Identity Number (NIE)

The procedures for applying for an identity number (NIE) and registering as a foreign national vary from place to place and year to year. Some or all of the following steps, however, are normal for EU nationals.

Step 1The employer issues a letter (in Spanish) stating that it intends to employ you for the forthcoming academic year.

Step 2You take the following documentation to the Central Police Headquarters (Dirección General de la Policía y de la Guardia Civil) for your province:

  • a copy of the letter offering employment
  • two copies of the completed form applying for a national identity number (NIE). A copy of this form can be downloaded here.
  • your passport
  • several photocopies of your passport (take 5 to be sure)
  • two recent passport-sized photos
  • the fee (approximately 7 euros)

As the Central Police Headquarters in many provinces will only deal with a fixed number of applications per day, queues of applicants are frequently quite long. Accordingly, the staff in many places have devised a system whereby numbers are issued to the first arrivals each morning. Once they have issued numbers for all the applicants they intend to deal with, they tell the remaining aspirants to return the following day or they are given an appointment for another date.

In order to have your application processed as quickly as possible, it’s advisable to be at the Central Police Headquarters first thing in the morning and have your application processed that day.

Step 3Once the staff at the Central Police Headquarters receive your application and issue you with an identity number (NIE), you will be asked to go to a bank to pay the fee. On your return to the Central Police Headquarters, you give them the receipt, and they issue you with a certificate stating that you have been added to the Registro Central de Extranjeros (Register of Foreign Nationals).

But only slightly!

The documents you are issued with by the Central Police Headquarters are extremely important and you should make copies of them for safe-keeping. You should also give copies to your employer. You should take the same care of the original documents as you would of your Passport.

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