If you’re an EU citizen and wish to legally stay in Spain longer than three months, you need to get a NIE. I decided to document this process to try to help anyone going through this process. I know how hard it can be to find answers and consistent information, so I hope this helps you out. Warning: it’s a bit of a pain in the a**, but living in Spain can’t be all sunshine and rainbows!
Here’s a step by step guide to getting a Spanish NIE in Madrid
This “guide” is for you if:
- You would like to legally stay in Spain for more than 3 months
- You’re an EU citizen
- Bonus info for those who are not currently studying or working in Spain
- You’re tired of the lack of clarity when researching what to do!
So, you’ve met the criteria? Great, let’s get started. You need an appointment first, at the registration office (the only one in Madrid is located at Padre Piquer, 18.)
You can set up your NIE appointment here. When requesting your appointment on that website, simply:
- Type in Madrid
- Select CNP certificados UE (for EU citizens getting an NIE)
Great, now you have your date set. Here’s everything you need to have prepared before your appointment. I strooongly recommend you don’t wait until the last day to round things up. I did. It was a mistake.
- First, you need to complete this application. Here is how to complete the NIE fee document, step by step. DON’T mess it up! I did, and couldn’t get my NIE that day.
- That application must be taken to a bank to pay 10.71 Euros to apply for your NIE.*
- Print then take it to a bank to pay the application fee. Save the document (the bank will print over the top of it, so you don’t get a physical receipt, just the original document.) IF the bank tells you that you need a NIE number in order to pay, it is NOT true. Just go to another bank. And probably another. And be prepared to wait.
- I went to the bank called Bankia José Abascal 20 in the neighborhood Chamartin and finally got it taken care of.
- If you’re not working (or, let’s say, working as a freelancer in another country like me, and you’re not ready to register as an “autonomo” which is freelancer in Spain), you’re essentially requesting your NIE as an unemployed person. In this case, you’ll need to bring “proof of sufficient” funds. The amount isn’t defined anywhere. But I did ask when I was there, and they let me know that you need at least 6,000 Euros. Your bank statements should be as recent as possible. I brought a statement two months old and had to pull up my mobile app to show them how much money I had in my bank account that day.
- Also, if you’re not working in Spain, you’ll need to show proof of health insurance. I used Adeslas to purchase private health insurance, and it was about 40 euros a month. You need a bank account to get health insurance (in most cases. ) I actually used a friend’s bank account and that worked just fine. Bring the hard copy of your contract and a copy. Also, if you have the health insurance card, bring it, plus a photo copy of the front and back.
- If you are employed or going to school in Spain, you’ll need to show your employment contract or proof of enrollment. Bring the original and a photocopy.
- Proof of your residence, which can be in the form of your rental agreement. You should also be registered at the local police office, called the padron. The padron is basically what registers you as a resident in your neighborhood. They only use it to count the number of people in each zone, not to worry, it’s nothing too crazy, and apparently the process to apply is super east. I am actually NOT registered at the padron, but was able to use my rental agreement to prove that I live in Spain. — they did not ask me for any of these documents during the actual appointment, but I would bring them juuuuust in case.
- Finally, here is the actual EX-18 application form for getting your NIE. You need to fill out the Spanish version, but here is a link to the EX-18 in English so you can use as a guide when filling out the official Spanish document.
Preparing everything for your NIE appointment:
If you don’t have a printer at home, where to print? There’s no FedEx around here… so just look up “locutorio cerca de mi” and you’ll find a shop which is more-so an internet-cafe but also offers printing services. I found a local “papelaria” (paper shop) which was able to print all of these documents for something around four bucks (I had about 40 or 50 pages of docs.) Make extra copies just in case!
Registering for “El Padron”
This is not required for your NIE, but you will need to eventually get registered. By registering on the padron, you’re essentially letting Spain know that you live in that area so they can get a census to determine how much mula the government will allocate to your specific neighborhood.
I tried to get registered for the padron with no success today. Apparently you cannot do this at any police municipality. I learned that this was the case from a police officer who kindly gave me the document below, which lists out all of the places you get get on “el padron” in Madrid. Keep in mind that the “Chamberi, Pz Chameri 4” is not where you can get on the padron, it’s at the address below that (Avda Reina Victoria, 7.)
I learned that you also have to make an appointment in advance, which you can do so by calling 010 6 or you can search for open slots/schedule an appointment for the padron registration here.
A few notes about the NIE process
*About that first document (the application fee) which you have to go to a bank to get a receipt for payment… not all banks do it. Some banks have specific hours when they do it. I went to four (or more) banks and they all gave me some BS about not doing it. One even sent me to another police office saying I need a number for the NIE before I can pay the ten euros, which is completely false. You CAN pay the ten euros at a bank with your passport number and you do NOT need a bank account there. Don’t let them try to convince you to open up a “free” bank account either. I repeat, you do not need a bank account to get your NIE.
Be prepared to get the runaround. Everything is overcomplicated and it seems like no one has consistent information. Patience is key here… There was a lot of teeth-gritting and running around, but you’ll get it done… Hang in there!
I would get all of this done in one day so you don’t have to worry about it. Try to pick a day where the banks won’t be super busy, like a Monday or Tuesday. Avoid the beginning of the month because everyone is paying bills, and they usually do that in the banks, so the wait can be super long. And this may sound crazy, but if you have questions, go to the closest police station and ask them. They usually are incredibly nice, and try to be as helpful as possible. Don’t feel stupid to ask! They’ll tell you as much as they know. Plus, the eye candy is pretty good too. 😉
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