TIE (non-EU residency card)
Please note: this article is only relevant for citizens of non-EU countries. For EU citizens, please see this page.
You have fallen in love with Barcelona and decided that you want to move here to come and live for 1 year on a non-lucrative visa, student visa, work permit, etc. Or you met someone special from an EU country and you are planning to get married and need to obtain permanent residency. The process of getting your legal residency, or TIE (non-EU residency card) can be quite tricky, as the different Spanish consulates in different countries/regions have varying requirements. Most of the information available online is either outdated or not relevant to the consulate where you will be applying for your visa. This is why our recommendation would be to avoid looking for information on the internet and instead making an appointment with the consulate closest to you. They can explain exactly what the requirements would be and can usually give you accurate, updated information.
What are the requirements?
In most cases, one of the requirements would be to show that you have medical insurance that fully covers you, as well as sufficient funds to cover you during your stay. In case you would like to open a Spanish bank account and obtain good, affordable insurance even before you apply for the visa, we can gladly recommend a very professional team of banking consultants who speak English and can assist you with everything you need. Jenny Chu, an American who moved to Barcelona wrote a great article about how to apply for the visa. You can find the article here
What happens next?
Once you have submitted all your paperwork to the consulate, there is usually a waiting period of around 2-3 weeks until your visa is approved. Some of our clients from the West Coast in the USA have reported getting their visas approved within a week. Others from the East Coast had to wait close to a month. With this in mind, our advice would be to plan carefully and hope for the best but plan for the worst, especially since requirements change on a frequent basis and you might need to provide supporting documents for your visa to eventually be approved. Also keep in mind that you will have to leave your passport and the Spanish consulate during this time. Therefore, unless you have other means of identification that you are sure will be acceptable for travel, try to stay as close to home as possible – especially since there is always the small possibility that you might need to provide extra paperwork and would need to be nearby and available to do so.
When you get your visa, the NIE (foreigner’s ID number) will already be printed on your visa. This number will typically start with the letter Y, followed by a series of 7 numbers and another letter. This number will be used to identify you in Spain and will remain yours for life – regardless of what your residency status changes to in the future. Most of our clients have reported that they were either told by the consulate, or given a paper explanation that they simply need to go to a “police station” to request the residency card. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.
Your visa is typically valid for 90 days, and you are expected to apply for the TIE (non-EU residency card) within the first 30 days. In our experience they are not too strict on the 30-day period, as long as you request the card before the 90 days are up.
You’ll need to request the correct appointment which can be difficult, as these appointments are hard to secure. They generally give them out around 2-3 weeks ahead of time, so it’s good to ensure that you do this even a few days before you land in Barcelona.
One of the relatively new requirements for applying for the card is that you need to show empadronamiento (yes, it’s a tongue-twister!). This is essentially a confirmation certificate of your address in Barcelona, which you need to obtain from the Citizen’s office (town hall). In order for them to provide you with this free certificate, you need to show a rental contract on your name with at least 6 months left, or you can have a friend or landlord authorize you on their name/rental contract.
You will need to prepare the TIE tax document, which has to be filled in electronically (they do not accept hand-written forms), and take it to the bank to pay the tax for the card before your appointment. The amount would be either €15.76 (for either students or those on non-lucrative visa), or €12 for family members of EU citizens. Additionally, if you are a student, you will have to fill out the EX17 form which can be found here.
Attend the appointment where you will need to show the above-mentioned documents as well as some additional documents which would be determined by your visa and circumstances. They will need you to provide passport photos and your fingerprints will be taken, all of which will be printed on your residency card. Once they have entered all of your information into the system, they will provide you with a print-out confirmation that you have requested the card. Within 1 month after that, you can collect your card at a location dependent on where you had the fingerprints taken. This card should be kept safe and treated like gold, as it can be quite complicated to get a replacement if it gets damaged or stolen.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
We have assisted people from all over the world with obtaining the residency cards as easily and stress-free as possible. From the first appointment up until the confirmation of application for the card, we are there every step of the way to make sure you have the right paperwork and that you are fully prepared so that you don’t have to repeat the process or miss the deadline.
For more information on how we can assist you with getting your residency card, please fill out the form below and we will get back to you.