NIE IN 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 in Barcelona is given to both EU citizens and non-EU citizens, but the process is quite different.


The 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.


Navigating the NIE Application Process as a Non-EU Citizen

For non-EU citizens seeking to establish residency or engage in economic activities in Spain, the path to obtaining an NIE (Número de Identificación Extranjero) can be more intricate than for EU nationals. While the specific requirements may vary depending on your nationality and circumstances, here’s a general overview of the process:

Step 1: Secure a Long-Term Visa from Your Home Country

The initial step for non-EU citizens seeking residency in Spain typically involves obtaining a long-term visa from your home country. The type of visa required will depend on your purpose for staying in Spain, such as a student visa, non-lucrative visa, or working visa.

Step 2: Gather Essential Documents and Complete the application form

Once you arrive in Barcelona, you’ll need to assemble the necessary documentation for your NIE application. This typically includes:

  • A completed and signed application form (available in Spanish only)
  • A valid passport and copies
  • Proof of legal entry into Spain (e.g., landing card)
  • Empadronamiento
  • Payment of the application fee

Step 3: Register Your Address and Schedule a Fingerprint Appointment

Upon gathering the required documents, register your address in Barcelona at the Oficina de Atención al Ciudadano (see this page) or your local district office. Once your address is registered, you can proceed to schedule a fingerprint appointment at the Police Station for Foreigners (Comisaría General de Extranjería y Fronteras).

Step 4: Attend the Fingerprint Appointment and Submit Application Documents

On the scheduled date, visit the Police Station for Foreigners, bringing along the EX-17 form, your passport, supporting documents, and proof of address registration. During the appointment, you’ll undergo fingerprint scanning and submit your application documents.

Step 5: Collect Your TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero)

Once your application is processed, you’ll receive a notification to collect your TIE, which is a physical identification card containing your NIE number and photo. The TIE serves as your official identification document as a foreign resident in Spain.


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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