You may be a new student in Spain, just started working here, recently moved here or considering any of the previous options. Well then, a NIE is a necessary part of your stay or possible relocation to Spain. Let us help you achieve this in the most pain-free way possible. Read on for more information on #HowtoNIE!


The NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero) is an identification card provided by the authorities in Spain to any foreigner. It is used to keep track of individual’s financial and official activities in Spain.


The NIE is required after the first 3 months of stay in the country. A NIE is necessary in order to:

  • Become a resident
  • Work in Spain
  • Buy and sell property (and in some cases rent property)
  • Open a bank account
  • Obtain loans or mortgages
  • Buy a car
  • Apply for Bicing (Barcelona’s innovative Bicycle network)
  • Obtain a mobile phone contract

Now that you know why you need the NIE, we will highlight how you can go about obtaining it.


Depending on the office or even the person who you are attending the interview with, the documents required may vary. For example, myself as a British citizen in Barcelona only needed to provide a health insurance (they were happy with the EHIC, European Health Insurance Card, which was straight-forward and free to apply for through the NHS) and my University Acceptance letter. In general, however, you will need the following documents when attending your cita previa (appointment) for the NIE:

  1. Passport and copy of your passport
  2. Empadronamiento – Find out how here
  3. Completed EX-18 form (as an EU citizen) – this can also be filled out at the office
  4. Completed EX-15 form (a non-EU citizen and worker)
  5. Proof of valid Health Insurance
  6. Students – Acceptance letter from University
  7. Employees and self-employed – Vida laboral (working records), the original and a copy
  8. Non-EU – Proof of legal entry into Spain (declaración de entrada)
  9. Job seekers – you can attend the NIE appointment with just your passport but will only be provided with a temporary three month NIE

Visit the Spanish Government Website for appointment bookings and follow the steps below:

  1. Click Acceder al Procedimiento at the bottom of the page
  2. In PROVINCIAS DISPONSIBLES select Barcelona (or current location)
  3. In TRÁMITES DISPONIBLES PARA LA PROVINCIA SELECCIONADA choose Certificados EU (If you are from the European Union), or Expedicion de tarjeta de identidad de extranjero (huella) if you are from overseas
  4. Click Aceptar
  5. Click Entrar
  6. Enter your passport details and name and click Aceptar

You can find your nearest oficina de extranjería or comisaría de policía here. It will take up to three months to receive your residency card. However, the NIE number should be given immediately.

In Barcelona, appointments are at Carrer de Guispuscoa,74 with the nearest stop being Santi Marti on the L2 metro line (the Purple line). It is likely you will have to wait at the NIE office at least an hour so bring something interesting to occupy your time. Also, don’t expect too many happy faces. A NIE application for EU citizens tends to be a little trickier than an application for Non-EU citizens. This could be due to Non-EU residents requiring more documents for the previous process of their visa applications, namely the entrance visa.

Quick Tip 1: Most of the workers at the Ayuntamiento (town hall) do not speak English so it may be a good idea to take a Spanish speaker with you or be sure you know what to say. They also do not allow you to use phones, which I was planning to use for the help of Google Translate so I would advise you not to rely on this.

Quick Tip 2: The online appointment bookings are re-set Monday morning at 8 am so that is your best chance of ensuring an appointment. Set that alarm and have the webpage ready. By around 8:20 am (for EU citizens in particular), the appointments can all be taken so you have around a 20 minute window!

Apply for a NIE before you come to Spain

You can apply for a NIE before entering Spain by asking a Spanish consulate in your country or using a specialised agency which can be found online, fees may vary. Follow Legal Lives for up to date information on our specialised lawyers featured on the site.

Now you are all ready to set up your NIE. Good luck and let us know your stories in the comments below. Perhaps you might be able to help out another who dreams of a life in sunny Spain or find help below from others in your situation.

For more information on living in Spain, some other featured articles you might be interested to read include #Howto Empadronamiento, #Howto Pareja de Hecho, #Howto start working in Spain, #Howto Start a Business in Spain.

Cover Image: Source

References: Just Landed, Expatica, SuiteLife


3 thoughts on “#HowtoSpain – NIE

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