What documents do I need to buy a house in Spain if I'm a foreigner? The answer to this question is very simple: it is compulsory
to have one's Número de Identidad de Extranjeros, commonly called a “NIE” (pronounced “nee-ay”).
What is the NIE?
The NIE is the identification number for foreigners, a personal, unique and exclusive number which has the function of identifying foreigners having any interest in or relation with Spain. This will be used in all documents, forms and correspondence with the state.
Thus, the NIE is the sole obligatory document that a foreigner must have in their possession before beginning the acquisition process of a house in Spain
. While it's true that the purchase can require new documents
, initially the only one really necessary is the NIE.
The Número de Identificación de Extranjeros, is the only compulsory document in initating the process of purchasing real estate in Spain.
How to get your NIE
In order to acquire the NIE
you must appear in person at the Oficina de Extranjería
(immigration head-office) located in the polígono de Levante
in the south-east corner of the city of Palma de Mallorca. Beforehand however, you must request an appointment
, in order to be attended on that same day and ensure you will not need to return again another day.
You must be present for your appointment with your Passport or identification card
from your own country as well as a copy
of this ID. You will also need to hand over a printed copy of a normalized and fully filled-out application form. If you are not a resident of the European Union then you will also need to provide a notarial certificate justifying the reason for which you are requesting a NIE number.
Once all of the paperwork has been accepted, all that will be left is to pay and return with the receipt from the bank. At the extranjería
office you will be given a payment form
or formulario de pago
which you will then pay at a nearby bank. Once you have paid, you must hand the bank's confirmation of payment in at the extranjería
office and you will be assigned your NIE number.
Other things to bear in mind
You must be clear on the fact that having a NIE number does not imply Spanish citizenship
. The NIE is an identifying number for foreigners which serves the purpose of identifying them in all of their interactions with the Spanish state. The NIE is therefore necessary for owning a property in Spain as it is used for identifying a person as the owner of their new home. We must, however take into account certain legal issues.
If we have bought a property in Spain it will not be enough to have a NIE, as that house is located within a municipality and we must therefore go (after purchasing the house) to register in the local township's registry
in order to be counted amongst the neighbours of the town.
With the NIE and the municipal registry we can peacefully reside in our Brand new home, but we may not, for example, work legally in Spain. To this end we must apply for a work permit (permiso de trabajo) or a resident's permit (permiso de residencia
). With the new laws relating to immigration we can obtain a temporary residential permit if we buy a property priced at over €500,000.