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N.I.E for non European citizens in Spain

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

The N.I.E (Número de Identificación de Extranjero) is a document acquired by foreigners living in Spain. it serves as the main source of identification. Also, it is necessary for legal procedures and economic transactions. This article will explain why it is necessary.

Significance of N.I.E.

In order to work in Spain as a foreigner from outside Europe, the N.I.E. is required. Additionally, a work permit is necessary. These documents are important to have if you plan on living in Spain for a long period. The process of getting the identification number takes about three weeks. Therefore, it is advisable to prepare all required documentation before applying.

Article 206

Article 206 of the Regulations of Organic Law 4/2000 entails the rights and freedoms of foreigners in Spain. Included are foreigners coming regarding economic, professional, or social interests. They are provided a personal, unique, and exclusive sequential number, for identification purposes. Applications must be submitted at the Consular Post of the district of residence.

N.I.E Procedure

The Resident N.I.E. is meant for European citizens planning to live and work in Spain. On the contrary, the N.I.E. is meant for non-Europeans.

· Firstly, you will need to submit the model EX-15, then the second model which is 790 NIE form. Bear in mind that this document comes with an associated tax you will need to pay.

· You also need your passport and copies of all pages.

· A proof of your entry in Spain which can be accredited through a stamp on your passport or the plane ticket to Spain.

· A document proving why you need the NIE number. Proof of financial means to live in Spain.

· Private health insurance.

· Two small photos.

· Fingerprints (this won’t be required for the initial application procedure)

Submission of documents

It is advisable to fill in all documentation on paper. Also, it is best to submit the documents in person. For this, there are multiple locations across the country to submit the application. Otherwise, lawyers can be hired as representatives. Generally, the NIE is sent within three to five days. However, it is best to make sure all documentation is done properly to avoid Spanish bureaucracy and delays.

Use of the N.I.E.

A normal residency permit is printed on a green card without photo. But, the N.I.E. for non-EU citizens is printed on an A4 white sheet paper. It is also without photo. Luckily, the document does not expire. It is always necessary for filing taxes, opening bank accounts, and other legal procedures. Most importantly, the N.I.E proves that you are a resident of Spain.

Legal Advice

Residency permit

For living in Spain for a longer period, I have another recommendation. To stay in the country without legal issues, consider also applying for a residency permit. To elaborate, tax evasion and identity fraud are heavily tackled by Spanish authorities. Therefore, to avoid clashes with law enforcement, it is best to apply for both documents. This can be done at your consulate before coming to Spain.

Use of residency permit

The N.I.E number will verify your identity while in the country. However, the Resident Permit card allows better access to other necessary documents. Consequently, there is more free movement in Spain. For example, with a driver's license, public healthcare, and buying a house. Therefore, both the N.I.E. and the Resident Permit card offer a lot of benefits while living in Spain.


Moses Shogbola author of article nie for non European citizens in Spain

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