NIE stands for Número de Identidad de Extranjero or Foreigners’ Identification Number and it is an identification and tax number which EU citizens (if you are not from the UE you need another type of ID called TIE) need to perform financial business. It is needed for everything from buying a car to signing a contract. If you want to open a bank account they will probably ask for your NIE number too.
If you are planning to stay for less than three months, and not performing any financial activities, you don’t need a NIE number. But if your stay is over 3 months you will need to register in the Oficina de Extranjería and get the NIE.
If you plan to become a teacher GET YOUR NIE ASAP.
How to apply for the NIE number.
The process changes every year, and when I say changes I mean it is made more complicated (Spanish paperwork…). But I will try to summarize the various options. That way you can head, with our indications, towards the right direction and then either get the NIE or have to fill in some (or 10) additional form (s).
- If you are still in your country of origin apply for your NIE there. It makes everything so much easier. Not only will you not have the language barrier, but the process if easier abroad.
Go to your Spanish Consulate and ask for the procedure to apply for the Spanish NIE number. You will probably need to take, in person, a photocopy of the main page of your passport, to fill in some form (which you can download online), pay a fee and that’s it. Sometimes they require a reason for the application, which might be a letter from your employer. It should take about 2-3 weeks and you should receive your NIE in pdf format in your e-mail.
But call your Spanish Consulate and they will give you all the details.
- If you are in Madrid, there are two ways:
a) The “old way” was to go to the Comisaría General de Extranjería, in Calle San Felipe 7, metro Tetuán. You have to arrive early (they open from 9:00-13:00 but be there at 8:00 or 8:30), with two photocopies of the relevant pages of your passport. To anyone who asks you need a NIE to open a bank account (it is the easy answer and probably true).
You will be given a number and a form to pay the fee at the nearest bank and a form to fill in.
1)Go to the bank while you wait, the nearest one is in Orense 58, round the corner. You pay in cash giving in the tax form.2) Fill in the other form with your data. It’s in Spanish….but easy enough. People at the desk might help you if you are lucky, but they don’t normally speak much English. We sometimes have teachers call us or go with them to fill in the form (not needed, it is easy).
Do not be discouraged by queues, or sour faces from the clerks there. Just smile and get used to Spanish paperwork.3) Once your turn comes and you give in your paid tax receipt, filled in form and photocopies you should get your provisional NIE number immediately. This provisional number will not change, and it serves as a NIE for 3 months.
Note: I don’t think you need them but take with you 2 passport sized photographs with white background and a photocopy of a document which explains the reason why you are in Spain (work contract etc).4) In three months you will have to make an appointment to go to Calle Padre Piquer 18 and get your final NIE card, with the same number. You will have to pay another small fee to get the card.
- The Official Way:
1) You have to download the form EX-18 . It should be here, or here. Fill it in and make a copy.2) You have to request an appointment online. Access this site.
-Select Madrid on the first box.
– Select CNP-CERTIFICADOS UE.
– Read the following page and click on Aceptar.
– On the next page select passport and enter your data.
– Make your appointment.3) Pay the fee. Go to this site and fill in the form. Select the option “.Certificado de registro de residente comunitario o Tarjeta de residencia de familiar de un ciudadano de la Unión.”
Leave blank the IBAN (bank) data. Once you are finished you will get a pdf which you have to take to the bank and pay around 10,60€The documents that you will need to take the day of the appointment are:
- The application form downloaded before.
- Your passport (original and copy)
- Receipt of payment made at the bank (original and copy) .
- Letter of acceptance, work contract, etc (they may not ask for it).
More information here.
The day of the appointment you will probably have to go to Calle Padre Piquer 18, give in all the documents and receive the provisional NIE number (see above).
As you see both procedures are the same. I am not sure if the first option is still valid (it was last year). If you have time, follow the “Official Method“, if not, try the first one.