How to get identification number (NIE)

NIE in Spain: why do a foreigner need it, how and where can you get one

What is NIE

Foreigner Identification Number (Spanish Número de Identidad de Extranjero — NIE) is a mandatory fiscal identification number for every foreign citizen who has something to do with Spain due to economic, social or professional reasons (page 206 of law 4/2000 on the rights and freedoms of foreigners in Spain and their social integration).

To put it simply, the foreign nationals (residents and non-residents), who are to proceed with any financial transactions within the Kingdom of Spain while legally staying there, ought to obtain a personal identification number.

This personal number should appear in all official papers, legal and notary acts of a foreign citizen.

NIE is assigned automatically in the following cases:

- For those who get a residence permit

- For those who get a student visa (for180 days period)

The purposes you need NIE for Foreign nationals who want to process any transactions with finance or property in Spain (to purchase a real estate, a car, a yacht; to start up a business; to open a bank account; to get a mortgage) have to get NIE even if they don’t wish to become residents here.

Generally, an intention to purchase real estate property in Spain or to start business becomes the cause for obtaining an identification number. The problem is: you can’t apply for NIE to open a bank account or to buy a car, but at the same time you won’t be able to process these transactions without NIE.

As for getting NIE with an intention to purchase real estate, the good news is that the purchase itself isn’t mandatory after getting the identification number. This means, that if you obtained the Foreigner Number with an intention of buying property, but didn’t go through with purchase afterwards, you won’t lose your NIE number. It is assigned once and for all and you can use it without restrictions.

Where should one apply for the NIE and what documents are required.

Every foreign citizen interested in getting NIE can apply for a personal identification number at Police

General Department (Dirección General de la Policía) or at the Spanish Consulate General in the country of their residence. One can apply for and then get NIE in person or it can be done by an authorized representative.

How long you should wait to receive NIE.

For how long NIE is valid. The period between filing an application form and receiving the NIE depends on how busy the commissariats are at the moment. Usually, it doesn’t take longer than a couple of days.

NIE doesn’t have an expiration date: the number is assigned once and for all.

If you are thinking about the purchase of real estate in Spain and you are working with a real estate agency, you can task them with obtaining a Foreigner Number for you. Our EspanaTour agency will gladly help you not only with finding the best option for the purchase of property but with sorting out all questions and problems concerning Spanish NIE as well.