If you are moving to Spain or going to engage in any economic activity in this country, the most important and urgent procedure is obtaining your NIE.
NIE means Número de Identificación de Extranjeros -FOREIGNER REGISTRATION NUMBER-
It is a personal, unique and exclusive number.
Anyone who wants to live in Spain, whatever the reason of the stay or their nationality, must have a document with their identity number. It is legally required.
The Spanish are identified with their DNI (national identity document).
And foreigners are identified with their NIE.
Important information about the NIE:
- You need to get a NIE if you are going to stay in Spain more than 3 months. If your stay will be less than 90 days you can use your passport to be identified.
- You need to get a NIE if you are an EU citizen or a non-EU citizen.
- The number you will get assigned will last forever, regardless of your legal or working situation in Spain, and regardless of if you renew your residence permit.
- The NIE will always be your identification, but it won´t ensure your legal residence in Spain.
- You will need your NIE, in addition to be identified, to open a Spanish bank account, hire a mobile line with a Spanish carrier, do any financial transactions, file your taxes, buy a house or a car, do any formality with public administration…and much more….
- If you come to Spain with a family, all the members should obtain a NIE too.
How to get your NIE:
The process for requesting and obtaining the NIE is complex and it is important to ask for help. It is very different depending on if you are an EU citizen or not.
In this first case (citizens of a State of the European Union, European Economic Area or Switzerland) the process to obtain it is quite simple: you must apply for your registration in the Central Register of Foreigners (Registro Central de Extranjeros) and get the certificate with your NIE. This procedure can be done at the police station of the city where you are going to be staying in Spain. You will need to request to schedule an appointment. Here you can see Madrid´s police stations where they handle these issues.
In this link you can find more information (select Madrid and the formality you need to perform). It is very important that before going to the police station you make sure what papers you have to present in order to get registered in the Central Register of Foreigners and to get your NIE. It is common that they will ask for different documents from those you will find are required on the internet.
In the second case (foreign citizens not included in above) the process to obtain it varies greatly depending on your nationality and the reason for your stay in Spain. If you get a residence permit, then you should request a foreigner identification card which will show your assigned NIE. This card will contain your NIE, your personal data, your photograph, your fingerprints and the kind of residence permit you have in Spain at that moment.
We recommend you ask for professional help from anlawyer specialized in immigration issues, so you can get advice and file on time all the documentation requested by the Spanish authorities.
How to request a NIE for economic activity in Spain:
There is a special case in which you can and should request the assignment of a NIE, without being associated with a residence permit in Spain. This is called a temporary NIE or economic interests NIE. It is necessary when you want to do any economic activity in Spain, for example, set up a company or buy a property.
Remember that the NIE assignment is not related to being a legal resident in Spain, and also remember that the assigned number will last forever. For example, if you get a temporary NIE to buy a house and later you obtain a residence permit, your NIE number will be the same.
Finally, we recommend you to go to the Spanish Embassy or Consulate in your country to get informed about what you need to do for your specific needs.
If you are a foreigner, wanting to stay in Madrid more than 3 months and need professional legal advice, contact Mad. Relocation Services. We will help solve all the formalities associated with this process. You can consult this page for more information on the topic, but unfortunately it is not yet translated in English!