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.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about NIE numbers in Spain including:-
Let’s dive in and find out more about the NIE number!
What is 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, in essence, a foreigner’s identification number and a mechanism by which the Spanish government can keep a track on you in terms of any income tax (IRPF) or wealth tax (Impuesto de Patrimonio) that you may be due to pay.
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”.
It is the job of Spain’s National Police to issue NIE numbers and come in the form of an A4 piece of paper or certificate which includes details such as your name, date of birth and nationality.
What does NIE Stand for?
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.
Below you can see an example of a typical A4 NIE document.
Why do I Need an NIE Number?
As a Spanish NIE is a fiscal identification number, it is required by every citizen in Spain when carrying out any official process (tramite) whether financial or legal. Some examples may include:-
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 (see below).
Without an NIE number in Spain, the tax authorities are unable to assess your fiscal activity and process any tax payments that might be due for example, income tax or wealth tax.
Do Children Need an NIE number in Spain?
NIE numbers are generally for adults over the age of 18. However, it is possible for a child or under the age of 18 to be assigned with an NIE number. Additional documentation such as a birth certificate would be required along with a valid reason for the application.
Do NIE Numbers Expire?
There is some confusion around this question and the renewal of NIE numbers.
Your NIE number will NEVER expire once assigned to you. However, the piece of paper that you are given expires after 3 months. So if you need to present proof of your NIE when for example purchasing a property or carrying out some other form of financial or legal activity, you may be asked for a recent copy. The NIE number itself though does not expire.
How to Apply for an NIE Number
There are three ways of applying for your NIE number, which are:-
Note that if you are applying to become a resident in Spain (Residencia) and do not already have an NIE, you will automatically be assigned one with your residency application.
Applying for your NIE Number in Spain
If you will be getting your NIE 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.
You can also visit the following official page from the National Police and find your nearest police station.
The National Police station that you apply at needs to be in the same location as where you are resident, or if there are none in your area, the nearest one.
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 EX-15, (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 for 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:-
Cost of the NIE is €9.64 as of May 2020. Pay using tax form 790
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 the proof of payment so that you can present this when applying in person for the NIE number.
Can I get my Spanish NIE Online?
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 friend's address or if you have a lawyer you should be able to use their address.
Applying for your NIE Number in the UK
Please note that you can only apply for a non-resident NIE (Certificados de No Residencia) via the consulates in the UK.
If you intend to live in Spain or carry out some form of seasonal work, you will need to apply for a resident NIE number in Spain at a National Police station using the method above.
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 £8.10. Correct as of May 2020.
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
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, in order to protect the health of citizens, any immigration procedures at the National Police stations and Immigration offices have been suspended.
Any previous appointments that were made prior to the State of Alarm lockdown (Royal Decree 463/2020) which began on March 14, have now been cancelled.
It is believed that those looking to get their NIE may be able to make an appointment again for September, however, it is likely that those who previously had an appointment which was cancelled, will get an appointment first.
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.
All of our policies are underwritten by BUPA and provide you with access to our English speaking support team.
January 14, 2021