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Difference between NIF, NIE number and TIE. 🤷‍♂️🪪

What identification document do I need to buy a house in Spain? 🤔

If you are going to apply for the Golden Visa or any other residence or work permit in Spain you have probably wondered if you need to have some kind of Spanish documentation or personal identification. You probably have heard of NIE number, NIF and TIE but don’t really know what they are or their differences. Keep reading, and we’ll explain it to you.

👉 Difference between the NIE number, the TIE, the NIF and the EU certificate in Spain. What they are for.

One of the most asked questions by investors is if you need some kind of documentation in Spain to buy a house, reside or work in Spain. The answer is yes, but be careful, there are several types of documents and it’s important that you know the differences and which one you are obliged to apply for.

The NIE number, TIE and NIF are the only official Spanish identifications for foreigners. Each one has its different functions. Therefore, if you do not want to make a mistake or miss some documents, you should know how their differences.

All three are used by foreigners to be able to carry out certain economic operations in Spain such as going to university, buying a house, or opening a bank account.

The NIE number, TIE and NIF represent the three types of personal identification that exist in Spain for foreigners coming from outside the European Union. Let’s see how they differ:

1️⃣ The NIE or Foreigner Identification Number

The NIE Number is the personal identification in force that assigns both resident and non-resident foreigners in Spain and that is used for banking operations, customs, etc. 

It is a document issued by the immigration office and some police stations. During the application it’s necessary to accredit the motive of the request: It has to be either for economic, professional, or social purposes. The NIE document looks like this:

NIE document

📌 The NIE does not authorize either to work or to reside in Spain. The number assigned to you is permanent so you will always have that number assigned to you.

It does not include a photograph, so it must be accompanied by another personal document (for example, your passport) to prove your identity in case the authorities require it.

2️⃣ Foreigner’s Identity Card

The TIE or Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (Foreigner’s Identity Card) is a personal identification card valid for foreigners residing in Spain.

📌 To obtain the TIE you need to have a residence permit. It is a personal and non-transferable document that is obtained at the offices of foreigners in Spain. 

This card does contain a photograph. In addition, your fingerprints are taken at the time of obtaining the TIE.

The period of validity of the TIE depends on the permit or visa you have been assigned. That is, if you have a one-year residence permit, the TIE is valid for that period. In case you’re going to apply for the renewal of your visa or residence permit, such renewal will be processed together with the TIE.

👉 The NIE and the TIE are compatible with each other. That is to say, if you are going to apply for the Golden Visa, you’ll need a NIE number to buy the house and later (once the golden visa is granted) you’ll be able to apply for the TIE that will contain the NIE number assigned when you bought the house.

3️⃣ NIF (Spanish Tax Identification Number)

Finally, the NIF or Tax Identification Number is a temporary identification assigned by the Spanish Tax Agency for tax or business reasons.

📌 You can request it when you go to carry out fiscal formalities in any office of the Tax Agency. Notaries can also request this NIF on behalf of the non-resident.

👉 The NIF is valid for two months, so it is temporary. During the period of validity of this NIF you will have to obtain a NIE; if after this period you have not obtained the NIE, you can renew the NIF. But be careful, because the NIF does not replace the NIE; you are obliged to obtain a NIE number

Therefore, to be clear, if you are going to carry out an economic or labor activity in Spain, it’s not obligatory to obtain a NIF, but you must obtain a NIE.

🇪🇺 EU Certificate

The EU certificate or European Union Citizen Registration Certificate is an identification card that must be obtained by foreigners from the European Community (EU) or from another State party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area residing in Spain. 

It is mandatory for all EU citizens who are going to reside in Spain for more than 3 months. If this is your case, you must register in this registry at any immigration office or police station by appointment.

The document does not contain a photograph so you must accompany it with your passport or identity card of your country if you are required to identify yourself.

In summary ✔️✔️

The NIE is the Spanish identity number used to identify the foreigner with a unique number, the TIE is the foreign identity document valid for persons residing in Spain, the NIF is the Spanish tax identity number and the EU Certificate is the document that certifies the registration in the Central Register of Foreigners for EU citizens who are going to live in Spain for a period of more than three months.

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