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?

N.I.E. is an abbreviation for Número de Identidad de Extranjero, which translates as Identification Number for Foreigners, or Foreigners’ Identification Number if you prefer.

The 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.

NIE 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 So after three months the certificate was no longer valid, at least in principle.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.

If 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?

1. 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?

If 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 the escritura.

Getting 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?

The 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 numbers.

So 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)

There are three ways to apply for a Spanish NIE number:

1. 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


Applying 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.

The 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 approval.
  • EU nationals: Your passport and a photocopy of the main page of your passport (the page that includes your photo, name, passport number, address, etc.).
  • 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.


Residence permit


Obtaining your residence permit

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 straightforward matter.

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 required.

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 residence permit.

eu citizens

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:

·        completed application form

·        four photographs

·        passport plus photocopy

non-EU citizens

Non-EU citizens will need:

·        the visa or visado de residencia obtained from the Spanish consulate in your home country;

·        proof of financial means;

·        certificado de antecedentes penales showing you have no criminal record;

·        medical certificate - necessary for obtaining the visa;

·        consular inscription;

·        medical insurance with a company which has offices in Spain;

·        passport plus photocopy;

·        three passport-size photos;

·        payment of fee (not high);

·        Spanish bank statement showing income arriving from abroad;

·        deeds to Spanish property or a rental contract, plus photocopy;

·        completed application form.

Information on Spain - miscellaneous

Non-EU citizens 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 expert).

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 CO2 omissions.

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 here.

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.

Healthcare entitlement

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 medical card..

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 E109).

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 the uk.

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 private patient.

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, prescriptions).

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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