NIE – Spanish Identification Number – Good to Know

NIEspelledoutWhat is an NIE?

This stands for  “Número de Identificación de Extranjeros” (Identification Number of Foreign Resident) and will serve as your Identification number while you are studying Spanish in Spain.

It is officially issued by the National Police of Spain as a means to monitor any professional activity by both residents and non residents in Spain. Once you have procured your NIE, the number will always remain yours, one and the same, and can be used throughout Spain no matter the region you procured it from.

Although the NIE primarily serves to monitor professional activity, it is also linked to Social Security and Residence issues, and could make your daily life a lot less complicated during your Spanish studies in Spain, especially for students who come to study Spanish in Spain from countries outside of the European Union (EU).

This article is for those who have already procured a visa (where applicable) to legally enter Spain and broaches the subject of how to procure the NIE once in Spain. It focuses on Malaga, Andalucia, Spain but many of the tips will be useful in other Spanish regions and cities.

NB: The regulations and procedures can sometimes differ depending on the region or city in Spain, and the native country of the foreign student and/or his/her individual situation.

Please be sure to conduct extensive research pertaining to your own case. And even after that, arrive over-prepared and ready to overcome any unexpected hiccups along the way.

Useful Information
Ministerio de Empleo y Seguridad Social (Ministry of Employment and Social Security) The official Spanish ministry with all the pertinent information on Immigration procedures. The site is in 6 languages –  including English, French and Spanish.

Tip: Use a translation tool to put the site into your own language for easier reading

Commissariat Provincial de Malaga (Main Police Station)

Ofina de Extranjeria (Foreign Resident Office)

Tip: The two locations are walking distance (less than 5 minutes) from each other. But the Foreign Office is a little hidden and harder to find.


  • I suggest you go first to the Foreign Office
  • Go early (if it opens at 9 – get there at 8 – there are long queues)
  • Take all your documents with you that you feel explain your situation in Spain
  • Get a ticket and go to Information to state your case and get instructions

Most likely you may have to return the next day to file the actual paperwork – you may be given a Modelo form to fill out or instructions to print and download the form online:

There are many forms and can all be downloaded for printing and filling on this site

NB: Be sure to know the right form number specific to your case and do not forget to make a copy once you have filled it. It is also possible to take an appointment on the site so that you can bypass the long queue.

Documents to Bring
Bring documents based on the instructions you got and anything else that you feel will support your file.
Some standard documents that are often required:

  • Passporttoomuchpaperwork2
  • Justification of your date of entry into Spain
  • Visa (or resident card/passport for a country within the EU)
  • Health insurance attestation
  • Demonstration of financial resources to show that you can live (eg. bank statement)
  • Student pre registration/registration document
  • Internship agreement
  • Student card from your home university

NB Ideally, your documents should be translated into Spanish. English and French might be able to pass but most other languages could prove to be tricky.

The day you return and see the appropriate person to file your paperwork, you will be given a copy of the Modelo form that you filled out with a stamp and an official seal:

  • Make (yet another) copy of this form and take it to the Police Station
  • At the Commissariat present this stamped form and request your NIE
  • May give you 2 forms, another similar form like the one at the Foreign Office and another titled Modelo 970
  • Fill the form and make a copy
  • Take the Modelo 970 to any bank and pay the tax around 10 euros for a student) in cash (banks open from 8.30-2pm. Only on Thursdays they reopen from 4.30pm or 5pm to 8pm)
  • The bank will stamp the Model 970 and give you a copy
  • Return the copy of your Modelo 970 and end form to the Police Station
  • You will be given a stamped copy of your filled form and a double stamp on your Modelo 970
  • Then you will be told to come back to the Police station in a few days to get a paper that has your NIE
  • When you return do not forget to bring these stamped forms with you to serve as prrof for the collection of your NIE number! (Make copies of them just in case)

Then it is done! You will be told that you will receive a letter in the mail telling you to come back and get your card in a few weeks or months (it depends). Depending, you may be asked to provide a photo or finger prints. But the hardest bit would have been done!

Now go celebrate with tapas and Sangria!

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