Everything about the NIE number

A very important document in Spain is the NIE number. This is the Spanish identification number for foreigners in Spain (Número de Identidad de Extranjero) and is similar to the fiscal ID number in your home country.

You will need this document when you buy property in Spain, when you stay in Spain for more than three months, if you emigrate to Spain and actually for everything that involves a tramite or official process in Spain.

A few examples for which you will need a NIE are:

– Contracting supplies, like water, gas and electricity
– Registration in the municipality
– Establishment of a company
– Registration as an independent entrepreneur
– Taking out an insurance policy

Where can I apply for a NIE number?

Please keep in mind that dealing with the Spanish bureaucracy is often a frustrating affair. It happens many times that the same rules are interpreted differently the various regions in Spain.

There are several ways to apply for a NIE number:

National Police office
At the department foreign services of the national police in the area where you are staying or where you want to buy your Spanish home, you can apply for a NIE number. In some areas you need to go in person to the police office to make an appointment for this. On the second visit you do the application and on the third visit you can pick up your NIE number. In other areas you can just turn up and get everything done in an hour; it all depends in which area you apply but also which officer is attending you…

Through a lawyer or gestor
You can also let someone else apply for your NIE, like a lawyer or gestor. With an authorization (power of attorney) they can arrange the NIE number for you and this way you save long waiting hours and trips to the police office.

Via the Spanish Embassy in your home country
The fastest way to request a NIE number is via the Spanish Embassy in your home country. For more information please contact f.e. the Embassy in London.

Please note that there could be a long waiting list before you can make an appointment. We advise you to apply for your NIE number well in advance to avoid delays in the purchase and mortgage process in Spain. The advantage is that the application through the Embassy is cheaper, efficient and with the minimum bureaucracy.