What is a NIE number?

What is a NIE number?

Never heard of the NIE number or the Número de Identificación de Extranjero? That will quickly change if you are to buy a second home in Spain. You can’t ignore it there. The NIE number is an extra number besides your ID card, with which you can arrange all your administrative business in Spain as a foreigner. Complicated? Not quite. We explain it all below.

You must have it and you must request it

The NIE number is a unique, personal number that is stored in the Spanish register of foreigners and that you need to apply for yourself as a foreigner when you stay three months or more in Spain. You are going to Spain for the whole summer? Running away from the cold during the winter months? Or going there a while to study? Then you must make sure to get a NIE number.

You need a NIE number for countless things. For the purchase of real estate, for example, but also when you want to register to the local sports association or if you want to open a bank account. Even when you want to buy a car, a laptop or a mobile phone you’ll need to show this number! In other words: you can’t do without a NIE number if you are staying a certain amount of time in Spain.

Request a NIE number

To request a NIE number you can just go to your country’s Spanish consulate or to the Spanish Embassy in Brussels. If you prefer to make the request in Spain, you have to spontaneously register at a national police office or at the immigration office of the province where you’re staying. You’ll have your number within two weeks. And yes, if you buy a second home through a lawyer, they will automatically take care of the application for you.


Your NIE number remains forever your individual number. The document itself is only valid for three months. If you want to do a purchase, for example, the certificate must not be older than three months.