NIE Number vs. NIE Card

For EU passport holders there are two types of NIE. You can get a NIE “number” or a NIE “card”. A NIE number is just a number written on a white piece of paper. The NIE card, meanwhile, is a little green card also referred to as a residency certificate (Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión) or residency card (tarjeta de residencia) which will allow you to complete all the necessary paperwork for your everyday life in Spain. This residency certificate is equivalent to a NIF (the ID card for Spanish citizens). See the application process for both types of NIE  here.

NIE number

NIE NUMBER (Número de identidad de extranjero)

  • a number written on a white piece of paper
  • newly with unlimited validity
  • consists of 1 letter at the beginning, 7 numbers and 1 letter at the end – e.g.: Y-3688609-S
  • possible to get this number in person or with legalized power of attorney
  • assigned for administrative purposes (purchase property, investment, tax payment, etc)
  • the entire process and all its requirements are described here (in Spanish)
  • not proof of residency!
  • application by filling out the EX15 form

NIE CARD (Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión)

  • little green paper card laminated on the back (previously a piece of green paper, A4 size)
  • contains NIE number together with your name, date and birthplace, address in Spain and date of application
  • Required for stays exceeding 3 months
  • NIE application possible only in person and by appointment (in Madrid)
  • NIE card is awarded only if you meet one of the following conditions (for EU-citizens):
    • have a job for a Spanish employer
    • be self-employed (autonomo)
    • be a student and have health insurance
    • have enough funds to maintain yourself and have valid health insurance in Spain
    • join a family member already living in SpainNIE card
  • The validity of NIE Card is unlimited (or until they change the law)
  • The complete requirements (in Spanish) can be found here.
  • application by filling out the EX18 form

Still not sure what to do? Contact NIE Madrid – we will help and advise you according to your individual situation and circumstances.