What is an NIE number and why do I need one?
In Spain you cannot legally buy property, a house, car, boat etc without having applied to the police for your NIE number and had your NIE documentation returned. Likewise, you cannot enter into a contract for the supply of electricity, water or a telephone line etc without giving your NIE/NIF number together with your bank details because these services will only accept clients whose bills are paid automatically from a bank. Neither can you arrange an insurance policy or order goods or services, sign on for the National Social Security, Health Service or commence a job without showing your NIE number.
The Decree (Real Decreto 338-1990) of 9th March establishes that everyone, of whatever nationality, resident or not, who has any "official business" in Spain, must have a fiscal number (NIF/NIE) which is used to identify them on all official documents.
NIE & Residence Application Regulations
Spain has updated the regulations governing NIE applicants; it is now official policy for all new foreigners wishing either to reside or buy property in Spain to complete an EX18 NIE form which also covers Residencia, regardless of whether or not they are buying property for a permanent residence or a holiday home.
Without a Residencia - you are not legally entitled to stay in Spain for more than 90 days before returning to the UK or your home country, or applying for a Permanent or Temporary Residencia Permit
What is the difference between an NIE and NIF number?
People often talk about or ask for your NIE or NIF number. In actuality they are the same. The NIE is used for confirming your identification whereas, if you wish to carry out any fiscal function such as opening a bank account, buy a property, car, boat etc it is referred to as an NIF (fiscal) number. Application requirement and the document issued are the same.
Do I have to apply to the police personally for an NIE? Normally, yes, but...
It is now accepted that where applicants find difficulty in attending a Spanish National Police Station personally, they may apply through a solicitor (abogado); to do so they must give the solicitor their full Power of Attorney (POA) and complete form EX18 ensuring they complete section 4.
Solicitor Assistance. For such services a solicitor normally charges 130 Euros or more. Alternatively, if you wish to apply yourself but need assistance translating the NIE form at the police station, an interpreter will normally charge 30/40 Euros per hour for their services.
Applying for your NIE & Residencia Registration
How difficult is it to apply by ones self?
I advise arriving at the Police Station no later than 7am as I have known queues of over 100 and more stretching around the buildings. At most locations a police clerk arrives at 8.30 to hand out numbered tickets to the queue, (some times there are too many and some applicants are told to come back the next day; the office door opens at 9am. Some offices accommodate you inside until your allotted number (in other offices many people are forced to wait outside (whether rain or shine)
To overcome some of the waiting problems and costs I offer the following advice:
Order an English translation of the Spanish NIE and Residencia forms; they can then be completed at home. Print out the number of forms required; any mistakes just print another form ensuring you have all of the details filled correctly.
Note: each person must complete their own forms and then sign them at the police station or Consulate.
Alternatively, a solicitor can make the application for you. Subject to you giving him your Full power of Attorney; however, always ask him for a quotation of all costs involved, (he may request confirmation of your identity signed by a Notary) which will add very considerably to the costs.
Ordering your NIE and Residencia English translations
Click here to complete an order form for English Translations of the EX18 NIE and Residencia forms that will be sent together with the official forms and instructions (print as many as required for your family). You will recieve your PayPal invoice for £12.50 and upon paying this your order will be sent to you immediately. Practical Spain thanks you for helping to maintain this website by your payment. All advice is free, translation is the only item we charge for.
You do not need to be a registered PayPal account holder to use this system, just complete and return the invoice.If you have any queries on this or any other subject relating to your move to Spain, call me on 00 34 96 296 0920 or use my feedback form
Please note: if you do not wish to order the NIE Translations but require only the NIE EX18 application form, do not complete the above form, but contact me and it will be sent without charge.
You can ask about getting the best currency transfer rates, about a Spanish bank that makes no interest charges for receiving your funds in Spain, about tax advice and many other areas for home buyers.
All such advice is given freely.
Applying for your NIE / Residencia forms when in Spain
Go to your local National Police Station and ask for EX18 NIE and Residencia application forms. If you don't speak/read Spanish it is advisable to be accompanied by someone who does. Alternatively you can collect an application form to take away for completion but that will entail waiting in the queue on a second visit. Take with you:-
You must give a Spanish address of your residence in Spain. It can be a friend's property so long as they will accept the responsibility for you as living with them and to notify you of any communications received.
Take Note! Processing your application normally takes a minimum of two days but can be much longer particularly if you are not applying personally. On handing in your completed forms, the Police clerk will give you a Form 790 (which is in triplicate) which you then take to your bank where they will deduct the police administration fee. The Bank will give you a receipt which you must take to the police station when collecting your registered NIE and Residencia certificates.
Caution! You will often be asked to show your NIE registration or Residencia documents at the various ministries etc. Always carry photocopies but never allow anyone to retain your original.
NIF for Non-Resident Owners of more than one Spanish property
Non-resident taxpayers who own more than one permanent Spanish property must appoint a fiscal representative in Spain to act on their behalf on all dealings with the Spanish Tax Office called (Delegacion de Hacienda). The applicant must first attend a Spanish Consulate office in his home country where he must present his passport together with photocopies of all key pages, these copies must then be certified by the consulate.
In Spain the appointed fiscal representative must go to the police and present these certified photocopies together with a signed authorisation to act as the applicant's representative. He/She go through the normal process of applying for an NIF number for the applicant. Once issued this NIF number must be used in all dealings with the Spanish Tax Office on behalf of the applicant.