Other immigration information

Foreigner identification number and residence card for foreigners


The residence card for foreigners is a document that identifies non-Community foreigners (i.e., whose country of origin does not belong to the European Union - European Economic Area and Switzerland) as evidence of their legal situation in Spain (containing the NIE). Access the “EU-EEA map”.

All foreigners who have been awarded a visa or permit for staying in Spain for a period of more than six months must obtain the residence card for foreigners, which must be applied for in the following terms:

  • One month after registration with the social security system in case of work permits.
  • One month after they have entered the country for the other cases.

Citizens of the European Union-European Economic Area and Switzerland resident in Spain for a period of more than 90 days must register with the Registry of Citizens of the EU-EEA and Switzerland resident in Spain. Registration with the registry concludes with the issue of a registry certificate to the EU citizen, which will include his or her foreigner identification number (NIE).


Foreigners, who, owing to their financial, professional and social interests, are associated with Spain, will be given, for identification purposes, a sequential number that is personal, unique and exclusive.

The personal number will be the foreigner identification number and must appear on all documents that are issued or processed, as well as the stamps that are appended to his or her identity card or passport.

Application for the NIE can be submitted in person or by a legal representative. Representatives must have a power of attorney authorizing them to act on behalf of the foreigner to obtain the NIE.


  • In Spain: directly by the interested party at the government delegations and sub-delegations via their services or at the relevant Oficina de Extranjería (Provincial Immigration Office) corresponding to the place where the procedure began. The relevant office will be located close to where the services are provided or the company is located, e.g., the company headquarters.
  • Abroad: at the diplomatic mission or consular section of Spain located in the foreigner's country of residence, where the applicant must communicate the reasons for the application.


  • Standard application form. Download Form EX15.  Please find an English and a French translation to help you filling the official Spanish form here: English, French.
  • Identity document or passport and a copy. 
  • Communication of the financial, professional and social reasons for the application.

If a representative submits the application, also:

  • Power of attorney executed before a notary public, translated and authenticated, appointing a representative to obtain the NIE.
  • Copy of the passport certified by a notary public and authenticated.

(See “Authentication and Translation of documents”)

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Last updated: 11|12|2019

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