Travel tips

How Do I Get My NIE Number/Residencia in Tenerife

The N.I.E. is an identification and tax number for foreigners in Spain. It stands for “Número de Identidad de Extranjero” (what i hear you say) which translates as an Identification number for foreigners.

We always knew it was not going to be that straightforward. We had read up again and again on how to obtain your NIE before moving to Tenerife. We came to Spain and ran around in circles totally blinded by what, who, where and when to do this, So we thought we would shed some light on what the NIE actually is for all the poor souls about to do the same.

The N.I.E. is a necessity when you want to live, work or purchase a property in Spain. The number is only valid for 3 months in which time you have to either apply for a “Residencia” or register as a “Non-Resident”.
Depending on what you need your N.I.E. for, there will be different requirements (it changes all the time) for the process of application.

The N.I.E. is processed through a Spanish police station, where a good knowledge of the Spanish language is essential. So if you are not fluent, we suggest taking a translator along with you. Be prepared to go along very early with a packed lunch in tow, as your going to be there for some time. Present yourself to the officer at the desk, he will look at your application form, give you a ticket and point to the seats. Perfect an hour or three and you should be on your way, (remember the early bird catches the worm).

If you are feeling a little put off already, you can always let us do the hard work for you, we will carry out the whole paperwork procedure for you for a small fee. This, in turn, takes a lot of stress of your shoulders. Simply email us to

What You Will Need For Your NIE

1, Passports for all applying

2, EX15 Forms here printed of and filled in ( in Spanish)

3, Photocopies of Passports for all

4, Paid Modelo 790 form for each person here (paid at the local bank for about 9.45 euro each before you arrive) arrive at the Caixa Bank between 9:00 and 10:30.

5, Remember it will be worth it!!!

After grazing on your snacks, and watching the clock counter finally get to your number, you will be shouted over to sit and pass all relevant papers to another officer. A few minutes later and a little data input onto a PC system, voila, all papers passed back to you, with an additional white piece ( white for non-resident) and your good to go.

If you want to apply for your residency it is the same process apart from the form being an EX18 click here  you will be given a green piece of paperback the size of a credit card. We’re also happy to assist in getting your residency papers arranged for you too.

After you have been registered as a resident for five years, you can apply for a certificate of permanent residence in Spain. You will be issued with a credit card size Residence Certificate, but it will additionally state that you are a permanent resident (residente permanente).

Note: Some people will have an A4 sized Residence Certificate rather than the small credit card one, in these cases, there is no requirement to re-apply for a credit card size one unless your circumstances (for example your address) change.

Now that you have suffered the pain of the police station visit, your now able to buy a car, work, and gallivant along nicely, keeping your NIE safe, as it will stay with you for life. If you lose it, you can get it replaced.

It is possible to apply for a duplicate NIE certificate from the same National Police station where it was originally issued. You would have to go in person and the procedure would be the same as when first applying.  You would also have to go through the same procedure (snacks, and patience in abundance) if for some reason you had to produce your original NIE, for example, due to its condition or because it is in an old format. 

An alternative is to apply over the internet for a printed sticker version with a barcode. This is the format used for your tax returns (self-employed only) and is accepted in most situations, including at the Notary’s. A fiscal representative would be able to help you with this.

I hope this has helped you along a little, if you would like more information please let us know in the contact form!

Check out this fantastic car hire deal, and start saving today as your really going to need a car in Tenerife!


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