How to get your NIE in Spain

If you’re lucky enough to have been born in a country which is part of the EU, you have the right to live and work in Spain. Or maybe you managed to get yourself a working visa in Spain? Well either way, the only thing you need to do beforehand (other than get a job in Spain) is to get yourself a NIE, which is basically a card which gives you the right to work here. For many, it can seem a little complicated when you’ve moved to a new country and may not speak much of the language, to get this little green card, as you first need to make sure you have the right documents at hand.

Readers from the UK I pray for us both that we can somehow stay in the EU and enjoy these incredible treasures such as working abroad.

If you want to find out more about how I moved to Spain you can do so here, if you’ve already taken the leap, let’s look at how you can get your NIE in Spain

Why do you need a NIE in Spain?

Your NIE is your life card in Spain and you need it to do many basic things. Once you have it you should also try to carry it with you at all times. Here’s what you need a NIE for in Spain:

  • To study in Spain
  • To begin working or start a company in Spain
  • Renting a flat/house
  • Buying, selling or insuring a property
  • Buying a vehicle in Spain
  • To apply for a mortgage
  • To register yourself to the national Social Security Health plan
  • To register with social services
  • To apply for a driving license

So basically to live, you need to get a NIE. For locals, they have something similar called a DNIE which is their ID card.

Also don’t get confused with the Empadronamiento, Padron Municipa aka residence certificate, as this is another thing.


How to get your NIE

1. Fill out Form EX – 15

First you need to fill out the NIE application form which is called EX – 15. It’s in Spanish but it’s fairly simple to understand, if you need help try google translate or ask a friend.

2. Make your NIE appointment online

You have to make an appointment for your NIE online to avoid long queues or to make sure you get your place. Click on the link, choose your province and click on ‘NIE’.

3. Prepare the necessary documents

To apply for a NIE you need to present several documents and copies at your appointment. Make sure you come prepared so you don’t get turned away. Here’s what you need to take with you:

  • Passport and copy
  • Your current address in Spain
  • The application form EX-15 above 👆
  • Two recent Passport photos
  • A document proving why you need a Spanish NIE number (e.g. a job contract)
  • Money to pay for your NIE – 9.45€ (last time I checked)

Non-EU citizens also need to bring some legal proof of entry into Spain. As well as a certification explaining why you would like to get your NIE (i.e. Working contract).

4. Go the the Oficina de Extranjería

Head to your closest expat office, you’ll find out which one you need to go to when you book your appointment online. The process used to take a long time, but has recently improved over the last few years (depending which city you’re moving to). Just remember to book your NIE appointment online in advance.

5. Pay the NIE fee

Before you can actually get your NIE, you will have to pay a fee of 9.45€. When you first go into the Oficina de Extranjería they will hand you a payment form, you have to pay it in the nearest bank (they will tell you which one) pay it, and come back. It may seem a little bit slow and old fashioned (now that we’re in an era of card machines and online payments) but that’s just how it is.

Once you have been to the bank and everything is paid, return to the Oficina de Extranjeria, wait for your appointment and get your NIE!

Now you are ready to take the next step. Find a place to stay in Spain!

Have you already got your NIE in Spain? How easy was it to get and was your process different? Love to hear your stories in the comments 😉

You might also want to read:

How to register yourself in Spain (empadronamiento)

How to get the tarjeta ciudadana in Palma


4 thoughts on “How to get your NIE in Spain

  1. What happens when the NIE runs out ? Isn’t it only valid for 90 days? I am a freelancer working in Gran Canaria


  2. My wife (who’s a U.S. citizen) and I got married in Mallorca back in June 2018 and therefore have the Libro de Familia. She is now moving here to live (and work) with me – I’m already a resident, living in Spain (over 10 years).
    She needs to apply for a N.I.E. and I assume that the Libro de Familila should suffice (instead of a working contract) as a certification explaining why she would like to get her N.I.E., correct?


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