A NIE number application the most important step for owning a holiday home in Tenerife

The "NIE", short for Nie number or N.I.E. is indeed the easiest chore that you have to do for your holiday home in Tenerife. I know a couple. Both work as surgeons. They do come to Tenerife for 2 weeks at a time, only. They relax in peace and privacy from their strenuous work in their own holiday haven. They, of course, needed the "NIE" which is the national Spanish identification number for foreigners, too. The limited stay is not the issue.

And, the beauty of it is that you will have it within 2 weeks when applying for it locally by yourself. And, it's free of charge.

How best apply

How apply for the NIE number for yourself at your
nearest Tenerife police station in Spain that has a foreigners department?

  • Please, go in the morning... They usually close by 1p.m. or, 2 p.m.
  • Take your valid passport,
  • a photo copy of your passport,
  • 2 pass photos
  • and, a black ball point pen...
  • Ask for formulario del número NIE, por favor...

    First part with examples

  • Apelido 1: Write Smith or whatever your family name may be..
    Spell everything exactly like it is spelled in your passport...
  • Apelido 2: 2nd family name in case it is featuring in your passport...
  • Nombre: All your Christian names such as Paul Henry for example...
  • Fecha de nacimiento: Put your birth date...
  • Lugar de nacimiento: Write where born, for example Birmingham...
  • Sexo: Make cross in H if you are male or,
    cross in M if you are female ...
  • Estado Civil: Status such as S for Single or,
    C for married ,
    D for divorced, V for widow or widower...
  • Pais de nacimiento: Write name of country of your birth...
  • Pais de nacionalidád: Name of one country whose current nationality you have...
  • Domicilio en España: Put address where you live in Spain...(a friend's?)
  • 2nd part

    2.1: Tick where it says no residente...
    2.2.: Write propriedád (property)...
    2.3.: Does not apply for you...

    2.3.1.: Tarjeta comunitaria
    ( that would be a EU passport or, a EU ID document)

    3rd Part:
    Domicilio a efecto de comunicaciones ( Don't write anything, here...)

    On bottom of page you will also find an alternative option.

    What exactly does NIE translate to?


    NIE number stands in Spanish for "número identidád extranjeros".
    That means literally translated: " Number identity foreigners.".

    Why do we need this Number?

    So what is the practical definition for the "NIE" in Spain?

    The answer is:

    We may need the NIE number for almost all economic transactions in Spain.

    For example:

    • For contracts; (in our case for real estate in Tenerife);
    • For the buying and selling taxes of a holiday home in Tenerife;
    • For property mortgage in Tenerife and insurance in Tenerife;
    • Of course for any other taxes in Spain;
    • For buying a car in Spain...
    • For any application in Spanish government departments....
    • For student loans, subsidies, licenses, you name it...
    • For the "Consorcio"Town board, for the "Ayuntamiento"
      such as the Town Hall etc. etc.
    • For a telephone land line, and water and electricity
    • For, of course, everything regarding the
      borrowing of money such as bank loans, credit cards,
      shopping cards, buying on credit, insurance
    • For some banks in Spain for your account but, not for all banks...
    • The NIE number is required for a work contract;
    • Many, in Tenerife, do little maintenance jobs, part time. An invoice with a Spanish ID is the proper business behavior.
    • If you wanted to rent an apartment or, house to live in Tenerife/Spain for longer than 6 months your NIE should be in the rental contract.
    • However, you can rent a home with your passport only when the landlord pays the water, electricity and trash collection bills.

    Download the NIE number form if you like...


    However, best would be to fill it in once you are at the police station unless there is a good source to help you with it.

    Alternatives to getting form at Consulates:

    You can, of course engage your nearest Spanish Consulate to handle the NIE number application for you.

    The Consulates for this in the UK are:

    The Spanish Consulate
    1 Brooks House, 70 Spring Gardens, Manchester, M2 2BQ.
    Tel: 0161 236 1233

    The Spanish Consulate General
    63 North Castle Street, Edinburgh, EH2 3LJ.
    Tel: 0131 220 1843

    The Spanish Consulate
    20 Draycott Place, London SW3 2RZ,
    Tel: 020 7589 8989, Fax: 020 7581 7888

    Ask the Consulate nicely to help you fill in the form. They
    charge round about 30 Pounds, which should warrant some
    assistance. Mind the Consulate will post your application to
    Spain. Be prepared to wait a little.

    As reason for a holiday studio in Tenerife,
    simply, write propriedád
    do the cross for económico

    Give them a ring first.
    Tell them that you need the Nie number
    because you intent to buy a
    holiday home in Tenerife

    Ask them, what other documents are needed
    in your case... besides Passport and 3 proper, recent pass photos?
    Perhaps a self addressed large envelope?

    Within the form, you can give the address of a friend or
    that of your real estate agent in Tenerife (with his
    permission) or your hotel as location where you may be reached.

    The Consulate will do a legal copy of your passport.

    Application NIE number for family member with power of attorney

    My daughter is co-owner of a little holiday studio in Tenerife together with her brother and with myself. (The other flat that we own together is too small for the three of us. They have rocked up with their mates, too.)

    Although, I have a full power of attorney from the kids I still had to apply for my daughter's " NIE number. And all that for the "privilege" to pay tax for and on behalf of the kids. What do you think? Probably the same as I did? Well, I just had to do it. By the way, my son had his number, already.

    My daughter could not come to Tenerife to apply for the Spanish identification number herself. She would have needed a whole day off from work to fly to the next Spanish embassy to have them apply for the NIE for and on her behalf.

    So, how apply for the Spanish Identification number for and on behalf of a friend or, relative that can't come to Spain when the option embassy or consulate is not practical?

    You need a power of attorney to start with.

    A power of attorney is a legal document that entitles you to handle tax or documents for others. In my family's case it was drawn up by a Spanish Notary in Spain because no licensed translator was available where my children lived. It then had to be signed in front of a Public Notary where my children live. An Apostille was required for that by Spain. It was easier than it sounds.

    When is an Apostille needed?

    My daughter had to return to the Public Notary in the country where she lives to get an Apostille which was this time for the NIE An apostille is a Den Haag convention document which legalizes foreign documents) Now, the Apostille meant to legally confirm copy of her passport.

    The Public Notary looked at her passport, made a copy of it and, verified with the ornate(seal) Apostille, signed, stamped and so forth that her Passport had been verified for her by the Notary and that the attached photocopy is therefore legal. She then sent it to me by normal unregistered English Royal Mail.

    Please, listen now to what happened, then...

    This confirms that one shouldn't postpone important documents.

    I went to the local Police department with:

    1. My passport...
    2. My NIE number certificate...
      (just in case)
    3. ...

    4. Original power of attorney,
      where my daughter's name and
      passport number is featuring,
      just like her brother's etc....
    5. Apostille (original) with copy of
      my daughter's passport
    6. Two application forms filled
      in for the NIE number
      with black ballpoint pen,
      with data required, (except gray
      fields)and not signed yet
    7. .

    I was now given an appointment at the Police in 3 months'

    Date, time of day, the lot.

    Had it been a normal application, I would have had the "NIE" , already, within a

    At least, one good point I must
    mention: No translations
    of documents were required
    for the NIE application
    for and on behalf of my

    (The power of attorney is already in Spanish).

    I may please come back with all the
    originals as well as with
    photocopies of the documents listed

    More tips for how to apply for a NIE number

    You may engage a lawyer or, a 'gestor' which is an agent in Spain who does all sorts of things for and on behalf of other people. But here again, you must go with him or her to the police unless you hand over a power of attorney. So why not handle it yourself when you are in Tenerife?

    You may go to the Police station yourself and, you may just say: or hand over a note to the officer that says: " Quiero formulários para solicitar mi número NIE, por favor"...
    That means: I would like forms for the NIE number application, please.

    Ask some Spanish guy or girl, beforehand, on how to pronounce it...

    If you don't understand what the officer tells you have a note ready that says: "Escriba lo que falta, por favor..."
    That means: Please, right down what is missing...>

    Go home, find somebody to help you fill in the form...

    Go back to Police, get your tiny appointment slip for coming back. That's it. Fetching is "peanuts"... Just show the copy of your application and your passport. You will receive your "Spanish" NIE. No need to update, ever...

    there is a new law in Spain since 2007. It implies that every European that stays more than 6 months in Tenerife which is a province of Spain must apply for registration in the foreigners' registry. Reason being is because, residence for Spain is no longer required for European passport holders.

    What does that mean? This is for tax control and, to make life easier for Europeans.

    We should now go back to the Police with our NIE number and, with our passport to register. That registration has its advantages, indeed.

    A peculiar incident I saw

    Please, listen to this: I found it quite funny because cellular telephones are not allowed in Police stations.

    There was German gentleman at the Police station where I wanted to get my NIE business done and over with.

    The officer saw him trying to use his cell phone and pointed a finger at the wall symbol that meant no such telephones allowed.

    The guy stopped using it.

    This guy spoke no Spanish. I helped him a little to get the ball rolling.

    He then, quickly phoned his German and Spanish speaking "gestor", tax adviser with his handy (cell phone), who then, spoke to the officer behind the desk.

    He did it so fast; the officer had no time to object.

    That way no interpreter was needed. One way of doing it, isn't it?

    If you don't have any time or interest to do the NIE number application yourself you may of course employ an agent such as a gestor or a tax consultant.

    Like the German man did...

    I don't know exactly what gestors are charging. But, it can't be a fortune. Somebody said that it's about EU 100 in Tenerife which I believe.

    Eventually, I received the Spanish identification number for my daughter. It was free of charge.

    Being in 2019 now, nothing works fast any more in Spain when applying at police stations. Every time you apply for something new you get given a tiny slip of paper with a date and a number and you are asked to come back.

    Important tip: No NIE number is required when you rent any accommodation where costs like water, electricity etc. are included which is the case with holiday home rental and may be possible with long term rental (usually not longer than one year). In both cases your passport will do. However, you need a Spanish identity number to use your European blue card for health at the Centros de Salud where they may ask for your Empadronamiento certificate that provides your town hall.

    From NIE number back to residential property in Tenerife

    Please mind that the comment box below is meant to help others. In case you have a question or want to tell me something, kindly use this contact form.

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