NIE NUMBER in Spain: Definition, Types, Procedure and Papers

Published:
May 28, 2024
2073

Provided that you are a non-citizen, buying a property in Spain is possible with the NIE. It is your unique number as a non-citizen. It’s vital for various activities, from buying housing to making a bank account. However, it’s important to note that the NIE alone doesn’t grant lawful residency.

This article will guide you through the stages of acquiring, outlining the necessary obligations and steps involved.

The definition and benefits of NIE

Think of the NIE as your personal code in a country. It’s a unique number referred to non-citizens, helping authorities identify you during your interactions within the state.

Benefits:

  • Opportunity for buying a property 
  • Allows for making bank accounts
  • Facilitates other economic activities

Here are key points to remember:

  • This number is yours for life (or just before you obtain nationality) and remains unchanged.
  • It serves as your distinct identifier within the country.
  • The number typically consists of an alphabetical character followed by a series of numbers and another character.
  • While significant for various transactions, the NIE itself doesn’t grant you lawful residency.

In essence, the NIE is a vital administrative tool for non-citizens engaging in activities within the country.

Is it possible to live and work in a state in the absence of a number?

NIE simply identifies you as a non-citizen in Spain. It doesn’t grant lawful residency.

Residency allows you to live in a state for an extended period. You’ll need a separate residence (and potentially work) endorsement if you want to stay more than three months.

When is the NIE Enough?

For stays under 90 days, the number is sufficient for conducting certain business dealings, such as buying housing or creating a bank account.

Understanding the NIE and TIE

It’s important to distinguish between the NIE and the TIE:

NIE: This is your personal number as a non-citizen, issued regardless of your EU/Non-EU status, and remains permanent.

TIE: This is a physical card that *may* contain your NIE. TIE issuance depends on your residency status and EU citizenship:

For Residents:

  • EU inhabitants: Acquire a green TIE card containing their NIE. This is necessary despite their freedom of movement within the EU, allowing them to conduct various activities in a country.
  • Non-EU inhabitants: Acquire a TIE card with their assigned NIE when they obtain a residence allowance.

For Short-Term Stays (<90 days):

  • EU Citizens: Generally don’t need a separate NIE for stays under 90 days.
  • Non-EU Citizens: Primarily need a non-resident NIE. This doesn’t come with a TIE card, but a document stating the NIE.

When is a Non-Resident NIE Necessary?

Non-EU citizens staying for less than 90 days need a non-resident NIE for specific activities, mainly:

  • Housing purchase
  • Company formation

Proof of Purpose:

To obtain a non-resident NIE, you must provide a notarized letter stating your reason for being in the country.

Important Notes:

  • Applying for a residence permit (>90 days) automatically gives you a NIE and TIE.
  • The NIE itself doesn’t grant residency rights.
  • You can apply personally or designate a spokesperson to hold the process for you.

What items should I bring to a meeting?

In the case you have submitted a request for a residence allowance, you will have automatically got a number, so there’s no need for another request.

For those who needs a number, the following papers are needed:

  • EX-15 form
  • 790 NIE form (with proof of tax payment)
  • Passport and duplicates of each page
  • Enlistment in your regional community
  • Evidence of entry into country for non-EU citizens
  • Document stating the reason for requiring the number
  • Two passport-sized photos
  • Fingerprints (not initially required)

Make certain that all foreign papers are translated into Spanish.

How do I obtain a NIE?

After meticulously preparing the necessary papers, you’ll have to submit the application. Here’s how:

Where to Apply:

  • Outside state: Reach out to the country’s consulate or the one located in the state where you currently live.
  • Inside state: Head to the Directorate-General offices of the Police

Applying in country:

  1. Locate Your Nearest Police Office: Find the closest “Comisaría General de Extranjería”.
  2. Set up an Appointment: Many offices demand advance online booking through the online portal. Select your place and reason for the meeting. Don’t delay, as slots fill up quickly.
  3. Arrive Early on Appointment Day: Offices tend to get crowded, so arriving early ensures a shorter wait time.
  4. Bring Significant Papers: Keep in mind to carry your actual passport and photocopies.
  5. Pay the fee: After your initial appointment, you’ll be directed to pay the fee using form 790 at any financial institution.
  6. Come back to the Police Office: Present the receipt confirming payment.

Based on the area, you may get your NIE immediately or within 4-5 days of finishing the application process.

What’s the typical time frame for receiving NIE?

While the actual NIE issuance is quite quick (often on the same day as your police meeting), the main factor influencing the overall time frame is scheduling that appointment.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • Non-EU Citizens: Expect a waiting time of around 7 days to receive your NIE number.
  • EU Citizens: The waiting time is heavily based on appointment availability, which changes throughout the year.

What’s the validity period of a NIE?

Your number is a lifelong identifier, assigned to you permanently. There’s no need for renewal.

However, people often mix up a NIE with a TIE (a non-citizen residence card).

While your NIE remains the same, your TIE has an expiration date and needs renewal.

To renew your TIE:

  1. Arrange a meeting with the relevant authorities.
  2. Ensure you still meet the original eligibility criteria for obtaining the TIE.
  3. Submit the vital documentation for renewal.

What actions are required if my NIE is missing?

Losing your number is a common mishap, but don’t worry – getting a duplicate is relatively straightforward:

  1. File a police report immediately.
  2. Turn to your regional immigration department to set up an appointment for a duplicate.
  3. Carry:
  • Passport
  • EX-17 form
  • Three passport-sized photos
  • Police statement
  • Payment for the equal fee

Submitting these papers at appointment will set the duplicate process in motion.

Navigating the Process: 4 Tips for Favorable Outcome

Getting your number can be an effortless process with the right approach. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Embrace Patience: Civil service can be slow. Accepting this from the beginning will make the process less stressful.
  2. Be Assertive, But Don’t Rush: Every step in the process often has to be approved by the relevant authority. Wait for a definitive answer before moving on. Rushing will only complicate matters.
  3. Start Early: it will minimize stress and avoid last-minute headaches.
  4. Consider Help of Specialists: If you’re unfamiliar with a country’s bureaucracy or language nuances, seeking help from specialists can be invaluable. Their expertise can navigate complex situations and ensure a smoother, more successful procedure.

This information is advisory in nature, as processes can be altered. In this regard, it is important to seek help from professionals.

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