NIE BARCELONA (Número Identidad Extranjero)

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The N.I.E will be your most important document when moving to Spain.

Without it, you will not be able to purchase land, property, cars (or any vehicle), or even enter into an agreement for water, electricity or any other utilities, including a mobile phone contract, ADSL, or any other services.

It goes without saying that all the services mentioned above will also require a bank account from where automated payments (or direct debits) will be made.

The NIE number is given to both EU citizens and non-EU citizens, but the process is quite different.


NIE BarcelonaThe process of obtaining the NIE takes usually around 1 month and here you can find more information on the process of how to obtain “cita previa” (appointment) and what steps the process includes. The actual NIE number is printed out on a piece of green paper (small ID card size, example on the left) and it included details such as your name, address, nationality, and the actual NIE number which consists of 9 digits (7 numbers and 2 letters).

The EU clients that we have are often disappointed that the NIE number is printed on a paper card (not an actual plastic ID card). The reason being that they are part of the EU, so NIE is just an additional number assigned specifically for Spain. The card therefore does not need to have photos or other information, as EU IDs as we know are valid throughout the European Union.


Often people will request your NIE or NIF number. These two are really the same, but your NIE is used to identify you as natural person, and the NIF number is used to perform fiscal functions such as opening bank accounts, purchasing vehicles etc. The requirements (and document) for application are the same though.

If you are an EU citizen and you need assistance, you can find information on this page.


The procedure for NON-EUROPEAN citizens is more complicated and our advice is to contact your embassy and obtain the information for your country. In most cases the first step is to obtain a long term visa in your home country. This can be a student visa, non-lucrative visa, working visa, depending on your circumstances. Once you arrive in Barcelona, you will be asked to get an address registration and then book a fingerprint appointment so you can apply for the actual card. In this case it is generally refereed to as TIE (tarjeta de identidad de extranjero) and it is a plastic card with a photo and your NIE number on it.

Another category here are the spouses of EU citizens. Obtaining the residency in their case is maybe one of the longest processes of obtaining the NIE, in which case the process involves various steps, the TIE (fingerprint) appointment being only the last one.


As of July 2020 we have to add a separate section on the situation of the UK citizens in Spain. Until June 2020, the procedure for UK citizens (recently arrived) was the same as any other EU citizen. Now the process has changed and involves few more steps.

The process now goes as follows:

  • At the first appointment you present the paperwork and a month or so later you receive an approval letter at home.
  • Then once you have the approval letter, you need to proceed with a TIE (fingerprint) appointment.

We also offer assistance for for the ones already living in Barcelona and who have the green card NIE, but they need to change that to the TIE card. You can contact us for more information.

No matter what situation you find yourself in, we offer a special NIE service whereby we determine your unique circumstances and reasons for moving to Barcelona and then offer you the best solution to obtain your NIE.

This means that we help you:

  • fill in the paperwork
  • ensure that you have all the necessary documents and copies
  • make the appointment with you at the NIE office
  • go with you to the appointment on the day

If you don’t feel that you enter in any of these categories, please contact us for a personalized assessment and price.

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