Do you need a Spanish lawyer to get an NIE number? 

An NIE Number (Numero de Indentidad de Extranjero), which, translated into English means identification number for foreigners – is used for tax and identification purposes in Spain.

In Spain, in order to complete any official process – from setting up a bank account to buying a property in Spain – you will need to obtain an NIE number.

It can be an unnecessarily costly and complicated process to obtain an NIE number though. An English-speaking Spanish lawyer who can act as Power of Attorney and arrange your NIE number usually comes at a cost of approximately €300* (as it includes the lawyer’s fees for drafting the Power of Attorney, VAT and the NIE application fee). Plus, there’s the additional cost of a Notary Public in the UK, which is required to verify your signature and legalise the documentation, which can vary from £60-£120 (plus a £30 fee for legalisation at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office). However, applying for an NIE number in person in Spain can cost as little as €10!


DIY NIE – being prepared! 

If you’re planning a trip to Spain and have a basic knowledge of the Spanish language, applying for an NIE number in person can save you money…and it’s relatively straight forward!

You can apply for your NIE number in any local immigration offices in Spain, which are usually found in designated police stations. If there is no local immigration office in the local police station or otherwise, it may still be possible to apply via the local police station.

To apply for your NIE Number in Spain you will need: your passport, a photocopy of your passport and the NIE application form (EX-18 form) –  you’ll need to complete and sign two copies of this. Make sure you check whether you need to make an appointment and ask whether any additional documentation is required before you make a trip to the local immigration office. Some offices require pre-booked appointments and further documentation, so it’s worth checking before making a wasted journey. You can make an appointment at your local immigration office online using the Spanish government website.


What happens next? 

Once you’ve submitted your NIE application you will receive an official receipt and will be advised of a date to collect your NIE certificate, which can vary from a few hours to a couple of weeks depending on the office visited and the region. Make sure you retain the copy of your receipt!

In most regions your NIE certificate will only be valid for three months from the date it is issued (although some regions do present indefinite NIE certificates), by which point you should formally register with the Spanish authorities as either a resident or non-resident of Spain. Although the certificate may only valid for three months, your NIE number will remain the same for your lifetime so there is usually no need to delay getting your NIE.

Citizens of a member state of the European Union, who intend to reside in Spain for more than three months, are required by law to ap­ply for a Residents Certificate (Res­id­en­cia) by registering with the Central Registry of Foreigners (Re­gis­tro Cent­ral de Ex­tran­jeros). The Residencia – the green cer­ti­fic­ate is­sued by the of­fices of Ex­tran­jeria/Na­tional Po­lice – cer­ti­fies your res­id­ence in Spain with the Cent­ral Re­gister of For­eign­ers, listing your name, where you live, your na­tion­al­ity, the date you re­gistered, and your NIE number.


If you require an NIE number, but are unable to obtain one in person, or you need any legal advice regarding moving abroad or a property purchase in Spain, for instance, Total Buying Abroad can put you in touch with an English-speaking Spanish lawyer today who can assist. Call our friendly team on 01244 478 911 or email on


*This figure is approximate, for an accurate quote contact Total Buying Abroad for details of fees in the Spanish region you require legal assistance.



Article published: April 23, 2018