What is the NIE number? Is it the same as the residence number? Which one proves residence in Spain? These are some of the most common questions that a foreigner may have when coming to Spain.
The NIE number means NUMERO DE IDENTIDAD DE EXTRANJERO. It is basically a Tax Identification Number for foreigners, to be issued by the police offices. It is a personal number which will always be the same and that will be used when buying for example a property or a car, and when paying the purchase taxes. Without this number it is not possible to purchase a property in Spain.
Getting a NIE number does not allow foreigners to live and reside in Spain. Although EU citizens can live and reside in Spain, people of other nationalities will need to apply for residence in Spain (a different procedure more much complicated that getting the NIE number).
Please also note that any foreigner who lives and resides in Spain must get the residence certificate, that is different from the NIE number and which is a legal document which confirms that person is living and residing in Spain. This document is also issued by the police offices.
EU citizens can get this certificate of residence without problems, however other nationalities can only get it by appling for it at Spanish embassies in their own countries.
Using a solicitor can make the difference when applying for any of these documents as he knows the forms to be filled, the steps to be taken and the right places to submit the applications. A solicitor will guide you throughout this burocracy process so your application does not become a nightmare.