Instructions for the TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjeros) Application

31 March 2021

TIE instructions: Forms (EX-18, Modelo 790/012), Citas Previas, and Helpful Translations


A step by step guide through the forms (with translations), documents, payments, appointments/citas previas, lotes, and process of getting your TIE.


This is such a pain in the butt that I won't blame you if you decide to just hire a gestor or asesoria to get the appointment for you.

As you probably know by now, you'll need to get your TIE (foreigners identification card) within 90 days of arrival in Spain in order to maintain your rights as a temporary resident on a visa for Spain beyond those 90 days. Here's a step by step guide to getting your TIE card with as little pain as possible. 

Upon establishing residence in Spain (either you received a visa for temporary residence or through your European right to residence), you'll need to embark on the TIE application process. The following steps are for any non-EU resident's TIE application based on a temporary residence visa (NLV, etc):

  1. You should already have requested or have in posession your padron (caveat, not all oficinas de extranjeria require you to have your padron, email them to ask). If you don't have the padrón in hand yet, make your appointment/cita previa anyway because by the time you get the appointment you'll likely have your padrón certificate.
  2. Setup an appointment, called a "cita previa" – refer to our article on how to contact the oficinas de extranjeria to get a cita previa, they're not easy to come by these days!). Yes, they release the citas on Friday mornings at 9am, but they also release extras during the week around 12-2pm.
    This is such a pain in the butt that I won't blame you if you decide to just hire a gestor or asesoria to get the appointment for you.
  3. Complete EX-17 for non-EU citizens or EX-18 for EU citizens online and print it, or print it and complete it on paper. Hot tip: review the EX-18 translated into English for guidance (EX-17 and EX-18 are almost the same)!
  4. Fig 1 Choose this option. It should be 15.92€
    For non-EU residents, pay the 15,92€ tax on the form Modelo 790/012, which is now 10x easier using the online form provided by the police here: Modelo 720/012 (links to English version provided by Google translate). See Fig 1.
  5. Get two passport sized photos from a local photography store (search Google maps for “fotos pasaporte” to locate a shop)
  6. Attend the appointment with all of the above forms, photos, appointment confirmation and your passport:
    1. be on time within 20 min (like, "on time" is in Spain)
    2. you'll wait outside until there is space inside, then go through security and get another ticket number
    3. wait to for your ticket to get called (my wife and I went in on a single ticket)
    4. go in, follow the instructions and present your documents as requested (use sanitizer after using the fingerprint machine)
    5. take your receipt, share a joke with the lovely attendant and profess your love for Spain between mil gracias
    6. they may advise you approximately how many weeks it will be until you should make another cita previa to pick up your TIE (in our case she advised waiting 4 weeks, and that getting a cita previa for picking up your TIE would be much much easier to get. This was not correct in our experience)
  7. Take your receipt with your lote number
  8. To figure out which lote of TIE cards arrives each Thursday, try emailing the oficina de extranjeria or ask around the expat Facebook groups
  9. Make your new cita previa to pickup (recojer) your TIE, or if you can't get one but you know the lote with your TIE has arrived whether because the oficina de extranjeria told you or you heard it from some fellow extranjeros.

    You can also just try to pop over to the office around 11am and inform the guard that you have been told your TIE arrived (show him your receipt and passport). He'll put you in a separate line and eventually you'll get hustled in and pick up your TIE after verifying your ID at the front desk. Congrats!

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