If you have a blog, you're an expat, and living in Spain, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
recent Syndicate SpainExpats

Auto-login for future?

Live and Let NIE

Posted by The Cheat

As you know, it is a legal requirement for foreigners in this country to sign up with the police and get an NIE (numero de identificación extranjero) alien identity card.  Without this you are a floating human, a nobody without access to anything.  Opening a bank account, registering a car, getting a mobile phone contract and just about anything requiring any degree of commitment demands that an identity card be shown, which is different for residents, nationals and registered aliens.

Now the deal is pretty simple, as far as bureaucracy is concerned.  You need two copies of your passport (and the original of course), four passport pictures, the filled in application and a copy (solicitude NIE), a small amount of cash and you’re off to the races.  You also need a legal reason for your request, such as studies, a job, or simply because you like it here and plan to stay past your visa.  These bits, the hardware, are altogether easy to sort out.  The hard part is physical, finding the patience and temperament to wait in a very long line with a few hundred other would-be expats to submit your application.

My personal experience was one of trial and meditation.  Trial because I had to get up and be there by 6am if I had any ambition of being served before they closed punctually at 2pm; meditative because standing outside in the cold for upwards of four or five hours requires you to be pretty self entertaining.  The first hour went by pretty slowly, because I was still fully conscious and mentally shifting back and forth between irritation and melancholy.  Then I began daydreaming of being on my racing bicycle, stamping the pedals up some challenging mountain road with the sun on my face and clean, fresh air sucking into my lungs.  This was the wrong thing to do, because all it did was serve to emphasize that cold, uncomfortable situation and made me wish I was someplace else.  Eventually I managed to mentally simulate the lung busting suffering of that climb, focussing intently on imagining every realistic detail of a physical experience.  This worked wonders, because I “tuned out” of the real world and was transported to the top of the mountain.  All of a sudden it was 9am, the doors opened, and in we went.

Inside the Oficina de Extranjeros, I took a number, found a seat and considered myself done.  The bicycle was put away; figuring that at this point it would be an hour, max, before my turn.  Sure enough, the first ten people or so were dealt with quickly, but then something bizarre happened: three of the four staff upped and left, at like 9:45.  Cheerfully, they donned their coats and wandered outside leaving one hapless dude with a bad Elvis haircut to deal with 80 immigrants.  I was flabbergasted.  Where the hell are they going, It’s not lunch yet?  About an hour later, two of them returned, and settled back into what can only be called a lethargic work pace.  Being a civil servant in Europe must be great.  My lawyer explained that they can’t be fired, and the benefits are tasty too.  An acquaintance of mine in the Netherlands once proudly boasted that she got 36 paid vacation days working for the Dutch government.  There’s motivation for you.

The truth of the matter is that getting this done is a royal pain, but do it you must.  Following this “formality”, you must then also make an appointment to request a residence permit.  I will not explain this now, because it’s 3:48, and I need a break.  I need to get out of here.  Be patient.  Settle down a while and wait.  We’re in Spain. 

Expat Talkback

Let The Cheat have it right here for all to see.

Sign-in with your SpainExpat username to post your comments and questions about this article. See the SpainExpats box on the left.

If you're not a SpainExpat member yet, sign-up now, it's free and we'll keep you in touch with goings on around here. See the SpainExpats box on the left.

fourthwaved said:

Hi tempol,

Did anyone ever get back to you with bullets about which EX form you need? And I assume since it has been a few months since your post, that you have successfully obtained an NIE? If so, do you mind sharing what you learned in the process?


tempol said:

Hi there,
Can this Forum please clarify in short what exactly is needed when you 1st move to Spain in terms of registering? I read that I need to download and fill in EX-18; collect Modelo 790, take to Bank and pay fee; take stamped modelo 790 along with passport & EX 18 form to Oficina de extranjeros.

Yet "The Cheat" writes, "You need two copies of your passport (and the original of course), four passport pictures, the filled in application and a copy (solicitude NIE), a small amount of cash".

The link to "solicitude NIE" takes me to a form EX-14.

Elsewhere on the Forum it takes me to a EX 15 form???

Can anyone please clarify with just a simple list of what is needed?

lorraine said:

Hi Christopher
I'm not sure this website will give you the information you need. I married a Spanish man. We married in my country and then, from my own country, I made the application for a visa to come to Spain. That was 10 years ago and I was required to made the visa application from my country of origin. Once I had the visa (had to get a Libro de Familia from Spain first) I came to Spain and I think I had 3 or 6 months to then apply for my residency/NIE. Your situation sounds highly 'irregular'. I'm sure, especially in Andalusia, you can find groups, organisations that will help you work through this. There's a lot of steps and paperwork to get through. Getting married in Spain is much more straight forward for getting the Libro de Familia though. That process took about 7 months alone for me. Good luck with it all.

christopher nkadi said:

l am from nigeria l came through the sea to spain l am now 4years now in spain,l am living with my spain woman for the past 3years now.l am plaining to soliciti for marriage.l am lving sevilla .l want to know what l need to do.

lorraine said:

Hi again. I forgot to say before I think you can only apply for your NIE in Spain, you need an address here but see an entry below where people found a way around that. I think things are sounding pretty difficult for you with the deadlines and holidays. Can you ring your own embassy here for advise? How about the university, they want students doing Masters.Can you find someone that will help you find away through the problems. My own supervisor helps me sort out all such problems? I'm studying through a university outside the EU while living in Spain.

aysem said:


Thanks for your reply.. things are kinda compl´cated right now and i´m getting more and more pissed off. yes the scholarship is a long process i guess but i can´t apply for it qithout a NIE because its appliances are online and to start the process i need a NIE. Is there any possiblity that i could get the NIE from the Spanish Embassy in Turkey while i´m getting my visa? Because if i have to apply for it after i get back here, i can not catch the deadline of the scholarship appliances.

lorraine said:

I've been here 10 years now so may not be so up to date with things. I'm a non-EU passport holder and where I live anything to do with renewing my NIE or replacing a stolen one is still a nightmare. Mostly inefficiencies, off-hand attitudes and queues as described. I'm sure you will need your visa to make your NIE application - the visa provides, and proves, the reason you are coming here. Knowing Spain a bit better now I would go ahead with your scholarship application and put something like 'In progress, to be advised when available'. I imagine scholarships are a slow process too. Isn't everyone on holiday during August anyway?
Buena suerte

aysem said:


I need some help here!! I am Turkish and going to study a masters programme at the university of Malaga in october 2011. I´m now in Granada but i came here without visa. At the end of august i will go back to Turkey to get my students visa. But now i want to apply for a scholarship and to apply for it, it says i need a "NIE". Can obtain this NIE without a visa but just with the passport? Because i read like i have to wait 1 month after I apply for the NIE and i don´t have that much time. Also do you know if i can apply for the NIE from my country, or should it have to be from Spain? What is needed to apply for the NIE?

Thank you guys,

sarah said:

I've just moved to Madrid and need to tackle this NIE beast. I'm taking in all the advice and preparing myself up for the challenge.

There is a small question I need help with though ...is there only one Oficina de Extranjeros in Madrid?

I've looked at this page - http://www.mir.es/MIR/Directorio/Servicios_Perifericos/Cuerpo_Nacional_de_Policia/Oficinas_de_extranjeros/Madrid/

and see other locations but I'm not sure if you can carry out this process at any other than the Office of Foreigners (Avenue of the Village address)...

Banacek said:


I'm in need of a little help.

I recently moved to Spain and I'm attempting to register etc. I went to Girona with my ex16 form, got it stamped and given a return date plus a Modelo 790 form. Problem is when I took it to the bank to pay the 10euros they can't do anything as I don't have a N.I.F number. I thought this form was to get my N.I.F number?

I'm guessing I have missed a step?

Any chance someone can point me in the right direction i.e. give me a list of the exact steps in the correct order that I need to do. I don't speak any spanish (yet) and it's proving a bit difficult.

It would be much appreciated and thanks in advance!

Advoco said:

Makes me feel fed up just reading about your long wait - a nice long breakfast for the penpushers I guess. I went to Granada recently at the crack of dawn expecting the usual big queues and there was nothing of the kind - straight in and out. A policeman said it was to do with their being less work about and thus less foreign migrants. My site has an advice centre which includes information on this sort of bureaucracy and how to deal with it:

lorraine said:

Hmmmm, you must have that friendly, open manner and smile I like about Americans! Have fun with the project.

lorraine said:

Hi junknira
I say your realtor wants your money so much they have 'friendly' relations with the bank as rules for banks in Spain are nation wide. Of course the realtor can do most of the NIE process for you although you will have to appear in person at some stage. This is all for a fee but maybe the realtor is counting all this in his commission on the property in question.
I agree you got lucky but it sounds like a benefit of tough economic times here.

junknira said:

just one prob with your response... didn't know my realtor, or any for that matter, when i opened my bank account, just went in to La Caixa, filled out some paperwork and all was said and done. two years later I appeared at the police station with the realtor and showed them that the paperwork and copy of passport was indeed me... and that was that for my appearing in person. as far as my realtor wanting my money..trust me.. he's not making a bundle off me.. i'm buying an older fixer upper..not a new development or condo for big dinero. tho no doubt any money is good in these times...

junknira said:

aaahh poor thing..you had a hard time. guess i got lucky. opened a bank account w/o NIE no problem, you get a different number for that. after meeting with the police, whom were quite friendly, and getting my stamp, my realtor is taking care of NIE while i am in california. maybe that is the difference between barcelona and galicia!

Pitufa said:

Hello everybody,

has anyone (EU citizen) ever renewed his Tarjeta de Residencia ?
I have to do that and I am getting lost in the jungle of forms.
I also cannot find any list on the http://www.map.es page
of documents I need to bring.

Tks for your help

RumpleStiltskin said:

Hi CookyJar,

(Cool name). From what I understand, there aren't too many others entering this minefield and certain headache. Just tried the site and it's fine. Worth another go?

....(And with that he was off.

cookyjar said:

I tried the link to "http://www.hellomadrid.es" and came up with no server whatsoever. Are there any other services like this??? maybe their website is just down right now, but this has certainly piqued my interest.

RumpleStiltskin said:

Good grief, that story about that man camping out overnight sends shivers down one's spine.

I felt swamped by all the different advice and just did as Keefieboy suggested and looked at http://www.hellomadrid.es and I have to say, I'm very impressed. (I'm not impressed easily). Within days they got me an NIE appointment (Much to my relief). But they do a lot more too!

For a fraction of what a gestor would charge, it seems they not only help getting a NIE, they help you find accommodation, help with registering for social security (tick), open bank accounts and even check your apartment contract. For a bit more they'll even go with you to open an account. (I wonder if they drive you there...)

Anyway, trying to do all this if your Spanish isn't up to much can send your nerves into meltdown so for other newbies in the same predicament, it's definitely worth doing and good value.

For all others out there prepared to go it alone, may the force be with you. (The Spanish officials certainly aren't!)

Keefieboy said:

Morganna: I think Karie K has answered your question. Getting the Empadronomiento was the easiest thing: no queues, no fees, no problem. I've never heard Majadahonda but I see from Wikipedia that it's near Madrid. So I guess you could go to what I think translates as something like the Statistics Bureau (the Padron is like a rolling census, so that the city knows exactly how many people it is providing services for). It's on Calle de Goya, near Plaza de Colon. It's in a mirror glass building beside the big church on C/ Goya. There's a simple form to fill in, and they'll process your application on the spot.

To get your NIE you can phone for an appointment on these three numbers. They are usually engaged and there's no queueing system. I was lucky and got through on my fourth attempt. They don't seem to speak English, so practice the phrases you might need!


The appointment I was given was about two months after I called for it! If you can't wait that long, you can stand in a queue. Apparently people start queueing at about 4.30 am (the office opens at 9am).

This is the addres of the office (unless you are Bulgarian or Romanian):
Plaza del Campillo del Mundo Nuevo nº 3
28005 - Madrid.

The hardest part of this was that you have to pay a small fee about Euros 6.70 into their bank account. All the banks around there will only accept these payments up until about 10 or 11am. If you get an appointment in the afternoon, then make sure you visit the office one morning before your appointment. The cops on the door will give you a payment form which you can complete and take to a nearby bank. When you show up for your actual appointment, bring the receipt! They won't let you in without it, and they have guns and big sticks.

Or, save yourself a lot of grief. I only found this website after I'd got my NIE, but I think it's well worth spending about 50 Euros to get some experienced help: hellomadrid.es

Spanorama Photo

The Cheat in Spain

Related Google