What is an NIE, who needs it and how do you get one?

(6th November 2018)


Any foreigner with a closer contact to Spain has probably heard of an "NIE" before. And perhaps wondered what that might be. You too? Then just read this article, where I answer the most important questions around the NIE.

1. What is an NIE?

„NIE“ is the abbreviation for „Número de Identidad de Extranjero“, that is Foreigners Identification Number.

This number will be assigned to all non-Spaniards who are in any way in contact with Spanish authorities in order to identify them.

The NIE usually starts with an X or Y, then there are 7 numbers, and at the end there is a letter.

The NIE is similar to the ID number of the Spaniards (DNI) and is also the tax number of foreigners in Spain.

2. Who needs an NIE?

Any foreigner who has to deal with Spanish offices or public agencies needs an NIE number.

In particular, you need a NIE if you want to:

  • rent or buy an apartment in Spain,
  • buy or register a car in Spain,
  • work in Spain,
  • be self-employed in Spain,
  • set-up a company in Spain,
  • sign up for Spanish Social Security,
  • contract a private health insurance or other insurances in Spain,
  • file a tax return in Spain (income tax, gift tax, inheritance tax, etc.),
  • become a shareholder or manager of a Spanish company,
  • apply for a subsidy from the Spanish state or province (for company founders, kindergartens, etc.)
  • marry in Spain,
  • get recognized your studies from abroad in Spain,
  • become a member of a chamber (for example, architects, lawyers, etc.) in Spain,
  • live in Spain for more than 3 months, etc.

As you can see, the list is long.

In other words: you cannot miss an NIE if you want to do more than just spend your holidays in Spain.

3. How do you get a NIE number?

There are several ways to get an NIE number. The main difference is whether you want to take care of it yourself, or ask a representative to do it for you, and whether you live in Spain or not.

a) Apply for the NIE yourself:

To apply for the NIE yourself, you must either go to the Spanish Embassy abroad or, if you are in Spain, to a local police station. There are police stations in every major Spanish city where you can apply for an NIE number.


In any case, it is necessary to make an appointment in advance, bring your identity card or Passport and a copy of it, fill in the application form and have paid in advance a processing fee of approximately 10 euros. You have to take into account that you usually don´t get the NIE number directly, but have to come back about 1 week later to receive it.


If you want to stay in Spain for more than 3 months you must fill in the application form EX-18 and you will need to bring further evidence depending on your situation, e.g. that you have sufficient resources to finance your stay; that you have a health insurance; that you are enrolled at a university; etc.


If you need the NIE number for a specific reason, e.g. because you want to get appointed as managing director in a Spanish company, or because you want to receive an inheritance in Spain, you must fill out the application form EX-15 instead.

b) Get your NIE through a representative:

Anyone who does not speak Spanish, has no time, or simply does not want to make appointments, fill in forms and wait for hours in a queue, can apply for the NIE number through a representative.

This ensures that all documents are complete and filled in correctly, and you do not lose time, money and nerves unnecessarily.


To commission the NIE application to a representative, the person who needs the NIE has to go to a notary (abroad or in Spain) and authorize the representative for the NIE application. In addition, the notary must prepare a certified copy of the identification document (ID card or Passport). If you go to a notary abroad, it is necessary to get a sworn translation of the power of attorney into Spanish, and to provide all the notarial documents with Hague Apostille so that they can be effective in Spain.


Every foreigner who deals with Spanish authorities needs an NIE (= foreigner identification number).

To get the NIE, there are various possibilities: You can apply for it yourself, which requires above all language skills and time. Or you can let someone else get the NIE number for you, which requires a representative who is reliable and knows the procedure.


Are you now wondering how to get your NIE easily, quickly and reliably?

It´s simple: just contact me!


Let me be your representative, then I will do all the paperwork for you and you will get your NIE fast and relaxed.

It is that easy.