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Administrative procedures

Getting the Foreign Identity Number (NIE)

Written by Adriana

The foreign identity number is known by its initials as NIE (in Spanish, “Número de Identidad de Extranjeros”) and is a code used to identify the “non-nationals” that are related to Spain in an economic, social or professional way. It consists of an initial letter, followed by seven digits and a verification letter at the end. Once this code have been assigned, shall appear on all person’s issued or processed documents (especially in a card that is similar to the national ID). But what requirements you must have to get this NIE? Well first and foremost, your situation in Spain must be regularized, and also the documents that you will give should explain the reasons for your request.

Photo by Metaphox via Visualhunt

Photo by Metaphox via Visualhunt

The procedure to get your NIE is the following: complete the official application form that you can find in a venue of Aliens’ Office (the form is called EX15). To know which is the best office for you check the website of Ministry of Finance and Public Administration. You will need your identity card or your original passport and a photocopy of it, a passport size photo in colour with white background and supporting documentation of the reasons for your request (college tuition or business school, the employment contract, your house contract, etc.). Once you have gathered all the necessary documentation you can submit it to the same immigration office or to the nearest police station. Here are more details. This process will take between 1 and 5 weeks and is required to withdraw it personally.

Photo via Visualhunt

Photo via Visualhunt

To get the NIE for European citizens is a fairly simple procedure because as an European Union resident you have the right to live in Spain without asking for the residence permit. The non-EU citizens need the residence permit and a valid visa. The NIE has, above all, tax benefits for those who own it, for example if you want to buy a vehicle, it is compulsory for water and electricity “official” contracts, and, in some cases, for your cell-phone contract. Of course, it will be Essentials if you want to work in Spain!

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About the author


Adriana is a writer, content & community manager, web designer, media analyst and tireless traveler.


  • I have had an NIE since I bought my apartment here; however, I don’t have an actual card just a number. Any idea how to get a card (as shown above).
    Love your blog, great info.

  • Hi Adriana,

    I got an appointment (via web) to get my NIE renewed. Now I can’t find the paper where I wrote down the date/time/location. I know it’s in the first 2 weeks of October….. sometime! Is there a site I can access to check the status???

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