NIE is an abbreviation of ‘Número de Identificación Extranjeros’. It is an identification number which is needed for financial transactions, such as buying property. It can be useful to apply for a NIE in the early stages of your house hunt. Once you have your identification number you can respond immediately if you find your dream property and make an offer. If you don´t have a NIE yet, the buying process can be delayed by several weeks. You can apply for your identification number in Spain but usually also in your own country.
If you are in Spain and speak Spanish, you can apply for a NIE yourself at a local police station (Policia Nacional) but only if it has a department for foreigners (extranjeros). This means you should go to one of the bigger towns on the coast, such as Fuengirola or Torremolinos. It usually takes a bit of patience and an (early morning) wait in line to deliver your documents and to collect your identification number. This can often be done on the same day – but it may also take three weeks. You need to bring with you: your passport, a copy of your passport, two passport size photographs, a completed application form (see below), two copies of the application form and money to pay for your NIE (around € 17.50).
If you prefer not to queue up or if your Spanish is inadequate, you can also ask someone else to apply for your identification number. You then need the same documents as mentioned above. Additionally assign an official representative, usually a ‘gestor’ (more or less an accountant) or an attorney. He or she will give you an authorization form for you to sign. This way you have nothing to worry about but it usually takes longer (sometimes four to six weeks) and you should take into account the costs of € 100 to € 200 per NIE application.
You can go to the Spanish Consulate in your own country and hand in your application form there. It can sometimes take several days or weeks but you then get your identification number automatically sent to you by e-mail or post. You will need: your passport or ID card, a copy of your passport or ID card, a completed application form (see below) and a self-addressed envelope with postage stamp. This envelope is used to send you your NIE. Some consulates will e-mail you your NIE, in which case you do not need the envelope. You can find a complete list of Spanish embassies and consulates here. We advise you to contact your local consulate to ask what is needed in your country.