What is an NIE number and do I need one in order to buy a second home in Spain?

If you are going to purchase a property in Spain you will need an NIE number prior to completing on the transaction. NIE stands for “Numero de Identificacion Extranjero” or Identification Number for Foreigners. Many people confuse an NIE number with being resident in Spain. It is not the same thing. A resident requires an NIE identification number for all of their tax transactions and a non-resident also requires one in order to purchase a property, buy a car, set up utilities on the new property an also in order to pay relevant taxes  but the NIE does NOT mean you are a Spanish resident. It is simply the Spanish government’s way of identifying you for tax purposes even if you are not living in Spain.

Important to note that If you are a couple purchasing a property in Spain, you will each need to apply for an NIE number.

So how do I obtain an NIE number? There are three options for this.

You can apply for it yourself in person whilst you are in Spain. This consists of making an appointment to visit your local immigration office, which is usually situated within the police station and presenting the relevant documentation. Depending on where you are applying and how busy the office is, you will normally have to make a second visit to the police station to collect the numbers at a later stage.

You can also apply for the NIE via the Spanish consulate in your home country. You would need to visit the consulate / embassy in person with all of the relevant documentation. It is important to point out that the consulate itself does not issue the NIE number but simply acts as a go between with the Spanish authorities to obtain the number. For this reason, this option can take much longer than applying in Spain.

Authorise a third party to obtain the NIE on your behalf. Usually you would give this authority to your Spanish lawyer via a Power of Attorney as in most cases, the lawyer will be representing you throughout the stage of the property purchase transaction. They will visit the immigration office in Spain and present all of the documentation on your behalf in order to obtain the NIE prior to completion on the property. It is important to point out that as long as you have the NIE number in place before completion on the property. It is not required prior to applying for a mortgage or opening a bank account. Please feel free to contact Mortgage Matters Spain on any questions relating to the purchase process and specifically regarding financing your Spanish property.


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