NIE’s, Empadronamiento and what it all means to you…

If you have investigated buying a property in Spain, you would almost certainly come across these two strange words but what do they mean?

What is a NIE number?
NIE stands for ‘Número de Identificación de Extranjero’. Translated means ‘Identification number for foreigners’.

It is the identification number used in Spain for non-residents. It is similar to the National Insurance number in England, the NIE allows you to pay taxes in Spain and it is used to track your activities in Spain.

You cannot purchase a property in Spain without an NIE number. All foreign citizens require a NIE before they can sign the purchase agreement. It is not only property purchase’s that require you to have a NIE, you will also require it for obtaining a
Spanish mortgage, buying or registering a car, setting up a business in Spain, applying for a credit card/loan, applying for a Spanish driving license etc.

So what does it look like?
It is a sheet of A4 paper that has your details, address and NIE number and an official stamp. Rather disappointing for all the work you have to do to get it! Look after it and make lots of copies.

How do I get it?
1. Apply for NIE number in person in Spain (local police station).
2. Apply for an NIE number in person via a Spanish Consulate.
3. Authorise a 3rd party to apply on your behalf, (Power of Attorney).

Empadronamiento, what is it?
Officially known as Padron Municipal, it is a record of local residents. This record is held at the local town hall (Ayuntamiento) and is basically the equivalent to the UK’s electoral role.

Why is important that I get this?
If you are going to buy a property or even rent one you should register, as your local municipality receives funds for every person living in the local area. In turn this pays for local services and infrastructure such as policing, cleaning, local health care etc.
If you have children it is imperative you register, as preference will be given to registered children.
All in all if you want to improve the area in which you live, get ‘empadronado’ and become an official member of your community.

How do I get it?
Once again, go to your local town hall to register. You will need your passport; NIE and if you are a homeowner, a copy of your ‘escritura’ (title deed) or your rental contract, should you be renting.
You are entitled to a certificate but you should ask for it, these can be done individually or one to cover all of your family. The certificate is useful should you need to prove to any official authority that you are empadronado.

Here’s wishing you a successful move to Spain!