Hi, My name is David Wright and I moved from England to Spain over 15 years ago now and below
are some things that you need to know and get if you are thinking of moving to Spain.
If you find this info helpful come over to my facebook page and give me a like thanks. David on Facebook >HERE<
What is an N.I.E Number?
is an abbreviation for Número de Identidad de Extranjero, which
translates as Identification Number for Foreigners, or Foreigners’
Identification Number if you prefer.
NIE is your all-purpose identification and tax number in Spain. You need it for
everything that involves a tramite or official process in
Spain. For example, you will need an NIE number to buy a property, buy a car,
get connected to the utilities and, most importantly as far as the Spanish
state is concerned, pay your taxes. Without an NIE number, the Spanish tax
authorities are unable to assess or process annual tax payments such as income
tax (IRPF), and the annual wealth tax (Patrimonio), both of which are declared
by resident and non-resident property owners.
number certificates were being issued with a 3-month validity from the
time of issue, after which you were expected to apply for residency, or
register as a non-resident. So after three months the certificate was no
longer valid, at least in principle. However, in mid-2016 the regulation was
changed to eliminate the three-month expiry deadline, so NIE numbers are now
valid indefinitely. But this is Spain and the bureaucracy is a bit of a mess,
and regulations are not uniformly implemented or even understood. You may find
that some notaries refuse to accept a certificate that is older than three
months, which could cause problems for property buyers trying to sign deeds
more than three months after obtaining their NIE certificate. In principle you
can get your NIE number anytime before you buy, but to be on the safe side you
might want to sort out your NIE number on your last trip to Spain, when you
find a property you want to buy and can complete within three months.
you are an EU citizen and spend longer than 3 months in Spain after getting
your NIE number, you are required to register and get a government certificate
that shows your NIE number.
Who needs an NIE in Spain?
Any foreigner who becomes resident for tax purposes in Spain needs an NIE
number in Spain.
2. Any non-resident foreigner who buys property in Spain. If a couple buys a
property in Spain together, and they register the property in both their names,
then both of them must obtain an NIE number in Spain.
3. Anyone who wants to work in Spain, or start a business in Spain.
When do you need to have an NIE number?
you are buying property in Spain, then you need to have an NIE number by the
time you sign the deeds of purchase before notary, an event known in Spanish as
your NIE number in time for escritura means applying at
least 1 month before hand if you are applying in Spain, and at
least 2 months before hand if you are applying via a consulate abroad.
The actual time it takes depends upon where you apply, and the time of the
year. You might be able to get an NIE number in person in Spain in a couple of
days, but it could also take weeks, so best allow yourself plenty of time.
How do you apply for an NIE number?
first thing to understand is that dealing with the Spanish bureaucracy is often
a perplexing, not to mention frustrating affair. The way they interpret the
regulations in Andalusia might differ from the way they interpret the same
rules in Catalonia. In one area, for example Barcelona, you need to book an
appointment online in advance to request your NIE number, then spend hours
waiting in a queue, whilst in other areas you can just turn up and get
everything done in half an hour. I have confirmed for myself that the rules are
inconsistently applied, which makes it difficult to prepare a guide to NIE
keeping in mind that the process and interpretation of requirements might be
different depending on how and where you apply for an NIE number, here is a
general guide that explains the official requirements and the process as it
should work (but might not)
are three ways to apply for a Spanish NIE number:
Apply in person in Spain.
2. Apply in person via a Spanish Consulate abroad.
3. Apply through a representative in Spain
1. Applying for NIE number in person in Spain
Thinking of buying in Spain ? see what you can get for your money
in person for an NIE number whilst in Spain is a relatively straightforward
procedure. The only inconvenience is that you may have to wait for several
hours in a queue in order to submit your application at a Spanish police
station. It does depend upon the police station where you apply, and the time
of day (early is better). With a bit of luck you will be in and out in half an
hour or less.
process is as follows:
1) Prepare the necessary documentation:
- All applicants: Two copies of the Ex-15 application form filled out
and signed . The Spanish name for the NIE form is Solicitud de
Número de Identidad de Extranjero (NIE) y Certificados (EX-15), and
you can download this NIE application form by clicking on the link below.
- All applicants: An original document (plus a photocopy) that
justifies your reason for applying for an NIE number, such as a private
purchase contract for a property, deposit contract, or a mortgage
- EU nationals: Your passport and a photocopy of the main page of
your passport (the page that includes your photo, name, passport number,
- Non-EU nationals: Your passport and a photocopy of your entire passport
(all pages), plus proof of your legal entry into Spain (for instance a
landing card, known in Spanish as a declaración de entrada or
a título de viaje or cédula de inscripción).
Some Oficinas de Extranjeros might accept a valid entry
stamp in your passport as proof of legal entry. To be on the safe side
non-EU nationals might also want to take along two recent passport size
colour photographs with a plain coloured background.
Once you have lived in
Spain for more than six months, you are no longer considered a tourist and
should apply for a residence permit. Fortunately, the revised foreigner´s law,
which went into effect on 1 March 2003, makes it easier for European Union citizens
to apply for residence; also, those EU citizens who are working in Spain, do
not need to renew their permits.
The normal residence
permit is renewed once every five years and renewal is usually a fairly
Normally, you apply
for your residence card at your local police station or oficina de
extranjeros. As laws constantly change and vary slightly from region to
region, it is best to pop along first and find out exactly what will be
How long can you
expect to wait before receiving your card? This also varies, but you are
talking of about six months. However, you are given a document showing you have
applied for residencia, and this can be used in place of the
Since 1 March 2003,
two groups of EU citizens no longer need to hold residence cards: people
legally working in Spain and paying Spanish Social Security; also, retired
workers entitled to a Spanish State pension who have lived in Spain for more
than three years and have worked in the 12 months prior to retirement.
Everybody else should
apply for residencia.
EU citizens no longer need to show proof of income
or medical insurance. However, they will need to present:
Non-EU citizens will need:
the visa or visado
de residencia obtained from the Spanish consulate in your home
proof of financial
de antecedentes penales showing
you have no criminal record;
medical certificate -
necessary for obtaining the visa;
medical insurance with
a company which has offices in Spain;
payment of fee (not
Spanish bank statement
showing income arriving from abroad;
deeds to Spanish
property or a rental contract, plus photocopy;
Information on Spain - miscellaneous
requesting the unified work permit/residence permit will need further documents
relating to their employer.
Your residence permit
will include a número de identificatión de extranjero (NIE), which
identifies you to the Spanish tax authorities.
Many EU citizens I
know shy away from taking out their residencia. This is not a good
idea for, if living in Spain, there are tax advantages in being resident and,
for EU members, application is not a complicated process.
For those who do not
want the bother of dealing with it themselves, it doesn´t cost an arm-and-a-leg
to use the services of a gestor (licensed administrative
So ... go ahead and
take the plunge! You now have most of the information on Spain necessary to
obtain your residencia, so ... get yourself legal!
Thinking of buying in Spain ? see what you can get for your money
Driving In Spain
|Why you should NOT Drive a UK Registered Car In Spain.
Again this week i was told of another horror storey of a guy who was
driving his UK registered car here in Spain and now has to arrange a
loader to take it back to the uk as he has no mot on it and can not get
one here...thats gona cost him....
Once you have spent any amount of time in Spain you know the roadside
checks by the police and Guardia Civil are an all too often occurrence.
The Spanish police can seem quite intimidating when it comes to
checking your vehicle and it's documentation and if you are driving a
foreign plaited vehicle you will stand out like a sore thumb.
But don't panic you are legally permitted to drive your UK version
vehicle in spain. You just need to make sure you are familiar with the
registration and documentation requirements so that you don't become
another brit who has had a vehicle impounded and been hit by massive
fines. Another thing to consider is whether you are a resident or
nonresident in spain as this can determine how long you can drive your
vehicle on Spanish roads.
Generally speaking if you are a resident in spain you can bring your vehicle into the country year-round and drive it.
How long before it has to be registered?.
Under the EU directives you are considered to be a resident of spain if
you spend more than 183 days of the year here this is why you are only
permitted to drive a UK Registered vehicle in spain for up to six
months of the year. Beyond the six months you will need the following.
Register your UK vehicle in spain.
Drive or transport it back to the UK or at least out of Spain.
Driving your UK registered car in Spain
If you have moved to Spain with the intention of becoming a permanent
resident here you must register your vehicle within 30 days with the
local traffic department so if you own a property you have children in
school owned a business or employed here you are registered.
Once you are registered here you are considered as a resident not a tourist.
I have read a number of stories of ex-pat forums saying that the
guardia civil in some cases will fine you on the spot in cash if you
are driving to UK car in Spanish roads and are unable to prove that you
are non resident, so be warned if you were living here permanently
either register your vehicle ASAP or buy a Spanish vehicle. while
driving your UK registered car in Spain it must be fully insured in the
UK and have a valid UK mot.
It must be legal on the roads of the origin country regardless of it
being driven in another country. It is also important to note that you
cannot get a UK Registered vehicle moted in Spain using the spanish
equivalent ITV. Likewise you would not be able to imitate a Spanish
version of the vehicle in the UK.
If your road tax runs out while in Spain you will be in effect driving
without insurance as driving without road tax will mean that your
insurance is invalid. You may then get stopped have your vehicle
impounded and potential he be hit with a €2000 fine.
If you're MOT expire you will either need to drive or transport the
vehicle all the way back to the UK and have it registered. This is
"extremely expensive and not to be mentioned time-consuming. The better
option would be to either sell it i'll get it registered in Spain.
While driving your UK plated car in Spain you will need to be insured,
your UK insurance will usually provide you with a certain amount of
cover while in spain but it is essential that you check your policy
before bringing your car or other vehicle into the country in many
cases your insurance will cover you for around 90 days only but you
must check with them to be on the safe side.
Can I register my UK vehicle in Spain.
Yes but in many cases it is a bureaucratic nightmare to say the least
with an abundance of paperwork to navigate your way through then there
are the important taxes that you will need to pay which are 21% of a
new vehicle, for a second hand vehicles the taxes based on the level of
If you register your vehicle in Spain it would need to pass in MOT
inspection this is also called the ITV inspection in most cases it
would be well worth employing the service of a local Gestor here in
Spain if you are intent on registering your right hand drive vehicle
here unless your vehicle is cherished and was real value for example is
a vintage car it might be worth considering buying a Spanish vehicle
My Personal advice. after living here for 15 years i would never have a
uk car here as you will find it hard to drive as you will be sitting on
the other side so your vision is limited also the police just love
stopping UK cars to see if the papers are all in order as they get
large fines if it is not.
If you are registered to work in Spain and make national insurance
contributions then you can get state-run health care on the same basis
as a Spanish national.
If you registered as a permanent resident in Spain and are not covered
for healthcare though any other means, speak to your local inss office
to register for healthcare in Spain. Permanent residents have been
registered as residents with extranjería for at least five years.
If you are in receipt of a UK old age state pension, request an S1 form
(previously E121) from the Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 191 218
1999. If you are in receipt of an exportable DWP benefit you can
request an S1 form the office which pays your exportable benefit.
It is your responsibility to keep the Overseas Healthcare Team or
office which pays your exportable DWP benefit up to date with any
changes in circumstances which may affect your entitlement to an S1
(E121). When received, register the S1 form with your local INSS
office, before you register with your local GP surgery and obtain a
As from the 1st July 2014, early retirees are no longer able to apply
for a residual S1 form based on national insurance contributions.
If you are a worker seconded to Spain, or the family member of a
someone making UK national insurance contributions, contact HMRC
to see if you have entitlement to an S1 form (previously an E106 or
If you are coming to study or are currently studying in Spain as part
of a UK-recognised course, you may be entitled to heathcare paid for by
IMPORTANT: If you are covered by the UK for healthcare and you are
going on holiday or temporary stay to another EEA country, you will be
covered by your UK EHIC. To apply for an EHIC, you can do so by calling
on (+44) 191 279 0575
Visitors to Spain
The UK European Health Insurance Card
(EHIC) is valid for holidaymakers and temporary visitors who need to
use the state health system while in another EU country. If you are not
normally a resident of the UK, and therefore do not have entitlement to
a UK-issued EHIC, the Spanish authorities may decide to treat you as a
If you are a resident in the UK, you should apply for your EHIC before
travelling to other European Union Member States. A UK EHIC is usually
valid for three to five years – but if you stop being a UK resident,
you need to return your EHIC to the Department of Health immediately.
There is a short video explaining how to use the EHIC card in Spain and
further information is available on the Healthcare in Spain website.
If you are a UK state pensioner living in Spain and registered for
healthcare with an S1, the UK is responsible for issuing your EHIC to
use on a temporary stay in the UK and a third EU country. For more
information, telephone the Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 191 218 1999.
The EHIC gives you access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in Spain.
When you show your EHIC, you will receive treatment under the same conditions and at the same cost as people insured in Spain.
Be aware that each country’s healthcare system is different. Services
that cost you nothing at home might not be free in Spain (for example,
The EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. It does not cover
any private healthcare or costs such as a return flight to your home
country or lost/stolen property.
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