How to apply for a Spanish NIE number

An NIE (Número de Identidad de Extranjero or Foreigners’ Identification Number) is an important piece of documentation that will assist anyone intending to spend a significant amount of the year in Spain. It is an essential document for many government related services such as registering a car you have purchased, or getting power or telephone connections installed, as well as registering the purchase of property and most importantly as far as the Spanish Government is concerned, paying your Spanish taxes.

There are various methods of application for an NIE number, applying in person or having a third party apply for you in Spain. You may also apply via the Spanish consulate in your home country. Each method varies slightly in procedure, with their own pros and cons. It is therefore important to research each viable option and assess which application process suits your individual needs best.

In this article we will primarily focus on how to apply for your NIE in person, as it is still the most popular method of obtaining an NIE.

NIE Applications in Person:

When applying in person for an NIE, each applicant will be required to attend the National Police Station twice. The first time to apply for the NIE and the second collection of the . Some police stations depending on what region you are in, may offer a same day service. This service eliminates that extra trip to the police station, as you will receive it on the same day as you apply on.

It is important to note that applying for your NIE in person can often become quite complex, stressful and time-consuming; especially if you are alien to the process. If you are new to Spain and cannot speak the language, it could prove useful to hire a translator or third party familiar with the process to guide you though the red tape.

NIE: The Application Process

If applying for your NIE in person, as of 2012, you will be required to attend your Local National Police Station [Policica National, Departmento de Extranjeros], or the major stations in the foreigners office/department [Officinal de Extranjeros] if applying in person.

Javea does not have a dedicated office for obtaining an NIE, but both Denia and Teulada -Moraira have offices that Javea residents can use.


Tel: 96 642 68 86
Avinguda del Marquesat, 53
03700 Denia (Alicante)

Monday to Friday 9am to 2pm to book appointments, but these are always for the following week


Tel: 96 574 01 59 / 96 649 09 76
SIT (Servicio de Interés Turístico)
Avda. Santa Caterina, 2
03700 Teulada (Alicante)
Book appointments: Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4pm

Here you may pick up NIE application forms, however it is best to already have you NIE application form downloaded from online and filled in to save time. It is called an EX-15 form and can be found by clicking the link 

Note that NIE applications are served on a first come, first served basis. There is also a quota set at many police stations for the maximum number of NIE applications allowed to be processed per day. Unfortunately, it is not unheard of for many people to queue from the early hours of the morning in hope of applying, to be turned away as they are just beyond the intake number.

If you do not have much patience, a more expensive but easier option would be to hire someone who will go with you as a representative. They will be able to ring up and book an appointment, eliminating the risk of missing out when queuing for your NIE. This option is more costly but highly effective; especially if you are over in Spain for a limited period of time.

Preparing yourself and getting all of the correct documentation in place and forms correctly filled out is also a requirement for application, otherwise red-tape delays will start to slow the process dramatically, so check everything is in place before you submit your application, to ensure it is a process you only have to go through once.

How to apply for a Spanish NIE number

When applying for your NIE number you will need to have the following ready and in place:

  • A filled out online NIE application form (EX-15), with two photocopies recommended. You may pick these up at the police station if you do not have access to the internet. The forms are in Spanish and unless you speak Spanish it would be highly recommended to complete them beforehand.

  • Your passport alongside a photocopy

  • Two passport photos

  • It may be necessary to have details of your Spanish address; alternatively it can be the address of a relative or friend in Spain.

  • A justification letter or proof (you will also need a photocopy), which swill spell out why you are in need an NIE e.g. a sales contract for purchase of property

  • Approx. 12 € to pay the Tax Form 790

On the day you will submit the above documentation to apply for your NIE. Once your NIE application has been processed you will then be given a receipt or, alternatively a stamped photocopy of application (resguardo). At this stage, you will also be issued with Tax Form 790 to take to a local bank and pay before returning to collect your NIE certificate. You will need to pay this on the day if using a same day service.

Apply for NIE: The Collection Process

Unless using a same day service, you will have to return to the police station another day, to collect your stamped NIE Certificate. On average, you will be able to collect your NIE number from fifteen days after application. It may take longer however, depending on the time of year or office used. In some places it has not been unheard of to wait as long as six weeks.

It is important to note, that you will not be notified when your NIE is ready for collection. The responsibility is entirely up to you to enquire and liaise with the place of application. Upon collection, you must present your stamped copy, tax form payment receipt and passport to obtain your NIE. The NIE document will then be received as an officially stamped, white A4 size paper document detailing your name, address, date of birth and designated NIE number.

Applying for an NIE from your home Country

It is possible to apply for your NIE in another European country, via your nearest Spanish Consulate office. In fact, applying from your own country is often more convenient and viable an option for many. Especially if you do not have the time to visit Spain and apply in person. The only down side of applying via the Spanish Consulate, is that the average turnaround time of receiving your NIE is longer than if you had applied in person in Spain.

APPLY for NIE from home country: EXPLAINED

You can usually expect to receive your NIE within four to six weeks, after applying outside of Spain. It can take up to twelve week however, depending on the time of year applied.

Applying via the Spanish Consulate does eliminate the problem of any potential language barriers or procedure problems. It also prevents extra costs from adding up,  such as if you would have needed to hire a translator in Spain.

Below you will find the process of applying for your NIE in the other European States, explained in three simple stages:

1: Locate your nearest Spanish Consulate

When applying for your NIE from abroad, the first thing you will want to do is research where your nearest Spanish Consulate is located. Please note that it is the Spanish Consulate who deal with NIE enquiries and NOT the Spanish Embassy, this is a common mistaken. Once you have located where the nearest Spanish Consulate is, you will want to contact them to make an appointment to apply for your NIE.

2 Gather all relevant documentation needed

If you decide to apply from the your home country, you will need to present the same necessary documentation required, when applying in person in Spain. Additionally, you will also need to include alongside this information full cover for the postage.

You will need,

A photocopy as well as a stamped photocopy of your passport from the Consulate

Two passport size photos (Should be recent)

An original copy and photocopy of justification document explaining why you require an NIE. This may be a signed property sales contract or an offer of employment from potential employer.

Two copies of your official NIE application form completed. Please note: it is important that you do NOT sign the forms as you will be required to do this in person at the consulate office. The Spanish consulate will also not be able to provide you with this form so you must obtain it beforehand. You may find it easily via Google Search Engine, if you search for Solicitud de NIE. para residentes en el extranjero (Ex-15 Form).

A self-addressed envelope

An envelope that is big enough to post all of these documents, not forgetting the original NIE application form.

The address for applications is below, but please check this is still current at the time of your application.

Central Police HQ Madrid:

Comisaría General de Extranjería y Documentación, Dirección General de Policia, C/ General Pardiñas, 90, 28006 Madrid, Spain

3: Attend the Spanish Consulate Office in Person 

On the day of your appointment at the Spanish Consulate, you will be required to take with you all of the documentation detailed above. It may also be useful to check with the consulate is anything additional they may ask for or require. Please note, there is usually a fee of around E26 to pay via cheque to the Madrid authorities for tax purposes on the day [this price may vary slightly].

All documents and information will be checked within your appointment at the consulate, and you will be asked to sign you NIE application form on that day in front of a consulate member of staff. Once your signature is received, it will be given an official validation stamp. The Spanish Consulate will then send your application to Madrid authorities for processing.

Once your application reaches the Madrid authorities and is processed, if all is successful you should receive your NIE in the post within four to six weeks.

Note: The Spanish Consulate does not issue your NIE Number and once you have submitted your application they will not be able to provide you with any further information on the status of your application. For any further information or enquires regarding the status of your application you will have to write to the address given above for the Comisaría General de Extranjería y Documentación.

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