NIE Spain - Ministerio del InteriorSpanish National Insurance Number - NIE

If you are thinking of moving to Spain and taking up permanent residency here, (perhaps even buying a  property), you will need to apply for a Spanish national insurance number or NIE number. NIE stands for Número de Identificación de Extranjeros, which when literally translated means "identification number for foreigners". Native Spanish citizens also have a national identification number, but rather than being called an NIE number, it is called a DNI number which stands for “Documento Nacional de Identidad”, meaning “National Identity Document”.

Why you need an NIE Number

An NIE number works in a similar way to our British National Insurance number. Once issued, your NIE number is unique to you and remains unchanged for your lifetime. It is the mechanism by which the Spanish government can keep a track on you in terms of any income tax or wealth tax that you may be due to pay. The other things that your NIE number allows you to do includes: registering for the Spanish national health program; obtaining a business permit allowing you to create and manage your own business in Spain, purchasing a property and insuring said property, or buying a vehicle.

How and Where to Apply

There are two ways of applying for your NIE number; you can apply in person in Spain, or you can apply in any country (including the UK ) via the Spanish consulate. If for example you are a British citizen and are buying a property in Spain, but you do not intend to take up residency in Spain, you will still need an NIE number because you will have to pay taxes on your purchase, but for the sake of convenience you may decide to apply in the UK .

Applying for your NIE Number in Spain

If you will be applying for your national insurance number in Spain your best port of call to start with is your local police station. Some towns and cities now have specialised offices that deal specifically with the issuing of NIE numbers, but it depends on which part of Spain you are in, so in the first instance, make your initial enquiries to your local police and they will instruct you accordingly.

Once you have established where to go to apply for your NIE number, you will need to take with you 2 copies of the NIE application form, (these can be downloaded from the Spanish Interior Office website), your passport, and 2 passport photographs. You may also require an original copy of a document explaining why you are applying of your NIE number (as noted above under the UK application section).

It has been said that some applicants have had to wait for up to 15 days or more for the NIE number to come through.  However, this is obviously regional. When I applied in Denia, Alicante, it was all very efficient and was done in the same day.

To get your NIE number from Spain do the following.

  • Fill out the EX-15 form which you can download and print here.
  • Take the completed form to your local Police station or Oficina de Extranjeros

You will also need to take the following with you:-

  • Completed EX-15 form
  • Supporting document to show why you need an NIE number
  • Copy of your passport pages and original passport
  • 2 x passport sized photos
  • Fee of €12 to pay tax form 790

Note: You will also need to provide an address in Spain of where your NIE certificate will be sent. This can be a friends address or if you have a lawyer you should be able to use their address.

Applying for your NIE Number in the UK

There are currently two Spanish consulate offices in the UK. Their addresses and telephone numbers are as follows:

The Spanish Consulate General,  20 Draycott PlaceLondon  SW3 2RZ ,

Telephone: 020 7589 8989, 020 7594 4904, Fax: 020 7581 7888


The Spanish Consulate General,  63 North Castle StreetEdinburghEH2 3LJ .

Telephone: 0131 220 1843, Fax: 0131 226 4568


The application process requires you to present several forms of identification including your passport. You will also need 2 passport sized photographs of yourself, which must have been taken against a plain background. Should you wear glasses, earrings, or other items of body jewellery, you may be asked to remove them.

Upon visiting the Spanish consulate closest to you in the  UK , you will be given an application form to complete which must be signed in the presence of one of the consulate employees. You will be asked to pay a fee there and then, which at this point in time is £22. You should be aware that the consulates will not be able to supply you with any blank copies of the NIE application form. You can however acquire them online by downloading them from the Spanish Interior Ministry's website. You will also be required to present an original copy of the documents that explains why you are applying for a Spanish NIE number. If you are in the process of purchasing a property, then a copy of the agreement letter with your estate agent should suffice, or if you are going to be working in Spain, a copy of your contract of employment. If you are at all uncertain what to take when you apply, it's always a good idea to telephone the consulate in advance to establish exactly what they need.

You will also require an envelope which is large enough to take all the forms, and this envelope should then be addressed to:

Comisaría General de Extranjería y Documentación,

Dirección General de Policia,

C/ General Pardiñas, 90, 28006  MadridSpain .

Private Health Insurance in Spain

If you are an expat in Spain and are looking for private health insurance cover, please check out our range of expat health insurance products.

Updated: 19/8/2016

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