Identity Number for Foreign Nationals (NIE)

Updated 10/2021

Unique and exclusive personal identity number granted to foreign nationals to identify them with the Spanish authorities

Vocabulary
  • What do you need to know?
  • What do you need to do?

The FEE is € 9.64

The document showing the NIE (identity number for foreign nationals) has no expiry date. 

It can be requested at ANY TIME if it is needed to complete a formality

It is applied for IN PERSON

What is it?

This is the personal, unique and exclusive sequential number that identifies the foreign national with the Spanish authorities.

Important information

The personal number will be the foreign national’s identifier, which must appear on all documents issued or processed, as well as stamps placed on their identity card or passport.

There is some confusion in the use of the terms identity number for foreign nationals (NIE), identity card for foreign nationals (TIE) and certificate of registration as an EU national, so it is very important that you find out the document you need before applying for it.

Furthermore, it is very difficult to get an appointment and requires several attempts to get one. It is very important to start applying as soon as you arrive in Spain.

You can also consult the Government of Spain's Immigration Portal.

Why is this formality important?

The identity number for foreign nationals (NIE) appears both on the certificate of registration as an EU national and on the identity card for foreign nationals (TIE). Nonetheless, there are cases in which, although it is not necessary to submit these documents, it is necessary to obtain the identity number for foreign nationals (NIE) in order to be able to carry out economic, professional and social activities (for example, tax formalities).

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).

Who should apply for it?

The application can be made in person by the foreign national or through his or her duly accredited representative.

What requirements must be met?

There are basically three requirements which must be satisfied to obtain the identity number for foreign nationals (NIE):

  • 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).
Which body is responsible for the formality?

National Police Corps (Ministry of the Interior, Government of Spain)

What advice and suggestions could help you?
  • There is usually a lot of confusion between the terms identity number for foreign nationals (NIE), identity card for foreign nationals (TIE) and certificate of registration as an EU national:
    • The identity number for foreign nationals (NIE) is only the number, unique and exclusive, that allows the administrative identification of foreign nationals with the institutions of the Spanish state. It appears on all the documents identifying the foreign national.
    • The identity card for foreign nationals (TIE) is a physical identification card. It must be held by non-EU nationals authorised to stay in Spain for a period of more than six months or by all foreign nationals with a long-term permit. It contains the identification data, as well as the identity number for foreign nationals (NIE) and the type of authorisation for the stay or residence of the foreign person.
    • The certificate of registration as an EU national is a physical identification document. It is compulsory for individuals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland wishing to stay in Spain for a period exceeding three months to have it. It contains the identification data, as well as the identity number for foreign nationals (NIE).
    • Remember that 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.
    • 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. However, if you are a citizen of a country that is not part of the EU, the EEA or Switzerland, you should go directly to the Directorate-General of Police or the immigration office on Paseo de Sant Joan, without requesting an appointment
What other linked formalities should you know about?
  • 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).

What do you need to do?

In person

The procedure can only be carried out in person, either from Spain or from abroad. If you are in Spain, you can do this directly at the Directorate-General of Police, or through the immigration office or police station of the province where you have your home address.

If you are outside Spanish territory, you must go to the Spanish diplomatic mission or consular office for your place of residence.

What steps must you take to apply for a number for foreign nationals (NIE)?

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Fill in the application form (EX-15) and gather the required documentation

You must download, complete and sign the official standard application form (EX-15) for the identity number for foreign nationals (NIE) in duplicate.

The form is only available in Spanish, but you can find instructions in English on how to complete it.

Before the application period begins, consult and prepare the documentation that you will be asked for to obtain the identity number for foreign nationals (NIE).

Documentation
  • In general, you must provide the original and a copy of the documents.
  • When documents from other countries are provided, they must be translated into Catalan or Spanish.

For more information on the translation and legalisation of documents, please consult the relevant website.

  • Official standard application form (EX-15) in duplicate, duly completed and signed.
  • Copy of 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.
Next
Request an appointment online

The place where the documentation must be submitted depends on where you are at that time:

If you are in Spain
  • You must do this directly at the Directorate-General of Police, or the immigration office or police station of the province where you have your home address.
  • If you are a citizen of an EU or EEA country or Switzerland
    • In order to apply for the certificate, it is essential to make an appointment by going to the government website.
      • In ”PROVINCIAS DISPONIBLES” select “Barcelona” and click on “Aceptar”. 
      • In the “TRÁMITES CUERPO NACIONAL DE POLICÍA” field, choose the option “POLICÍA-CERTIFICADOS Y ASIGNACIÓN NIE”.  
      • Carefully read the information provided and click on "Enter".
      • 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.

 

Some sections in he website for making an appointment are available in English, French, Catalan, Spanish and other co-official languages of the Spanish state.

 

  • If you are a citizen of a non-EU or EEA country or Switzerland
    • You must book an appointment at the Directorate-General for the Police directly, or at the immigration office in Passeig de Sant Joan.

 

For the address, telephone numbers and opening hours of the immigration office, please consult the relevant website.

If you are outside Spain
  • You must go to the Spanish diplomatic mission or consular office for your place of residence. The application is addressed to the General Commissariat for Foreign Nationals and Borders.
  • You may need to make an appointment in order to apply.
  • Go to the website of the Spanish consulate in your country of origin to find out if it is necessary to apply for it and, if so, to obtain it.
Next
Pay the fee for the formality

You must pay the fee prior to the procedure being concluded. Currently the fee is € 9.64. 

To be able to pay the relevant fee (fee 012 relating to standard form 790), fill in the fields of the form (indicating the method of payment), download it 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.

Next
Go to the place indicated and submit the documentation
If you are a citizen of an EU or EEA country or Switzerland
  • Go to the place indicated where you have made an appointment to submit the documentation.
If you are a citizen of a non-EU or EEA country or Switzerland
  • You must go to the Directorate-General of Police directly, or to the immigration office on Paseo de Sant Joan.

The documentation necessary is detailed in the first section of the procedure ("1. Fill in the application form (EX-15) and gather the required documentation > Documentation”).

Next
Receive your identity number for foreign nationals (NIE)

Once the fee has been paid and the requirements and documentation have been checked, the identification number will be allocated.

The deadline for deciding the application is five days from the application being entered in the register of the competent body.