One of the most important things that you will need to have, whether planning to work for the summer, or picking your life up and moving to Ibiza indefinitely is a Spanish NIE. The NIE stands for Número de Identificación de Extranjero and is essentially an identification number given to foreigners and issued by the Administración General del Estado. 

The NIE is a unique number given to each individual and allows you to carry out some of the most basic and fundamental processes of day-to-day living. It is an essential requirement for virtually every action that requires your identification. This can be from simple processes such as opening a bank account or paying a utility bill such as your gas and electric, to more complicated processes such as buying or renting a property or vehicle or paying your income tax. Most importantly, the NIE is an essential requirement if you want to work in Ibiza and you will not be able to obtain a working contract without one. Therefore, the NIE is imperative and you will find yourself very much restricted in your day-to-day dealings without one.

Previously, NIE numbers were only issued with a three-month validity from the date of issue and you were then subsequently expected to apply for your Spanish residency or register as a non-resident in Ibiza. However, the law has now changed and NIE numbers are valid indefinitely. In addition, the NIE is something very different from what you may know as the Certificado de Empadronamiento. The Empadronamiento is essentially allowing yourself to become registered officially to your municipal or community and it is recommended that you obtain this if you would like to commit with more longevity to a new life in Ibiza. Obtaining the Certificado de Empadronamiento will grant you many more benefits such as being able to vote, applying for public health insurance and registering your children at school.

The more you become familiar with the Spanish way of life, the more you will understand the great amount of time which is required in every legislative process. Commonly, you will need patience, willingness and a friendly smile always helps with the amount of paperwork that will be thrown your way. However daunting this may seem, do not despair. This article will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how exactly you can obtain an NIE successfully and ultimately find yourself to experience an easier life in Ibiza.

There are 3 ways that you can apply for a NIE number:

1For those that are already in their country of residence, have not yet moved to Ibiza, and perhaps the most organised – you can apply at the Spanish consulate in your home country. This takes approximately four weeks to process from submission of your documents. You may find this process smoother as you can be guaranteed that the processing officers speak the language of the consulate residency.

2If you are already in Ibiza, you can apply for your NIE at the National Police Station (Policia Nacional). This is located in the heart of Ibiza on Avinguda de la Pau. This is on the main road between Can Misses Hospital and the McDonalds/Lidl roundabout, just after the famous Diario de Ibiza headquarters.

Although it will only take roughly five days or less to issue your NIE from the day of submission of your documents, you may have to wait several hours to be seen by the processing officers. In addition, many of the officers who process your information speak only Spanish and Catalan.

If you choose this method, you will need to first complete two forms which can be collected from the police station beforehand: one is for your personal information and the other must be taken to the bank where you have to pay a small fee to the cashier (around 10,00€). You will then have to take these forms back to the police station with your original passport and a photocopy of it. The processing officer will then instruct you as to when you can collect your NIE, as it will first need to be signed and approved by a higher ranking officer.

3The final and perhaps most stress-free method is to ask a Gestoría to process your application. A Gestoría is an office that deals with government agencies on behalf of its clients. It is common practice to use a Gestoría to avoid the many problems encountered when dealing with Spanish bureaucracy, but it does come at a greater monetary cost.

All three methods, if completed successfully, will grant you a NIE certificate which has been stamped and signed by the National Police. You will be given a unique code, made up of letters and numbers, and the NIE certificate which will be personalised with your name and date of birth.

You will now have lifetime validity throughout the whole of Spain so it is imperative that you keep this document safe. It is also recommended that you make several photocopies of your NIE certificate as mentioned previously, you will need this for virtually every activity that requires your identification. You will commonly be asked for this, both to show the original copy and provide a copy of the certificate for the third party to keep.

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