Identity card for foreign nationals (TIE)
What do you need to know?
This is the sole and exclusive document that attests to the legal status in Spain and the identity of non-EU foreign nationals who have a residence permit valid for more than six months or of all foreign nationals who have obtained a long-stay residence permit.
This card contains the identification data, the photograph and the identity number for foreign nationals (NIE), as well as the type of permit to stay or reside in Spain.
It is considered a priority formality that must also be carried out in person, since in order to obtain the card, fingerprint registration is requested.
It is obligatory for all foreign nationals who have been issued a visa or residence permit to stay in Spain for a period of more than six months or for those who have obtained long-term residence.
This is the document that attests to the fact that they are in the country legally and it must be kept valid. If you do not have one, even if you have a visa, it may result in a penalty.
Who does it apply to?
It applies to:
- Non-EU nationals who wish to reside in Spain for a period of more than six months.
- All foreign nationals who have obtained a long-term residence permit.
What requirements must be met?
In order to apply for the identity card for foreign nationals (TIE), one of the following criteria must be met:
- Having a visa or residence permit to stay in Spain for a period of more than six months.
- The legal situation of the person holding the identity card for foreign nationals (TIE), or their employment status, having changed or been altered, including the renewal of the residence permit.
- The previous identity card for foreign nationals (TIE) having been stolen, lost or destroyed.
How long is it valid for?
The identity card for foreign nationals (TIE) will have the same period of validity as the permit or the recognition of the right that justifies its issuance.
The deadline for application is one month from the date of arrival in Spain or from the date the decision on the residence permit is published.
What advice and suggestions could help you?
There is some confusion in the use of the terms NIE, certificate of registration as an EU national, and TIE. To clarify possible doubts, consult What's the NIE?
There is a high demand for appointments, so it may be difficult to get one the first time you try to apply. For this reason, it is recommended that you try to make an appointment as soon as you arrive in Spain.
What do you need to do?
Since this is a formality identifying a foreign citizen, it can only be carried out in person at the relevant police station.
Remember that in order to carry out the procedure, fingerprint identification is required.
What steps must you follow?
STEP 1: Apply for a visa or residence permit
- In order to apply for the identity card for foreign nationals (TIE), you must first obtain a visa or residence permit that gives you permission to reside or reside and work in the national territory. The card is the last step necessary to formalise that permission to work and cannot be applied for without its prior issuance.
STEP 2: Obtain a social security number and registration (if required to do so)
- After your arrival in Spain and before beginning your work activity, you must register with the social security system by requesting your social security number and registration in the system. If you are not going to work (because you are a student, for example), this step is not necessary.
STEP 3: Fill in the application form and gather the required documentation
- You must download, fill in and sign the application form in duplicate:
- Profiles specified under the so-called Entrepreneurs Act (Law 14/2013) are required to use the UGE form. The following are the profiles handled by the Large Companies Unit (UGE): investors, entrepreneurs, highly qualified professionals, researchers, professionals involved in intra-corporate transfers, professionals in productions from the audio-visual and cultural sector and the family members of the above.
- Students and self-employed workers should use the EX-17 form, as their situation is governed by the general procedure (Framework Act 4/2000).
- The forms are only available in Spanish.
- Before starting the application period, consult and prepare the documentation that you will be asked for to obtain the card.
STEP 4: Request an appointment online
- To apply for the TIE, you must request an appointment to submit the documents at the relevant police station.
- To make an appointment, you must go to the Government website and follow the steps below:
- In “PROVINCIAS DISPONIBLES”, select Barcelona and click on “Accept”.
- In the “TRÁMITES CUERPO NACIONAL DE POLICÍA” field, choose the option:
- "POLICIA-EXPEDICIÓN DE TARJETAS CUYA AUTORIZACIÓN RESUELVE LA DIRECCIÓN GENERAL DE MIGRACIONES" for profiles handled by the UGE under the Entrepreneurs Act.
- “POLICIA-TOMA DE HUELLAS (EXPEDICIÓN DE TARJETA) Y RENOVACIÓN DE TARJETA DE LARGA DURACIÓN” for the profiles of students and self-employed workers.
- Carefully read the information provided and click on “Accept”.
- Fill in the requested personal data.
- Select the office where you would like to make an appointment. Fill in the additional information requested.
- Make your appointment according to the dates and places available.
- If you request it, you can receive a confirmation of the appointment by e-mail.
- To obtain information on the immigration office’s address, telephone numbers and opening hours, please check the Police Stations webpage.
STEP 5: Pay the fee for the formality
- You must pay the fee before the appointment, as you will have to provide proof of payment. There is only one form (form 790 Code 012) for making the payment, on which you must indicate the exact type of document you are requesting.
STEP 6: Go to the place indicated and hand over the documentation
- Go to the place indicated where you have made an appointment to submit the documentation and register your fingerprints.
- At the end of the appointment, you will receive a receipt to collect your card within a period of approximately forty days. The receipt will indicate the place of collection.
- Children under the age of 5 do not have to go through the fingerprinting process necessary to apply for the card, but they do have to go in person to apply for it. On the other hand, at some police stations it is not necessary for them to go back again in order to be able to pick it up, as their parents or legal guardian can do so.
STEP 7: Collect your identity card for foreign nationals
- Go to the place indicated, with your passport and the card collection slip to collect your identity card for foreign nationals (TIE), providing evidence that you are the person for whom the document is intended.
Who can apply?
The application must be submitted by the foreign national himself or herself and in person, since fingerprint identification will be required in order to obtain the card.
What documentation must be attached to the application?
In general, you must provide the original and a copy of the documents.
It is important for you to know that the public documents issued in your country of origin which are necessary to complete formalities for coming to Barcelona must comply with international legalisation requirements.
The documents must be translated into Spanish by a sworn translator and legalised. In the case of multilingual standard EU forms, neither translation nor authentication is required.
The form of legalisation will depend on whether the issuing country has signed the Hague Convention of 5 October 1961 or not:
If the country issuing the public document is a signatory, the document will be recognised if it bears the Hague Apostille stamp. The certificate will be processed in the country of origin.
If the country issuing the public document is not a signatory, then the legalisation process will be carried out through diplomatic channels.
Get more information about the legalisation and translation of documents.
You must gather:
- Proof of appointment
- Application form in duplicate, duly completed and signed.
- Passport or travel document bearing the stamp attesting to entry into Spain, sign or mark of the check carried out at the border post.
- Proof of payment of the fee for the card.
- A recent colour photograph, with a white background, passport size.
- Proof of one of the following requirements:
- Documentation providing evidence of registration in the municipal register of residents of the city of Barcelona.
- In the event that the card has been lost or rendered unusable: reporting of its loss or theft or presentation of the unusable card.
- Copy of the administrative decision awarding the residence permit.
- In the case of minors, they must be accompanied by their legal representative with the appropriate documentation (parent or guardian).
- In the case of family reunification, the family member must come with his or her original card.
- In the case of permits or visas requested jointly by family units, the holder of the visa or permit must be present at each of the appointments of any family members.
How long does it take to process the application?
Approximately forty-five (45) days.
How much does the application cost?
The fee depends on the residence permit associated with the card. Based on this, the fees vary, and can be:
- "TIE (identity card for foreign nationals) documenting the long-stay residence or EU long-stay residence permit: €21.87.
- The fees for other types of Foreigner Identity Card (TIE) range from €16 euros to €20 euros.
Want to know more?
Which body is responsible for the formality?
National Police Corps (Ministry of the Interior, Government of Spain)
Where can I find more information?
You can consult the Government of Spain's Immigration Portal (available only in Spanish).
Important linked procedures
In order to be able to apply for the identity card for foreign nationals (TIE) it is essential to have completed the following formalities:
- Visa or permit
- Registration in the municipal register of residents of the city of Barcelona
- Registration with the social security system and obtaining the social security number, in the case of residence permits linked to employment activities.