How to Apply for the Spanish NIE/TIE in Barcelona

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Welcome to Spain, student.


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
  • Passport photo
  • Matriculation

I will explain each document below.

Appointment Print-Out

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: 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.

The Spanish NIE (student card) application form.

The Spanish NIE application form.


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:

  1. Go to the local municipal town hall of the municipality in which you live
  2. Request the application form for empadronamiento
  3. Bring your passport
  4. 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.

Passport photo

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.

27 Responses

  1. Laura says:

    Hi Cale 🙂 thanks for the informative post!
    I was just wondering, how did you pay for your TIE? did you pay it before your appointment or after?
    sorry if my question sounds stupid, but I know that there’s a fee to pay in order to process the application, but I don’t know how it’s done :”)

    Thank you in advance!

    • Velabas says:

      Hey Laura, you pay your tie after the appointment. First, you go to the appointment. There, they’ll give you a receipt that you will pay at a bank–I paid mine at Santander. They’ll tell you to pick up your TIE in three to four weeks at a different location. I wrote a separate article about that :). Cheers

  2. Kevin says:

    i would just like information on how to know whether my NIE renovation process is done or not. When i went to renew my NIE, they told me to check the website after 15 days to see if it is done but i am having difficulty doing that.

  3. atla goutham says:

    Hi, I have applied for my T.I.E. I have a work permit and my contract is for 3 years. On one of the documents they gave me after applying for T.I.E, it is mentioned that “Validez: 14/06/2018”. So I will get a card which will be valid until 2018 right ? No need to renew or do anything until then ? One more doubts is I have Spain Visa for 90 days “Type D (Trabajo Y Residencia)”. Can I visit other schengen countries with the 90 days valid visa without having the T.I.E ?

  4. Hillary says:

    Which number on the card is the actual NIE?

  5. Jacob says:

    Hi, I would like to know more about the online appointment reservation.

    Every time I follow the steps to book an appointment (on, I get this frustrating message: “En este momento no hay citas disponibles. En breve, la Oficina pondrá a su disposición nuevas citas.”

    The guard in front of the Oficina del Cuerpo Nacional de Policia and the reception of the Bureau of Immigration in Barcelona (because I am desperately looking for help) both told me that the appointments were given on Mondays, but it happens that the website is so busy that server slows down the service and the pages are just loading forever or crashing – just to say, they require Explorer 7 or newer or Firefox, no Chrome… At the end, maybe a few lucky persons got their appointments (just assumption), but it is still impossible to get it in time (within the weeks mentioned). This process is quite administratively heavy since you can have your NIE, your visa and your empadronamiento independently. The TIE becomes just a mandatory card that gathers those datas.

    Is there any other way to get the appointment? Or any other solution for the TIE?

    Anyway, you blog is very useful! Thanks!

    • Velabas says:

      Yeah it’s extremely frustrating getting an appointment within the weeks that you have. However, once you have the appointment, even if it’s outside the weeks that they give you to conduct your application, you’re in the system. For example, my NIE expired over a month ago and my renewal isn’t working because my documents were out of whack. However, since I’m in the system, and I reserved the cita before the deadline for the application initiation, I’m alright.

      As for the system, well, it sucks. I’ve been very frustrated in the past. I’ve called and talked with the people at Passeig San Juan for a long time, but they don’t handle citas. No one can get an appointment for you, you just have to keep trying the system until there are available appointments. The guards at the offices will never let you in otherwise, and the reception lady will stop you cold if you don’t have an appointment. I’ve used Chrome, but try Mozilla with the system. Just keep trying!

    • Joanne Jhoie Acar says:

      I successfully reserved an appointment today but its still on October 2. They said to present yourself at max 30 days after arriving. I arrived here in Barcelona last August 26. Is it still okay?

      • Velabas says:

        I think it is OK, yes. I believe they want you to be in the system. As soon as you reserve an appointment, you’re in the system. But I’m not entirely sure. I doubt they’re going to cause you much trouble for a few days if I’m wrong. In any case, please comment back here for everyone else once you know whether it was crucial or not. Thanks Joanne!

  6. cronopio says:

    Can someone else pick up the TIE card for me?

  7. Bessoto says:

    Please in case we are a couple (me and my wife), should we do two separates appointments or just one appointment is enough?

    • Vinicius Scheidegger says:

      Two separate appointments. I’m with my wife and our one year old son. The guy who attended me asked for an specific appointment for each one of us, even for the baby.

  8. simon g says:

    My landlord has failed to give me a contract. The Ayuntament was not helpful at all. Now I cannot book an appointment online. IS there any possibility to get an appointment some other way

  9. Mariana Castro says:

    Hello! Does anyone know if they take your passport at the TIE appointment? I will be traveling to Germany two weeks after and will be needing it!

  10. Nusrat says:

    Hey we four people coming to Spain for study. We have rented an apartment for three months. Will it be okay because according to your rules there mentioned a six months rental needed. Now what can we do for that?

  11. Andres Reyes says:


    I have this situation with my wife’s stay here in Spain. My wife’s TIE application got delayed because we were misinformed (more of ill-advised) about her situation. I have my wife here as my dependent (I applied with her via the family reunification). I am a Ph.D. student. We are both non-EU citizens. We failed to apply for my wife’s TIE within a month of her entry here. She has a pending application for Ph.D. as well and was informed by someone in the University who helps in processing such application for foreigners to just wait out the result of her Ph.D. application before applying for her TIE. Now, the results of her Ph.D. application is still not out, and she’s already been here for more than a month. What should we do?

  12. Yeela Baruch says:

    Hey ,
    I’m starting my master degree in Barcelona and my husband is moving with me to live in the city.
    My university sent me the documents that i need to bring with me to the TIE meeting but i don’t know witch documents my husband should bring with him (his no a student). Do you know?

  13. Denise says:

    Hi my name is denise. I wanted to know what happens if I am been living in Spain for 29 days and I am still trying to get an appointment?

  14. Mihir says:

    Hi there, while registering myself, the asked me for the type of document. I chose passport. But there is a column asking for the expiration of the current card. As i do not have a card, I left it blank. On the 3rd step, I got a message saying there are no dates available. Do I have to keep trying daily or next month?

    • Christina says:

      You just have to keep trying and refreshing over and over. I was able to get one myself. Then I had an issue with my paper work at the appt and was quite upset because then I had a lot more trouble fininding an appt that wasn’t more than 2 months away! There are also agencies you can pay that can get you an appt and they go with you and it’s right in and out, you don’t even have to wait for your number to be called. It’s also very helpful if you don’t speak Spanish well because they’ll sit through it with you and take care of everything. BUT it’s expensive(about 90 euro)! Ultimately I ended up getting an appt that was only a week after my failed appt by depositing 20 euro into some mysterious woman from facebook’s bank account. Then everything went pretty well. But the ladies working in the office I went to were really sweet and very helpful even with my limited Spanish and their limited English.

  15. Kent says:

    i came to live with someone and now i want to work and to do that I have to have NIE. i am told i should go to a language school (i dont want to be autonomo). after i go for a language school for 1 month do I get a NIE number for 1 month or more?

  16. Angela says:

    Hi. I don’t know if this is still active but I’ll give it a shot! For the fingerprints, what is the reason for getting them done? Mine are consistently rejected due to them being heavily faded… Does Spain need to be able to read them or is it more of a formality?

  17. Jackie says:

    Just a little tip with regards to filling in your NIE Number paperwork…. Make sure you fill it in right the first time. I filled in my own forms, booked my own appointment only to turn up to the NIE Number appointment on the day and be sent away because I had filled them out incorrectly. In the end I went to a great company who filled in the forms for me, and remade the appointment and it only cost 20 euros. not sure if links allowed on here but it was Her name was lisa and she was great!

  18. snikpoh says:

    This is all about getting an NIE NOT a TIE

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