About NIE and Residency

Last updated on 28 Sep 2017

If you are planning to move to Malaga or temporary reside in Costa del Sol or even just buy a holiday home in Spain, you will need to arrange and apply for a set of documents. Most likely you have already heard of NIE and Residencia, which are indeed your most important documents you need to get hold of. So what are they?

NIE is a “Numero de Identidad de Extranjero” – “Foreigner’s Identity Number” and is required to be obtained by any expat, whether resident or not, who has any economic, social and professional interests in Spain. So if you wish to apply for a job, buy a property or a car, open a bank account, set-up a mobile phone contract etc., you need to apply for a Spanish NIE number. It can be applied for separately or together with the Residencia. If you apply for a NIE only (which is when you are not intending to reside in Spain for a period longer than three months), you will receive a white certificate stating your unique ID number (NIE) comprising of seven digits and two letters. The procedure is quite straight forward, you need to apply in the closest to you National Police office (Comisaria de Policia) or the Foreigner’s Office (Oficina de Extranjeria) and you need to present your passport, the filled in application form and the paid municipal fee. Depending on which Comisaria you apply at, it can take from a day to a week until you are assigned the NIE number and granted the certificate. 

If you are intending to stay in Spain for a period longer than three months, you need to be inscribed into the Registro Central de Extranjeros (Foreigners’ Central Registry) and be issued the Certificado de Registro or the Residencia (residency permit). By law you are obliged to apply for Residencia within three months of your entrance to Spain and there are more documents required to obtain the Residencia. In general, in addition to your ID documents, filled in application form and paid municipal fee you will need to provide a registration of address from the Town Hall of the municipality you are living in, a private or public health insurance and the confirmation of availability of sufficient funds for you and your family not to become a “burden” to the state of Spain. The set of documents will slightly differ depending on your personal situation and the application process may vary in different parts of Spain, therefore it is always advisable to first inquire about the procedure and the exact set of documents in the nearest to you National Police or Foreigner’s office, or contact us at Malaga Expat Consulting and we will assist you with the application and help you throughout the whole procedure. 

From personal experience, the procedure might even differ depending on the police officer you speak to, so to save you time and eliminate confusions, let us handle the NIE and Residencia application for you with the comfort of speaking your own language and communicating with the authorities on your behalf.  In case you have not applied for a NIE number beforehand, it will be assigned to you within the Residencia application procedure and clearly stated on your residency card. 

Please note the above procedure of applying for NIE and Residency in Spain is relevant for EU citizens only. The requirements for non-EU citizens differ and involve more steps and documents so please contact for further details.

Furthermore, every time you move within Spain you need to inform the authorities of the change of domicile to be reflected in your Residencia. Not many are aware of that but it is an obligatory requirement and you need to contact the nearest to you National Police office within 30 days of change of residence to re-confirm the procedure and the set of documents. 

If you wish Malaga Expat Consulting to help with the above and other paperwork procedures in Malaga and the Costa del Sol, please get in touch by filling the contact form or sending an email describing your personal situation and requirements. We will be glad to assist!

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