For members


Everything you need to know about Spain’s NIE number

Anyone who has spent any time living in Spain will be aware how essential the NIE is to get anything done.

Everything you need to know about Spain's NIE number

What is a NIE number?

The NIE stands for Número de Identificación de Extranjero – identification number for foreigners and is issued to those who live, work, or invest here and who do not have the status of Spanish citizens.

The official website of Spain’s Interior Ministry describes the NIE number as follows:

Foreigners that, for their economic, social or professional interests, become associated with Spain, will be given, for identification purposes, a personal exclusive number unique to the individuals.

Basically, it is an identification number assigned FOR LEGAL PURPOSES to foreigners who have dealings in Spain. It is the alternative to the DNI – Documento Nacional de Identidad -(National Identity Document) assigned to each Spanish citizen.

The NIE is not a fiscal residency identification; you can have a NIE and be fiscal resident in another country.

What does an NIE look like?

The NIE consists of an 'X' or 'Y' followed by 7 or 8 digits then another letter.

Who needs a NIE number?

The simple answer is everyone who isn't Spanish and wants to do business, live, work or invest in Spain.

The NIE number is needed in order to file taxes, buy property, establish a business, open a bank account, and for almost all other forms you fill out. When forming a company, everyone who will be directors and shareholders of the company will need a NIE, as a result of the Fraud Prevention Act which came into force on February 2005. Getting a NIE is the first step in forming a company.

Don’t confuse NIE with Resident’s certificate

Either of the two documents above – which include the NIE – are proof that you are registered as a resident in Spain.

Many people (those from within EU) may have skipped the process of applying separately for a NIE and gone straight for the Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión. This is a green piece of A4 paper or credit card size green paper that will have your NIE number on it.

But just to be clear, having a NIE .(Número de Identificación de Extranjero) is not a guarantee that you are registered as a resident.  So if you need a Certificado read about how to do that HERE.

READ MORE:This is the ONE thing Brits in Spain need to do ahead of Brexit

How to get a NIE

There are two places to apply for a NIE either at a National Police station or Oficina de Extranjeros (Foreigners office) in Spain or at a Spanish embassy located outside Spain.

Not every office of the Policia Nacional is authorized to issue NIEs but you can find a list of those that are on the Policia Nacional website HERE 

The NIE must be requested in person, or through a legal authorised person – (a gestor with a power of attorney).

This is Spain so there are no hard and fast rules. How to apply for a NIE depends on the process at that particular National Police office. There may be a queue system, you may have to make a private appointment (cita previa) or make an appointment in person at the office.

Your best bet is to go to the designated police station and ask.

BUT in most cities you will be required to get a Cita Previa.   

  • Go to the National Police website and request one: HERE
  • Choose your city and then choose: Policia-Asignación de NIE from the drop down menu.  

Securing an appointment can be a challenge. The chances are you will be told that all the available appointments for the coming days have been filled and to check back later. Repeat the request several dozen times over the course of a week and you might be luckily enough to snag yourself a slot.

INSIDER TIP: Many of the appointments are block booked by gestors so if you are willing to pay, you can bypass the process and employ someone to do it for you. You do not need to be there in person but will need to give the gestor power of attorney.

The paperwork

Photo: Billiondigital/Depositphotos

  • If you have come for a cita previa then you need either a print out of the appointment date and time or show a screenshot on your mobile to get through the door!
  • You will need the EX-15 form filled out in Spanish. DOWNLOAD IT HERE And a photocopy
  • You will need to show your original passport and hand over a photocopy of it (ALL PAGES)
  • Form 790  This form needs to be filled out online and then printed out and taken to a bank (any bank) where you will pay the fee (€9.64 in January 2019) and it will be stamped. DOWNLOAD IT HERE
  • You will need to provide an address

Good to know

The NIE is usually printed off and given to you on the spot

Once assigned, you will keep that number forever.

Your NIE certificate will look something like this. 


  • Spanish interior ministry website HERE
  • List of Policia Nacional and Foreigner's Offices that can process NIE, HERE
  • Ask an expert: David Ruiz at Torrevieja Translations has written books about this subject and offers a service to guide you through the process. 

If you have been through the process, then let us now how the experience was and whether you can offer any tips to those planning on doing it soon. Leave a comment below or email [email protected]

READ ALSO: How to exchanging your British driving licence for a Spanish one 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


What financial proof can I show for Spain’s non-lucrative visa?

A non-lucrative visa is one of the residency options for non-EU nationals who want to move to Spain, providing they have enough financial means. But what exactly counts as financial proof? Can you show evidence of rental income or pensions or does it have to be money in the bank?

What financial proof can I show for Spain's non-lucrative visa?

Spain’s non-lucrative visa – visado de residencia no lucrativa – allows non-working individuals with a reliable source of income or substantial savings to live in the country for more than three months and is valid for one year.

The visa, which is also referred to as the non-working residence visa at some consulates, could be for those who want to retire in Spain, those who receive a passive income from their home country or simply those who want to spend a year living in Spain and have ample savings to do so.

For 2022, applicants need to prove that they have 400 percent of the annual IPREM (Indicador Público de Renta de Efectos Múltiples). In 2022 the annual IPREM, is €6,948.24, so four times this amount is a total of €27,792.96.

For every family member included in the residency application, it’s an extra 100 percent of the IPREM, which is an extra €6,948 for the year.

This means that a couple will need to prove savings or passive income of €34,741.20.


In recent years, many applicants have been confused about the exact nature of the non-lucrative visa, using it to live in Spain, but to continue working remotely for companies abroad. This in fact isn’t allowed as you are still earning money and working in Spain, even though it’s for a foreign company. Many consulates are cracking down on this, meticulously checking that you’re not still receiving funds for working.

But what exactly counts as proof of income and what can you show to the consulate to show how much you have?

This is where it starts to get tricky because, in fact, different Spanish consulates around the world define savings and assets slightly differently and are asking for different methods of proof.

Spanish Consulate in London

The Spanish Consulate in London states that applicants for the non-lucrative visa need to have:

“Financial means required to cover the living expenses and, where appropriate, those of their family members, for one year…The availability of sufficient financial means will be evidenced by the submission of original and stamped documents that verify the perception of a periodic and sufficient income or the holding of an estate that guarantees the perception of that income. If the financial means come from shares or participations in Spanish companies, mixed or foreign companies, based in Spain, applicants shall prove, by certification thereof, that they don’t carry out any work activity in such companies and will submit an affidavit to that effect”.

This means that the consulate will accept passive income as well as savings, such as rent from a property or dividends from a company, as long as you’re not actually working for that company. Proof could include documents such as bank statements and contracts.

Spanish Consulate in New York, US

The Spanish Consulate in New York states:

“The applicant must submit the originals and a copy of the documents proving that they have sufficient financial means to cover the expenses of residing in Spain for the initial year of the residence permit, or accrediting that they have a regular source of income, for themselves and, where applicable, for the family members accompanying them… Foreign documents must be legalised or apostilled and, where applicable, must be submitted together with an official translation into Spanish.”

While the wording is slightly different from the Spanish Consulate in London, they also state that they will accept proof of a regular source of income, so again in theory they will accept income from passive sources such as rental income.

Spanish Consulate in Sydney, Australia

The Spanish Consulate in Sydney, Australia uses the same wording as the consulate in New York.

Spanish Consulate in Toronto, Canada

The Spanish Consulate in Toronto, Canada is far more specific about what type of proof and types of passive income it will and won’t accept. It states that applicants need:

“Three most recent bank statements. Bank statements from other countries must be legalised. Investments will be considered a supporting document. You must have the total quantity when you apply for the visa. The applicant must submit the originals and a copy of the documents proving that they have sufficient financial means to cover the expenses of residing in Spain for the initial year of the residence permit, or accrediting that they have a regular source of income, for themselves and, where applicable, for the family members accompanying them.”

What the experts say

Immigration lawyers at the international relocation company Where Can I Live suggest that you should prove that you have slightly more than the required amount because “Applying with the exact amount does raise questions”.

For example, if the required amount for you and your partner is €34,741, they suggest that you actually prove that you have €35,000 instead, to act as a financial buffer. They also suggest you have a financial buffer for each family member on your application, showing you have more than the required amount each time. 

They say that “savings can be in a bank account in your home country. But, for some nationalities, including China and Russia, the funds should be deposited into a local Spanish bank account”.

Immigration lawyers at Balcells Group based in Barcelona say: “Many times the different Spanish consulates request a bank certificate of liquid money in your account. The exact date of the certificate must be as close as possible to the application day. Bear in mind that it will depend on the consulate, but the government will usually look at bank statements from the last six months”.

Legal experts at Immigration Spain say that there are two ways of proving income: “Either proving that you have sufficient means for the whole period beforehand (for example in a bank account) or by accrediting the existence of any type of source that periodically generates income, such as a pension or the rent of a house you own”.

They suggest that the proof can be in the form of “Bank statements, property deeds, certified checks or credit cards, as long as they are accompanied by a bank certification that accredits the amount available as credit on the card”.

What the applicants say

In reality, applications can always play out a little differently, so we had a look at what type of proof real people were asked for when they applied for Spain’s non-lucrative visa. These experiences were published on the Spanish NVL Facebook group.

One person who applied through the San Francisco consulate said: “As long as you show the required amount over three months’ worth of statements, you can use your savings account. I used my combined checking and savings account + Roth IRA investment”.

Another person applying through the Manchester Consulate in the UK said: “We presented six months of bank statements. Translation of bank statements was not required – they do spend some time going through them looking at funds coming into the accounts and questioning where from. They are looking for evidence that you are still working which would be an automatic no no. As long as you have proof of funds then that is ok, that’s all they are interested in…. There is no request for any information about mortgages/credit card debt at your appointment so if you have those then just don’t refer to it in any of your paperwork. On the bank statements, they have to be stamped by the bank so a downloaded statement from online banking could get refused. We use Barclays and you can get a stamped print from a machine in the branch which was accepted”.

Another applicant in Chicago in the US said they needed: “Proof of adequate liquid financial resources and income: Bank statements from the last three months from all your bank accounts; social security benefits, private or public retirement benefit other (Army Veteran, Teachers’ unions, etc); proof of sufficient periodic income, including but not limited to: investments, annuities, sabbaticals and any other source of income, providing sufficient funds to live in Spain without working…. If you are not officially retired you cannot present your retirement plan (IRA, 401-K) as proof. You also need the last three years of complete TAX IRS returns”.