How do I apply for a NIE in Spain? – Barcelona Lawyers

Here at Piñera del Olmo Lawyers, we offer advice to new residents in Spain. It can be a complex process to apply for a NIE, so we would recommend that you seek professional help with your application. If you are looking to attain Spanish residency and a NIE, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us, by telephone at +34 93 514 39 97, by email at, or by using the contact form on our website.

What is a NIE?

  • A NIE is also known as a Número de Identidad de Extranjero/s, or an identification number for foreigners in Spain. It is equivalent to the DNI’s number, a residency number which all Spanish nationals have. The NIE is used for identification and as a tax number (the Spanish Tax Agency uses the same number as a tax ID Number). Furthermore, it is used for other day to day tasks, including opening a bank account, signing for mail deliveries and obtaining a long-term transport card. The NIE application is available to both EU and Non-EU Citizens.

How can I apply for a NIE?

To apply for a NIE, or Spanish Residency number, there are multiple approaches which you can take.

Option 1: Apply in person, in Spain, upon arrival.

Option 2: Apply via the Spanish Consulate abroad (in your country of residence).

Option 3: Apply through a representative in Spain.

The first option involves a visit to the Dirección General de la Policía y de la Guardia Civil, the Oficina de Extranjería or the Comisaría de Policía. This is carried out in the province in which your new residence will be. It is also possible to pre-book an appointment, however in some Spanish regions it is often difficult to find an available appointment. The alternative is to arrive at the application centre in the morning to obtain a same-day appointment.

To apply via the Spanish Consulate, it is necessary to check for the nearest Spanish Consulate to your current residence, then visit with the necessary documents, as described below.

It is important to note that the third option, applying through a representative, is more expensive and will require a visit to the notary, so you may prefer to carry out the process in person. However, should you not be able to come to Spain or visit a Consulate, it is useful to consider the last option.

Please note that when using documents from other countries, you will need to translate them into Spanish, or a co-official language of the province in which you will be submitting the application.

In addition, it is necessary to legalise  any public documents by the Spanish Consulate before applying. This should be done in the issuing country) or alternatively, el Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores y de Cooperación can carry out approval of the documents; unless the document has already been apostilled by the issuing authority, according to the Hague Agreement of the 5th of October 1961, and unless the document is exempt to legalize under the International Agreement.

How do I prepare my NIE application?

To submit your application, it is necessary to prepare the following documents:

1. The EX-15 application form. This must be filled out and signed. In Spanish, this form is known as the “Solicitud de Número de Identidad de Extranjero (NIE) y Certificados (EX-15)”.

2. Your passport, along with a copy of the main page of the passport, showing your name, Photo, Passport Number, address, etc.

3. Your motives for obtaining a NIE. This includes to buy Spanish property, to rent a Spanish property, carry out economic activities or business, to study or live in Spain. If you want evidence, this could be a letter from your landlord, proof of where you will study, a letter from your Spanish employer, etc.

Applications for a NIE are necessary under the Ley Orgánica 4/2000, de 11 de enero and the Regulations of the Ley Orgánica 4/2000, approved by the Real Decreto 557/2011, de 20 de abril (artículo 206).

Other Options to obtain a NIE:

Prior to your arrival in Spain, it is possible to apply for a NIE or a certificate of non-residence from the Spanish Consulate in your country of residence. It is important to remember that this process may take longer, as the application is posted to the Spanish Police for processing.

In order to apply via the Spanish Consulate, please visit the website for the Consulate in your country. Should there be more than one consulate, please check online as to which will accept your application. Often the Consulates only accept residents’ applications from specific regions.

If you are a U.K. Resident, there are Consulates in both London and Edinburgh. To find out which one you should visit, please see the website for the Spanish Consulates in the UK. 

For your application, you will need the following:

  1. A valid passport and a photocopy of all pages, unless you are an EU citizen, in which case you will need only a copy of the photo/passport page.

  2. Two copies of the Ex-15 Application form, completed either online or by hand. BLOCK CAPITALS and black ink must be used. 

  3. Two copies of the Model 790 Payment Form. Additionally, non-EU Citizens residing in the U.K. must bring their original British Residency Permit and provide a photocopy of it. Furthermore, a written explanation for the need for an N.I.E. will be required.

A fee of £7.90 will be charged by the British Consulate for the NIE application, or for a Certificate of Non Residence, a fee of £5.90 will be payable. This is accepted in cash only.

Should you require assistance in applying for a NIE, our firm can provide services. Please do not hesitate to contact our lawyers.

Disclaimer: This information in this article is not definitive, for up to date legal advice which is relevant to your case please contact our lawyers.

Piñera del Olmo

Granada del Penedès 10, entlo
08006 Barcelona

Tel: +34 93 514 39 97

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