Documents required to move to Spain

The NIE, the identification number for foreigners :


The NIE is a compulsory document for any foreigner wishing to live in Spain. It is the first document to be requested when settling in Spain.


The “Número de Identidad de Extranjero” or NIE is personal and unique. It is assigned to each foreigner by the Directorate General of the Police. This number appears on all public documents sent or transmitted to foreign citizens in Spain. But it is also required on all applications to the administration and on most acts between private persons of a socio-economic and professional nature.

The NIE is made up of a letter (X, Y or Z), seven digits and an alphabetical verification character (another letter). For example X9956748M. This number will be valid for your entire life for your activities in Spain. The NIE is not an identity document. All foreigners in Spain must therefore have a passport or identity document from their country in addition to the NIE.


Please note: if you are coming with your family, you must apply for an NIE for each member of the family, including children.


The NIE is essential for many actions and procedures in Spain. It is strongly recommended that you apply as soon as possible.


The empadronamiento :


The empadronamiento is the process of registering (obligatory) at the Town Hall of your residence. You will then be registered in the “padrón municipal”. The procedure and registration are free of charge.



The padron is compulsory if you stay more than 6 months in the same city. It will be necessary to obtain your national insurance number or your health card. But also to benefit from municipal services or public education systems. It also serves as proof of residence for the various administrations.


Opening a bank account :


Opening a bank account in Spain is essential if you decide to live there. The procedure for opening an account is very simple. 


You will need :


– An identity document (passport or national identity card);


– Proof of residence (recent electricity, water or gas bill, empadronamiento certificate, last tax or non-taxation notice, recent rent receipt, simple nota from the property register);


– Proof of professional status or activity (salary slip, pension certificate, student card, etc.)


– Your NIE ( it depends in some cases).


The Health Care Card :


The “tarjeta sanitaria” (health assistance card) allows you to access the Spanish public health system free of charge. It is a decentralised, high quality public health system managed by each autonomous community.


In order to obtain the tarjeta sanitaria, it will be necessary to have previously obtained the NIE and the empadronamiento certificate.

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