Obtaining an NIE: the guide
Article updated 25 November, 2019.
If you're moving to Spain to live, one of the first things to do is to get your NIE. Here's a short guide to help with the process.
Getting an NIE is the very first administrative formality you’ll need to complete on arriving in Spain. You’ll need an NIE for almost everything else, including opening a bank account, signing a work contract, taking out a telephone or internet contract, etc.
Conditions for obtaining an NIE
To be eligible for an NIE, you’ll need to either:
- Work for a company or private individual in Spain
- Be self-employed in Spain
- Have sufficient financial resources not to need social assistance in Spain for the duration of your stay. In this case, you’ll need to prove registration with a public or private health insurance provider in Spain or elsewhere. This needs to cover the whole of your stay in Spain and provide equivalent or greater cover than that provided by the Spanish state.
- Be a student in a public or private institution for the purposes of study and/or professional training (placements and internships). In this case, you’ll also need health insurance, and you’ll have to make a formal declaration of sufficient resources to not need social assistance in Spain.
- Come from another EU country and travel to Spain to join or accompany a member of your immediate family (partner or child under your responsibility) who is living in the country under legal circumstances.
Good to know
- Another type of NIE may be allocated to individuals who do not live in Spain but have professional, social or economic interests in the country. These are valid for 3 months and must be requested from your nearest Spanish consulate. It will be sent out around 8 days after receipt of your request.
- Non-EU citizens will be given an NIE at the same time as their residency permit.
Documents required to obtain an NIE
When you go to the NIE bureau, you’ll need to take the original and a photocopy of the following documents in all cases:
- A valid passport or ID card. If your papers have expired, you can still present them if you have proof that you’ve requested a replacement.
- Form Ex-15, printed out and completed (see an example here).
If you’re working for a company or a private individual, you’ll need to provide one of the following:
- A work contract or promise of employment, featuring the name and contact details of the company, along with their tax ID.
- A work contract registered with the Public Employment Service.
- A document proving your affiliation to the Spanish social security system as an employee.
If you’re self-employed, you’ll need to provide one of the following:
- Proof of registration with the Censo de Actividades Económicas
- Proof of inclusion on the commercial business register (Registro Mercantil)
- A document proving your affiliation to the Spanish social security system as a self-employed individual.
If you don’t work in Spain, you’ll need to provide:
- Proof that you have public or private health insurance, Spanish or otherwise, covering at least as much as the Spanish health service. This notably concerns retired people.
- Proof of sufficient resources for the duration of your stay in Spain: property deeds, proof of regular income or a bank card along with a certificate from your bank stipulating the funds available on the card.
If you’re a student, you’ll need:
- Proof of registration with a public or private institution which is recognised or financed by the appropriate educational administrative body.
- Proof of affiliation with a public or private insurance regime (the EHIC will suffice if it’s valid for the duration of your stay).
- A formal declaration of means, stating that you have the finances necessary to cover your needs.
- If you have documentation showing participation in an EU exchange programme for students or academic staff (Erasmus etc.), you don’t need to present any of the other documents in this category.
If you’re requesting an NIE for your children, or to join or accompany a member of your family, you’ll need:
- Recent and legal proof of the relationship (parent/child or partnership).
- Proof of economic dependence.
- Proof that the parents of the child(ren) in question or the person you are joining in Spain has the necessary resources to live in the country (and to support their dependents) and has health insurance.
- Warning: documents in any language other than Spanish or Catalan must be translated by an official translator. You’ll need to present the original along with the translation. Standard EU forms (such as the healthcare assistance form) can be provided in their original language.
- All foreign documents of a public nature (such as birth or marriage certificates) must be stamped or ratified by the administration in your home country.
The first stage in obtaining an NIE is to make an appointment online here. Select “Certificados UE” from the list of possible procedures.
On the day of your appointment, go to the relevant office with all of the necessary paperwork. Take a number and wait your turn (plan on being there for several hours, waiting times can be long). Once your request has been accepted, you’ll need to wait 5 days before receiving your number.
Whilst you’re waiting, don’t forget the final stage in the process: pay the fee for your NIE to be sent. This is around €11. You will not receive your NIE until payment has been received.
The foreign citizens office (Oficina de Extranjería) in Barcelona is located at Rambla de Guipuzcoa 74 (Sant Martí), metro Bac de Roda or Sant Martí (Line 2).
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