Note: This post is a follow-up to the article “What to do After you Receive Your Spanish Student Visa,” which is itself a follow-up post to “How to Apply for the Spanish Student Visa at the Consulate in Chicago.” I hope that this article will help you understand the necessary process of applying for the Spanish NIE, which serves as your identification and visa during your time in Spain.
What is the NIE and how do I know if I need it?
The NIE and TIE are often confused. The NIE (numero de identidad de extranjeros) refers to the national identification number issued to all foreign persons seeking temporary residency for various purposes. The TIE (tarjeta de extranjero) is the card itself onto which your information and the NIE are printed. Click here for more information about the difference between the TIE and NIE.
If you are an American in Spain in order to study in Barcelona, then this article is directed at you. Of course, much of its contents as applicable to other non-EU prospective students as well.
Your Spanish student visa only gets you into the country. Once in Spain, you must make an appointment to apply for the NIE/TIE. At this appointment you will show your student visa, which will prove that you can apply for the NIE in the first place. You need the NIE/TIE if you are in Spain to study for longer than 90 days.
The following article explains the steps you need to take in order to apply for the NIE/TIE. Here is what you will need to take with you to your appointment:
- Appointment print-out
- Application form
- “Empadronamiento” – municipal register
- Passport photo
I will explain each document below.
At the appointment for the TIE (from now on I’m referring to both TIE and NIE when I mention one or the other), you must take a print-out confirmation of said appointment. Here, I will explain how to reserve an appointment to get your TIE/NIE.
First, know that you will probably be reserving an appointment 2 weeks in advance, since there are no openings any sooner. If you have only one month to present yourself to this appointment, then make sure you reserve a spot no later than 2 weeks after arriving in Spain.
To reserve the appointment, go here: https://sede.administracionespublicas.gob.es/icpplus/citar. Choose your district, then “Expedicion de tarjeta de identidad extranjero (huella)”. You will then see a list of necessary documents to take with you, which is the list I’m currently describing in this post. Fill out the necessary information on the subsequent steps, and when you are done, you will receive an email confirmation of the appointment. This you must print and take with you to the appointment.
TIE/NIE Application Form
Next, print out this TIE application form. If you don’t do this step it’s ok–they will have the form available to you, but it’s always best to streamline the process. They can help you fill out fields you’re unsure about.
How to get the Empadronamiento
The empadronamiento is extremely necessary. This is the municipal register, or proof of address. You need to first have a place to live. If you are staying with a friend, you may be able to use their address and then change later on. We’re going to assume here that you already have a place to live. Follow these steps in order to get the Empadronamiento:
- Go to the local municipal town hall of the municipality in which you live
- Request the application form for empadronamiento
- Bring your passport
- Bring the original contract of accommodation (if you are not the signee of the contract, then you must furbish a photocopy of the signee’s ID)
That’s all! You don’t have to make an appointment to do this in most neighborhoods, but you should look into that yourself. They give you instructions about how to get the TIE as well.
Passport and copies
You must take your passport to the TIE/NIE appointment. In addition, you should take a photocopy of the main passport page, and a photocopy of the student visa as well. I forgot these copies and it wasn’t a problem, but I feel that my lady was in a good mood that day.
Take at least two passport photos (the size in Spanish is called carnet). There are photo booths in many of the metro stations, like Diagoonal and Sants Estacio. It costs 5 euros for 6 passport photos and two larger-sized ones.
You need to be matriculated, or enrolled, in your university. This means you must take the original resolucion, or acceptance letter, along with proof of payment. I had matriculated only until July, 2015, according to my documents. Therefore, they gave me the TIE only until then. My girlfriend received it until September 15th! So, just keep in mind that you only get the TIE for as long as you’ve paid for at the moment of your appointment.
Proof of payment means that you must have paid part of your enrollment. You can do this in any of a number of different ways, but I suggest the seamless route of using the La Caixa bank machines. (Ask around, you’ll figure it out).
Where is the NIE/TIE Appointment in Barcelona?
These articles are geared toward Americans studying in Barcelona because that is exactly what I’m doing. So, with that in mind, here is the exact address for the Oficina del Cuerpo Nacional de Policia (which is where the TIE/NIE appointments take place). Rambla de Guipuscoa, 74, Barcelona, 08020.
At the NIE appointment
Get off at the metro stop Sant Marti. Ask the police guard at the entrance for the TIE line, he’ll ask if you have an appointment, you’ll say yes, and he’ll let you in. Once inside, you will wait until the man behind the desk calls your appointment time (look on your confirmation email–they gave you a specific time). You present yourself, he gives you a ticket. Wait for your ticket number to be called, then go into the back, present the documents, give your fingerprints via a livescan device, and that’s it! They will give you a stamped sheet and tell you to go pick up your TIE at the indicated address 4 weeks hence. Here’s a post about where to pick up your NIE in Barcelona.
Now you’re a legal resident of Barcelona!
Intrigued? Good. I’m writing about what it’s like to live in Barcelona as a student. You can begin here: Studying in Spain.