NIE and Residency in Spain

When moving to Malaga, applying for an NIE or Residency in Spain should be at the top of your paperwork “To Do” List.

What is an NIE Number and do I need one?

An NIE number is a “Número de Identificación de Exrenajeros” i.e. a “foreigner’s identification number” in Spain. If you wish to buy a car, set up a mobile phone contract in Spain, you will require an NIE.

An NIE number is also required to work in Spain, take out private Spanish health insurance and apply for Spanish state health cover.

The Decree (Real Decreto 338-1990) March 9th, establishes that anyone, of whatever nationality, resident or non-resident, who has any “official business” in Spain, must have a fiscal number (NIF/NIE).

To avoid confusion, if you apply for an NIE only, you will be issued with a white certificate that will assign you your unique foreigner’s ID number that is in the format of:

A-1234567-Z (ie letter-7 digits-letter)

Previously, foreigners arriving in Spain had to firstly apply for an NIE and then later apply for residency. However, rules are often changing and applying for an NIE may not now be the right decision for you.

Should I apply for NIE or Residency in Spain?

There is one simple question to ask yourself, which will provide you with the correct answer to this question. That is “How long do I intend to stay in Spain?”

If you intend to stay in Spain for more than three months then you should apply directly for Residency in Spain, using the EX18 application form as described in our downloadable booklet (accurate at the time of writing this article).

If you plan to stay in Spain for less than three months, then you should apply for an NIE number, using the EX15 application form (accurate at the time of writing this article).

The “NIE or Residency in Spain ?” question is no more complicated than that.

how to apply for nie

How to apply for an NIE and Residency in Spain …

For full details, links to download and complete official forms, with step by step instructions, sign up for our Hints and Tips for Moving to Spain and receive a FREE sample of our guide.

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