Getting a NIE; the experience of an International Mum

One of the most commonly asked questions asked by international families who have recently located to Barcelona is; how do I get a NIE?

A NIE (Número de identidad de extranjero) is essentially an ID number for foreigners, necessary for anyone who wants to stay longer than 3 months in Spain.

Speaking from personal experience, and I know many others say the same, we found this process quite difficult and stressful particularly with young children. There’s a fair bit of waiting around, we didn’t have all the right documentation initially so had to do several visits, and all communication is in Spanish or Catalan. But hang in there! It can be done.

Foreign arrivals must present their paperwork to the police station or Oficina de Extranjeros as part of the process. Here is a list of police offices that you can visit within Catalunya. The one in Barcelona is at Rambla de Guipúscoa 74.

The process is not always easy and seems to change quite regularly. The paperwork required is dependent on different factors; where you are from, your job situation etc. If you have moved here for work you may have the services of relocation specialist at your disposal. If that is not the case you may like to pay for a gestor or private company (that specialise in dealing with public administration and cutting through the red tape) to help you obtain your NIE, although obviously this comes at a financial cost. I found the best way to find a gestor is to ask friends/ colleagues for recommendations. Many people I know would strongly advise this option particularly if you do not speak much Catalan or Spanish. Alternatively taking a friend who does speak Catalan can be a big help!

If that’s not for you, first of all you need to book an appointment or Cita Previa to begin the process. You can specify which Police Station you want to visit and choose the next available time slot although this is not always easy.

Once you have an appointment you need to collate all the relevant paperwork. This includes:

• Your passport
• Paperwork explaining your job status (student, employed, self-employed, looking for work)
• Potentially a bank statement which shows proof of savings
• NIE fee of 10,60€ in cash
• Recent Passport Photos
• Non-EU citizens need proof of legal entry into Spain e.g. your landing card.

Always take several copies of everything photocopy several times. If you have children and want a NIE for them you also need this paperwork for them and they have to be there in person.

If all your paperwork is deemed correct (believe me from experience most people usually have to go a minimum of two times!) you are given instructions to go and pay for the NIE at a bank. Some banks, especially those local to the Rambla de Guipúscoa office will only take payment at specific times and if you have a bank account with them. You can return to the NIE office with the stamped payment slip from the bank and the NIE can be processed.

Please be aware that we are not by any means experts in obtaining a NIE and are just speaking from personal experience as an International Family living in Barcelona.
Do consult a gestor if you require professional help.

Wishing you the very best of luck!

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