What is a Spanish NIE number?

This will be one of the first questions you will be asking yourself when you move on over to Spain. Succinctly, a NIE number is a tax identification number for foreigners which identifies you before the Spanish Tax Office and allows you to file and pay taxes in Spain. NIE stands for Número de Identificación de Extranjero. It is the counterpart of the NIF number which only applies to Spanish nationals.

Why is a NIE number needed?

Basically, any activity in Spain that requires you, as a foreigner, to pay taxes will need you to apply for a NIE number. A NIE number does not preclude your tax residency. The list supplied below is ad exemplum; it is by no means a closed list.

Buying property.

Selling property.

Connecting your property to utilities.

Inheriting assets in Spain.

Opening a bank account.

Taking out insurance.

Buying a car.

Buying a boat.

Working in Spain.

Studying in Spain.

Claiming benefits.

Obtaining a mortgage or any other type of loan.

Can be used to enrol in a town hall census.

Paying import tariffs on importing goods to Spain at customs (aduanas) in airports.

Some elite private foreign schools require a NIE number from parents and/or new (foreign) pupils to enrol them!

Who needs a NIE number?

Any foreigner who becomes resident in Spain for tax purposes.

Any non-resident who plans to own assets in Spain i.e. real estate, car, boat etc.

Any foreigner who plans to work, study or start a business in Spain.

What does a NIE number look like?

A NIE number is issued by the National Police on a standard A4 size of paper which also has your name, surname, date of birth and nationality (see article’s photo above for more details). Example: X-12345678-R.

How to get a NIE number

Apply abroad in person, through a Spanish consulate.

Apply in person in Spain before a Spanish National Police Station.

Apply by representative. You can appoint a law firm, such as ours, to act on your behalf as proxy using a Power of Attorney specific to NIE numbers.

What is required to attain a NIE?


Fill in the relevant application form in Spanish.

Pay the government fee.

Advantages of hiring a law firm to apply for a NIE number on your behalf (apply by representative)

It’s fast. We can apply for a NIE number. We can then scan and email you your assigned tax number. For an extra fee, we can post you the original certificate.

It’s cheap. Hiring us will be significantly cheaper than flying over to Spain and doing all the legwork yourself!

It’s safe. We are registered lawyers with Professional Indemnity Insurance.

You save yourself setting aside holidays to come over to Spain for two or three days.

You save yourself booking flights to Spain plus hotel lodging.

You save yourself having to hire a Spanish translator to translate all the legal jargon and documents in Spanish (Police Stations only deal with you in Spanish).

You save yourself having to wake up early in the morning and endure endless queues at a Police Station under a scorching sun only to be attended in Spanish after several hours.