Is it easy to get a NIE number?

Last updated on 20 Dec 2017

As you might have already heard or experienced yourself – in Spain things change all the time! It can create both hassle and opportunities, the problem is that very often you find it out “accidentally”. Suddenly the requirements or the interpretation of the requirements for a certain procedure change and your application is refused, which can be very frustrating especially considering hours spent in queuing and waiting which is still quite common when dealing with the Spanish authorities.

One of such examples is obtaining a NIE number, “Numero de Identidad de Extranjero” – “Foreigner’s Identity Number”. As we have written in our earlier articles, the NIE number is required to be obtained by any expat, whether resident or not, who has any economic, social and professional interests in Spain and who is not intending to reside in Spain for a period longer than three months.

In the past it used to be a simple straight forward procedure where the applicant needed to fill in the application form, pay a small fee and present a copy of the passport. Often a NIE number was granted without any questions asked. It is not so nowadays. While the procedure as such is still the same, but a strong emphasis is now given to the reason you apply for a NIE number. You need to carefully state the reason and prove to the Spanish Government the necessity for you to obtain a NIE.

Besides, with recent developments some of the reasons like applying for a job, being an EU citizen, do not qualify any longer for obtaining a NIE number. According to the recent agreements between the National Police and the Social Security, an EU citizen can be employed in Spain just with the passport. The problem is that many employers are still not aware of that…

In case you are refused a NIE number, the Spanish Government considers you do not require one, or you should have applied for a Residence instead. In any case you will be presented with an explanation, which you can act upon.

Please keep in mind, that 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), so this is what you need to apply for instead of a NIE. Spanish National Police are now stricter on this requirement and will often mention you about it during your NIE application, reminding that non-compliance is against the law.  Applying for your Residence is more complex and requires more paperwork, which will depend on your personal situation.

In conclusion, before applying for a NIE number, check carefully whether you need it and if so, state clearly the reason including the required details. If you are not sure or simply wish to save yourself time and (very often) nerves and take the uncertainties out of your applications, let the professionals like Malaga Expat Consulting deal with your Spanish NIE and Residence paperwork in the province of Malaga. Get in touch for a no-obligation quote! 

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