Your Número de Identificación de Extranjeros (NIE) is a very important number. You receive it when you register with the Spanish Tax Authority and you will need it for almost every major transaction you complete in Spain. You will be asked for it when a parcel is delivered, for opening a bank account, for registering for health care, almost every official activity requires your NIE. its possession is essential if you are to carry out the purchase of large items such as a car or property.
You can obtain your NIE from the national police station in your area or from the foreign office in major cities. It doesn’t matter whether you are intending to be a resident or a non-resident. In Torrevieja the National Police Station (Comisaría de Policía) is currently located at calle Arquitecto Larramendi No.3 according to the latest details available on the Policía Nacional website. You will find details of all the other police stations serving different areas on this website too. https://www.policia.es/documentacion/oficinas/oficinas_extran.html
The exact procedure at each police station varies and you should check locally to establish exactly what you will need to present, where and how. In most cases you are required to provide copies of documents yourself so be equipped with photocopied versions. You will need to make an appointment known as a ‘cita previa’. Appointments can usually be made over the internet from this website https://sede.administracionespublicas.gob.es/icpplus/index.html
You will need to take a number of different documents with you and have everything copied twice. You can download the NIE application form EX-15 from the website. http://extranjeros.mitramiss.gob.es/es/ModelosSolicitudes/Mod_solicitudes2/index.html
You will need to complete it with the usual information as well as the name of your mother and father and the reason why you are seeking an NIE. You will also need copies of your passport, information about why you are asking for an NIE and tasa modelo 790.
The tasa is the means by which you make a payment at the bank. This tasa can be downloaded from https://sede.policia.gob.es:38089/Tasa790_012/ and completed.
You then take it to the bank with the required amount of money. It’s not expensive being between 9 and 10 euros at the time of writing. The bank then stamps your paperwork to show that you’ve paid.
Of course, you can pay someone to apply for your NIE on your behalf. They will be able to steer you through the process and know the shortcuts as they are familiar with both the process and the personnel. All the paperwork is in Spanish so unless you are fluent it can be rather daunting to complete.
It is also possible to obtain your NIE whilst you are abroad. By taking out a power of attorney (POA) you authorise someone in Spain to apply on your behalf. You must approach a certified lawyer in the UK, for example, who will draft a document in both languages so that the Notary in your own country can witness you signing it and knows what it says. It will cost more but not as much as a flight to Spain. You can also visit the Spanish Embassy in London, for example to obtain a POA there.
The good news about the NIE is that you do not have to renew it. The number itself is issued on a white A4 piece of paper that you must keep carefully as you will be asked for it many times. If you go on to become a resident then your residencia will include your NIE and this can be used as proof.
If you lose this piece of paper or your original one becomes difficult to read with age then you can apply for a duplicate. However, you will need to go to the same National Police Station where it was originally issued and the procedure is the same as when you first applied. You should still be able to retain the same number as you did originally.
Don’t leave applying for your NIE to the last minute. It could take up to a month to be given an appointment and there is always the chance that you have something missing when you arrive. Perseverance is the key word to applying for documentation in Spain. You just have to believe that it will be worth it in the end.