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Getting your identity card (N.I.E) in Spain

So you finally made up your mind and moved to Spain to do a TEFL course, teach English or study Spanish? You’ll love it here! Barcelona is a gorgeous city with an endless offer of cultural activities, nightlife, gastronomy, lovely weather and more! However, if you intend to stay here for a period longer than 3 months you will need to get your NIE.

Getting your N.I.E in Spain
Getting your N.I.E in Spain before finding work as a TEFL teacher.

What in the world is the NIE, you ask? NIE actually stands for “número de identidad de extranjero”, which means it’s a foreginer’s ID number. Holding an NIE will allow you to get a working contract, open a bank account, rent a flat in your name, join a GYM, get a mobile under contract, etc. As a member of the European Union, you’re allowed to stay for a long period of time and legally work in Spain. However, there are a few things you need to sort out if that’s your plan. At the end of 2012 there was a change in the law for EU citizens that want to get the NIE in Spain. It is now a requirement for those that want to get the NIE to either have a job offer or proof that they’re enrolled in and have paid in full for a course that is longer than 3 months.

The idea of going to the Spanish foreign offices might be quite daunting, especially if you don’t speak Spanish! The following information is a step by step guide to help make this process as easy as possible for you.

Step 1 – Book an appointment online to go get your NIE processed. When you make the appointment online, the dates suggested for it might not be until 4 weeks after the current day. If your intention is to work in Spain, some employers might be hesitant to hire you if you won’t be able to get your NIE until after 4 weeks after the date they want you to start. The best thing you can do is to get an appointment to process the NIE as soon as possible, even if you don’t have a job offer yet. If you don’t have one by the time of your appointment, you can always cancel or postpone it. However, if a job offer does come up, you’ll already have an appointment scheduled that won’t require you to wait that long! If you’re studying in Spain for longer than 3 months, they you could even ask for an appointment before you arrive so that by the time you’re here you don’t have to wait that long. Here are instructions on how to set up the NIE appointment.

There is a yellow menu more or less at the middle of the page. Click on Extranjería. (The menú may change over time, but just look for and click on Extranjería.) Select CITA PREVIA DE EXTRANJERIA by clicking on Acceda, then go to Acceder al procedimiento. Select BARCELONA and CERTIFICADOS UE, then click on Aceptar.

The next webpage will indicate what you will need to take with you to the appointment (original AND copy):

1. Printed proof of appointment – You’ll have to print the confirmation webpage that appears after making the appointment online.

2. You will need to fill out and take the form EX-15 and EX-18 (with an extra copy for each) when you have your appointment.

The foreign office’s website states you need the EX-15, but many graduates have informed us that they were asked for the EX-18 at the time of their appointment. Better be safe, than sorry! Take both forms filled out to avoid having to return to give them the correct one.

3. Valid Passport – original and copy

4. Official letter from the school you’re studying at (in letterhead) in which they confirm that you’re enrolled on a course that’s for longer then 3 months OR both an official letter from your employer (in letterhead) saying you have a job offer as well as a “provisional contract” (pretty much what the actual contract will look like, but without it being entirely filled out, since you don’t have the NIE yet). Your full name and passport number/country should be stated in the letter.

Click on ENTRAR. Tick Pasaporte and write down your passport number, full name/surname as they appear on your passport and the captcha code. Click on ACEPTAR. On the next page select Solicitar Cita.

The address where your appointment will be is:

Rambla de Guipúscoa, 74-76

08020 – Barcelona (Barcelona)

Open Mon-Fri, from 9am – 2:30pm

Select this office on that webpage. Click on Aceptar. On the next page you’ll have to write down your phone number, email (twice) and for “motivo o tipo de solicitud de la cita” type Obtener NIE como ciudadano de UE. Click on SIGUIENTE. Three options of different dates/times will come up. Choose the one that suits you and click SIGUIENTE. (Useful tip – Early appointments, 9am, tend to be less busy times for them and will therefore allow you to be done sooner.) Confirm all details on the next page, tick both boxes if everything is OK and to get a confirmation email. Then click CONFIRMAR. The last page is the one you need to print as proof of the appointment and take with you.

Step 2 – Go to your appointment! Closest metro stops are Bac de Roda and St. Martí, both purple L2 line. They’re pretty much the same distance from the foreign office.

Be sure to take everything with you. It’s best to arrive a bit earlier and have them allow you to enter and queue for your turn as soon as possible. Before you pick up your approved NIE, you’ll have to pay a fee. At your appointment they’ll give you a form [NIE as an EU citizen (modelo 790 código 012)] which you’ll use to then pay the necessary fees for the NIE to be issued. You’ll have to go to a bank to make the payment. In some banks, you can even do this at the ATM if it has a bar code scanner. It’s a bit over 10 euros. You’ll need to show proof of payment when you pick up your NIE that same day in the same office.

That’s all, folks! Bet it doesn’t seem so hard after all now that you’ve got this step-by-step guide, right? As a final tip from my part, I suggest taking a book with you. You might be waiting for a bit with not much else to do than to have your nose in a book!

(The requirements for obtaining the N.I.E can change from month to month. Please only use this blog as a general guide and contact our careers adviser for more detailed information.)

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