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Do I need a NIE number in Spain?

If you are planning to move to Spain or to purchase a property in Spain you will need to get a NIE number (Foreigner’s Identity Number - Número de Identidad de Extranjero). It might be beneficial to also have if you rent a property. While some say its mandatory to have a NIE to purchase a car it is possible to own a car without a NIE, but the registration process is easier with a NIE number.

Without an NIE you won’t be able to open a bank account, pay your taxes, register a business, or get a Spanish driver’s licence as a resident in Spain. The NIE is specifically for foreigners. If you’re a Spanish citizen, on the other hand, you’ll get a Documento Nacional de Identidad (DNI), which includes your own unique reference information. Your NIE certificate don’t include a photo of you, so it is not enough to use as proof of your identity on its own.

How do I get a NIE number?

The process of applying for a NIE in Spain can vary as different regions might manage the process differently. Because the process to get an NIE number can feel a bit daunting there are any number of agents and intermediaries who will help you obtain yours, for a fee. Most foreigners prefer to get assistance, it can be well worth the money.

You will apply for your NIE at the local police station. This might not be the police station in your city, if there are a bigger city close by the NIE office might be located here. For example, in the Benidorm region you will have to go to Benidorm even if this is not your local town. It is also possible to apply for an NIE at your local Spanish embassy or consulate.

What normally is required to apply for the NIE:

  • A completed Ex-15 form, which you can either download or get directly from the police station. Usually, you’ll need 2 copies of this. The form is in Spanish.
  • Your passport, plus a photocopy
  • 2 recent passport photos
  • Proof of address might be required (a rental/purchase contract will do)

You will also have to pay a government fee of around 10 euro. The amount owed will have to be filled in on the Form 790, you bring this to a bank branch to pay the fee. Not all banks can accept this payment, Sabadell is one of the banks which normally can accept the payment. Make sure you bring the form to the NIE office to confirm your payment.

The issuance of the NIE can take anywhere from a few days to weeks to process. Don’t leave it until the last minute if you are buying a property.

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