Published on July 3rd, 2007
Reviewed on August 14th, 2009
Updated on November 16th, 2011

The “N.I.E.”, an essential document

How to buy a property in Spain

Which formalities have to be settled in order to buy a property, a real estate in Spain? Do not worry, it is rather simple. You must have four elements:

For all the remainder, the INSERT correspondent will accompany you or do the work for you, but if you do not have the “N.I.E.”

The “N.I.E.” is absolutely essential today: no more property transaction can be achieved in Spain without this document, whose complete name is Número de identidad del extranjero (“Allien's identity number”). The “N.I.E.” is delivered either by the Policía Nacional, or by the nearest Spanish Consulate according to your place of residence out of Spain. This document is delivered for purposes of the tax identification of its holder, and your number will never change again, except if you one day acquire the Spanish nationality.

The delivery delay of this famous “N.I.E.” is either immediate, or turns around five to eight days, or even three months and more if you choose to settle this formality through the Spanish Consulate. Now, applying for a “N.I.E.” obliges you to nothing, neither to buy a property, nor to one day become a taxpayer in Spain. The formality moreover is very cheap, a few tens euros.

Thus, even if you only hypothetically might cherish the shade of the perspective to perhaps some day plan the possibility to consider the purchase of a property in Spain, do not doubt: apply for a “N.I.E.” already. And not necessarily during your next holidays: in some places, the aliens' section of the Policía nacional is closed in August.

Should you find your dream property in Spain at a dream price, holding a “N.I.E.” will allow you a quick purchase.

How to get the N.I.E. ?

You have to apply by the Policía Nacional (or at the nearest Spanish Consulate in your home country). The application has to be introduced personally: you cannot be represented. This also applies to your husband / your wife. Collecting the N.I.E. when ready may be entrusted to a third party.

I would prefer the Police station, it is faster, a matter of a few days, sometimes even of a few hours, whereas Spanish consulates tend to need many months. You should arrive early enough, your local property agent knows when you have to come in so as to be sure to be attended within the same morning.

You will need

Each buyer will need a “N.I.E.”: if both members of a couple want to be mentioned in the title deed, they both will need an “N.I.E.”, and both have to apply personally.

Except in major cities, the N.I.E. will be assigned either immediately or within five to eight days. Sometimes you will be immediately informed of the N.I.E. number alone, but you will have to wait a few days for its certification (stamp and signature). In most cases the notary will accept the number alone. But not the banks who, in the event of a loan, will want to see the certificate.

November 16th, 2011, update: it seems that the present lower number of sales on the Spanish property market has considerably reduced the N.I.E. delivery delays, and that the waiting queues have disappeared, except in major cities.

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