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NIE Number

What is an NIE Number?

If you plan to live in Spain or buy a business here the first thing you will need is an NIE number.  This stands for Numero Identificacion de Extranjeros (Foreign Identification Number) and is a number issued by the Spanish authorities to identify foreigners.
You will find that it is needed as identification for various kinds of authoritative purposes and also to obtain your certificate of residence. You usually need it for the following:
Buying a business
Buying property
Buying a car
Working as an employee or self employed
To obtain a phone line or contract a mobile phone
Electricity account

You can get an NIE number by going to the nearest police station with a foreigners’ department. Be prepared for a bit of a queue and make sure you have the following with you:
Your passport with a photocopy
2 passport sized photographs
They will give you a form to fill in which will be in Spanish so take your dictionary with you. Depending on the particular office, it can take from a few days to a few weeks to process. You need to collect the NIE certificate in person with your passport and the copy given to you. The certificate is a stamped,  A4 size paper document with your name and NIE number.

For those buying a business with a reputable company they will take you through the process from start to finish or introduce you to a gestor / legal advisor who can make the application for you.