Ah, the beloved NIE. The Número de Identificación de Extranjero (Foreigner’s Identification Number). Your best friend, when you first move to Spain.
With this number in hand, you will be set to navigate the sometimes rather unwieldy system of Spanish bureaucracy. Among other things, you will be able to:
- Register for commercial services (phones, gas, internet, bank accounts, etc.)
- Join government services (social security, health care, pension, etc.)
- Apply for a mortgage
- Buy a house
- Apply for a driving license
- Purchase a car
- Set up a business or work in Spain
- Pay taxes
You really won’t know the true value of this tiny card until you land in the country. However, the minute you do, you will quickly learn.
That first time you look to get a mobile contract and realise – oh dear, I can’t get one because I don’t have an NIE.
Or when the postman wants to deliver a registered parcel and asks you for your NIE number. You don’t have one, so suddenly the 10-second process of signing for the parcel turns into a 10-minute affair. Believe me, I’ve been there!
My experience of getting the NIE was a little bit crazy to be honest. I previously wrote at length about my experience with mynie.co.uk. A budget NIE service that I used to get an appointment with the NIE police office.
One thing I didn’t do, however, was outline the process of getting ready for my NIE appointment. Especially the part where I was running around town chasing documents…
The reason I want to make up for that now, is that I actually ended up at the NIE police office three times before I got the little green card into my hands. Each time, because I didn’t have the correct paperwork with me. It was getting quite frustrating!
Now that I know where I went wrong though, I can pass these lessons on to you. Hopefully that will let you get your NIE in one go… not three!
Before I start getting into the details of my documents, I thought it would be wise to let you know the details around my application. I am by no means an NIE expert and as such I find it’s important to put some context around what I can talk to.
When you apply for an NIE in Barcelona, you actually apply for residency too. This is not the case all around Spain though, as some places do the two separately.
However, in this case I had to make sure I was eligible to apply for either temporary or permanent residency. You can see all the categories available for those below.
In my case, I was an EU citizen, permanently relocating and studying on an intensive Spanish course for 6 months. This made me eligible for the temporary residency category: “Student with sufficient resources and health insurance.”
That being said it is from this context that I will be providing the information that follows.
Temporary Residence Categories
Permanent Residence Categories
When I applied for my NIE, I was required to present the following documents to the police office at:
Rambla de Guipúscoa 74, 08020, Barcelona
- Cita Previa Appointment Letter
- EX-18 Form (Completed)
- Modelo 790 – Codigo 012 Form (Completed, paid and stamped)
- Passport (Original and copy)
- Rental contract (Original and copy)
- Certificate of school attendance and payment (original)
- Proof of health insurance (original)
- Declaration of sufficient income (original)
Consider this your NIE appointment checklist.
I will be taking you through each and every one of these documents in detail below.
The key to getting through the NIE process smoothly is understanding exactly what documents you need to take with you to your appointment.
In my case, I ended up going to the NIE police office three times because I really had no idea what I needed. In principle I knew what to bring. However, in reality, I was wrong. Very wrong.
Having learned from my mistakes, my aim with this article is to make sure you know exactly what you need. For each item, I have therefore included a description of what you need, as well as an example, where needed.
The Cita Previa Appointment Letter is pretty much the holy grail of getting your NIE number. Without a Cita Previa you will not be allowed to enter the police station to submit your documents.
That being said, getting an appointment letter is easier said than done – if you go it alone.
Personally, I spent a number of days trying to get one by myself. I had read reviews all over the internet saying how difficult it was to get an appointment. I didn’t believe it at first.
After several days of trying, I finally gave in and decided to find someone else to take care of the “dirty work” for me.
I found and used a service called mynie.co.uk. It was the cheapest service I could find at £29.99/～34€.
However, if you do choose to go down the same route, please do read my Mynie.co.uk review first. That will give you a better idea of what you can and can’t rely on them for.
Alternatively, there are many other paid services out there too. Some self-service and some including a person who will physically accompany you to the appointment. Though, personally, I think that might be slight overkill.
Instructions (To book your own appointment)
- Go to the Cita Previa online booking system
- Select “Barcelona” and click “Aceptar“
- Click “Certificados UE” and then “Aceptar“
- Scroll to the bottom of the next page and click “Entrar”. (Note: This page shows documents needed – in Spanish)
- Select “Pasaporte/ Documento de identidad”
- Enter passport number (“Pasaporte/Documento de identidad)
- Type first and last name(s) (“Nombre y apellidos”)
- Select nationality (“País de nacionalidad”)
- Click “Aceptar”
- Click “Solicitar cita” to make an appointment
- Select and confirm an appointment (if available)
- Print out the Cita Previa appointment letter and take it with you to your appointment
Instructions (To book an appointment via mynie.co.uk)
- Go to the mynie.co.uk booking page
- Fill out your information and click “Send”
- Make a payment for their services to get NIE only or NIE + Social Security
- Receive confirmation of order from mynie.co.uk by email
- Once your appointment is booked (usually on Mondays) you will receive:
- A confirmation email from the police
- Your completed documents from mynie.co.uk
- Review and print your documents and take them to your appointment
- Note: If you have not heard from mynie.co.uk within 48-72 hours – call them at +34 665 556 070 to confirm they are processing your order.
Each and every province in Barcelona has its own rules and regulations on what forms need to be completed for the NIE. However, generally you will need to complete either an EX-18 form (NIE and Residency applications combined) or an EX-15 form (NIE application only).
In Barcelona, the EX-18 is the form needed.
- Complete the EX-18 Form
- If you don’t speak Spanish, use this English model to help you complete the form.
- Print out two copies and take them to the appointment
The Modelo 790 is the form you need to pay the tax fee for the processing of your NIE.
Important: If you do not bring this form to your appointment, paid and stamped, you will not be able to get your NIE.
- Complete Modelo 790 forms – click the image on this page
- If you don’t speak Spanish, use these English instructions to help you complete the form
- If you make a mistake re-generate the form as each form has a unique reference number
- Pay the tax fee
- Print the form and go to any bank to make the payment (12€ in April 2019). (Note: You may need to check banking hours as some banks apparently only process these forms during limited hours.)
- Take stamped Modelo 790 to your NIE appointment
You will need to take your original passport to your NIE appointment. Also take a copy of the cover and the identification page (the page with your picture and details on it).
You should take your original rental contract with you to your NIE appointment. Also make sure to include a copy in your NIE portfolio.
This document will prove your residence in Spain.
If you are studying in Spain you will need to get an official letter from your school or university to prove this. Most schools will likely already have a standard letter available.
For your information, the letter must be in Spanish and include the following information:
- Your birth date, nationality and ID/passport number
- The start and end date of your course
- Course type (i.e. 24 week intensive Spanish language course)
- Confirmation that you have registered and paid the tuition fee in full
- Signature and stamp from the school administration
Important: Make sure you take the original document to the NIE appointment.
When I requested this letter from my school, I originally received an electronic copy. This was not accepted by the police office and was requested to submit the original at my next visit.
This is a very important document to get right. The Spanish government is looking for proof that you will not be a burden on the Spanish health system. As such, they want to make sure you are fully covered in situations where you might need medical attention.
In the event that you have a valid European Health (EHIC) Card you can use, then brining the original and a copy of this card -front and back – should suffice as proof.
In my case, as I came to Spain de-registered from the Czech healthcare system, I had to get private health insurance.
In the case of private insurance, the key information to include in your document is:
- Proof that you have comprehensive healthcare with no co-payments
Important: Make sure you take the original and signed to the appointment and not a copy. The words sin copago or sin limiaticiones ecónomicas(without co-payments) must be on the document in order for it to be accepted. It must also list the full extent of the service provided.
When I requested this document from my healthcare provider, it took about one week to generate this letter. Keep this in mind when scheduling your appointment.
When applying for a student NIE, one of the requirements is to ensure that you have sufficient money to support yourself throughout your stay in Spain.
In my experience, a self-declaration is sufficient evidence in this case. I was not requested to provide anything further than the template below.
Download Template: NIE Financial Declaration
And that’s it folks. All the documents you need broken down in detail.
I hope you found this useful and in case of any feedback, feel free to comment below!