What´s a NIE and what do I need it for?

Many of our foreign clients have asked us: What´s a NIE and what do I need it for?

A NIE, which in Spanish stands for Número de Identificación de Extranjero (Foreigner´s Identification Number) is a tax identification number assigned by the Spanish authorities to any foreigner, whether resident or non-resident, with interests in Spain or who may be contemplating taking certain actions in this country.

You will be required to have a NIE, for instance, if you are planning on buying or selling a property in Spain, if you are a beneficiary under a Spanish Will, if you want to purchase a vehicle in Spain, to be able to join the Spanish national health system, if you want to apply for a mortgage or other any other form of financial loan, or even if you wish to apply for official employment or start your own business here in Spain.

You can apply for a NIE either in Spain with the Departamento de Extranjeros (the Foreigner´s Department) at the Spanish National Police or at the Spanish Consulate nearest to you in your home country. The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation has a list of all of the Spanish Consulates in the world.

You’ll need to file an application form and supply personal data, including an address for notifications, and state the reason for your application. You may be asked to supply supporting documentation. A photocopy of your passport – having first shown your original when making your application – is also required.

The application will be sent for processing to the police authority in Madrid responsible for issuing NIEs. It usually takes at least two months for them to issue the document.

If you are a European Union resident you may take advantage of a holiday in Spain to apply for a NIE locally.  Please bear in mind that if you decide to apply for your NIE in Spain that queues can be horrendous.

We suggest using the services of a local law firm to facilitate the process of obtaining this documentation.

Once issued, this number will be with you for the duration of your life.

* The information provided on this article is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues. The contents herein may be subject to errors, omissions and amendments.


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