Applying for your NIE

Here is where you need an office suitcase of paperwork.  Not really but it might feel this way..

Assuming your Empadronamiento is done and ready to serve it’s purpose, we now move on to the second step of becoming a legal long-term student in Spain: acquiring your student residence card or Número de Identificación de Extranjeros, a.k.a the NIE.  Keep in mind, you need to start this process within 30 days of arrival.

Rule nr. 1 of being in Spain: ALL documents, letters, copies, etc. have to be in Spanish.  If not, get it to an official, registered translator.  I strongly advise you to keep it to Spanish, even if you’ve heard or read somewhere that Catalan also works.  Rather be safe than sorry.

Rule nr. 2: ALL documents, …, etc. must be accompanied by a copy as well.  This means that you have to make a copy of everything in the following list.  They keep the copies in a file specially made for you.  No need to get paranoid of CIA, this is Spain..

List of cosas (things) you need:

Application form – Download, print, fill out and copy (twice, you need 1 original + 2 copies)

Passport – Original plus copies of both the passport info (your info) of student visa (visa info)

Acceptance letter – As a student at your university (if you originally received this in Catalan from your university I’m sure you can ask them for a Spanish copy as well.)

Enrollment certificate – Specifying current academic year, attendance to class is mandatory and the length and dates of the study program (which should be more than 6 months)

Receipt of tuition payments

Letter of residence (Empadronamiento) – You should already know by now what this is..

4 Passport photos – According to Spanish ID/Passport regulations.  You can have them made in any photo shop or even at a photo booth in some metros.


Now, contrary to modern believe, you DO NEED TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT to apply for your NIE, it’s called a CITA PREVIA.

It’s really simple, go here, scroll down and select the tab Acceder al Procedimiento.  On the next page select the region/providence you’re in (Barcelona if you’re in Barcelona city..), the next one Expedicion de Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (Huello)and continue by selecting Aceptar.  A new page will open, explaining the process and the list of things you need to bring (everything in the list above). Select Entrar to continue.

On this page they ask your details. Select Pasaporte and type in your number.  It’s important to fill in the exact information as it appears in your passport.   Nombre y apellidos, your name and surname.  Pais de nacionalidad, your nationality.  Fecha de Caducidad, the expiry date.  And then the random characters.  Once you’re done, select Aceptar.

You should now be on a new page, select Solicitar Cita, on the next page you can choose the office but there is only one so select Siguiente.  Now, fill out your contact info and select Siguiente again.

On the new page you will be able to select from the available time slots.  Choose one and select Aceptar.  You should receive an email soon afterwards containing all the information regarding your appointment, print it out as this will be your entrance ticket to the National Police Station.

After this is done you can expect to wait around 3 weeks for the NIE card to be issued.  You will be required to pay some taxes for this administrative process.  The same day you bring your documents to the Police station, you will be given the taxes payment form so you can pay this fee.  You can go to any La Caixa bank front desk and they’ll be able to help you out.  You will need to bring this form with you to pick up your definitive NIE.


So, guess I’ll be seeing you around!


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