What is a NIE number and how to obtain one?

Are you looking to buy a property in Spain? Then you must have heard or read about the NIE number. But what exactly does it mean? The NIE number "Numéro de Identificación de Extranjeros" is a fiscal identification number assigned to foreigners in Spain.

The number is unique and personal. Once you have your NIE, it will be your identification number without expiry date. It remains unchanged, even if you have not been in Spain for years.


People who want to buy a home in Spain, need an NIE number. Furthermore, people who reside in Spain for a periode longer than 90 days, are obliged to apply for an NIE number.


Have you been coming to Spain regularly? Perhaps you have already been asked for your NIE number before? You mostly need it to:

  • Buy a property
  • Buy a vehicle
  • Contract insurances
  • Open a bank account
  • Work in Spain

But even if you buy furniture or want to take an internet contract, you will be asked for your NIE.


You apply for your NIE number in the local police station. You can go to any police station, but only on appointment. The available appointments per day are very limited, so make sure to arrange your appointment some time in advance.


1. Make your appointment here.
2. Fill out the form EX-15. This form contains all your personal details and the reason for your application. It could be the purchase of a property, work related,...
3. Pay the necessary tasas at the bank (first fill out the form Modelo 790 - Código 012).
4. Appointment at the police station. Deliver all the above documents + copies of your passport and passport photos.
5. Pick up your NIE number. This could be the same day or a few days later (depending on the police station)

Quite simple, don't you think. However many foreigners get assistance from their solicitor when they apply for the NIE number. The reason is that all the documents and all communication will be in Spanish. Any incomplete files will not be processed and you would have to start the whole procedure again.


In many countries, you can apply for the NIE number at the Spanish consulate. Naturally an appointment is required and you will have to go in person with the necessary documents.

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