We all hate paperwork and applications. One of the most tedious and often frustrating aspects of being an expat is the paperwork — the visa applications, the work permits, the tax numbers and so on and so forth… when will it end? It’s an unfortunate fact of life, paperwork. However, we’ll do our best to lessen the blow for you and make life a little easier, with one of our handy expat guides!This article will give you a condensed breakdown on what the Spanish NIE number is, what you need it for, how you can apply, and any other questions you may have. We’ll try to keep it short and sweet, so you can plough through your application and carry on with your day.
The Spanish NIE (Número de Identidad de Extranjero) is a tax identification number issued by the national police of Spain. This is in accordance with article 101 of the rules for foreigners in Spain, and was approved by royal decree on the 30th of December 2004. The Spanish government have linked the NIE to residence, meaning it will appear on your official residence card. The number will be totally unique to each person and cannot be used by others.
Note that an NIE is not the same as being approved for Spanish residency, although they often go hand in hand; they are separate documents that follow different procedures. You cannot exchange your foreign drivers licence for a Spanish one with an NIE alone, but will require official Spanish residency in addition to your NIE number.
You need an NIE number for a plethora of reasons. You will need it to purchase or sell property or vehicles in Spain. You will also require it to legally work or study in the country. In some cases, you may get away with using alternative identification such as a passport, but for most aspects of life in Spain as a migrant, you will need an NIE number. The most important thing you’ll need it for is to pay taxes, which none of us really want to pay – but you can really land in hot water if you don’t!
For European Nationalities:
Many people from Europe are entitled to stay in Spain for up to 90 days (three months) before needing to apply for an NIE number and further visas.
For Non-European Nationalities:
People from non-European nationalities should receive their NIE number along with their appropriate application for Spanish residency.
You can apply for an NIE number whilst living in or visiting Spain by submitting an application to the relevant Spanish national police station where you intend to reside, as long as they also deal with foreign documentation. A list of such stations can be found here.
You can make the application in person, or you can appoint an authorised figure (such as a lawyer, close relative or friend) to make the application on your behalf by way of Spanish power of attorney.
If you are not in Spain, you can apply at your nearest Spanish consulate or embassy, but do double check the website prior to your visit to see whether you need to make an appointment in advance.
It is worth noting that the application process may vary from region to region, so it is advisable to read up on the requirements of the specific region where you will be based, prior to filling out and submitting the application. For example, in some regions, you will be required to make an appointment before you can submit the paperwork for processing. Whilst requirements can vary, generally you will need the following documentation to submit an application:
• Appropriate NIE application form (EX15 form) which must be submitted in Spanish
• Your original passport (which must be valid and in date, usually with at least six months until expiry) and one photocopy of your passport identification pages.
• Two small (recent) passport sized photos
• A social security number or proof of medical insurance
• Sometimes a Spanish address is needed for the NIE number to be sent to
• You may be asked to provide your marriage certificate, which will need to be translated and certified by a judge
• The correct fee, which you can pay into the bank using a (790) NIE form
The opportunities are limitless! You can seek legal employment or become self-employed, open a bank account, pay the correct taxes in Spain, buy or sell property or vehicles, you can study or register a business. The most important thing, really, is that with your NIE number, everything is done above board.
Generally, once your NIE number has been assigned, it is permanent. However, this can vary from region to region. In some cases, the NIE number may only be valid for three months from the date of issue. Therefore, it is highly advisable to get some clarification on whether there is an expiry date that warrants a re-application for your Spanish NIE.
We hope this guide has made the NIE number process clear and straightforward for you, and answered any questions you may have had on the subject. We wish you the best on your expat journey and happiness in your new home.
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