Identity number for foreign nationals (NIE)
What do you need to know?
This is the personal, unique and exclusive sequential number that identifies the foreign national with the Spanish authorities.
You can apply for the identity number for foreign nationals (NIE), without acquiring the certificate of registration as an EU national or the identity card for foreign nationals (TIE), only for specific economic, professional or social purposes.
When you are notified, you will receive a white document, which is why it is commonly known as the white NIE.
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 to apply for the NIE, 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.
Who does it apply to?
It applies to any foreign national who has a relationship with Spain by reason of their economic, professional or social interests and has not yet been assigned it (whether an EU national, a non-EU national legally resident in Spain or a non-EU national not in Spain).
What is your current status?
If you are outside Spain, you must go to the Spanish diplomatic mission or consular office for the area where you live (generally with an appointment). You can also grant power of attorney to someone in Spain to represent you.
If you are legally in Spain, you must schedule an appointment with the Directorate-General for the Police, immigration office or police station in the province where you are living.
What requirements must be met?
It applies to any foreign national who has a relationship with Spain by reason of their economic, professional or social interests and has not yet been assigned it (whether an EU national, a non-EU national legally resident in Spain or a non-EU national not in Spain). There are basically three requirements:
- Not being in Spain in an irregular situation.
- Proving that the person in question has economic, professional or social interests.
- Specifying the reasons for requesting the number (for example, buying a home, obtaining a driving licence or opening a bank account).
How long is it valid for?
The NIE does not expire, your identification number for foreign nationals will always be the same.
What do you need to do?
What steps must you follow?
STEP 1: You must download, complete and sign application form (EX-15) for the identity number for foreign nationals (NIE) in duplicate (only available in Spanish).
STEP 2: Gather the necessary documentation.
STEP 3: Request an appointment online.
- If you are in Spain or have a representative in Spain, go to the Government website and follow the instructions on the NIE assignment page (EU and non-EU) *.
- If you are outside Spain, you must call the Spanish diplomatic mission or consular office for the area where you live and arrange an appointment according to applicable local procedures.
STEP 4: Pay the fee for the formality. You can pay using the online form (form 790 Code 012). Fill in the form fields (indicating the payment method), download and print it.
The form allows payment to be made in cash (by depositing the fee in a bank in a Public Treasury account) or by direct debit from a current account (whose number you will have to provide). The form is only available in Spanish.
STEP 5: Go to the place indicated where you have made an appointment to submit the documentation.
STEP 6: Receive your NIE.
Who can apply?
The foreign national in person or through his or her duly accredited representative.
What documentation must be attached to the application?
In general, you must provide the original and a copy of each document.
The documentation listed below is for information purposes only, by way of minimum requirements, as the documentation required may vary depending on your country of residence. Each diplomatic mission or consular office may require any additional documentation it deems necessary for the purposes of the decision regarding the visa. However, the general and specific basic documentation that you will have to provide is the following:
- Official application form (EX-15) in duplicate, duly completed and signed.
- Full passport, travel document or registration card, or identity card if the applicant is an EU citizen.
- Document showing the reason why the interested party needs to be assigned an NIE.
- Proof of payment of the fee.
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.
How long does it take to process the application?
The application will be processed in five (5) days.
How much does the application cost?
It costs €9.84.
Want to know more?
Which body is responsible for the formality?
National Police Corps (Ministry of the Interior, Government of Spain) and Immigration Office.
Important linked procedures
The application process related to obtaining the identity number for foreign nationals (NIE) (without acquiring the certificate of registration as an EU national or the identity card for foreign nationals (TIE)), is not related to any specific procedure included in the guide, but it is useful for other formalities (for example, opening a bank account or buying a home).