09 October 2013 / by Radmila Gurkova

Getting your NIE number and residency permit in Spain

If you are looking to make your visit to Spain semi or fully permanent, one of the most important yet often frustrating tasks is applying for and getting hold of your NIE number.

The NIE is absolutely essential if you have financial affairs in Spain, as you can see below.

An NIE number is needed to:

  • Open a bank account

  • Buy, sell or insure property

  • Arrange credit terms or a mortgage

  • Pay taxes

  • Be paid for employment

  • Use short-term employment agencies

  • Apply for a business permit and start a business

  • Register with social services and arrange receipt of social security benefits

  • Apply for a driver's licence

Since 2007, the application process to obtain your NIE has become much more complicated. The government now issues out temporary NIEs with a 3 month validity, which will be renewed with a successful residency application. The NIE application process can be relatively simple as long as you are prepared. Once you have an appointment, you need to have everything sorted or you'll have to wait a frustrating amount of time until your next one.

Obtaining the NIE (up to 3 months) 

Applications for the NIE must be done at the Oficina de Extranjeros (police stations with foreigners depts.)

In Barcelona, the Oficina de Extranjeros can be found at Paseo de Sant Joan, 189, 08037. Its opening hours are between 09:00 and 17:30 Monday to Thursday and between 09:00 and 14:00 on Fridays.

In Madrid, the Oficina can be found at calle Silva, 19, 28004, open between 09:00 and 14:00 Monday to Friday.

Don't forget to take:

  • An application form, the Solicitud de Número de Identidad de Extranjero (NIE) y Certificados (form EX-15), filled out and signed

  • Receipt for payment of the fee, stamped by the bank

  • Identity card or original passport and photocopy

  • Two passport photographs

  • Certified documentation stating the reasons for applying for the NIE.

  • Approx. 12€ to pay Tax Form 790

NOTE: Non-EU nationals must bring documentation certifying their legal entry into the country (visa).

Obtaining the permanent NIE + residence (post 3 months)

EU nationals who wish to reside in Spain for a period of over three months must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be employed in Spain or self-employed

  2. Have sufficient funds to support themselves and family members (5,000€ + in the bank)

  3. Be registered with a public or private health care policy that covers them during their time in Spain

The easiest way to do this, if you haven't got a ton of money in the bank, is to apply for jobs until you receive a job offer. Most companies, especially language academies used to hiring foreigners, are happy to offer their new employees legal documents which express their desire to contract the candidate, thus needing the candidate to obtain the permanent NIE.

Best of luck!


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