The process of getting your NIE/TIE number and gaining residency in Spain is not an easy process. There are many hoops to jump through before you reach the finish line, and many things have to be done in person with a cita previa (appointment).
There are also different regulations depending on where in the world you are coming from, whether it is inside or outside the EU, and for how long you will be here, and what for… Lots to plan and consider, but read on to find out our advice on how to make obtaining your documentation in Spain as easy and quick as possible!
What is NIE/TIE?
The NIE is the foreigner identity number, or Número de Identidad de Extranjero. If you live here as a resident or own property in Spain, it is your identification and tax number, which you’ll need for any official process.
Who needs an NIE in Spain?
- Any foreigner who becomes a resident for tax purposes in Spain
- Any non-resident foreigner who buys property in Spain
- Anyone who wants to work in Spain, or start a business in Spain
How to apply for an NIE number in Barcelona
The procedure has to be carried out in person, by requesting an appointment at the nearest immigration office or police station to your home address.
If you are a citizen of the EU / EEA country or Switzerland:
- Make an appointment on the government website
- In “PROVINCIAS DISPONIBLES” select “Barcelona” and then click “Aceptar”
- In the “TRÁMITES CUERPO NACIONAL DE POLICÍA” box, choose the option: “POLICÍA-CERTIFICADOS Y ASIGNACIÓN NIE”
- Read the information provided (if you’re using chrome, you can translate the screen into English) and then click “enter”
- Fill in your personal data
- Select the office where you would like to make the appointment
- Fill in the additional information requested
- Make your appointment according to the dates and places available
If you are from outside of the EU
- You need to book an appointment at the Directorate-General for the Police directly, or at the immigration office in Passeig de Sant Joan
If you are currently outside of Spain:
- Go to your nearest Spanish Consulate or go to their website to find out if it necessary to apply for it
What is TIE?
A TIE is also a foreigner’s identity number, but it is proof of permission to reside or remain in Spain for a specific period of time. It contains NIE within it, as well as information on your status in the country.
Since 2007, residents of the EU have not needed to obtain TIE, instead they can get a certificate to prove their status as residents, known as the ‘green card’. Since Brexit, UK nationals now also have to obtain their TIE, but if they can prove they were living legally in Spain pre-Brexit, the same rights will be preserved under the Withdrawal Agreement.
How do I get the TIE?
The process of obtaining TIE is more complex than for NIE as there are more steps involved but it remains valid for 5 years upon completion.
First step is to register yourself at the city hall (empadronarse) to receive your padrón. El padron is basically Spain’s population register. You will be provided with a local certificate to prove that you reside in the town, and it allows the government to calculate public service needs and statistics etc.
You will need to fill in a form online on the Barcelona Council website, and then choose the nearest date to go in person to an appointment. Usually, it is at least a month in advance that you can book your padrón, so make sure to do it in good time.
Take with you all of your documents, including: passport/ID card, registration form, rental agreement or house sale contract.
Next steps of TIE
- Presenting Model EX20 form, together with a document stating the beginning of your residency in Spain, proof of health cover, sufficient means to live, and your passport to the Immigration Office of your region.
- After these documents are presented, you should receive a notification with the decision on your application within three months.
- If the result is favourable, you will be able to apply for the TIE! If the resolution is not favourable, you have 10 days to present any missing/requested documents to the Immigration Office.
- The final step in obtaining your TIE is to get an appointment through the online system, Sede Electrónica, and present a completed Model EX23 Form, your original passport, your padrón certificate, a recent passport style photograph of yourself and proof of payment of the 790 code 012 fee.
Long-term residency in Spain
The long-term residence card is residency that you can obtain after living legally and continuously in Spain for more than 5 years.
If you have had a temporary permit for a sufficient amount of time, you can move onto this type of card that authorises you to live and work indefinitely under the same conditions as Spaniards.
Unlike the rest of the cards, this means indefinite residence in Spain, you can live here forever! The right to reside legally will never expire, and it brings benefits such as: the right to work both as an employee and self-employed, bring your children and spouse to Spain, bring parents to Spain over 65, and not need to display economic means to stay.
The only way for the card to expire is if you spend more than 1 continuous year outside of the European Union, but it is still possible to recover it from either Spain or your home country.
- Be patient with the system, there are often delays and setbacks in the process of obtaining documentation in Spain!
- Many law firms offer services that guide you through application processes such as TIE for a fee, which could be worth doing if you feel overwhelmed and confused by the whole process.
- Start your residency processes as soon as you arrive in Spain, or even better to start the process before you arrive to the country!