Spanish legislation makes it compulsory for anyone selling or buying property in Spain to have a NIE - Numero de Identidad de Extranjeros which, translated, means "Identity Number for Foreigners". The NIE is actually just a piece of paper with your name and number and a official stamp so, as friend of Euroresidentes Angus Wallace suggests, "remember to make about 20 photocopies of the original and keep those for everyday use, it’s surprising how quickly that very important piece of paper becomes a mini jigsaw after it has been folded umpteen times and stuck in your wallet".
Then, once it became necessary to have one, your legal representative could get one for you. It is necessary for anyone paying money to the Spanish Inland Revenue (Hacienda) to have a Spanish identity number, and to obtain it in person unless you give someone else legal representation.
How do I get a NIE?
In theory it's easy. All you have to do is to go
to the Policia Nacional station (Extranjeros department) where the property that you are buying belongs to (find out
which one is nearest you in this list of National Police Offices in Spainthanks
again Angus!). You must fill in, sign an application form, a complete copy of your passport and
your original passport. In some Regions, a photograph is requested.
In practice, and depending on where you live, this should be quite straightforward. However, the Spanish Foreign Office still makes no distinction between EU-member state cititizens and other foreigners applying for the all-important NIE, so in certain places you will have to join a very long queue of immigrants in Spain seeking the same paper as you. Some Offices schedule a couple of days a week for applying for NIE, please check.
Our advice: arm yourself with patience and a bottle of water or flask of tea and a good book. And print this page (Reasons for living in Spain) incase you start to get desperate and need a reminder of why you are putting yourself through this. Alternatively, get a recommended Spanish lawyer to sort it out for you. If you need help in finding one, let us know.
Anyone seeking to buy or sell property in Spain would be well advised to set aside one whole day to resolve this question.
|Other useful links|
|Latest news on the property market in Spain Selection of news articles related to the real estate market here.|
|Mortgages in Spain, a brief introduction to the Spanish mortgage market, how it works and interest rates in Spain|
|Spanish banks, before applying for a mortgage, find out more about Spain's most popular banks and Spanish savings banks.|
|Property taxes in Spain, description of taxes involved in purchasing property and yearly property taxes in Spain.|
|Useful Spanish vocab for buying a house - you should learn at least the basic terms. Check out our pronunciation guide too.|
|Renting property in Spain - if you want to buy to rent, then read this section and our free notice board of property to rent in Spain.|
|Spanish lawyers - information on lawyers fees in Spain for property transactions|
|Houses for sale in Spain - take a look at the kind of houses available. Or check out our free Spain property for sale board.|