NIE Number Spain: Everything You Need to Know

What is the NIE number?

If you are a foreigner coming to live or stay in Spain for the first time, you will be surprised at how much paperwork is necessary. One of the most important documents is called the NIE which stands for Número de Identificación de Extranjero. It’s an identification number that every person who lives in Spain must have. In this post, we’ll explain what a NIE Number is, how to get one, and other things you need to know.

What is the NIE Number?

The NIE number in spain is a foreign identification number that is issued by the National Police of Spain (Policía Nacional de España). It is a unique tax identification number that you need for legal or tax activity in Spain as a foreigner.

For what situations do you need a NIE number in Spain?

You will need a NIE for many situations in Spain. Below you can find the most common cases, but if you are not sure whether you need it or how to obtain one, do not hesitate to contact us. We can help you with any legal process.

And many other legal, social, and investment activities.

The NIE number for starting a company

Everyone who will be a director or stockholder in the company must have an NIE as a result of the Fraud Prevention Act when creating a firm.

The NIE number to buy property

When you want to buy a holiday home in Spain you must have a NIE. Even if you won’t be there more then 3 months a year. You will also need the NIE number of the seller. It is recommended to get in touch with a Spanish property lawyer if you are buying a property in Spain.

The NIE number to get a driving license

You must have an NIE number if you want your driver’s license renewed, want to apply for a drivers’ license, or if you need to be tested in order to obtain a licence.

NIE number for buying a house in Spain

At what time do you need a Spanish NIE number?

To stay in Spain for less than three months, EU citizens only need to have their valid passport or identity document. If the stay is longer than three months, the citizen must request Spanish NIE Number at the Foreigners Office of the Police Station.

As a foreigner in Spain, you must obtain an NIE if you have economic, professional, or social interests. Because the NIE is a tax identification number for the Spanish Tax Agency, in this case, it doesn’t matter how long you stay in the country.

The two types of NIE certificates you can have in Spain

There are two types of NIE certificates in Spain. The NIE card and the NIE number. Which NIE number certificate you need, depends on the activities you have in Spain.


The NIE number is written on a A4 paper. It is useful for non-residents that need a tax number for financial and legal activities such as purchasing property, investing, or setting up a business. This number is not a proof of residency.

TIE card (NIE card / residency permit)

The TIE card (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero) is a blue residency certificate the size of a creditcard. It replaced the old green A4 residency document in mid-2020.

This card contains the NIE number on it. It is an identification ID as well in Spain, however It cannot be used for identification purposes in any other country besides Spain. It is required for stays exceeding 3 months. It contains your first name and last name, photo, the NIE number, your address, date awarded, birthplace, and a chip with your personal data.

NIE card (TIE-card) Spanish NIE Number

What is the necessary documentation to get a NIE?

The Spanish government requires people who want to obtain the NIE that they will be registered inside Central Registry of Foreigners. To get registered you need to provide the following documentation:

  • An official NIE application form filled out properly
  • Passport photos
  • Passport / ID and a photocopy

Make sure you have all the proper documentation filled out. For example, you will need to state why you need the NIE. This could be for financial, professional or social affairs.

Getting a NIE appointment can be very difficult, it can take up to 10 weeks for some locations to get an appointment. The procedure is very strictly official, if your documentation is not in order, the procedure will be halted immediately and you will need another appointment.

Spanish consulate or police station

Where can I get my NIE?

While residing or touring in Spain, you can submit your NIE applications to a Spanish National Police station (Comisaria de Policía para Extranjeros) or immigration authority (Oficina de Extranjeros). You will need to have an appointment.

You can also acquire an NIE number at the Spanish embassy / Spanish Consulate in your country.

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of requesting your NIE, as your Spanish lawyer, we can also request it for you, and send it to you when we have received it.

Nie number fast

How long does it take to get a NIE?

The process of applying for the NIE has become much more difficult in recent years. Whereas before 2004, even a broker may simply submit an application for the NIE document on behalf of the clients and encounter little resistance. Now the applicant must give an original and sworn translated notarial Power of Attorney to a broker or other intermediary like a lawyer.

A police officer will then thoroughly examine all documentation. If even one document or attachment is missing, a new appointment needs to be made, which as stated before can take up to ten weeks again.

The waiting period at some police stations is even so lengthy that making an appointment is (temporarily) impossible, in this case the appointment system is blocked.

We can get you your NIE number in Spain

If you want to get your NIE number fast, and your immigration taken care of, consult SpainDesk. We are here to provide help in arranging your Foreigner Identity Number (NIE). Our team of professional lawyers provides guidance on how to get your NIE within a few days. We know the legal process of NIE, so trust SpainDesk and consult us today.

Getting your NIE online

The NIE form 790 is available on the internet. The form is in Spanish and can easily be completed online. Once this NIE application has been filed, you will receive a reply with the date and time of your appointment at the Spanish National Police station. You must make sure to show up on time or else you might miss your interview and have to wait 90 more days before reapplying again.

Where can I get the traditional paper NIE form?

Some police stations may want a traditional paper NIE form version. You can get this document from a national police station dealing with foreign documentation.

The necessary documentation for a traditional paper NIE form:

  • Fill out an application for the NIE (EX 15 form)
  • You will need a passport as well as one photocopy
  • Two passport photos

FAQ about the Spanish Number

Frequently asked questions

Below we listed some frequently asked questions about the NIE number

Is the NIE document an ID document?

The NIE is not a document that proves your citizenship. As a result, in addition to your NIE, you must carry a corresponding identity document (passport, identity card, etc.) from your nation at all times.

How long does it take to get a NIE?

It takes at least 3 weeks to get your N.I.E. or certificate when applying through this Consulate General.

What does the NIE look like?

The NIE is made up of three parts: a ‘X’ or ‘Y,’ or ‘Z’ followed by seven digits, and then another letter (dígito de control).

Foreigners who applied for an NIE before July 15, 2008 received an X as the first letter, while those who applied after that date received a Y or Z.

How does the NIE application process go?

The NIE application process begins by making an appointment online. When you come to the office, applicants will need to provide their passport or id card and sign the application form. The documentation will then be reviewed and if everything is in order, you will receive your NIE number.

Is the NIE the same as a residency card?.

The NIE number is not a residency card, it does not state where you are a resident or citizen of. The NIE number is used by the Spanish government to process yearly income tax payments.

Do I need a NIE number as a Non Resident?

Some companies ask for a NIE number as a Non Resident. However, the Spanish tax authorities always require a NIE number from NON RESIDENT individuals or companies that have any taxable income within Spain, a company, or maintain bank accounts with a Spanish financial institution. If you have any legal or tax activities in Spain, it in many cases required.

Do I need a NIE as a residence?

Yes, when you have a Spanish residence card (VISA), you will also need a NIE number.

How can I replace a lost NIE card (TIE) or NIE number?

If you have lost your NIE card or NIE number and need a new one, you can request another appointment with the Spanish Consulate, or local National police station dealing with foreign affairs. You can make another appointment online and request the letter for the number again. Your personal NIE number will be the same as before.

To get a replacement for your NIE card (TIE), you will need to fill out another application form, and provide your passport or id card and two photos again.

How to get your NIE fast?

In order to get your NIE fast, you have to prepare the needed documentation and submit it at the Spanish embassy in your country. SpainDesk can also help you with that.

How does the Spanish Government use the NIE Number?

The Spanish Government uses the NIE number to assess and process yearly tax payments such as income tax in Spain (IRPF) and the annual wealth tax in Spain (Patrimonio). The NIE number doesn’t deduct taxes, but you can use it to file your tax returns during the same time period.

How do I renew my NIE?

The Spanish NIE number does not expire, this number will stay the same for your identification purpose. however the NIE card (or TIE) does expire. The expiration date of the NIE card, is on the card itself. When it expires, you need to start the renew process.

You do this by demonstrating that the reason why you got the NIE card initially is still true at the time of renewal.

Where is the application processed?

When you apply in Spain, the Provincial Immigration Office (Oficina de Extranjería) in the province you applied in will will process the application.

When you applied abroad, the Spanish embassy or consular section in the country will process the application.

How did getting a NIE change during Covid?

When All face-to-face procedures have been required to be scheduled a visit (cita previa) since COVID-19 began. On the official Spanish-language website, you can schedule the cita previa.

What is the difference between a NIF number and a NIE number?

While the Spanish NIF number (Numero de Identificaco Fiscal) is for Spanish nationals (Spanish passport holders), the Spanish NIE number (Número de Identidad de Extranjero) is for foreigners in Spain, whether EU, or non EU citizens and residence, or non residence holders.

For Spanish nationals, the NIF number is on the DNI (Documento Nacional de Identidad), which functions as the Spanish ID card.

As a foreigner, you can also need a NIF /CIF number. When you are starting a company in Spain, you need a NIF number as well.

Getting the NIE number


The NIE (Número de Identidad de Extranjero) is a foreigner’s identification number for tax and legal purposes in Spain. It does not function as a personal identification card. For example, you need it to pay taxes, buying and selling motor vehicles.

Disclaimer: Information on this page may be incomplete or outdated. Under no circumstances should the information listed be considered professional legal advice. We highly recommended seeking guidance from a legal expert if you lack extensive knowledge or experience dealing with any of the procedures outlined in these articles.