Getting your NIE: A Clear and Complete Step-by-Step Guide

Legal & Administrative
| | 13 min read |

Information updated on 20 August 2023

If you are planning to study or work in Spain, you will need a NIE or a TIE. The process of getting one, however, can be confusing and frustrating especially if it’s your first time doing it and you don’t speak any Spanish. In this detailed blog post, we will breakdown what a NIE/TIE is and how to get one.

What is a NIE/TIE?

NIE (número de identidad de extranjero) refers to the national identification number issued to all non-Spanish persons seeking residency for various purposes such as work or study. This is a unique and non-transferable number assigned to every non-Spanish resident.

If you apply as an EU citizen, you will be given an identity number (NIE) and paper card (see below) with your information printed on it. You will use this card as your ID inside Spain.

The process for EU citizens is rather simple. Keep reading to see what you need to do to get one.

A paper card issued to all EU citizens

TIE (tarjeta de identidad de extranjero) is a card (see below) that has your picture, NIE number, address and where you work/study on the back of the card. If you are not from the European Union, you need to apply for a TIE.

Remember: the TIE refers to the card which has your NIE on it (see the card below).

This process is much more complicated since you need to register yourself at the city hall (empadronarse) to receive your padrón. Once you have done that, you are required to get an appointment at an immigration office which can be a headache. Keep reading below to find out what you need to do step by step.

Depending on which police station you are willing to go to or which city you are in, the nearest appointment you can get might be up to a month later. We recommend applying for an appointment once you arrive to Spain.

A TIE issued to all non-EU citizens (all information is fake)

In short, NIE refers to the number issued to all residents and TIE refers to the card that has the NIE number issued for the non-EU citizens.

Think of the NIE as your passport number and the TIE as your passport itself. Your passport has your passport number on it. Your TIE has your NIE on it.

Why do I need a NIE/TIE?

You will need a NIE/TIE to

  • Pay taxes and apply for paid internships or employment
  • Apply for a NSS (número de seguridad social) or a Social Security Number (see our blog: How to Get a Social Security Number)
  • Apply for a business permit and starting a business
  • Open a bank account or buy a SIM card
  • Prove you are a resident in Spain
  • Other legal procedures

What documents do I need to submit to get a NIE/TIE?

In general, it depends on your status and citizenship but these are the common documents needed to be submitted at the police station:

EU citizens:

  • Appointment confirmation (sent to your email)
  • Passport and a photocopy
  • Proof of enrollment in a school or a job offer/contract
  • Receipt of paying the tax fee
  • Proof of registering yourself at the city hall (Certificado de empadronamiento) – What is Empadronamiento and How to Get a Padron
  • A copy of the application form EX-18 (read below for more information)
  • Sufficient financial resources: an average of 532 euros per month or 6,400 euros per year

Non-EU citizens:

  • Appointment confirmation (sent to your email)
  • Proof of enrollment in a school
  • Passport and a photocopy of it
  • A photocopy of your Spanish visa and entrance stamp
  • 3 passport-size photos, white background, not older than 3 months
  • Proof of registering yourself at the city hall (Certificado de empadronamiento) – What is Empadronamiento and How to Get a Padron
  • A copy of the application form EX-17 (read below for more information)
  • A copy of the tax form 790 Code 012 (read below for more information)
  • Receipt of paying the tax fee (read below for more information)
  • A Spanish private health insurance (only if you are renewing your NIE) (Check out our super affordable and complete Sanitas health insurance ideal for getting the Spanish student visa or applying for a NIE renewal)
  • Sufficient financial resources: an average of 532 euros per month or 6,400 euros per year (only if you are renewing your NIE)

Remember that depending on your case and nationality, you might need other additional documents.

Where to begin?

1. It all begins on the official website of the Spanish Ministry of Immigration. Go to this link:

2. Select the province where you live from the drop down menu (Barcelona, Madrid, …). Then click on Aceptar.

Select your province

3. Now you need to select your case which is the type of appointment you need to make. Then click on Aceptar.

You will most probably need to pick one of these:

  • Recogida de tarjeta de identidad de extranjero (TIE): you have already submitted all your papers and fingerprints and you need to pick up the physical card
  • Autorizacioń de regreso: your application is in process but need to get a regreso to leave Spain and come back (read about it here)
  • Certificado de registro de ciudadano de la U.E.: you are an EU citizen and you want to register yourself to get a NIE
  • Certificados y asignacion NIE: you are already in Spain and want to get a NIE by changing your status (for example from touristic visa to student visa)
  • TOMA DE HUELLA (EXPEDICIÓN DE TARJETA), RENOVACIÓN DE TARJETA DE LARGA DURACIÓN Y DUPLICADO: you need to pick this if you are not an EU citizen. This is to submit your documents and digital fingerprints and receive your TIE after 30-60 days
Select your case

6. The next page has a list of some of the documents you will have to present. You can download the application form EX-17 and Tax form 790 Code 012 on this page as well. Click on the button Entrar to go to the next page.

Remember that depending on which appointment type you have picked, the following pages may look different.

7. On this page, you need to enter your personal information. Select NIE if you have a NIE number on your Spanish visa. If not, select Pasaporte and enter your passport number. When you are done, click on Aceptar.

Enter your personal information

8. On the next page (screenshot below), you will see your full name and ID number. Click on Solicitar Cita if you want to make an appointment, Consultar Citas Confirmadas if you want to check the status of your confirmed appointment, Anular Cita if you want to cancel an appointment or Salir if you want to exit without any further action.

Click “Solicitar Cita” to make an appointment

9. When you click on Solicitar Cita to make an appointment, you will be taken another page (screenshot below) where you can pick the police station where you can submit your documents. IMPORTANT: Check all the addresses on Google Maps before you pick as some of the police stations are really far away (We recommend an office near Badalona if you live in Barcelona). When you are ready, click on Siguiente to move to the next page.

Pick a police station

11. On the next page, enter your telephone number and your email address. The confirmation letter will be sent to this email address.

12. If there are any free time slots available, you will see the page below. Select the date and time available. Click on Siguiente to move forward.

Pick the time and date available

13. The next page (below) is going to show you the summary of the information. If everything looks correct, tick both “Estoy conforme con la información mostrada en pantalla” (I confirm that the information shown on the screeen is correct) and “Deseo recibir un correo electrónico con los datos de mi cita en la dirección que he proporcionado.” (I would like to receive an email with the details of my appointment at the address I have provided.). click on CONFIRMAR to confirm your appointment.

Summary of the information you have provided

If everything goes well, you will receive a confirmation letter with all the information you have provided. Now you will need to go to the police station that you selected and present your documents. We recommend showing up at least 30 minutes earlier than your appointment since you will have to stand in a line

Are you a student looking for affordable student insurance?

We work with Sanitas and offer the best and most affordable health insurance package to all international stuents.

Need a health insurance for your Spanish student visa? Or to renew your NIE?

Just fill out our Health Insurance form and have your insurance ready in a few days.

EX-17 and EX-18 Forms

Download the forms EX-17 (non-EU citizens) and EX-18 (EU citizens).

Application form EX-17 for non-EU citizens

This is a short 2-page application form which you need to fill out with your information. Here we have provided the translation of the fields you have to fill out.

Section 1 (2 and 3 if you are guardian responsible for a minor)

  • 1er Appellido = first last name
  • 2º Appllido = second last name
  • Nombre = first name
  • Sexo = H: male / M: female
  • Fecha de nacimiento = birthdate (in the dd/mm/yyyy format, example: 18/09/1983)
  • Lugar = City/town
  • País = Country
  • Nacionalidad = nationality
  • Estado civil = Marital status: S: single / C: married / V: widow / D: divorced / S: separated
  • Nombre del padre/madre = father’s / mother’s name
  • Domicilio en España = home address in Spain (this should match your empadronamiento)
  • Nº = house/building number
  • Piso = Apartment number
  • Localidad = city / town
  • C.P. = postal code
  • Provencia = province
  • Representante legal = ignore this field and Sections 2 and 3 if you are +18, fill out if you are a guarding responsible for a minor

Section 4

  • Tarjeta inicial = if this is the first time you are getting your card
  • Renovacion de tarjeta = renewing your card
  • Modificación de situación legal, laboral o personal = changing your legal, work or personal status
  • Duplicado por robo, extravío, destrucción o inutilización = getting a duplicate in case of losing it
  • Section 4.2 Situation in Spain: Here you will have to pick why you are in Spain. The most common one is the first one Estancia por estudios, investigación-formación, intercambio, prácticas o voluntariado (studies, doing research, exchange student, internship or voluntary work).

Right above the signature box at the bottom of the page, write the name of the city (e.g. Barcelona) followed by the date: dd – mmmm – yyyy. For example: Barcelona, a 10 de septiembre de 2018.

Print the document and sign it. Make sure you take a copy to your appointment.

Tax Form 790 Code 012​

Enter your information

This is an online tax form that you have to fill out, print, take it to any bank and pay the fee (depending on your application).

Fill out the first section IDENTIFICACIÓN with your personal information.

Scroll down to the section AUTOLIQUIDACIÓN. First, Make sure Principal is selected. Then, select the radio button that matches your status/application in Spain. In most cases, you will need to select one of these two buttons

  • Non-EU citizensTIE que documenta la primera concesión de la autorización de residencia temporal, de estancia o para trabajadores transfronterizos. (16.08 euros)
  • EU citizensCertificado de registro de residente comunitario o Tarjeta de residencia de familiar de un ciudadano de la Unión. (12.00 euros)
Pick whether you need a NIE or TIE

Now go to the bottom of the page. Write your location under Localidad and pick the date under Fecha. The amount you will have to pay as tax will be shown under Importe euros. At the bottom of the page, write the security code and click on Descargar impreso rellenado to download the PDF file.

Download and print the PDF

Download the PDF version of the form 790 code 012 and print one copy. The first page should look like the following image but with your information on it.

The tax form

Paying the Tax Form 790 Code 012​

You can pay the fee at any bank or a CaixaBank ATM. If you go to a bank, pay the fee and ask them to stamp the form and give you a stamped receipt.

We recommend going to a CaixaBank ATM because they usually have a barcode reader and it would take less than a minute to pay and get a receipt. You will receive a receipt like the image below.

IMPORTANT: make sure you don’t lose the receipt. You must present it at the police station.

The receipt of payment from a CaixaBank ATM

Submitting your documents and fingerprints​

Now take all your documents to the police station, wait in line and wait for your name to be called (after the COVID-19 situation, you will need to confirm your appointment code there). Keep in mind that in most cases, not a single person speaks English at the police stations. If you do not speak any Spanish, we recommend taking someone who can understand and speak Spanish.

If you wish to avoid all this work and let a professional immigration lawyer do all this for you, fill out our Legal Help form and our professional lawyers will get back to you as soon as possible.

The NIE process in 7 Steps

Let us know in the comment section below about your experience going through the NIE process. What worked well and what didn’t?

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us.

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