Residency papers Barcelona - NIE number

Barcelona residency papers and NIE number

Last updated October 2012.

How to get residency papers and work permit for living in Barcelona. Having a NIE number is one of the first things to get for new residents in Spain. It is useful for opening bank accounts, ordering phones etc although in some cases you can use your passport. Getting your NIE number and residency papers is fairly simple process. If you speak Spanish, you should be able to do it yourself at your the immigration office in Barcelona or in the area outside Barcelona where you live. The forms you need to fill in and the instructions at the immigration are generally in Spanish, so if you don't speak Spanish then bring a friend or get a "gestor" accountant/laywer company, or a relocation company to help you. The immigration office is alled "Oficina d'Estrangers" in Catalan or "Oficina de Extranjeros" in Spanish. The only thing that seems to change often in Barcelona for the process of getting a NIE number, is the location of the police office where you apply, so check the address before you leave home.

Address list immigration offices Barcelona

Oficina d'Estrangers de Barcelona
Comisaría de Policía
Carrer de Balmes, 192
Opening times : Monday to Friday from 09.00 to 14.00
Telephone: +34 932 903 077
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Check at the immigration office what the procedure is for applying for residency in Barcelona based on your specific background and nationality. It is easy for EU citizens to get their NIE number, but non-EU residents it's a much more difficult procedure and you will need to supply additional information like proof of work or studies in Spain etc.  If you are not in Barcelona or Spain, then we suggest you contact your local Spanish embassy or consulate for more information. Below we have compiled the information that is available from various official city and immigration websites, and hope that this at least will give new residents to Barcelona some assistance when applying for residence and work papers in Barcelona.

Residence and work permit for EU citizens, citizens of the European Economic Area and Switzerland
In accordance with RD 178/2003, of 14 February, relating to entry and residence in Spain, nationals of EU Member States and European Economic Area countries are no longer required to apply for a residence permit and may reside in Spain without having to apply for a residence permit. If you plan to reside for a longer period in Barcelona or buy property in Barcelona as a non-resident, it is mandatory for EU citizens to get a Spanish ID number called a "NIE Number" The NIE number gives EU citizens residing in Spain the same rights and medical benefits as Spanish citizens

The NIE number is a Spanish ID number and means:

In Catalan: "Número d'Identificació per a Estrangers"
In Spanish: "Número de Identidad/Identificación de Extranjero"
In English:  "Foreigners' Identification Number"

For EU citizens the process to apply for a NIE number is quite simple: The official NIE application form is available free of charge from the local Immigration office in Catalunya called  "Oficina d'Estrangers" (Catalan) or "Oficina de Extranjeros" (in Spanish) or you can download it at the following websites:

Download NIE application form EX-15 for residents of EU countries (PDF file)
Full list of applications forms

You can also get the forms at your local police station called "Comissaria de Policia" if you are outside Barcelona. The completed application form should be taken to Immigration office in Barcelona, where residence permit applications can be submitted on any working day from Monday to Friday between 9:00h a 14:00 (no appointment required.) Applications must be submitted in person or by a third party representative with written authorisation. (2 copies) You must bring the following documents as an EU citizen:

- Application form (2 copies of application form  EX-15).
- Valid passport (original and 2 copies. You don't need photos).
- Your "Certificado de empadronamiento." also called "padron."  Before you apply for your NIE number, you must also have be in "el padrón de habitantes de la ciudad de Barcelona," - on the population register . So you must register your address in Barcelona with your local citizen services office  called "Oficina d'Atenció al Ciutadà" to prove where you live.

How to register on the population register called  ("empadronarse" in Spanish)

When you have submitted your NIE application, you will be asked to pay around a €10 fee (called a "tasa.") This has to be paid at a bank. Many banks nearby the police station can only process "tasa" early in the morning until 10.00, so it is a good idea to get to the police station early and get in the queue before the police station opens (usually at 09.00) so that you might be able to pay the "tasa" at the bank the same day. Otherwise you will have to go back the next day. When you have paid the "tasa" in the bank you go back to the police station and they will immediately print out your green NIE document with number called "Certificado de registro de ciudadano de la Unión." Please note that final NIE number is not a physical ID card, just a document with your NIE number, name and address. If you move address you have to renew your NIE document. When you renew the document will have the same number, but will have your new address. Remember to also renew your "empadronamiento."
Other useful links:  Ministerio del Interior   Ministerio de Trabajo e Inmigración
Other ID numbers in Spain
There can be confusion about the NIE number and other ID numbers in Spain. These are the other numbers you will come across:

DNI number. "Documento Nacional de Identidad/Identificación"
This is the ID number that Spanish citizens have. Your NIE number is the equivalent, but just for foreign residents. Spanish citizens get a plastic ID card. EU foreign residents don’t. So if someone asks for your DNI card, just give them your NIE number.

Residence card - "Tarjeta de Residencia"
Prior to 2007, all EU foreign residents in Spain were issued a plastic ID card called a "Tarjeta de Residencia" which had the NIE number on it. This card looked very similar to the Spaniards ID card called the DNI card.
This is longer issued to EU citizens under any circumstances.

NIF number: "Número de Identidad/Identificación Fiscal"
This is a VAT/Tax registration number. This number is identical to your NIE number if you are a foreign resident. Spaniards & Catalan citizens it is the same as their DNI number with one additional digit.

CIF number: "Certificado de Identidad/Identificación Fiscal."
This is the official VAT/Tax registration number of businesses registered in Spain which are SL or SA (Limited or PLC) companies. If you are self-employed, called "Autonomo," you just use your NIE number as your VAT/Tax registration number.

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Last Updated on Sunday, 15 January 2023 16:00