Yes, paperwork can be a bit of a pain, but getting an NIE number is a necessity if you’re buying or renting a property in Spain. Just ask Marijke, who writes about all the bureaucracy she and her husband ploughed through to purchase their dream house in her blog about moving to Spain. Getting an NIE number is one of many small tasks you can do in advance of your property hunt that will help it go smoothly.
But what is an NIE number?
An NIE number is a legal number assigned by the Spanish police to anyone who may have legal dealings in Spain, including anyone who needs to pay Spanish tax. It’s their way of legitimately tracking everyone, even those who aren’t residents, that regularly visits the country.
Why do I need it?
If you’re considering buying a property, even if you won’t be living in it, you will need to pay tax upon purchase and won’t be able to complete your sale unless you have a valid NIE number. The process takes three to four weeks to administer, so it’s best to plan ahead and apply before you start looking at properties.
Remember – an NIE number is mandatory for every individual in your family, including the children.
What if I’m living or working in Spain as well?
If you’re applying for residency status or working a season, the Spanish consulate suggests that it’s better to complete all your paperwork in Spain. EU citizens are given three months of residency before they need to apply, whereas non-EU citizens will need to apply alongside their residency permit.
Ok, I’m ready to apply, where do I go?
There are two ways to obtain an NIE number and the method you choose depends on where you are. If you’re outside of Spain when you apply, you’ll need to make an appointment to visit your country’s Spanish consulate. If you’re in Spain, regardless of your nationality, you can visit a local police station. In both circumstances, you’ll need to have downloaded and filled out – but not signed – the EX-15 application form, gathered all the relevant documentation and have the completed paperwork and money ready to pay the fees (circa £15 in the UK or €12 in Spain). You will pay the charge and sign the paperwork in person at the appointment itself.
In the UK, the Spanish consulates are based in London and Edinburgh. You can find both the EX-15 application form and instructions on how to fill it in on the consulate websites. There is also a link to the Model-790 payment form you’ll need to complete before your appointment. You must bring a valid, in-date passport as well as a photocopy. If you’re a non-EU citizen, you also need to bring a copy of your UK residence permit and written proof of why you need an NIE number.
If you are in Spain, you can go to the local police station (Oficina de Extranjeros). Again, you’ll need to complete the application form before your appointment and bring your documentation and fee with you to begin the administration process. In some areas, like Madrid, you may be asked to hire a gestor to fill in the Model-790 form for you since it is an official tax form.
Got it, anything else I should know?
You will be expected to complete the form in the Spanish language, so you may wish to hire a bilingual lawyer or translator to help you.
It’s better to type your answers into the form, but remember not to sign it until your appointment!
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