A guide for internationals to the NIE number in Spain

Getting your NIE number in Spain is your access ticket to (work) life in Spain. Find out everything about the requirements and the application process.


3 minute read
Updated on 24 Jul 2023

Getting an NIE number in Spain gives you access to your (working) life in your new home. Without your Spanish tax number, you won't be able to take out social security or carry out large transactions.

Make sure to put the NIE number at the top of your moving checklist for Spain. Let us walk you through the steps to receive an A4 sheet of paper with your NIE number.

What is the NIE number in Spain?

First things first: what is an NIE number anyway? In short, the NIE number (Número de Identificación de Extranjero) is your Spanish tax number as a resident or working foreigner.

This means that you can legally make major purchases (e.g. buying a house, flat or car) and receive social security without Spanish citizenship. It's stated on your residence card (tarjeta de residencia) and social security card.

If your application is approved for the NIE number, an A4 white certificate with your name, surname, date of birth, city and country of birth and your unique number will be sent to you. Your ticket to life in Spain!

Why do I need an NIE number in Spain as an international?

All working and business foreigners must obtain an NIE number in Spain, no matter if they live in Spain or not. Your NIE number acts as a unique and personal tax number and helps you keep track of your financial and legal activities in Spain.

You need an NIE number in Spain to do this:

In a nutshell: Any financial transaction involving the Spanish tax authorities must be linked to your NIE number.

What's more, children also need an NIE number in Spain for social security purposes, for example.

When do I need an NIE number in Spain?

Once you live in Spain as an EU citizen for more than three months, you need your NIE number.

For non-EU citizens, the application process for the NIE number usually goes hand in hand with the citizenship application.

Your application for the NIE number: Requirements and procedure

Now it's down to the nitty-gritty! How do you get your NIE number in Spain as a foreigner?

You can apply for the NIE number in Spain in two ways:

  • Spanish National Police Station, which takes care of foreign documentation.
  • Spanish embassy in your country

Your requirements

Now for the bad news: the requirements for the NIE number can vary from office to office. Check the website of your relevant office.

In general, you need:

  • NIE application form (Modelo EX15).
  • Original passport (current and not expired) and a photocopy of it.
  • Two small photos.
  • Government fee (€10 - €15), which you must pay at the bank using the NIE Form 790.

Three steps to the NIE number

  1. Fill in and sign the EX-15 form ( model EX-15 ). Note: the EX-15 forms available on other websites are not up to date and are no longer accepted by the Spanish police.

  2. Fill in and sign form 790-012.

  3. Submit the following documents depending on your nationality:

  • EU nationals of any other nationality.

    • Passport or identity card and a copy of it
    • Copy of proof of residence in your country
    • Proof of the reason for the request (e.g. inheritance or purchase of real estate)
  • Non-EU nationality

    • Passport or identity card and a copy of it
    • Proof of the reason motivating the request (e.g. inheritance or purchase of property, a letter from the bank)
  1. Students doing internships in Spain must provide a letter from the receiving entity (company or study centre) stating the duration of the internship.

  2. Minors:

  • Minors must be accompanied by a parent
  • Passport or identity card of the minor and a copy of it.
  • Passport or identity card of the father or mother and a copy thereof
  • International extract from the registry office justifying the relationship between the minor and the father or mother.

Keep in mind that you have to present all documents in person at the offices.

Make sure to bring all documents and completed forms that are necessary for your process. Otherwise, you might have to make a new appointment.

How long is the NIE number valid in Spain?

Your unique NIE number doesn't expire. Once you receive an NIE number from the National Police or Consulate, you keep the same number for life. In other words, the process is a one-off and doesn't need to be renewed.

How much does the NIE number cost?

Typically, the application for the NIE number costs between 10 and 15 euros.

Remember: In most consulates, you have to pay the amount in cash! So take enough cash with you.

Please reach out to content@housinganywhere.com if you have any suggestions or inquiries about the content on this page.

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