What is a Spanish NIE number?

The Spanish NIE number, short for Número de Identificación de Extranjero, is a Foreigner Identification Number issued by the Administración General del Estado (General Administration of the State) as a fiscal identification number for foreigners who want to stay more than 3 months in Spain, or in oder to be able to process certain transactions in Spain like buying a property. The equivalent of NIE for Spaniards is the NIF (Número de Identificación Fiscal).

The NIE number is different from the Empadronamiento or Padron which is about getting registered in your living community.

The Spanish NIE number starts with a letter, followed by seven numbers and another letter in the end (example Y – 1234567 – B). Each NIE number is dedicated to one person and it is neither transferable nor does it expire.

Why it is important?

The Spanish NIE number is basically used as a code to serve people who don’t have Spanish Nationality. It is of essential for virtually every activity that requires your identification. Many people are not aware of the real importance of the NIE number. For example, your very first steps after moving to Spain, like opening a bank account and getting internet/phone contracts, will require a NIE.

The Spanish NIE number is important for those who have a professional or economic interest in Spain, because for certain they must have a NIE in order to:

  • Study in Spain
  • Buy, sell or insure a property in Spain or purchase any asset over € 3,000
  • Buy a vehicle in Spain
  • Inheritance of assets in Spain
  • Setup a company, start a business or simply work in Spain
  • Pay Spanish taxes
  • Apply for a mortgage or other loan in Spain
  • Register for national Social Security Health plan
  • Register with social services and arrange receipt of social security benefits
  • Apply for a driving license

3 Different ways to get a NIE Number in Spain


If you are well read in Spanish and have an understanding of the Spanish Booking system it is possible to book your own Cita Previa (appointment) at the police station, and complete your own paperwork.  

We do not recommend this unless you are totally confidant in this area as the smallest of mistakes can result in your NIE Number application being rejected and a much longer wait.


The second option If you would to take the stress out of getting your NIE Number is to use us to book your NIE Number appointment and complete all your paperwork for you. At some points it can be very busy at the police stations and there will be a waiting list for 3 months. In some cases we still can arrange an appointment within one week.


Your third option is to Visit the Spanish Embassy in your own country before traveling to Spain.