As a foreigner living, working or doing business in this country, your NIE number in Spain is the key to be able to do all the essentials of daily life and business. It stands for “Número de Identificación de Extranjero”, which in English translates to “Foreigner’s Identification Number”. You’ll need this unique ID number for basic things, like opening a bank account, getting a mobile phone plan, buying real estate property. It’s important to note that you will need to get a NIE number in Spain regardless of whether you are an EU citizen or not.
How to get your NIE number in Spain
There are two main routes you can use to get your NIE number in Spain: at the Foreigners’ Office nearest your place of residence in Spain, or through the Spanish consulate or embassy in your home country. You do not have to be a resident here in order to apply for a NIE number, and having a NIE number does not automatically give you residency status. When you apply, you will need to present a valid passport, receipt of fees paid, and supporting documentation that shows why you are asking for a NIE number. Because this documentation is different for everyone, the exact cost of a NIE number in Spain can vary. The fees themselves are not very expensive, ranging from about €10 to €17 depending on your residency status. However, you may also need to get documents from your home country legalized and officially translated, which adds to the overall cost. If you hire a lawyer to help get your NIE number in Spain, that, of course, is an additional expense.
Nonresidents will receive a NIE certificate. Residents will be given a TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero) identification card indicating that they are legally residing in Spain which will display their NIE number. This number has the format of a letter, followed by seven digits, followed by another letter. An example of a NIE number in Spain could be: X-1234567-Y.
Renewing a NIE number in Spain
Not everyone will have to renew their NIE number in Spain; it depends on what it says on your certificate (for nonresidents), or the circumstances of your residency (for residents). There was a period of time when NIE certificates were being assigned with a validity period of just three months, after which time it had to be renewed. If your certificate does not have an expiration date (i.e. if it does not say, “caduca en tres meses”), then it will not need to be renewed.
Residents are, in effect, renewing their NIE number anytime they renew their residency, which typically happens on a yearly basis until you are given permanent residency status.
In any case, the process of renewing your NIE number in Spain (if necessary) is very similar to the original application. You will need to fill out a form to request the appropriate procedure (e.g. issuing of a duplicate NIE certificate after expiration, or renewing residency on a long-stay visa), pay the corresponding fees, and provide the necessary documentation.