What is a NIE? Why do I need one and where  
can I obtain one?

Warning: The information set out below is a general guideline provided by DOMENECH ABOGADOS. Specific advice should be sought before any action in reliance on it is taken, as explained more fully in this website's legal notice.
  • A NIE is a tax identification number assigned by the Spanish authorities to any foreigner, whether resident or non-resident, with interests in Spain or who may be contemplating taking certain actions in Spain. 

  • This number identifies you if you: are going to buy a home in Spain; need to sign a document before a Spanish notary; wish to become a Spanish resident; plan to start a business in Spain or take shares in, or become a director of, a Spanish company; or are a student registering on a Spanish university course. These are examples only. 

  • You can apply for a NIE either in Spain or at the Spanish consulate nearest to you in your home country. You’ll need to file an application form and supply personal data, including an address for notifications, and state the reason for your application. You may be asked to supply supporting documentation.  A photocopy of your passport – having first shown your original when making your application – is also required. DOMENECH ABOGADOS can complete the application form for you and confirm where you must go and exactly what you must take with you, but it must be you yourself who goes and presents the application.

  • Wherever you make your application, it’ll be sent for processing to the police authority in Madrid responsible for issuing NIEs.  It usually takes at least two months for them to issue the NIE.  So don’t leave getting your NIE to the last minute!

  • Your NIE will be sent in the form of a confirmatory letter. Keep it safe (taking a photocopy of it and keeping that photocopy in a separate location). It’s difficult and time consuming to obtain duplicates.

  • As said, you can also apply for a NIE in Spain, as long as you’re in the country legally.  So if you’re an EU resident you may take advantage of a holiday in Spain to apply for a NIE locally.  Contrast with non-EU residents who can only apply for NIEs in Spain if they prove their presence in the country is legal, either by producing their visa or other authorisation validating their stay.  If applying in Spain, note that queues can be horrendous.

Wherever you plan to make your NIE application, contact Ramsés Abad or Christopher Lee at DOMENECH ABOGADOS to help make the process run smoothly – tel. (00 34) 93 415 06 77 or e-mail

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