In this post you will find content concerning the Identification Number for Foreigners. Specifically, we explain what the NIE is, when you can get one in Spain, how to apply for it, and the difference between it and the TIE.

What is a NIE?

The NIE, the Identification Number for Foreigners, is a personal number that is given to foreigners so that the Spanish administrations can identify them. This does not mean that all those who have a NIE have Spanish residence, or even that they have to be in Spain.

When can you get a NIE in Spain?

There is some ignorance about this, as not everyone knows that the NIE can be obtained in various circumstances:

  • Foreigners who initiate a procedure to obtain any permit to stay in Spain are automatically assigned one (although not in the case of visas).
  • They are given to foreigners when an administrative procedure of departure or expulsion is initiated.
  • It can also be obtained by those who deal with Spain due to their economic, professional, or social interests.

Thus, for example, those who want to set up a company in Spain, buy a property, liquidate an inheritance, or sign a contract for the provision of services can apply for a NIE that is known as a non-resident NIE.

The basic requirement to apply for the non-resident NIE is to not be in Spain in irregular circumstances. In fact, it is not even necessary to be in Spanish territory; it can be requested from abroad. You must also indicate the reason why you are requesting the NIE.

If a NIE is available and a certain residence permit is requested (either under the General Regime or Community Regime), no other number is assigned, and the procedure is followed with the original NIE. In the event that the residence permit is granted, then the police issue a TIE, which is the Identification Card for Foreigners, that is, the physical card.

How to apply for a NIE in Spain: Documents and requirements

The documents and requirements necessary for the application are:

  • have the forms completed correctly (EX-15);
  • communicate the economic, professional, or social reasons justifying the application;
  • have a valid passport (original and copy);
  • pay in cash the corresponding administrative fee. There is also the option of paying into a bank account;
  • where payment has been made by bank transfer, proof of the payment made shall be required;
  • in certain cases, there is the possibility of mailing the documentation relating to the NIE application;
  • in the case of minors, the parents or guardian must be present and provide their identification document (original and copy).

What is a TIE?

The TIE is a plastic card, a physical document that contains our identification data, a photo, the NIE number, and the type of authorization of stay or residence in Spain.

There is commonly a lot of confusion about the NIE and TIE, but not all those who have a NIE necessarily have a TIE, but those who have a TIE (which is the Identification Card for Foreigners) will always have a NIE.

When EU citizens wish to reside in Spanish territory for a period of more than three months, they must be registered in the Registry of Foreigners. When registered they are automatically assigned a NIE and they are given a green paper that certifies that they reside in Spain. In this case, they will never be issued with a TIE, that is, they are not issued with an Identification Card for Foreigners, with the aforementioned green paper being sufficient.

When we renew or modify our residence permit or stay in Spain, in no case are we modifying or renewing the NIE. We are actually modifying or renewing our TIE (Identification Card for Foreigners).

Related content that may interest youHow long can I stay in Spain without a residence permit?

Differences between a NIE and a TIE

We must bear in mind that the main differences between a NIE and a TIE are as follows:

  • A NIE is granted automatically when a procedure is initiated or the Administration is contacted. A TIE must be applied for and is delivered at the time a residence permit is granted in Spain.
  • A TIE can be withdrawn, but not a NIE. For example, if you commit a crime and your residence permit is taken away, you cannot legally reside in Spain, but your NIE still remains.
  • A NIE does not prove that a person legally resides in Spain, but a TIE does.
  • A TIE is a physical document, while a NIE is nothing more than a number, which only has administrative effects.
  • A NIE is unique and permanent and does not expire. A TIE expires and must be renewed according to the residence permit provided.

How do you apply for a TIE?

To apply for the Identification Card for Foreigners, the following steps must be taken:

  • Apply at the Immigration Office or at the Police Station of the province where the authorization recognizing the right to remain in Spain has been processed or authorized. You have one month from arriving in Spain or from the granting of the permit to do this.
  • Pay the fees. The amount is different depending on the authorization that the card is based on.

In short, having a NIE is not always the same as being resident in Spain. In other words, asking for a NIE for economic, professional, or social reasons does not grant the same rights that Spanish residence has.

Whether you need a non-resident NIE, or whether you want to bring professionals from other countries into your company, which involves initiating steps to apply for residence permits and work permits, Adlanter can help you carry out all the procedures quickly and effectively.

  • Is having a NIE the same as being a resident in Spain?
  • NIEs are issued in various circumstances, so having a NIE is not the same as being a Spanish resident in all situations. When can you get a NIE?