An NIE number (Número de Identidad de Extranjero) is the Spanish equivalent of a UK National Insurance number or an Irish Personal Public Service Number. The main purpose of which is fiscal control and facilitating the payment of taxes.
Article 206 of the Regulations of Organic Law 4/2000, on the rights and freedoms of foreigners in Spain and their social integration, approved by Royal Decree 557/2011, sets forth that foreigners having a relation with Spain for economic, professional or social interests shall be provided with a personal, unique and exclusive sequential number, for identification purposes.
A foreign individual will be required to obtain an NIE number for any number of reasons such as:-
- Buying or selling property
- Opening a bank account
- Applying for a mortgage
- Payment of Spanish Inheritance taxes
- Payment of Spanish taxes
- Buying a car
- Entering into certain types of contract
If both husband and wife intend buying property in joint names then it will be necessary for both spouses to acquire NIE numbers.
Options in applying for Spanish NIE number
- Apply in person at Spanish police station
- Execute a power of attorney authorising your solicitor) to apply on your behalf
- Apply in person at Spanish Consulate
Option 1 – Apply in person in Spain at Spanish police station
It is necessary to attend a police station (Comisaría de Policía) with a foreigners department (Oficina de Extranjeros). The application process varies from one police station to another and in many it is necessary to request an appointment 5-7 days in advance. Generally the NIE certificate is issued the day following application but in some police stations it can take up to 5 working days. Whilst it is necessary to attend in person to apply, the NIE certificate may be collected by any person presenting the police stamped copy of the application form
- Complete NIE application form EX-15 in duplicate
- Complete the application fee form (modelo 790) and pay at bank (application fee EUR9.45)
- Attend appointment at police station and present the following:-
Providing all documentation is in order the police will stamp the duplicate form EX-15 and return which must then be presented to collect the certificate.
Example of completed NIE application form EX-15 with instructions in English – complete on screen and print
Example of completed Modelo 790 with instructions in English
Option 2 – Application via an executed a power attorney
Where it is not possible to attend in person then it is possible to execute a power of attorney authorising another person such as a solicitor or agent to attend and apply on your behalf.
Option 3 – Apply in person via an overseas Spanish Consulate
It is also possible to apply at the Spanish Consulate in one’s home country. The Spanish Consulate General does not issue the NIE numbers and will only transfer the application to the relevant authorities in Spain through Diplomatic Mail. Applications can be slow and may take up to 3 months when applying through the Consulate General. It is generally advisable to check processing time if NIE number is required urgently.
Contact details for Spanish Consulates in United Kingdom & Ireland
Address: 20 Draycott Place, London, SW3 2RZ , England
Telephone: +44 207 589 89 89
Address: 63 North Castle Street, Edinburgh, EH2 3LJ, Scotland
Telephone: +44 131 220 18 43 or +44 131 220 14 39
Address: 17A Meryln Park, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, Ireland
Telephone: +353 1 269 1640 or +353 1 283 8827
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