NIE – What is it and why is it important to have one?

If you are even slightly thinking about buying a property in Spain and start looking for information on this topic, the NIE will probably jump out at you from the fridge over time

So let’s sum it up…

NIE is an abbreviation for “Número de Identificación de Extranjero”, which translates as “Foreigner’s Identification Number”. This is a unique identification number that is assigned to foreigners living or working in Spain. It consists of the initial letter “X” or “Y”, seven digits and a verification letter at the end. This number is necessary for many transactions and administrative actions in the country. Without this number, you may encounter several difficulties.

When will you need a NIE?

1. Work: Most employers require a NIE as part of the employment process for foreigners.

2. Banking: Most banking institutions require it to open a bank account.

3. Real estate: When buying or renting real estate in Spain, a NIE is necessary.

4. Healthcare: A NIE may be required for some forms of healthcare.

5. Obtaining an “empadronamiento”: This is an application for permanent residence, which takes place under very similar conditions as in other European countries.

How to get a NIE?

The process of getting a NIE can seem a bit complicated for foreigners, but with enough preparation it can be easily managed. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting a NIE:

1. Filling out the form: Start by downloading and filling out the EX-15 form, which is used to apply for a NIE.

2. Documents: You will need to attach copies of your passport/OP (take the original with you) and proof of payment of the administrative fee to the EX-15 (application) form.

3. Payment of the fee: Before applying, it is necessary to pay the relevant fee at the bank.

4. Visiting the office for foreigners (Oficina de Extranjeros): With the completed form and the attached documents, you must appear in person at the relevant office for foreigners.

On successful completion of this process, you will receive confirmation of your NIE allocation.

Tips for getting a NIE:

1. Plan early: The process of obtaining a NIE can take time, so it is important to start preparing as early as possible. Getting an appointment at the office is sometimes not easy and you need to arm yourself with patience.

2. Have all the documents ready: Make sure you have all the necessary documents ready in advance to avoid unnecessary delays. Have enough copies of the required documents ready. No one will make a copy of the documents for you at the office.

3. Be patient: Be prepared for the fact that when you arrive at the appointed time, you may have to wait a while.

Previously, it was possible to arrange a NIE in advance in the Czech Republic at the Spanish Embassy in Prague. But the processing took much longer than in Spain. Unfortunately, this is no longer possible.

Expect that it will not be easy to find your way around this office with a basic knowledge of Spanish. But with a little patience, you can do it. But for someone who doesn’t speak Spanish, getting a NIE can be a nightmare. Do not despair, of course, there are also companies that will handle everything for you. The price for this service is around 150-200 EUR. There are also those who will provide you with this service for less money, but they will certainly not issue you an invoice for it. The companies do not charge this amount for nothing, apart from securing an appointment at the police station and the paperwork itself, they have to go to the bank in person to pay an administrative fee and then they will go to the arranged meeting with you in person, where they will actively assist you and act as a translator. Today it is possible to process the NIE in one visit and if everything goes smoothly it will take about 15 minutes.