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What is a NIE number?

What is a NIE number?

This will be one of the first questions you will be asking yourself when you move over to Spain. Succinctly, a NIE number (Número de identidad de extranjero) is a tax identification number for foreigners which identifies you before the Spanish Tax Office and allows you to file and pay taxes in Spain.

Why do you need a NIE number?

Any activity in Spain that requires you, as a non-resident, to pay taxes will need you to apply for a NIE number. A NIE number does not preclude your tax residency. Below is an open list of why it is required:

  • Buying & selling property.

  • Renting out property.

  • Connecting your property to utilities.

  • Inheriting assets in Spain.

  • Opening a bank account.

  • Taking out insurance.

  • Importing/buying/selling a car.

  • Importing/buying/selling a boat.

  • Working in Spain (short-term jobs under 3 months only)

  • Studying in Spain.

  • Claiming benefits.

  • Obtaining a mortgage or any other type of personal loan.

  • Can be used to enrol in a town hall census.

  • Some elite private foreign schools require a NIE number from parents and/or new (foreign) pupils to enrol them!

Who needs a NIE number?

  • Any foreigner who becomes resident in Spain for tax purposes.

  • Any non-resident who plans to own assets in Spain i.e. real estate, car, boat etc.

  • Any foreigner who plans to work, study or start a business in Spain. 

What does a NIE number look like?

A NIE number is issued by the National police on a standard A4 size piece of paper which also has your name, surname, date of birth and nationality. Example: Y-12345678-R.

How to apply for a NIE number

  1. Apply abroad in person, through a Spanish consulate in your home country. (easier and faster)

  2. Apply in person in Spain before a Spanish National Police station or Oficina de Extranjería.

  3. Apply by representative. You can appoint a law firm to act on your behalf as proxy using a Power of Attorney specific to NIE numbers.

What is required to attain a NIE?

  • Passport.

  • Fill in the relevant application form in Spanish.

  • Pay the administration fee.

  • Justification on why you need it e.g. contract

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