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N.I.E. - Foreigner Identification Number

What is the Foreigner Identification Number (Número de Identificación de Extranjeros) or the so called NIE number?

Foreigner Identification Number is a personal and unique number assigned to foreigners by the Foreigners' Office. It is an identification number given after you obtain residency permit, if you are not a EU citizen. The NIE number appears on all documents that a foreigner has.

What do I need an NIE number for?

The number is necessary for any administration formalities and any official financial and professional affairs.

The number is essential for any financial transactions. You need it to open a bank account, start a business, buy a car or a property, pay taxes or fill in any application form in the Foreigners' Office.

After coming to Spain, both visa and non-visa tourists, must settle their legal situation if they are palnning to stay for longer than 90 days. In this case, within three months from arrival, you must file an application for the NIE number together with documents justifying your wish to prolong your stay. Not applying or applying later than the 90 days from arrival may mean your legal situation is not settled and it may result in getting a penalty or other unpleasant consequences.

The following documents are required to obtain an NIE number:

  • a filled-in application for an NIE
  • ID card or passport and its photocopy
  • an ID photograph
  • documents justifying reasons to obtain an NIE number

Usually it is a simple formality and the processing takes from 3 days to 2 weeks. The document must be collected in person or by a person who has got a written authorisation.

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