (poder notarial).

When applying through a power of attorney, your representative will also have to present a copy of their own passport together with a power of attorney in which it states that the representative has been given the power to present the NIE application.

To create a power of attorney you must sign an official document in the presence of a notary along with a legitimized copy of your passport.

May I need help to get the NIE document in Spain?

If you are in Spain and are confident in dealing with Spanish officials, then it is perfectly possible to complete the process of applying for an NIE on your own. However, many people prefer to access the help of a gestor or individual who routinely obtains these on behalf of others. In this case, either you or your representative needs to be there in person. You cannot just apply online although some sites imply that you can.

Whichever approach you take, having an NIE in Spain is vital if you have interests here that go beyond the usual tourist vacation. Do take advice if you would like help with this or more information about what it entails.

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Leave a comment


Avril and Michael Gray

31 May, 2023 6:14 pm

We have a paper document for our NIE numbers how do we get a card ???

Oscar Paoli

1 June, 2023 2:56 pm

The NIE as non resident is only a paper document and no card is given by the authorities.
With kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers

adrian luca

3 January, 2024 5:35 pm

I am looking to buy a property in Spain. I live in Canada. How can I get the NIE?

Oscar Paoli

4 January, 2024 12:00 am

Hi Adrian,
If you want to arrange the application of your NIE in your home country, the only option to do so is via de Spanish Embassy in Canada. Alternatively travlling to Spain and arrangind it in place or leaving us a power of attorny would also be a good alternative.
Do not hesitate to contact us should you have any further queries.
With kind regards,
Ábaco Advisers