Número de Identidad Extranjero (NIE)

The basics explained

Número de Identidad Extranjero (NIE)

A NIE - a Número de Identidad Extranjero or Foreigner’s Identity Number - is a tax number given to all non-Spanish citizens who need to carry out any procedures with the Spanish government, e.g. study, work, buy property, open a bank account in Spain.

Who needs a NIE?

You need a NIE if:

  • You are staying in Spain for over 90 days
  • You are staying less than 90 days but wish to work, open a bank account, pay taxes etc. during these 90 days
  • You do not live in Spain but want to buy Spanish property

In some ways, there is no rush to get a NIE; the authorities will not check to see if you have one, but you will not be able to do some simple tasks - such as open a bank account - without one. Some companies will not even offer you a work contract if you do not have one, so it’s better to get it sorted sooner rather than later.

How to get a NIE

Citizens of EU/EEA member countries (and Switzerland)

You need to apply for a NIE using the EX-15 form. Find out the process in detail here.

Citizens of non-EU/EEA member countries (and Switzerland)

If you need a visa to stay in Spain, you do not need to apply for a NIE as it will be issued on your entrance visa. In this case, you need to apply for a Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (Foreigner’s Identity card) within one month of your arrival in Spain.

Not living in Spain?

If you need a NIE but do not reside in Spain, you can apply at the Spanish consulate in your home country or grant someone in Spain power of attorney to apply on your behalf (lawyer, notary etc.). You can also apply in person in Spain using the EX-15 form.

Further reading

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Other comments

  • Victor T., 10 December 2009 Reply

    Documents needed when applying for Residency

    Besides all the documents listed here it's also necessary:

    For spouses : Marriage Certificated, issued within 90 days. If the marriage was celebrated abroad, this certificate must be first notarized then sent to your own country's Foreign Ministry to be recognized, then sent to the Spanish Embassy/Consulate in the same country so they can recognize the document and confirm the seals on it, then once it arrives in Spain you must send it to Ministerio del Exterior in Madrid, so they recognize the signatures from their own embassy employees.

    Once you got all 3 stamps, if the document was not originally issued in Spanish language you must send it for translation by an official certified translator, then you can make 3 copies and apply for the Tarjeta de Residencia.

    For children, the process is almost the same, but with a birth certificate instead. It will also need 3 stamps, translation, etc...

    • Jann 22 Mar 2013, 10:44


      awesome, made me laugh!

  • Toni, 31 December 2012 Reply

    If married with Spaniards...

    Hope it helps:
    A post on 8th July 2012