So you’re looking for a property on the Costa del Sol, Spain, and you’re understandably quite excited about it! Life on the Costa del Sol is promising, to say the least; looking for your dream home here in Marbella and the surrounding areas can be thrilling.
You are probably aware that whichever country you live in – even your home country – there will be certain processes to follow when purchasing a property of any kind. Spain is no different.
If you are looking to buy property in Spain you will also need to comply with certain requirements; one such requirement is the NIE number (Número de Identidad de Extranjero). An NIE number is basically an ID number for foreign nationals wishing to reside in Spain.
Who needs an NIE number?
Anyone who becomes a resident in Spain must register for the NIE for tax purposes, but it’s about more than that. You will need an NIE for many things here in Spain, and even if you are not planning to reside here yourself, you’ll still need it if you are to invest in a Spanish property. This also applies to anyone else who wants to put their name to the same property.
If you aren’t buying a property on the Costa del Sol but plan to rent a place or work here, you’ll still need an NIE number, but the process could be different. The requirements tend to vary in Spain dependent on which town or city you’re in (and they’re also changeable!), so it’s important to check these details before making any major decisions.
You must acquire an NIE number for anything that involves an ‘official process’ here, which could be buying a Costa del Sol property, buying a car or motorbike, getting a job, starting a business, getting connected to the internet, home utilities and (of course) in order to pay taxes.
When should you apply for your NIE?
When purchasing a Spanish property, you must have your NIE number ahead of signing for your property; this is known as escritura here in Spain, and it means applying for the NIE at least a month beforehand from within Spain, or two months before if outside of Spain. Processing times can vary dependent on how busy the offices are; you may be lucky and get yours in days, or you may have to wait weeks.
Please note that some notaries might refuse to accept a certificate more than three months old, so you’ll need to take that timescale into consideration if you think your property sale will take more than three months to complete.
EU citizens planning to be in Spain more than three months after acquiring their NIE, you are should register for a government certificate showing their NIE number.
How should you apply for your Spanish NIE number?
There are three ways that you can do this:
Apply through a Spanish Consulate
You can acquire your NIE by applying to a Spanish consulate in your home country.
Please bear in mind that the Spanish Consulate will not issue your NIE number itself; it merely facilitates the process, connecting you to the authority in Spain. They will accept your application but can not track the status of it; you can do so by contacting the Comisaría General de Extranjería y Documentación yourself.
NIEs generally take between four and six weeks this way, but if this is too long, it may be possible to have your NIE number sent to your Spanish address (you can include a self-addressed envelope for this).
Appoint a representative to apply on your behalf in Spain
The Spanish Government allows foreign nationals to appoint a representative, so that you don’t need to go through the process yourself. When you have authorised the person (or company) to apply on your behalf, they can do the whole lot for you. All you will need to do is grant the power of attorney (signed before a notary).
Submit your application in person here in Spain
A lot of people prefer to just apply for their NIE number in person when here in Spain. You can apply for an appointment online. In some instances, you might need to spend a few hours queuing to hand in your application in person in a local Spanish police station; this is dependent on where (and when) you are applying, as we mentioned earlier. Some have been known to get their number in half an hour, whereas some have had to wait days for theirs.
You can download the form at the Government’s Extranjería page. Look for Solicitud de Número de Identidad de Extranjero (NIE) y Certificados (EX-15). It is most sensible to submit your forms in the area that you plan to buy a property. Wherever you are, the local police station will be able to advise you on where to apply for the NIE in that area.
There are designated police stations where you can submit your application – these will have an immigration office (oficinas de extranjeros) inside it.
If you are unsure about what is required of you when purchasing a property on the Costa del Sol, why not have a chat with Paradise Marbella’s knowledgeable team? We have plenty of experience helping people make their Spanish property dreams come true… try us!