Spanish 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". The NIE number will start with a letter (Usually an X or a Y), followed by seven numbers and then a letter to finish. An example of an NIE number would be X-1234567-D.
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 do I Need an NIE Number?
An NIE number works in a similar way to a 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 system; obtaining a business permit allowing you to create and manage your own business in Spain, purchasing and insuring a property, opening a bank account, or buying a vehicle.
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.
How to get an NIE Number
There are three ways of applying for your NIE number, which are:-
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 issuance 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 via the links below), 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 and will no doubt vary depending on the region you are in and how busy the police station is. In many cases you will be able to collect your NIE the same day.
To get your NIE number from Spain do the following.
You will also need to take the following with you:-
You can download/complete both the EX15 and the 790 forms at the following official National Police page.
When you have completed form 790, you will need to make the payment at your local bank. Make sure you retain proof of payment so that you can present this when applying in person for the NIE number.
In some parts of the country you can now make an appointment online to obtain your NIE number. Go to the SEDE page below and select the region you are in. You will then be given further information on whether you can make an appointment online or whether you will have to go to your local police station and queue.
When you first visit the page below you may get a browser warning about the security of the page. Don’t worry, just click on ‘advanced’ and then ‘proceed to...’ to get directed to the correct page.
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 Place
London, SW3 2RZ
Telephone: 020 7589 8989, 020 7594 4904
Fax: 020 7581 7888
The Spanish Consulate General
63 North Castle Street
Edinburgh, EH2 3LJ
Telephone: 0131 220 1843
Fax: 0131 226 4568
You will generally need to make an appointment at the consular office. Further information on that can be found at
You will need to present the following forms and documents when applying at the consular office.
The fee when applying in the UK is £8.50.
You can see a sample NIE document below and how it needs to be completed.
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 Madrid, Spain
You will need to allow up to four weeks to get an NIE number when applying from the UK.
Granting A Third Party Power Of Attorney
Since 2012, the Spanish government has permitted anyone to grant power of attorney to a third party so that they may obtain an NIE number.
Once you have authorised another person to do this, they can then carry out the whole process on your behalf.
There are a number of companies who for a fee can do this for you. If you are buying a property in Spain, there is a good chance that your lawyer will be able to do this for you. You just need to grant them power of attorney via a notary.
You will need to visit the notary and take some documentation with you such as your passport. If you are using a notary outside of Spain, you will also need another document called a Hague Apostille, which the notary should be able to provide you with.
See the following link where you can search for a notary public in the UK.
To find out more about Power of Attorney, please view our page at
Private Health Insurance in Spain
If you are an expat in Spain and are looking for private health insurance cover with policies in English, please check out our range of expat health insurance products.