Apply for NIE


We have continually stated that If you are planning to move to Spain, finding the answer to the question how to apply for NIE or Residency should be on the top of your “To DO” list.

If you are moving to Spain for more than three months then you would apply for residency, not NIE.


You only apply for an NIE before your residency application under the following circumstances:

  • You are purchasing a property. In which case our lawyer will organise your NIE as part of the legal process.
  • You want to buy a car immediately on arrival. In which case you must have a written offer from the dealer to be able to apply for your NIE
  • You need to set up a utility contract, such as mobile, fixed line, or electricity contract.

As there is a waiting list for NIE appointments, as long as that for residency appointments,  unless you have an urgent need for a car or utility contract, it makes sense to wait to apply for residency.

In some cases, the NIE may be denied, because the reason doesn’t substantiate the application, and if you do get it, you’ll have to go through the same process again when you apply for the residency.


So, you have decided that you want to apply for NIE rather than residency, where is the best place to do it?

If you had asked us a few months ago if you should apply for your NIE before moving to Spain we would have advised against it. We would have told you it was quicker and easier to apply for it as soon as you came to Spain.

However, much has changed.

We have been advised by people we have helped relocate, from Scotland and South Africa, that applying for NIE before setting off for Spain was a simple and painless experience.

In Spain, you are required to produce evidence to prove why you are applying for NIE rather than residency. If your reason for applying for NIE is one of the following, ensure you provide the required documentation …

If property purchase is the reason for your NIE application, ensure you can supply the following:

  • Full address of the property
  • Vendor’s name and ID details (DNI / NIE )
  • Name, date and time of notary appointment to sign the deeds of sale


If business set up is the reason for your NIE application, ensure you can supply the following:

  • Company details: Company Name, address, capital, names of partners/administrators, business activity
  • Name, date and time of notary appointment to constitute the company.


If vehicle purchase is the reason for your NIE application, ensure you can supply the following:

  • Make, model and registration number of the vehicle
  • In the case of a private sale/purchase: vendor’s name and ID details (DNI / NIE )
  • In the case of a purchase from a dealer: commercial details of the company selling the vehicle


  • Temporary* Work Contract

If being offered a temporary* work contract (*less than3-month duration) is the reason for your NIE application, ensure you can supply the following:

  • Copy of work contract that includes the following details of the employer: Name, CIF (ID number) and the bank details from which the social security payments are made.


So, why apply for your NIE before moving to Spain?

Colin, who recently applied for his NIE in Edinburgh told us

“The process was unbelievably straight forward. I was geared up for an interview type scenario with questions on why I needed an NIE etc. However, I was simply greeted by a nice lassie who looked over the forms, confirmed my passport details and asked for the fee. It was that simple. We never even left the waiting room!!”


So, if you are planning your move to Spain and want to apply for your NIE in advance, give it a go. What have you got to lose?

You can use this link to book an appointment at the Spanish Embassy in London.

You can use this link to book an appointment at the Spanish Embassy in Edinburgh.

Both of these offices state “It takes at least 3 weeks to get your N.I.E. or certificate when applying through this Consulate General.” however this may not always be the case.


Have you applied for your NIE outside of Spain? Share your experience with us on Facebook …  Share on Facebook


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Lisa Sadleir

Founder at Family in Spain SL
Lisa is a reputable relocation consultant and personal property finder. She assists families and professionals in making the best decisions when purchasing property and planning their move to Spain. Experienced in NIE and residency issues, Spanish bureaucracy and property purchase procedures.



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