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Working abroad Tips & Tricks

Getting to know NIE: your essential guide to Spain's NIE number!

Last update: 9 January, 2024  ◦  18 November, 2022 by Photo from Birga Birga  ◦  5 minutes reading time
NIE in the middle of the image with the spanish color flag on the letters. with a sculpture with two lions and a carriage in front of it and a picture of a building in the back.

Getting ready to kickstart your career in Spain? Fantastic news!

Don't let it slip your mind that upon your arrival, there's a whole checklist of important tasks awaiting you, and right at the top of that list is securing your NIE number. Now, you might be thinking, "What on earth is a NIE number? Why is it crucial? And where in the world do I start to get one?" Well, hang on tight because in this blog, we're about to unravel all the mysteries surrounding this essential piece of paperwork!

What is a NIE number?

"NIE" is an abbreviation for "Número de Identidad de Extranjero," and it functions as both an identity and tax identification number. It is a mandatory requirement for all non-Spanish citizens working in Spain, and once issued, this number remains unchanged. In most cases your employer will take care of it, that way you don't have to worry about it. But if that is not the case for you, don't fret! Just follow the steps in this blog and you'll have it done in no time.

Do I have to apply for a NIE number? 

"Must I really go through the process of obtaining an NIE number? Even if I've got a European passport and a social security number back in my home country?" The answer is an emphatic "Yes!". When you're living and working in Spain for more than three months, the law insists on it. Without that elusive NIE number, you're pretty much locked out of the Spanish experience – no legal work, no paycheck, no roof over your head, no Spanish bank account, no tax payments, no riding around in your own Spanish car, and even no flashy mobile subscription.

Now, assuming you're thinking, "What's the damage, though? How much will it cost me to secure this number?" Well, here's the good news: it won't break the bank! The price tag for applying for an NIE number is €12. A small price to pay for the key to unlocking all those Spanish adventures! 🇪🇸💃

Four pictures of Spain, different buildings in a collage with a sign that says Hola

Where do I apply for my NIE number when I start working in Spain?

To get your hands on that NIE number, you'll need to pay a visit to a local police station in Spain, specifically in the municipality where you'll be working. You will have to make an appointment in advance. You can schedule an appointment via this link. However, this website is in Spanish! So, we've prepared a step-by-step guide that will have you scheduling that appointment like a pro, with zero problems to worry about.

Steps for applying for a NIE number:

Step 1: Select the province where you will be staying, for example Valencia, Barcelona or Madrid. 


Step 2: With your province selected, click on Aceptar to continue. 


Step 3: Next up choose the specific location where you want to apply for your NIE number.


Step 4: Select Policia-Certificados Y Asignacion NIE and, you guessed it, hit Aceptar again. 


Step 5: Voila! You will now be taken to a page that lists all the documents you need to bring to your appointment. Click on Entrar.


These are the documents you need to bring to your appointment:

  • Confirmation of appointment (we will discuss this in the next steps)
  • Work contract (original and copy)
  • Rent contract or certificate of ownership
  • Passport or identity card (original and copy)
  • The form EX18 (Modelos generales) in duplicate, you can find this form here
  • The form MODELO 790 CODIGO 012: filled in and stamped by the bank
  • You must also bring the proof of payment (we will explain this in the next steps)

Step 6: Click on Entrar


Step 7: Select Pasaporte/Documento de identidad. Enter your document number from your passport or identity card in the bar next to it. Then enter your first and last name at Nombre y apellidos, as it appears on your passport. After that, click on Aceptar.


Step 8: The next step is to make an appointment. Click on Solicitar cita to make an appointment. Sometimes, no appointments are available (No hay suficientes citas disponibles). In that case, you will be asked to try again later. TIP: try again on a Friday morning around 09:30 because that's when new appointments are usually added!

If appointments are available, choose the date you want, enter your phone number, e-mail address and reason for the appointment (Solicitud NIE) and click siguiente.


Step 9: You will be taken to a page where you need to confirm your appointment. To confirm your appointment, tick the following boxes:

  • Estoy conforme con la informacion mostrada en pantalla
  • Deseo recibir un correo electronico con los datos de mi cita

Next, click Confirmar.


Your screen will light up with a confirmation of your appointment. Don't forget to print this page! It's your golden ticket to the Spanish adventure awaiting you. Also important: take it to your appointment at the police station.


Step 10: Before you can go to the police station, make sure to fill in the Modelo 790 codigo 012. Add in your personal details and click Asignación de número de identidad de extranjero (NIE) a instancia del interesado. Indicate that you want to pay at the bank by ticking the box en efectivo. Print the document in A4 format, take it to your bank and pay the tax. You will get a stamp on the form and proof of payment. Don't forget to bring both with you to your appointment.


And there you have it! Your Spanish adventure is ready to set sail. 🇪🇸 We hope you savor every moment of living and working in Spain, making memories that'll last a lifetime. Cheers to new beginnings! 🥂

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