TIE, NIE, DNI, NIF, CIF, Social Security


Auto-login for future?


TIE, NIE, DNI, NIF, CIF, Social Security

This, of course, does not mean you get automatic residency in Spain, nor will it make it any easier to get residency."

Posted by The Expatriator

Information on getting your TIE, NIE, social security number and other forms of identification for expat residents of Spain.

NIE (Número de Identidad/Identificación de Extranjero): The immigration service issues this number to you once you obtain residency (you will find the number on your Resident Card).  This is your identification number in Spain.  It is needed in order to file taxes, establish a business, open a bank account (not necessary for foreign accounts), and for almost any other form you fill out.  Both EU citizens and non-EU citizens get issued an NIE.  You can download this form here: NIE.pdf. Note that you can take this form to the Spanish Embassy in your country before you leave and receive the NIE ahead of time.

Also see The Cheat’s anecdotal guide to getting your NIE Live and Let NIE - Spanorama.

DNI (Documento Nacional de Identidad): This is the ID number for Spanish citizens.  The same number is used for one’s driver’s license.

NIF (Número de Identificación Fiscal): This is the tax ID number for all individuals.  For Spaniards, it’s the DNI plus one letter; for foreigners, it’s the same number as your NIE. Once you have an NIE, you do not need to re-apply for an NIF; if and when you have to pay taxes, use your NIE number. If you’re a nonresident who has to pay taxes in Spain, you may get an NIF issued to you without having an NIE. This, of course, does not mean you get automatic residency in Spain, nor will it make it any easier to get residency.

CIF (Certificado de Identificación Fiscal): This is the the same as the NIF, but for companies.

Social Security Number: Your employer applies for this number when you start your first job in Spain.  This number then stays with you for all subsequent jobs.  If you are self-employed, you apply for this number yourself.

The New Residency (Residencia) Card

by algrif It is true that the new certificate is now being issued to replace the old Residencia, at the insistence of Brussels. It is to be carried with the national ID or passport of your country of origin. It will show your name and the NIE that you were issued with. I suppose this last bit, as I still have not got my copy yet. So far, I have been to Extranjería in Alicante where, after waiting over 2 hours for my turn, I was pleasantly informed that I did not need to go there at all now. (Question: Why didn't the guy at the info desk at the entrance tell me there and then, or at least give me a photocopy info sheet or something?) They explained that I was to go to any Comisería of the National Police. So, I went off to Elche, thinking that Alicante would probably be full to overflowing, and anyway I live nearer to Elche. There, I was given two forms to fill out at my leisure at home. Both were simple. One was to make the payment of 6.70€ at any bank, Caja de Ahorros, etc. The other was to fill with my name, address, issued NIE and passport numbers. Today, I went to the Comisería at 9.00am only to be told that the numbers normally run out before 8.00. "Please would I return on Monday at an earlier time." So it seems that the horrendous queues which have been the subject of numerous denouncements at Brussels have simply been transferred to the Comiserías. I will let you know how I get on. Meanwhile, I think we can feel safe in the knowledge that, carrying an old Residencia plus passport is OK as it is legal enough for the moment. I have always maintained this position, refusing to renew my Residencia as it had been denounced as illegal under European Law. This point has been bourne out as I have done all the following things with an out of date residencia plus passport: Got married, got a job, opened a bank account, got a mortgage, bought a house, bought and sold more than one car, hired a car, and more things besides. All along the line people have admonished me because "You really should get the residencia up to date you know" in both Spanish and English. But everyone knew, that in reality, they could not insist as European Law was on my side.

Residencia Update

Well, I arrived at the Comisería at just before 6.00 am and hunted through the crowd already there to find someone who was keeping track of arrival order in note pad. At about 7.45 a policeman came out and took the list and started to put us in an orderly queue. I'm sure you can imagine how easy that was. ha ha. Finally, after a lot of cajoling, shouting, joking, and storming off in a temper, we were in a queue more or less corresponding to the list. At 8.00 another policeman came out and started to hand out numbers to the 3 queues. First to the renew DNI queue, then to the Passport queue, and finally whatever was left to our queue. I was number 59. After giving number 60 to the person next behind me the Policeman shouted "That's it. Everyone else can come back tomorrow". He was adamant. The person behind me was in fact one half of a couple. So they had to come back also as the policeman refused to give out number 61. At about 1.30, my turn came. It took about 2 minutes. The nice lady behind the desk took my two forms and my passport. She didn't ask for any photocopies (even though, as a result of hard earned experience, I was carrying two photocopies of everything I could think of!) And she printed and stamped a form that says, (in Spanish, of course) :
CERTIFICADO DE REGISTRO DE CIUDADANO DE LA UNIÓN Note: This document is not valid to confirm the identity nor the nationality of the holder The Chief Registrar of the Central Registry of Foreigners in the Comisería of (the town where you are) Certifies: That according to (the relevant Spanish law) the below named person has requested and received his inscription in the official registry of the Guardia Civil as a community resident living in Spain on a permanent basis since (first date of your NIE)
There then follows your personal details: name, address, nationality and your NIE. You keep a copy of this with your passport or other national ID, and keep the original in a safe place at home. And that's IT!! No renewals (except for your own national ID). Don't forget that in Spain it is illegal to be out and about indocumentado This means that, just as the Spanish always carry their DNI, you must carry your national ID plus copy of this certificate. You can be fined on the spot for being indocumentado.

Last updated 14 01 2021

Donation to

If you find this site helpful, please leave a donation for us. This will encourage us to remove ads, keep responding to your questions and add more great information about living in Spain to


If you'd like to ask a question for discussion, please mosey on over to the Spain Forum. See our posting rules and instructions here.

madcandylee said:

thanks for a very informative article. this site rocks!

one the social security number different from your NIE??? i thought they were the same!!! please clarify.

algrif said:

No. The SS number is different. The NIE identifies you to the police and to the Tax authorities. The SS number needs to be issued to you when you start working. You need the SS number to get medical attention, dole (paro), and pension. One word of warning to UK residents... if you claim pension rights in Spain, you lose your pension rights in UK. This normally means a financial loss for most people.

flaixbac said:

So there is no fingerprinting anymore? When some older expats showed me residencia cards I was shocked when I saw it! Can someone confirm that for applying NIE or/and Residency Permit (Tarjeta de Residencia) they still take fingerprints like for a criminal? 😊

Anyway, here in Madrid, you are sent away from comisaria with telephone number where you should register for an appointment (cita previa) for both (with EX-16), which is excellent as you do not stand hours in queues except the fact you get the appointment in 5 months! Again, months, not days or weeks. (happened to me and all ppl I know they applied for it recently). Maybe a nice way how to protect local labour market with 3M unemployed persons from furher influx of foreigners out of EU (for those from EU it is possible to have the contract with passport until issued NIE).

ROB1305 said:

No finger prints are no longer part of the process.

BritYank said:

It's amazing what a little research can teach you. It seems that Brits who are licensed drivers have a way round the passport-carrying burden within Spanish territory once they have obtained their NIE: a 'Permiso de Conducci?n' bears the driver's NIF (DNI or NIE) as the licence number and, under Spanish law, is deemed to be an acceptable 'medio de identificaci?n'. (However, a driving licence is not an international travel document and so intra-Schengen travel beyond Spanish territory should NEVER be attempted without a valid UK passport.)

Of course, an ?85.00 fee and an extra layer of Spanish bureaucracy are involved in obtaining your permiso but any sane individual would probably consider the ability to carry an ID card at all times in Spain (instead of one's full passport) to be definitely worth the one-off hassle. Especially given that replacing a lost Spanish driving licence (?26.00) seems to be a better option than a lost UK passport (?72.00).

BritYank said:

Brits resident in Spain who hold full UK Driving Licences can, in practice, get round the passport-carrying requirement if they are willing to exchange their UK licence for a Spanish one. This is because the photocard issued by the State bears the holders NIF (DNI/NIE) as the Spanish licence number.

Though not valid as a travel document beyond Spanish territory, a Spanish driving licence should also suffice for flights etc within Spain. The fee is ?26.00 You?ll need:

1. A form ( );

2. required documents ( ), and;

3. a prior appointment:

mary_gb said:

Hello all,

At first congratulations for this site.

It is very useful for us... foreign people.

I would like to have your op?nion regarding one matter. I seem to have lost my original NIE (the green paper). I think it has been a long time since the last time i have seen it. What should i do, just go again do the same procedure and apply for a new one?

From the below comments i understand that there should not be any important problem if anyone has tried to use it, since it does not confirm my ID without my passport.

What is your opinion?
Which is the procedure i should do now?

Thanks a lot!

wiganer said:

Hi mary-gb

If you lose your NIE paper, you can go to the National Police station closest to you, tell them that it's lost and they'll tell you to come back a week later and they'll give you another copy. I don't think you can apply for another new number because that would mean you'd be registered under 2 different numbers and could cause problems.

This was the procedure I had to do, all be it a few years ago. As long as you have your passport as ID, they can find your records, also, if you know your NIE number that helps too.

Hope you found this useful.

guirigales said:

I think the loss of the "tarjeta de residencia" is a tragedy. Ive been here for over nine years now and Ill be damned Im I going to carry round my passport every time I leave the house! How many times a day do you use your ID in spain...

I have a spanish driving licence and I usually get by with that but there are some places that refuse to accept it as a form of ID. For example as of last week ALCAMPO now only accept DNI or passport as proof of ID. I personally welcome the return of the "Tarjeta de residencia" which there are already murmurs about. What a complete waste of time and money.

bibert said:

Regarding Passport with Residencia papers? I went to a photography store here in Calpe, as they are advertising copying your passport on both side into CREDIT CARD SIZE for ?5. They also did the green Residencia paper in reduced form, but not able to get it in credit card size. So far the Post office has accepted this, because they don?t know if this card was issued by the Government concerned.
However, the other option for not wanting to carry your passport is to copy the page with your picture, go to the Local Police, show your passport and the copy of your passport en they will stamp and sign this copy and you are set to go. having dual Citizenship being Dutch and Canadian, These countries allow the Post office stamp. Of course a real passport is always needed at the Airport and where officially requested like City Hall.

kuma14 said:

My wife and I renewed our residencia in Palma, Mallorca. We have added a special page to our website with links to relevant website that will assist you in making the process as easy as possible. We found that by having the correct information it makes the renewal process less stressful. The only documents that you require now are
1 Old plastic card -1 photo copy of the front and rear
2 Passport -1 copy
3 EX-16 - 3 copies
4 Modelo 790 receipt.

The clerk then completes the new residencia and they will ask you to check the details. Please review the screen carefully as my parents details where wrong and if you do not correct them you could have problems when you apply for your pension as this information is required by the Spanish Government when they apply to the UK for their contribution.

arkhouse001 said:

Hi folks - I am a non-resident property owner, and I recently needed to make a change to my motgage. I got a NIE from the local Police Station (just an A4 printout with an official stamp on it) and took this along to the Notary. The Notary kept this document and the Bank said they would get it back to me when the Notary had finished with it.

Many emails and several months later, the Bank tells me that when they requested the documents back, the Notary told them that this was a provisional document valid for only 3 months and is now of no value.

I can't find any reference to provisional/full NIE documentation, or any idea how I would now get the NIE proper.

Any ideas?

ROB1305 said:

I have never heard of temp. NIE it is a tax number for life and is only issued on a permanent basis whether you are resident or non resident. Request the notary to send you a copy of maybe the bank has one (they should)

Did you have a solicitor? can they help. The actual NIE number will be in the property escritura and mortgage papers.

algrif said:

Hi arkhouse001
I believe the Notario is in the wrong here. You should do one of two things. 1. Go to the office of the Notario and get the document back. Or 2. go to the Police Station and get a new one. You're up against Spanish Bureauocracy here, so don't expect anyone to be particularly helpful. For future reference, you should learn to make photocopies of all official docs. in Spain, and present photocopies rather than originals wherever you can possibly get away with it. Keep the reference numbers in a safe place, too. One question .. Have you got your residency? If not, then perhaps it was simply a temporary document for non-residents after all. -- Algrif

arkhouse001 said:

Thanks Algrif. In answer to your question, the documents were definitely NIE not Residencia - I'm not in Spain for more than 90 days per year.

I've asked the Bank to go back to the Norario to retrive the NIE documents, but I'm not holding my breath. Expect to see me looking bored in Elche Police Station some time soon....

rockinrobin said:

Hi, my hubby was giving a NIF number when we bought our flat in Ibiza, he has lost his number. How do we find out what his number is, as we are wanting to move to Benidorm and try to run our own business. Thanks

rockinrobin said:

Hi there,

My Husband has misplaced his NIF. Where can I get a copy of it? Can I do it online?


Aissou Khaled said:

Hi Dear,

I am a legal resident in Spain Zaragoza (Ejea De Los Caballeros) with NIE and DIN. But I have left Spain in 2001 and don't have clue if I could renew my card residence.

If you could please help me and let me know what I can do.

Many Thanks.

BritYank said:

Your husband needs to go to the Oficina de Extrajeros de Ibiza with 2 completed copies of form EX-16, passport/ID page photocopy and current padron certificate (best to arrive with reading material and drinks an hour before opening). They will give him a replacement NIF certificate.

On resettlement in Benidorm, he should have his NIF certificate reissued by the Extranjer?a to indicate his new address: this will make life much easier going forward.

First he will need to enter himself on the local padron. Then he will need to take his new padron certificate + two copies of completed EX-16 (indicating change of details), passport + ID page copy + NIF certificate from Ibiza. He will get a new NIF certificate with his new address.

In Spain it's always advisable to review newly issued official documents for errors before leaving.

Links to follow in separate post.

Hope this helps.


Register, then sign-in with your SpainExpat username to post your comments.

Go to Top

Recent Discussions
Recent Talkbacks
On Consumer Complaint Forms / Hojas de Reclamaciones, maltezer said:

"How much room is there to write when you fill in the hoja de reclamaciones?"

On EU Residency in Spain for EU Citizens, Dreamer said:

"Hi Billy,

The article has just been updated with all the new info."

On EU Residency in Spain for EU Citizens, redglasses said:

"Can a british resident live in spain? Is Britain considered part of the European Union?
What about taxes for running a business in Spain for an Expat?"

Expats on Facebook