Foreigner Identity Card

The foreigner identity card (NIE) is the document that identifies foreign persons in order to establish their legal situation in Spain. Foreign citizens have the right and duty to request it once they have obtained a permit for residence or a stay of over six months. The request should be made within a period of one month from entering Spanish territory or once the entry permit is in force.

This is a personal document that cannot be transferred, and which has the same validity as the permit for residence or stay. In case of theft, loss, destruction or deterioration of the card it will be necessary to issue a new card at the request of the interested party. This will not be considered as a renewal and the new card will lapse at the same time as the card it substitutes. The Foreign Identification Card will display the foreign identification number (NIE, número de identificación de extranjero), personal information, a photograph of the holder, a fingerprint, the duration of the card and the reasons why it was granted.

The Foreign Identity Cards are processed only within Spanish territory at the Foreign Offices or otherwise at the Police Station in the place where the cardholder is to reside.

The above mentioned Foreign Identification Number (NIE) is granted automatically once the document or permit enabling the student or researcher to stay within Spanish territory has been issued. This number should appear on all documents that are processed or issued, including notes that must be made on passports (except on visas). If labour activities are also carried out, in addition to the NIE, the student or researcher shall register with Social Security and shall be granted a membership number.