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Obtaining a NIE in Barcelona

Our guide explains what you need to know and how to obtain your NIE in Barcelona. The Identity Number for Foreign Nationals (NIE) is a unique number granted to foreign nationals in Spain. It is issued by either the Foreigners Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or by the Police, and will give you permission to both live and work in Spain.

This article is written by Daniela Vorbova, founder of NIE.CAT.

Nie in Barcelona

What are the different types of NIE?

There are two types of NIE that EU citizens can obtain, you can either get a NIE number (a number written on an A4 piece of paper) or a NIE card (a physical green card).

NIE number (número de identidad de extranjero)

The NIE number is written on a white piece of A4 paper along with your full name, date of birth and nationality. Once you obtain your NIE number in Barcelona, the number itself has unlimited validity, but should be updated to NIE CARD if you plan to stay in Spain longer than 6 months.


The application process can either be completed by the applicant in person or through a legally authorised person (power of attorney), and requires you to fill out the EX15 form beforehand.

NIE card (certificado de registro de ciudadano de la Unión)

The NIE card contains your personal NIE number as well as your name, date and birthplace, address in Spain and date of application. The validity of the card is also unlimited.


The application process can only be completed in person by making an appointment, and requires you to fill out the EX18 form beforehand.


The permanent NIE card will only be awarded if you can provide proof of one of the following:

  1. You have employment in Spain.
  2. You have sufficient financial resources to look after yourself.
  3. You are enrolled as a student and have private health insurance or an EU health card.
  4. You will be joining a family member already living in Spain.

What is the difference between a NIE and a TIE

There is usually a lot of confusion between the terms ‘identity number for foreign nationals’ (NIE), and the ‘identity card for foreign nationals’ (TIE).


The NIE is a unique and exclusive number that allows the administrative identification of foreign nationals with the institutions of the Spanish state. It appears on all the documents identifying the foreign national.


The TIE is a physical identification card which has recently been updated to prevent counterfeiting. It must be held by non-EU nationals authorised to stay in Spain for a period of more than six months or by all foreign nationals with a long-term permit. It contains a chip with biographical data and images concerning the holder, as well as the identity number for foreign nationals (NIE) and the type of authorisation for the stay or residence of the foreign person

How to get your NIE in Barcelona?

How to apply (EU residents)

You can make an appointment (cita previa) at the Oficina de Extranjeros.


As there is a limited number of appointments allocated every week, it can be quite challenging to get one. Our advice would be to search for an appointment on this website from 8:30am every day until you are successful. You can also contact an agency to help you get your NIE in Barcelona quickly and efficiently. 


Documents required:

    • The printed confirmation of your appointment.
    • A supporting document showing why you need a NIE (e.g. the offer letter from the company hiring you).
    • The EX15 form and an additional copy. Download the form from the link below.
    • Your passport/identity card and an additional copy.
    • Your European Social Security card or private insurance card and a copy.
    • Proof of payment of the state fee.

In addition to bringing these forms and documents, you will also need to pay a state fee (€9.84 for the NIE number or €12 for a permanent NIE card), prior to receiving your official paperwork. The form allows payment to be made either in cash, or by direct debit from a current account. You can download the form from the link below.

How to apply (non EU residents)

For NON-EU residents to apply for a NIE in Barcelona, instead of making an appointment online you must either go to the Directorate-General of Police, or the immigration office on Passeig Sant Joan, 189.



For NON-EU residents to stay in Spain for longer than three months, the application process is generally more complicated and depends on the type of visa (student, work etc.), which must be obtained in the home country beforehand.



Documents required:

    • The EX15 form and an additional copy.
    • Your passport and an additional copy.
    • A supporting document showing why you need a NIE (e.g. the offer letter from the company hiring you).
    • Proof of your legal entry into Spain (e.g. a landing card – declaración de entrada).
    • Proof of payment of the state fee.

Please note that there are certain procedures that can be done online, these include:

  • Renewing your existing residency card.
  • Modifying your residency permit.
  • Starting the initial application for obtaining a student visa, for your Arraigo Social, for family reunification, for a residence permit as a family member of an EU citizen, for residences for minors and for residence cards for British citizens.

Arrange your NIE in Barcelona via the app

Completing your paperwork and requesting appointments at the ‘Oficina de Extranjeros’ can be tricky. Not only can you request, check and cancel your immigration appointments on the Cita Extranjería app, you will also receive notifications as to when new appointments are available, saving you the extra time of having to search every morning online.

My NIE has been stolen, what do I need to do?

If your NIE has been stolen, the first thing you should do is file a police report with the Mossos d’Esquadra via the link below. Filing a report assures that you will not be held accountable if someone else uses them.



In the event of loss of your NIE in Barcelona, you don’t need to file a report, but you do need to notify the police.


The next step is to request a duplicate of your NIE, you can do this by making an appointment online and completing the ‘Loss or subtraction of document’ form via the link below.



After you have submitted all the required documents at your appointment, it can take a maximum of 40 days for the immigration office to send you your duplicate NIE. Bear in mind that you only have 30 days to request the duplicate after the moment in which your NIE is stolen or goes missing.

Golden Visa

What is it?

Thanks to Spain’s Golden Visa program, investors and their families who aren’t from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, and invest at least €500.000 in either real estate, business, government bonds or a bank deposit, are offered a quick and easy way to obtain a Spanish residence permit.


An initial residency card is granted for one year (two years if you visit Spain), which can then be renewed every five years. Residency can be applied for after the investor or qualified family members have lived in the country for a period of five years. Citizenship can only be acquired after having lived full-time in Spain for ten years.

How can I apply?

You can apply for a Spanish Golden Visa from your country of residence by filing an application in person at the nearest Spanish Embassy or Consulate.


You are required to submit the following documents in order to prove your eligibility:

      • The standard documents required for a Spanish visa application (visa application form, passport sized photos, passport, proof of country of residence).
      • Proof of investment (including the type and amount of your investment as well as the origin of your money).
      • Criminal record certificate (provide a copy in original, photocopied and translated. It must be no older than 90 days at the time of application).
      • Proof of sufficient economic funds (to support yourself and your dependents while in Spain).
      • Medical insurance.
      • A medical certificate (confirming you don’t have any disease that could threaten public health).


There are certain fees applicable to this type of visa. Remember to ask the Embassy/Consulate prior to your application. Please note: All documents must be submitted for both the initial application and for each renewal.

What are the benefits?

The visa application process is known for its speed and benefits, such as:

    • Fast processing times.
    • Travel visa-free to 26 countries as part of the Schengen zone.
    • Guaranteed EU rights.
    • Your family are also guaranteed residency permits.
    • Easy renewal process.


NIE.CAT is a consulting company that provides a professional advice about the NIE/TIE and other relocation services to foreigners who are moving to Spain and need help with administrative tasks. NIE.CAT operates in Barcelona and Madrid and is a  team of professionals who moved to Barcelona and got through the whole process of getting a paperwork done.

More about living in Barcelona

  • Heike Heeck
    17 August 2023 at 21:33

    Hello, my son studdy in Barcelona. How much will it be if you get us the NIE Number Residencia ?
    Best regards.
    Heike Heeck

  • Ck Tsacoumangos
    6 September 2023 at 22:23

    Hello, I have arrived in Spain last week and I am in need of an NIE number. I’m here on a student visa, which I am applying for while on my tourist visa. I am unsure how to complete everything correctly, and would like some guidance. Thank you

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