Thursday, August 25, 2005

Getting a NIE in Britain

Non-resident property buyers in Spain can apply for a NIE (foreigner's identification number) in any of the Spanish consulates in Britain which could save them having to come to Spain a few days early and endure long queues in an often badly-managed (to put it politely) and over-crowded Oficina de Extranjeros in a Spanish police station.

Anyone intending to sell or buy property in Spain (or indeed anything else which involves paying tax to the Spanish inland revenue) needs a NIE by Spanish law for tax purposes. Applying at your nearest consulate is more expensive than getting a NIE in Spain but it still may be an advantage for alot of non-resident property-buyers.

If you do decide to apply while still in the UK, then you need to get together all necessary documentation and then go to the consulate where you will be asked to sign the NIE application forminfront of a consulate employee. Your signature will then be given an official validation stamp (which is where the fee comes in - £22).

You will need the following documents:

- A stamped (also at the consulate) photocopy of your passport
- 2 recent passport size photos. The background must be plain, and people who wear glasses and/or earrings must take them off for the photo
- An original copy + photocopy of a document which explains why you need your NIE. This may be the private sales contract you have signed with the estate agent, promotor or private vendor, if you are going to work in Spain, the job offer... We suggest ringing the consulate beforehand to find out what to take depending on your personal circumstances
- A self-addressed envelope
- An envelope big enough to contain all the above + NIE application form addressed to the central police HQ in Madrid: Comisaría General de Extranjería y Documentación, Dirección General de Policia, C/ General Pardiñas, 90, 28006 Madrid, Spain:

One the NIE application form with your signature and passport have been stamped, the consulate will send the envelope containing all the above to Madrid. Then you will have to wait to receive your NIE.

The consulate will not be able to provide you with an application form, so get someone to get one from their local police station in Spain and post it to you or simply download a NIE application form . This form is provided by the Spanish Interior Ministry. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the yellow IMPRIMIR button to print it out (Imprimir means Print).

There are 3 Spanish consulates in the UK.

If you live in:-
Northern Ireland, Cheshire, Cleveland, Clwyd, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Durham, Manchester, Gwynedd, Humberside, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, the Isle of Man, Merseyside, Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Tyne & Wear or Yorkshire, please apply to:
The Spanish Consulate General, 1 Brooks House, 70 Spring Gardens, Manchester, M2 2BQ. Tel: 0161 236 1233

Scotland or the Scottish Islands, please apply to:
The Spanish Consulate General, 63 North Castle Street, Edinburgh, EH2 3LJ. Tel: 0131 220 1843

And if you live anywhere else within the UK apply to the London office: 20 Draycott Place, London SW3 2RZ, Tel: 020 7589 8989, Fax: 020 7581 7888

The Spanish Consulate in Britain's website gives no indication just how long it takes for the NIE to arrive from Madrid, so check with staff either by phone beforehand or while you are there to get an idea of how long you should expect to wait.



kathy said...

I've just read your information about getting an NIE. first comment, the word for 'Print' is 'Imprimer', not 'Imprimir'.

You do not need passport photos to get an NIE; You need only to fill in the form and present this form, and a copy of it, together with your passport.

As for the photos needed for any other official documentation, I've never been told to take off either earrings or glassed.

10/02/2005 10:30 PM  
Anonymous said...

You're wrong Kathy. Imprimer doesn't exist in Spanish. See for yourself, by entering "to print" in the Google translation box and choosing English to Spanish option.

10/03/2005 8:46 AM  
Anonymous said...

Hi Kathy, you actually do need photos, as expressed clearly on the Spanish Consulate official page.

3.- If you wish to send your application through this Consulate you will need to do the following:

You must come in person (no appointment needed) between 09:30 - 13:30 Monday to Friday with:

(a) Your valid passport.

(b) Two passport size photographs.

(c) The application form for N.I.E. DULY COMPLETED BUT NOT SIGNED as you will need to sign in our presence.

This form cannot be obtained at this Consulate. It must be obtained from the Comisaría de Policía in Spain or via their Web site, click on "Extranjeros", "Modelos de Solicitud" and download form "NIE para residentes en el extranjero - EX-14 bis". This form is in Spanish.

Please note that the address in both paragraphs of the form should be an address in Spain.

(d) An envelope per applicant (no stamps needed) addressed to:


It's on this page, near the bottom:

10/03/2005 8:52 AM  
Ian said...

We applied for NIE while in Spain a couple of weeks ago. Photos were not required (photos are only required for a Residencia)
Photocopies of passports certified by a Notoria were required.

10/13/2005 1:28 PM  
Anonymous said...

I applied for a NIE a week ago at the Manchester Spanish Consulate, they took from me 2 passport size photo's and 2 photocopies of my passport the official said i could either put my address in England or Spain on the form for them to return to me the NIE Number and it would take between 4 to 6 weeks to return.
i went at 12.45 and there was only 1 person in front of me and the process took about 10 minutes to complete.
i have tried twice to get this number in Spain with no result, the first time i waited for a hour at 8 o clock in the morning to be told that i now had to go to Granada to apply which is about 1 hour away from where my property is, the second time i could not find the place in Granada so i give up on that.
its a lot more civilised way of doing things going to the Consulate in Manchester, as lond as you get there well before 2 o clock you will have no problem, the people can speak resonable English and they are helpful, especially if you have problems with filling out the forms, but saying this you must fill out as much as you can yourself.

2/07/2006 2:05 PM  
Cristina said...

You always need photos for NIE. I personally work in this in Alicante with a small team assisting to obtain NIE and other services and I know. Also depending where you aply for NIE it will take you from 1 to 21 days. Alicante if you go to the office early you can get it the same day.

2/22/2006 10:51 AM  
Anonymous said...

Cristina - you say if you go to Alicante early you can get this in 1 day - how early please?

3/09/2006 4:48 PM  
desperate said...

We have been told we must have 2 photos (didnt know about earings and glasses - but why risk it!) Does anyone know if your solicitor in Spain can apply on your behalf. Our solicitor has said no - we do not believe him!

3/09/2006 5:13 PM  
Jan said...

VERY EARLY. I was advised to start queuing at 6.00 a.m. and only just managed to get a number to be attended to that day. It's a horrible place.

3/09/2006 5:13 PM  
Anonymous said...

Hello Desperate. No, getting a NIE is the one thing you cannot delegate in someone else. You have to go personally. After one unhappy wait in a long long queue in Murcia, my wife and I decided to get ours in the consulate in London where we were treated in a much more civilized manner and the whole process took less than 15 minutes!

3/09/2006 5:17 PM  
Anonymous said...

Thanks Jan! WE live in NI and have to go to the consulate in Manchester! very handy! However I think we will have one try in Alicante and if no luck then it probably will be worth paying the flights to Manchester.

3/09/2006 6:29 PM  
Anonymous said...

Should have asked does anyone know how long the NIE takes if you go to Manchester - we have been advised with the change of law in Spain to have our NIE for July - rate paying season.

3/09/2006 6:31 PM  
Nervous female said...

Is the office in Alicante easily found? I will be out on my own and wonder about going is it relatively safe to be hanging around it on your own for 2 hours?

3/09/2006 6:38 PM  
Anonymous said...

Hello Nervous Female - you don't have to worry about waiting in the queue in early hours. It is, after all, outside the police station, and security is fine because everyone in the queue is on their best behaviour because they want their NIE or work permit or residence permit.... So don't worry. Personal safety isn't an issue here. You just need to arm yourself with buckets and buckets of patience. So take a book or a mag with you! Good luck, Jan.

3/09/2006 9:28 PM  
Nervous female said...

Thanks Jan; is it easy to find, I have a map from the solicitors but you can never be sure in Spain. Maybe will have to go on a magical mystery tour of Alicante! Watch out road users. Nervous female on the loose

3/09/2006 9:34 PM  
Anonymous said...

looks like this whole process is an unwholly nightmare !
We only returned from spain last Saturday ,after purchasing a property near alicante ,from parador properties , we were not told of needing an NIE at all will our sale not go through without this ? Our solicitor in alicante4 has arranged a date of no later than 27th April , looks like we have been mislead as we will not have enough time in the UK to apply and get the NIE if we need it to complete our sale ! any advice greatly received also the reply from the anon who arranges this in alicante how much do you charge to assist with the NIE , i dont particularly want my 2 children with me when i have to do this typical spanish beurocrasy it seems .

3/09/2006 10:23 PM  
manxmunk said...

Hi anonymous, you don't need your NIE number when you originally buy you property. I purchased a property in Marina Del Mar two years ago and have only now been asked to obtain my NIE number because of new Spanish tax regulations. I am now in the process of setting it up with the Spanish Consulate in Manchester.

3/10/2006 11:03 AM  
Anonymous said...

I am planning to get my NIE when next out in Spain however my husband wont be out again until July. Does anyone know if we both need this to pay taxes or is it sufficient for only one of us to have it. Thanks. Directions to the place in Alicante would also be useful

3/10/2006 2:49 PM  
nervous female said...

We also have property in Marina Del MAr and did not have NIE when purchasing. It is only now we have been told by solic we need this ASAP.

3/10/2006 2:52 PM  
Rupert said...

You should always have a NIE when purchasing property. But because the estate agencies are so desperate to push the sale through, they often don't insist, or suggest you sign anyway because the buyers can come back and get the NIE at a later date.

Infact if you are selling and agree to do this, it means that the buyer will not be able to pay his/her taxes until he/she has a NIE, and you as the seller cannot settle your tax bill on the sale until the buyer has. So then you are required to pay a hefty fine (the bigger the profit, the bigger the fine for not having paid on time) on top of the taxes when the buyer finally gets around to getting a NIE. The buyer will also have to pay a fine.

That's what happened to us and we really regret following our estate agents advice and signing the sale deeds even though the buyers did not have a NIE.

3/11/2006 1:10 PM  
Anonymous said...

i bought a property in tenerife in march last year,and i applied for an nie number in may the same year,i handed all the relevant details plus the application form in to the police station,and was told to come back in two weeks,i told them i was going back home three days later,they told me to pick the form up when i was next there,next time i was there they didnt have any record of it the application form was filled in correctly because my bank manager did it for me,i am wondering if i have a nie number or not,if i have how can i find this out

3/16/2006 6:30 PM  
Anonymous said...

Does anyone know anything about applying for your NIE in Elche? I have been told you do not need to be there until 9.00am and that you get it there on the same same day?

3/23/2006 6:32 PM  
John said...

About Elche is not true you get it the same day, last time was three days, before a couple weeks. Alicante same day. I work in this in Alicante.

4/03/2006 12:14 PM  
Anonymous said...

We're due in Galicia to buy a property at the end of April. We applied for our NIEs in London, 3 weeks ago. We put the address in Spain as the property, which is actually a bit of a ruin and doesn't have a proper address. Doh!
Now we can't get through on the phone to change the address because its been engaged for 3 weeks!
Any tips on getting a reprint on the documentation or getting through to madrid by email or fax?

4/11/2006 8:23 PM  
Anonymous said...

If I was you, and seeing as you live in London, I would go along in person to the Spanish Consulate and ask. They might at least be able to give you a phone number in Madrid so that you can ring and change the address on your application, or ask for a duplicate to be sent to your British address.

4/12/2006 9:32 AM  
Anonymous said...

Does anyone know where I can find a translation of the NIE form EX-14 bis ?

4/20/2006 2:05 PM  
Anonymous said...

A translation of the NIE form can be found on
From the home page click on residency and you get the info you need.

We applied for our NIE in 2001. Our solicitor in spain handled the whole thing so it is possible for a solicitor or Gestoria to do it, you need to sign a power of attorney though for them to do it for you.

We have lost our originals and wonder if anyone knows whether we can just go to the Police station and get duplicates or do we have to do the whole application process again?

4/24/2006 5:15 PM  
Anonymous said...

We are just back from our holiday in Spain. While there I decided to go to Elche to apply for my nie. I arrived at the police station at approx 11.00am waited 10 minutes gave in my forms and returned the next day to pick up my NIE, couldnt have been easier. My husband however on Easter Tuesday arrived at Elche at 8.45am, gave in his forms and was back in La Marina enjoying a coffee by 9.45 with his NIE. It is possible to get it there in one day. This appears to be the norm now. Good luck to all in their NIE quest. No doubt in six months time it will be something else we will all be chasing.

4/25/2006 3:54 PM  
Anonymous said...

We applied to Madrid over 6 weeks ago and still no sign of the NIE number. Now the seller is saying it's taking too long and that they will pull out of the sale and we'll lose our deposit. Surely not? No time length has been stipulated as to when the transaction should be completed by. If the seller pulls out don't they have to pay you double the deposit back? Is it quicker to dump Madrid and apply locally to where we'll be living. We need to buy the house next week!

5/03/2006 12:29 AM  
Anonymous said...

I applied for my NIE number on the 10 March 2006 it is now the 13 of May and no sign of it, I was told that I would get it at the latest in 8 weeks, £22.00 paid god knows what they do all day??

5/13/2006 8:05 PM  
Anonymous said...

Had a fruitless attempt at getting a NIE in Tarragona in April - we were met (eventually) by the most officious woman who accused us of forging a letter saying we were buying a caravan! Of course we were going to waste part of our holiday to queue up for a number and forge a letter just for the experience of having to wait outside a Spanish Police station not knowing what the hell is going on for 2 hours. Come to think of it, we're not sure the Spanish knew what the hell was going on - and I include the people working there as well!!
So today, off we trooped to London to the Consul General and did the business of signing in front of the officials within 10 minutes. Paid our £22 - beware though - we were told we MUST have it sent to an address in Spain. Estimated time 4-5 weeks, though we were told not to hold our breath and not to contact them again but Madrid to chase it up if it didn't arrive. Fingers crossed, though I'm not holding out much hope!!!!

5/17/2006 7:11 PM  
Anonymous said...

your print out a NIe link does not work thanks for the info tho Vj

8/15/2006 1:32 PM  
Anonymous said...

My original comment is the one above the one above - if that makes sense! My NIE did arrive fortunately for us! It took about 4-5 weeks as they said! I'll take it all back now! Keep the faith!

9/13/2006 9:58 PM  
Anonymous said...

I have an Estate agency in La Marina and would like to clear a few things up on applying for an NIE number. You need a completed form and a copy, a passport style photo, your passport and a copy of your passport. All persons to be included on the Escritura (title deed) or applying for a mortgage have to have an NIE number in order to complete the purchase at the Notary. You can now only apply for the NIE number in person.In the Alicante province you can apply in Alicante but you need an address in Alicante in order to do so; for other applications you can apply at Elche. I have been today with clients for NIE numbers and i am picking them up for them in one week. This is the first time that we have had to go back for them, we usually get to the office at around 12.30pm and the process takes a couple of minutes and then a 10 minute wait for the NIE certificate to be issued. It now seems that a one week wait is the norm here. We do not use Alicante unless it is urgent as we cannot see the point of the early start and queuing all that time when it is so much easier at Elche. When people buy property through us it is the first thing we do for them and at no charge as the NIE is free when issued in Spain.

9/18/2006 4:36 PM  
Anonymous said...

how can I find out if someone is using my NIE to obtain credit?

9/20/2006 9:35 PM  
Anonymous said...

Have just returned from Spain and tried with our Spanish solicitor to get an NIE in Elche, no waiting time but when official found out the address of our property was Murcia she refused to give the NIE. We had paid the solicitor 100 Euros for each NIE needless to say I have decided not to use this solicitor and they did return the money but they seem to think rules have changed.Was thinking of going to Manchester but if they post to Spain I will never get it no postal service where I am. Does anyone know if it is easy to get an NIE in Cartegena?

10/04/2006 1:21 PM  
Anonymous said...

We have applied for an NIE number at the Spanish consulate in London have tried the number in madrid to chase it is permanently engaged does anyone know how long it takes using this method?

10/04/2006 11:22 PM  
Anonymous said...

Having an NIE is quite useful especially if you actually live in the country although residencia is much more useful as it can be used as an identity card.

That said, there is no obligation whatsoever to have an NIE. Particularly if you are a EU citizen, then there is even now no longer any obligation to become a resident. At the time, I purchased my property in Cadiz using only my passport, I argued this point with agents who were convinced (wrongly) that it is needed to purchase a property. By all means, get it but just bear in mind that your passport is perfectly acceptable.

10/23/2006 4:51 PM  
Shirley said...

The anonimo usuario is SO WRONG. He obviously bought his property in Spain years ago. It is now ILEGAL to buy or sell without a NIE. Please take this seriously. My parents did not, and they are still having terrible problems with the Spanish tax office as a result. GET YOUR NIE BEFORE DOING ANYTHING, and don't take any notice of anyone who says otherwise. Laws change. And today, in Spain, it is compulsory to have your NIE in order to buy a house, a car or even pay your bills.

10/23/2006 9:27 PM  
Anonymous said...

We live in Northern Ireland and thought we had to go to Manchester but they emailed me to say that we could take our documents to Viceconsul of Spain in Belfast;
Mr Gerard McClure
Unit 7
190 Saintfield Road Belfast 02890709348.

If you email the manchester consulate they will give you all the details.

10/25/2006 2:04 PM  
Anonymous said...

If it's true that you now need an address in Spain before applying for an NIE, how can that be done if the NIE number is needed to first obtain the property?

I'm confused!

10/27/2006 11:03 AM  
Anonymous said...

Just to clarify then, do both of the addresses given on the form (section 1 and 4) have to be addresses in spain??

is it possible to have neither address in spain??

1/04/2007 3:32 PM  
Anonymous said...

Some of the points here are really useful and constructive and I'm *so* grateful... yet at the same time so confused!

How can I buy a property in Spain if I can't buy a property without a NIE which I need a Spanish address to obtain? (which is what seems to be being said - I'm confused!!)

1/13/2007 4:35 AM  
Anonymous said...

Download the NIE here

1/18/2007 4:11 PM  
Hugh said...

The address given above to download the form has changed and is now

1/24/2007 3:50 PM  
Anonymous said...

Some good info there, cheers, althogh I would echo the comments about having to state an address in Spain on the application????

I am about to complete on an off plan so I have no address in Spain yet. Bizarre!

2/10/2007 4:37 PM  
Anonymous said...

Trying to organise an NIE from the UK is proving to be a mammoth task! Telephoning for information, as suggested on the Spanish Consulate's website is virtually impossible, no help is offered except the invitation to 'write' or look on their website. Although the Edinburgh Consulate were extremely polite and helpful, the same cannot be said for the London Consulate! Two words - rude and arrogant spring to mind! (Mind you we did ring 'out of hours'!!) None of the information provided on numerous websites seems to agree on what exactly is needed when you visit a Consulate in the UK, so we will be going armed with photocopies of everything we possibly can. There seems to be some dispute whether you need to provide documentation to support your application for the NIE. Any thoughts??

2/12/2007 7:30 PM  
Hirsty said...

Getting an NIE in Spain is possible........ if your prepared to queue. As we were staying in Granada we thought we would try there....We went to the address in Granada; Calle Faisan, 'La Caletta' a large government building and I showed the forms at the reception. She gave us a number and told us to return at 10.00am when we went back, and they said it was the wrong place and told us to go to another building next door, which I think was the social security office, we waited again with a new number but when we took our turn they said it was not there and they did not know where it was!
By this time it was 12pm so we decided to go to Guajar to see the agent and the house instead, had a nice meal and enjoyed the sunshine.
The next morning we got up very early and went to Motril waited with lots of Romanians who were very friendly and proud of their new European passports, after three hours we finally got our felt like winning the lottery!
Somewhere in Granada there is a little man in an office waiting for people to ask him for an NIE but he has no visitors!

2/19/2007 8:59 PM  
mwwardy said...

Can anyone confirm or deny that if I apply to the London Spanish consulate for an NIE in person that they will return it to a UK address? It says on the web site that one needs a spanish address. Thanks

3/22/2007 2:20 PM  
blawes1 said...

Hi Mwaardy

The Spanish Consulates only accept the applications and pass this to Spain. They wont arrange to send your number to the UK. They will send you a receipt that you applied and thats all. You now must have the number to sign for a property purchase, whereas before just having a receipt for the application was enough. If you have purchased a property can you not ask the agent if it can be sent to that address. I have clients that applied in London in January and it still hasnt arrived in Spain so be careful if you need it soon. Bernie

4/05/2007 11:23 AM  
Anonymous said...

Hi all,

We applied for an NIE no. through the Spanish Vice Consulate for Northern Ireland, Gerard McClure, on 15/2/07 and we've yet to receive anything back from Madrid. Does anyone have an email address to contact Madrid as we can't get through on any of the following phone numbers we found on the internet and we are due to complete on our property very soon:

91 322 6813
91 322 3400
91 322 6824
31 322 6826

Many thanks,

4/05/2007 7:15 PM  
vix said...

Hiya, HEEEELLLPPPPP, I'm going round in a circle and would like to ask if anyone knows how to get an NIE number WITHOUT having an official document that says WHY I want to obtain this number? I haven't got a job offer or a property BUT when I try to rent a flat or open a bank account (which all agencies/landlords require) I can't do so cos I haven't got a NIE number. But I can't get one of these without a document. How am I supposed to do this???? Anyone out there who can advise???


4/10/2007 12:11 PM  
Nick Scott said...


I am in the same boat as your clients. Completed application in the London Consulate at the end of January and have not received anything so far (other than receipt of application).

Also finding it very frustrating trying to contact the relevant authorities in Madrid to establish what is going on. All the numbers listed on their website are constantly engaged. Does anyone have a reliable phone number or e-mail address? Help would be much appreciated!

4/11/2007 1:31 PM  
Anonymous said...

does anyone know how long it takes if the nie is applied for in manchester?

4/21/2007 4:22 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home