This information only applies in Barcelona.The paperwork process might vary significantly between cities. If you are reading this and intend to complete registration elsewhere, always check the local manners in advance. Alternatively, if you wish to receive your NIE ahead of time, you can apply for it at the Spanish Consulate in your country. Only certain consulates process NIE applications. So it is recommended that you contact the consulate first. Also be aware that processing the NIE at a Spanish consulate takes much longer.
Foreigners that come to Spain for economic, professional or social reasons can solicit an NIE from the Police Department. In the case of a foreigner not being in Spain at the moment of soliciting the NIE, the process can be carried out through the Foreign Commission Service or through Spanish Consulate offices located in foreign countries. Individuals must obtain an NIE within three months of entry in Spain.
The NIE Number is issued on a card, with the recipient’s full name (as written on the passport used during the application process), place of birth, nationality, and the number itself, along with a stamp and signature provided by the National Police.
To do this, you need to apply personally at the Foreign Affairs section (Extranjería) of the National Police station (Comisaría) on Carrer de Balmes. If you live outside Barcelona, you need to go to the designated National Police Station in your area.