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Do all expats need the NIE Number in Spain? How easy is it to obtain one? This guide covers all the steps and requirements!

Last Updated on May 17, 2024 by Laila Oliveira

Are you planning to move to Spain for good? In preparation for such a transition, you must know how to get an NIE Number in Spain, also known as the Foreign Identity Number. It is a crucial step for foreigners who plan to live, work, or study in this beautiful Iberian country.

The NIE Number is a unique identification number assigned to foreigners by the Spanish government. Keep reading to learn more about the NIE Number, who needs it, and how to obtain one.


What is an NIE Number in Spain, and what is it for?

An NIE Number, or Número de Identidad de Extranjero, is a unique identification number assigned to foreigners in Spain. It is essential for conducting various legal and administrative tasks in the country and is required for anyone who wishes to live, work, study, or own property in Spain.

The NIE Number is a necessary document for many important activities in Spain:

Opening a bank accountRequired
Buying or renting propertyRequired
Paying taxesRequired
Applying for a jobRequired
Enrolling in educationRequired

The NIE Number consists of a letter followed by seven digits and another letter (e.g., X1234567A). 

The first letter indicates the reason for the application. Meanwhile, the last letter serves as a control digit. Obtaining an NIE Number is a crucial step for anyone planning to live or conduct business in Spain.

Who needs an NIE Number in Spain?

Any foreigner who plans to live, work, study, or own property in Spain needs an NIE Number. This includes individuals from European Union (EU) countries and non-EU citizens. 

It is a legal requirement for various administrative tasks and financial transactions in Spain.

It is important to note that even if a foreigner does not reside in Spain, they may still need an NIE Number for certain transactions. For example, purchasing a property or opening a bank account. 

The NIE Number is a crucial document for anyone who wants to establish a legal presence in Spain.

Importance of the NIE Number in Everyday Life

The NIE Number is a vital document for foreigners living in Spain. It is required for various everyday activities and legal procedures.

The NIE Number plays a crucial role in establishing oneself in the country.

It is also necessary for employment, buying a car, renting or purchasing property, paying taxes, starting a business, and applying for a residence permit.

Without an NIE Number, navigating the Spanish bureaucracy and accessing essential services can be challenging. This makes it a top priority for expats and foreign residents in Spain.

Opening a bank account

Opening a bank account in Spain requires an NIE Number. It is a legal requirement for financial institutions to verify the identity of their customers and account holders.

Without it, foreigners may face difficulties in accessing banking services and managing their finances in the country.

Registering with the Spanish Social Security

An NIE Number is essential for registering with the Spanish Social Security system, which is mandatory for all workers in Spain. 

The Social Security system provides access to healthcare, unemployment benefits, and other social services. This makes the NIE Number a crucial document for foreign residents working in the country.


An NIE Number is essential for any legal employment opportunities within Spain’s borders. Employers need foreign workers to present their NIE Number for proper registration. 

This ensures that employees are correctly registered with Spain’s Social Security system. The NIE Number is also crucial for the appropriate withholding of income taxes.

Being registered with Social Security is necessary for accessing healthcare and other benefits. The NIE Number also allows employers to withhold income taxes appropriately. Accurate tax withholding is essential for compliance with Spanish tax laws. 

Additionally, the NIE Number is often required to open a bank account, and many other administrative processes in Spain also require one. 

Therefore, obtaining an NIE Number is one of the first steps for foreigners moving to Spain.

Buying a car

Purchasing a vehicle in Spain requires an NIE Number. The car must also be registered in the buyer’s name and insured. 

With it, foreigners may avoid legal and practical obstacles when buying and driving a car in Spain.

Renting or buying a property

An NIE Number is a legal requirement for renting or purchasing property in Spain. 

Landlords and real estate agencies will ask for an NIE Number before entering into a rental agreement or finalizing a property sale. It is necessary for drawing up contracts and paying taxes related to the transaction.

The importance of an NIE Number when renting or buying property in Spain:

Drawing up contractsLegal documentation of the transaction
Paying taxesCompliance with Spanish tax laws
Registering utilitiesSetting up electricity, water, and gas services

Paying your taxes

An NIE Number is essential for paying taxes in Spain.

It allows the Spanish Tax Agency (Agencia Tributaria) to identify foreign residents and ensure they comply with their tax obligations. 

The NIE Number is required when filing income tax returns. Also, it is important for paying property taxes and registering for the Value Added Tax (VAT).


Starting a business

Foreigners who wish to start a business in Spain must obtain an NIE Number. It is a legal requirement for registering a company, opening a business bank account, and filing taxes. 

The NIE Number is crucial for entrepreneurs looking to establish themselves in the Spanish market.

Applying for a residence permit

An NIE Number is a prerequisite for applying for a residence permit in Spain. 

The residence permit application process requires foreign nationals to provide their NIE Number. It comes along with other essential documents to prove their identity and legal status in the country.

How can foreigners get an NIE Number in Spain?

Obtaining an NIE Number in Spain is a straightforward process. However, it does require some preparation and documentation.

Foreigners can apply for an NIE Number through the Spanish government’s immigration office. It may also be done by appointing a trusted tax representative to handle the application on their behalf.

Luckily for you, Viv Europe offers a Non-Lucrative Visa assistance service which includes assisting you throughout the NIE Number application process.

The following sections will outline the necessary documents and steps to secure an NIE Number in Spain.

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Documents required

To apply for an NIE Number in Spain, foreigners must provide a valid Passport, two recent passport-sized photographs, and a completed EX-15 form. 

Additional documents, such as proof of employment, may be required depending on the reason for the application.

If you are a student within the country, enrollment in a Spanish educational institution might also be requested.

Below is an exhaustive list of the documents required when applying for an NIE. This is according to the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation:

  • Ex-15 Standard Application Form (Original and One Copy);
  • Applicant’s valid Passport and a copy of the Passport’s biographical data page;
  • If the applicant is a minor or is incapacitated, a copy of the family record book, the birth certificate, or the guardianship document must be presented;
  • Proof of residency in the consular area;
  • Form 790;
  • Payment of Processing Fee.

Have a trusted tax representative

Foreigners can appoint a trusted tax representative, such as a lawyer or gestor, to handle the NIE Number application process on their behalf. This can be particularly helpful for those who are not fluent in Spanish. 

Furthermore, it is essential for those who cannot navigate the bureaucratic process themselves.

Viv Europe is here to serve you as your trusted tax representative. Our professionals ensure a smooth NIE Number application experience.

The benefits of having a trusted tax representative for the NIE Number application process are:

Language assistanceHelps navigate the process for non-Spanish speakers
ExpertiseKnowledgeable about the application requirements and procedures
Time-savingHandles the paperwork and appointments on the applicant’s behalf

Where do you submit your documents for NIE?

Foreigners must submit their documents to the nearest Oficina de Extranjeros (Foreigners’ Office). They may also do so at a designated police station that handles immigration matters. 

The specific location may vary depending on the applicant’s place of residence in Spain.

In some cases, applicants may be able to submit their NIE Number application documents at a Spanish consulate. Alternatively, they may do this through an embassy in their home country. 

This option is particularly useful for those who need an NIE Number to complete a transaction. It is essential to check with the local authorities or consult with a trusted tax representative to determine the correct location for submitting NIE Number application documents. 

Applicants should ensure they have all the necessary paperwork and are prepared to pay the application fee when submitting their documents.

If you are outside Spain, you must start the application at your country’s Spanish consulate or embassy. If you are already in Spain, you must present your documentation in person.


How much does an NIE Number cost?

As of 2024, the base cost of an NIE application is around €15. In addition to the application fee, applicants may incur additional costs, such as fees for translations, legal services, or travel expenses:

Additional CostDescription
Translation feesIf documents are not in Spanish, official translations may be required
Legal servicesHiring a lawyer or gestor to assist with the application process
Travel expensesCosts associated with traveling to the application submission location

Budgeting for these potential additional costs is essential when planning to apply for an NIE Number in Spain. 

Applicants should also be aware that fees are subject to change. For the most up-to-date information on NIE Number application costs, it is advisable to check with the local authorities or a trusted tax representative.

How can I find a tax representative in Spain from abroad?

Foreigners can find a tax representative in Spain from abroad by searching online for reputable law firms or gestors. Choose those who specialize in assisting with NIE Number applications alongside other immigration processes, such as Viv Europe’s Non-Lucrative Visa assistance.

Expat forums and social media groups dedicated to living in Spain can also be valuable resources for finding recommendations for trusted tax representatives. 

Foreigners can connect with others who have gone through the NIE Number application process and seek advice on finding reliable professionals to assist them.

Do you need professional help to obtain an NIE Number in Spain?

You’re one step closer to living your dream now that you understand how to obtain an NIE Number in Spain! Do you still find the entire process complex and confusing? 

Viv Europe is here to sort out all your relocation needs! Starting from the NIE Number to visas, accommodation, and post-relocation services, we do it all. Book a consultation with our experts to get started!



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