The Número de Identificación de Extranjero, also known as NIE, is a Foreigner Identification Number issued by the Administración General del Estado. This document will serve as a fiscal identification number for foreigners who want to stay more than 3 months in Spain. The NIE is different from the famous “Empadronamiento” which is about getting registered in your living community. The Spanish NIE number starts with a letter, followed by seven numbers and another letter in the end (example X – 1234567 – B). Each NIE number is exclusive to one person. We have a whole section dedicated to this topic in our webpage, so if you are curious about other paperworks click here.
How to get Número de Identificación de Extranjero number – step by step
Step 1: Fill in the application form
The Spanish NIE number application form you need to find is called EX – 15 Solicitud de Numero de Identidad de Extranjero NIE y Cert. Download it here. Ask a Spanish friend or someone who understands Spanish to help you fill it.
Step 2: Make an appointment online
You have to make an appointment online first before coming in person; otherwise you will be difficult time get this sorted out. To do that, click on this link and choose “Acceder al Procedimiento” at the bottom. But please, keep in mind that if you go to another city, outside of Barcelona, you can get an appointment without scheduling it. I prefer this option, because you don’t have to wait for an open date to appear and you can get your NIE quicker.
Step 3: Prepare all the necessary documents (checklist)
You will need to bring your Passport, a house contract, the needed form (completed EX-15), a document that shows why you want to live here and multiple copies of all these documents. The NIE application will cost you around 11€.
Step 4: Go to the authorized office – Where to apply for NIE number in Barcelona
You can apply for NIE number at police stations with the “Oficina de Extranjeros” (Foreigners Office).
#Useful tip: you might have to wait in queue for hours, so follow my example. Try to bring water, coffee, a book or a tablet or something to entertain you.
Step 5: Useful Spanish terms
Some simple Spanish phrases that you might need:
Hello! I would like to apply for NIE number = Hola! Me gustaría obtener mi NIE.
Where can submit my NIE application? = ¿Dónde puedo inscribirme?
I have an appointment to get my NIE = Tengo una cita para obtener mi NIE.
Step 6: The waiting game
After submitting all the documents, a photocopy of the application, a paper indicating when the card is available and your passport will be returned to you. Keep these documents safe because you will need to show it to them later when you pick up your NIE card. Usually after two weeks the NIE card should be ready, but the process can sometimes take as long as 6 weeks. So don’t panic.