Relocating to Spain has changed with new residency approval processes being introduced from 3 January 2012. The new procedures affect all newly arriving foreigners planning to stay in Spain for longer than 3 months, including UK and EU citizens.
From the start of the year, foreign arrivals seeking to stay in Spain must now personally present their paperwork to the police station as part of the NIE authorisation process.
The NIE is Spain’s paperwork registering the identity number of a foreigner (Número de identidad de extranjero) for tax purposes. A NIE grants foreigners residency rights to remain in Spain for longer than three months and is essential paperwork to many other administration and financial systems.
To receive a NIE, applicants must:
- Complete two copies of the NIE application form, downloadable from
- Present original passport and copy along with two passport photos
- Details of your current address in Spain
- A personal statement or letter explaining why you are seeking NIE registration (business work located here, renting long term, buying property or accompanying a spouse, for example).
The new approvals legislation now requires applicants to take the paperwork to a police station in person. In the past, foreigners could employ a gestor to literally do the legwork involved, whereas now a personal appearance is mandatory.
While not expected to involve any more rigorous scrutiny or delays for the bulk of applicants, it does create inconveniences for long-term renters, relocating parents and business transfers to sacrifice up to half a day for the new processes.
With a NIE, you can then apply for an empadonamiento registration with the local Town Hall, a necessity to receive the paperwork required to enrol children in international or local schools, use the public health system, or open a business or company office.
When leasing property or looking to buy property in Barcelona, please raise any questions you have about the NIE process with your Lucas Fox representative. We have network connections with experts in relocating to Spain who can support you through any administrative obstacles.