You are required to apply for a NIE number (Número de Identificación de Extranjeros) if you have any financial transactions in Spain. This includes buying a property, obtaining a mortgage, starting up a business or buying a car. It is also mandatory when registering with social services, applying for a driving license or taking out any type of contract such as water, phone, internet and of course employment - so if you are planning on working out here, apply for your NIE number before handing out your CVs!
If you're planning on staying in Barcelona for more than three months and need to apply for NIE, you're better off just applying for residency as you'll be issued a NIE number automatically. Check the Residency page for this information.
Getting A Non-Residents NIE,
Updated Oct 2011
1. Your passport and a photocopy of the main page (which has your personal details, photo etc.)
2. Two recent passport sized photos
3. For non-EU citizens, you will also need to take along a document that perfectly shows your legal entry into Spain. This is the form that you fill in at the immigration desk at the point of entry called the declaración de entrada.
4. 2 filled-in copies of the following official form:
Hint: it’s probably easier to fill the form in online, print off two copies and you’re set!
Take these documents to the police station on C/ Balmes 192 (10 minutes walk from Diagonal metro.) The office is open from 9am to 2pm but it’s advised to go earlier as normally people start queuing from about 8am. Someone who arrived at the police station at 1pm was turned away and told they "only issue 200 tickets per day" for NIE applications, so be warned!
You’ll have to pay a €9,12 processing fee, and will be given a payment form when you submit your application and told which bank you can pay this into. When you come to collect your NIE, you will have to show proof of the payment, which is the stamped receipt from the bank.
It normally takes 10-15 working days for the NIE number to arrive back at the same police station and all you need to collect it is the payment receipt and the official receipt (resguardo) given at the time of the application. If you want someone else to collect it for you they should come down with you and also present their passport. If they don’t have their passport with them at the time they will be allowed to present it when collecting the NIE.
If you would prefer to get your NIE number before you arrive, you can also apply via a Spanish consulate in any country. You must fill in the NIE form and make an appointment to sign it in front of a Consular representative. They will send your application to Madrid where it will be processed and posted back to the Consulate. If you wish someone to act as your representative to collect your NIE in Spain then you must also sign a notarized document to this effect in your consulate. Unless you have a particular reason for applying for the NIE in this way you’re recommended to do it in person in Spain as it it quicker an much less hassle! For a detailed list of Spanish consulates around the world, see www.embassiesabroad.com