Getting an NIE number (número de identification de extranjero, or foreigner's identification number) is an essential part of living in Spain. 

You'll need one to apply for the new Digital Nomad Visa and also to do simple things like opening a bank account. Sometimes even simple tasks such as accepting a parcel delivery are difficult without one. 

Here's how you can get an NIE number by yourself while in Spain: 


Make an appointment at the closest Police Station

It's best to do this first as sometimes there can be a long wait for appointments. 

(If the wait is too short to get all your documents together, skip this step and check again once you are ready.)

  1. Visit the police website, select your province from the dropdown list and click Aceptar
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to where it says TRÁMITES CUERPO NACIONAL DE POLICÍA
  3. In the dropdown list, select Asignación de N.I.E. or POLICIA-CERTIFICADOS Y ASIGNACION NIE (depending on the province - if in doubt, look for the word NIE) and click Aceptar
  4. This page lists all the paperwork you'll need to take with you - we've included a translation of everything in this article, so for now, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Entrar
  5. Select PASAPORTE and enter your passport number, enter your name and surname then click Aceptar
  6. Click Solicitar Cita
  7. Select the police station you want to go to and click Siguiente
  8. Enter your phone number then click Siguiente 
  9. Select one of the appointment date/times and click Siguiente
  10. Select OK in the popup window
  11. Enter the confirmation code which you should have received by text message, tick the box then click CONFIRM

That's it. You'll need to either show the confirmation text on your phone or print out the confirmation page so you'll be let into the police station on the day of your appointment. 


Get together all of the documents

You'll need the following: 

  • A completed application form EX-15 (see section 3 below)
  • The original and a copy of your passport (if EU/EEA, only the photo page; if not, EVERY page)
  • If you are applying on behalf of your children, the original and a copy of their birth certificate (translated and with apostille) 
  • A passport-sized photo 
  • The payment form Tasa Modelo 170 Código 012 (see section 4 below), either stamped by the bank or with the receipt from the ATM where you paid the fee

Download & Fill Out The Application Form

Now you'll need to download and print the EX-15 form

Below you'll find instructions in English to help you fill it out:


Download & Print The Payment Form

The next form you need to fill out is the Tasa Modelo 170 Código 012.

This is the form you'll take to a bank in order to pay the NIE number fee of €9.84 – unfortunately there's no way to pay online or at the police station itself. 

Luckily, this form is more straightforward and you mostly fill it in online.

Firstly, fill out your details in the 'Identificación' section as follows:

Ignoring the section titled 'Autoliquidación', scroll down to the long list of procedures, and select:

.Asignación de Número de Identidad de Extranjero (NIE) a instancia del interesado.

(By selecting this, an amount of €9.84 will appear in the box 'Importe euros' in 'Ingresos')

Finally, scroll down to the end of the form and fill in the following, being sure to select 'En efectivo' (in cash):

Now all that's left to do is to enter the numbers or letters in the capcha, then press 'Descargar impreso rellenado' ('Print the filled out form'). 

You'll get a PDF document to print, which you can then take to a bank to pay. Unfortunately there is no way to pay this fee online. 

Some banks may tell you that you can only make the payment between certain hours of the day and on certain days of the week so it's best to go well ahead of the day of your appointment.

What you can also do is try to pay through an ATM, either by scanning the barcode or by entering the code that will appear on the form.

It is essential that you keep the receipt and present it on the day of your appointment with your NIE number application.


Turn Up At The Police Station For Your Appointment

Head to your chosen police station, being sure to leave plenty of time before the appointment in case it takes time to get inside. 

TIP 1: Don't expect much English to be spoken in the police station, and making at least an attempt to speak Spanish (if only buenos días and gracias) will help you to come across as respectful. But it's not usually necessary to take a translator if you've followed all of the steps in this post, unless your situation is complicated. 

TIP 2: If you forget anything (e.g. the passport-sized photo, to pay the bank fee), don't panic as chances are you'll be allowed to leave the police station and come back on the same day. Usually there are banks and shops which do photocopies/photos nearby.

Provided everything is ok, they'll tell you when to come back to pick up your NIE certificate (you pick it up from the reception, possibly on the same day). 

Instructions for MALAGA city

click to open Google Maps

Go to the police station to Plaza de Manuel Azaña, 3, 29006 Málaga with plenty of time to spare in case you get lost or can't find a parking space. 

The police station is around 40 minutes walk from the centre of Malaga, or take bus 11 or 25 from Paseo del Parque. 

If you are driving, there’s plenty of street parking in the surrounding streets, but (as always in Spain!) allow plenty of time to find a spot. If you are stuck, there’s a large Carrefour supermarket 10 - 15 minutes walk away. 

The first thing you'll do is show the police officer at the entrance your printed or text confirmation. He/she will then point you towards the reception desk. 

The reception desk will give you a number and tell you to go along a corridor on the right where you'll wait until it's your turn.

When your number is called, the police officer will check that you have all of the correct documents and that you've paid the correct fee. If there are any problems, he or she will let you know and you'll be able to sort them out on the same day and return to the police station if possible. 

Provided everything is ok, they'll tell you when to come back to pick up your NIE certificate (you pick it up from the reception).

And that's it!

Once you have your NIE number, you can open a Spanish bank account, take out a contract for a mobile phone ... life in Spain will become much easier!

About the Author Louise Carr

I'm a UK-Spain cross-border tax specialist. After qualifying at PwC in the UK, I moved to Spain and continued my studies. My work focuses on tax matters and advising expats.

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