What is a NIE?


A NIE for students (número de identidad de extranjero) is an identification number for foreigners in Spain. For citizens of the European Union, no residence permit or visa are needed to live in Spain. The only residency requirement is a valid NIE. If your stay in Spain will be longer than 6 months, before getting your NIE you will need to request the empadronament.


In Spain a “cita previa” (appointment) is now required just to start the application. There is a completely different process and a new set of requirements if you apply for a NIE card.



NIE Number vs. NIE Card


There are two types of NIE: NIE number and NIE card for students.


If you are an European student, you need to request the NIE number.

If you are a non-European student, you need to request the NIE card.


A NIE number is just a number written on a white piece of paper.


The NIE card, meanwhile, is a little green card also referred to as a residency certificate (Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión) or residency card (tarjeta de residencia) which will allow you to complete all the necessary paperwork for your everyday life in Spain. Therefore, you won't need to carry your passport with you all the time. See the application process for both types of NIE below.


NIE Number (Número de identidad de extranjero):


   ·       a number written on a white piece of paper

   ·       newly with unlimited validity

   ·       consists of 1 letter at the beginning, 7 numbers and 1 letter at the end – e.g.: Y-1234567-E


   ·       the entire process and all its requirements are described here  (in Spanish) 

   ·       application by filling out the EX15 form (EX15 in English). To apply for any of these permits you must use the official spanish version form.



NIE Card:


   ·        little green paper card laminated on the back (previously a piece of green paper, A4 size)

   ·       contains NIE number together with your name, date and birthplace, address in Spain and date of application

   ·       Required for stays exceeding 3 months

   ·       NIE application possible only in person and by


                                                                                                  ·       The validity of NIE Card is unlimited (or until

                                                                                           they change the law)

                                                                                                  ·       The complete requirements (in Spanish) can be

                                                                                           found here.

                                                                                                  ·       application by filling out the EX17 formTo apply

                                                                                          for any of these permits you must  use the official                                                                                            Spanish version form.



NIE Application



The application can differ from area to area and also depends on your nationality.


In Barcelona city, you need to go at Rambla Guipuzcoa, 74 , Barcelona. Their hours are, generally, Monday – Friday, 9:00 – 14:00.

If you live outside of Barcelona city, here is a list of the places in Catalunya where you can get your NIE arranged.


How to get to the extranjeria office in Barcelona?

From the center of Barcelona, take the purple metro line (L2) to Bac de Roda station. Also bus numbers 33, B24 and H10 stop nearby.

You need “cita previa” (appointment) and make sure that you carry with you all the necessary documents to request your NIE.


Non-European students will need:


•      Passport (original + photocopy)

•      Student Visa (original + photocopy)

•      Stamp of entry into EU (it is important you keep your boarding pass)

•      Official form, duly filled in + photocopy (EX15 for NIE number  and EX17 for NIE Card)

•      Acceptance letter (original + photocopy)

•      3 pictures of you (passport size)

•      Certificat d’empadronament (Spanish residence certificate)

•      You will be asked to pay an administrative fee      


European students will need:


•      Passport (original + photocopy)

•      Official form, duly filled in + photocopy) (EX15)

•      Acceptance letter (original + photocopy)

•      You will be asked to pay an administrative fee

•      Certificat d’empadronament  (Spanish residence certificate)




NIE Cita previa (Appointment)


To be able to apply for the NIE  you will first need to schedule the cita previa (appointment).


On the website:, you can schedule your NIE appointment without many problems if you know some Spanish.


On the first window, open the list and choose the province  where you will be staying (Barcelona, Tarragona or Girona).

On the second window, select the third option (Expedición de Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero) if you are a non-European citizen. If you are an European citizen, select the second option (Certificados UE).

On the third window, open a list and choose "Toma huellas (Expedición de tarjeta) y renovación de tarjeta de larga duración" if you are a non-European citizen or  "Certificados UE" if you are an European citizen. After that, click on "Aceptar" and it will appear the forth window, where you just need to click on "Entrar". 

On the fifth window, you need to select the option "Pasaporte" and add your passport number, name and surname and  country of origin. You will need to write the verification code that they request you. After that, click on "Aceptar".


Then it will appear a window with your name and passport number. After checking that everything is in good order, you will need to write the verification code that they request you and click on "Solicitar cita".

In the following window you will be able to open the list with the offices located in the province you have previously chosen and to select the most suitable office for you to request the NIE in person. After that, click on "Siguiente".

They will request you to add a phone number and an email address. You will need to write the verification code that they request you and click on "Siguiente".

There will be given to you 3 options and you have to select the most suitable for you. After that, click on "Siguiente" and print the appointment confirmation. They will request it to you when you go to the office.

Appointment confirmation will be sent to your e-mail address if you tick the little boxes before the final confirmation.

Because there is a limited amount of appointments available every week, after they are all taken, this message pops up:

“En este momento no hay citas disponibles. En breve, la oficina pondrá a su disposición nuevas citas”

If this happens, the only thing you can do is to wait until the immigration office schedules new dates.