NIE in Spain: all info on this essential document to live in Spain

Le numéro d'identification étranger ou NIE est la première chose à faire dès votre arrivée. C'est un peu votre carte d'identité espagnole. Ce NIE espagnol vous sera indispensable lors de nombreuses démarches au quotidien. Afin d'obtenir ce numéro d'identification unique, vous devrez faire la demande auprès de la préfecture la plus proche.

What does the NIE do?

Even if you do not need a visa, it would be wise to get an NIE. Besides the fact that you will be asked for the number for most administrative procedures, it will also really help you to complete many of the essential steps for creating a business. Whether for work, study, buying a home or starting a business in Spain, this number always consists of 8 figures. You will need an NIE for the following:

  • Housing: purchasing or selling a property, identifying the owner on the Spanish property register, applying for a mortgage...
  • Social Security: obtaining a membership number, registering with the INEM (Job Centre), applying for unemployment benefits...
  • Tax authorities: establishing or implementing company declaration of income tax, corporation tax, VAT, inheritance tax..
  • Opening a bank account
  • Other: vehicle registration, academic enrolment, certification of diplomas, electricity bills, water and internet bills etc.

How to apply for and obtain an NIE

Since 17 June 2013, a new necessity has been put in place which means you must visit the official website of the Ministerio de Hacienda y adminstraciones publicas in order to go to the nearest office (often Comisaria de policia) in your city and request your NIE. You will be given a time and a date for an appointment to which you should bring the necessary documents as stated on the website. Before starting the process of getting this NIE, you need to clarify whether you are a resident or a non-resident.

NIE for a non-resident in Spain

Do you want to start a company in Spain but still live in France or England? Are you doing an internship as a student in Barcelona? If so, you can apply for a non-resident NIE which lasts for 3 months. After, you will need a resident NIE.

NIE for a resident in Spain

Do you want to settle in Spain for more than 3 months? If so, you will need a resident NIE. This type of NIE allows you, for example, to be a tax resident and thus proves to the tax authorities in your country that Spain will now by your country of tax residence. One you have your resident NIE number, you can claim your resident card.

NIE for children

Children under 14 years old do not require an NIE since up to this age they are dependent upon their parents. However, some governments, like the Spanish social security, require one so the NIE becomes necessary for all. Note that the necessary documents for obtaining a child's NIE are different from those needed for an adult.

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