Legalities in Spain

- NIE Number (Numero de Identificatión de Extranjero)

If you’re from another EU member state you don’t need a work visa in order to work in Spain but you do need an NIE number. You need to go to the local Oficina de Extranjeros (Foreigner’s Office) to make your application.

In Castelldefels – Gava the Foreigner’s Office is a police station and it’s on Plaza Esperanto Nº 4 C – 08860, Castelldefels (Barcelona) Tel: +34 93 635 03 03  and it’s open from 9am – 2pm, Mon – Fri.

What form do you need to apply for an NIE?

At the moment the form that you need to complete for residency and/or NIE is the EX-17 form but the form you collect from the office is not the same one that the official website tells you to complete. The best advice is to go to the Foreigner’s Office on Plaza Esperanto Nº 4 C – 08860, Castelldefels. And pick up the form from there. That way you’re guaranteed to get the right form.

Information that you need to complete is your name, address in Spain, contact details, a brief reason why you’re applying and that’s it.

The official website of the Ministerio Del Interior has just been updated (Sept 2011) and now you need to complete EX-17, however they may ask you to complete EX-18.

Here is the link to the new information about applying for an NIE…
And here are links to download the forms: NIE and Residency forms

If you are planning to stay for more than three months you need to complete a different form and apply for residency and as part of the process you will get your NIE. You can apply for temporary residency or permanent residency.

The process of receiving your NIE is now much swifter than it used to be, and you will obtain your NIE or residency on the day you apply.

Why you need an NIE…

- To open a bank account

- To receive unemployment benefit

- To work in Spain

- To buy and sell property

- To get a loan or a mortgage

- To set up a business

- To register with social services and receive benefits

- To apply for a driver’s licence

- For tax payments.

- To install ADSL or Mobile Phones.

How to apply for you NIE in Castelldefels –  Gava

If you are an EU citizen the process is now very easy and you will receive your NIE the same day you apply.

You will need:

- a completed application form

- Photo ID – your passport is best

- Receipt of payment of the fee (see below)

Go to your Police Station foreigner’s office (on Plaza Esperanto Nº 4 C – 08860, Castelldefels). This office now operates a numbered system so first of all take your ticket and then you can sit down to wait for your turn. When I was last there it was button A on the ticket machine.

Please Note: The desk for NIE and residency applications closes after 100 tickets have been taken, so if you arrive late in the morning the chances are that 100 tickets have already been taken.

If your application is in order, you will be given a form for the payment of the fee for your NIE. You need to complete this form with your name, address, phone number and sign it. Take this completed form to a bank (there is one across the street), and make the required payment of about €10.

Take the receipt from the bank as proof of payment and go back to the Foreigner’s Office where you need to take a ticket number again (this time button B on the ticket machine) and wait your turn. You will then be given your NIE.

It’s possible to apply for an NIE before arriving in Spain by going to your local Spanish consulate. Complete the necessary paperwork there and your application will be sent to Madrid to be processed.

For further information visit the website for the Ministerio del Interior.

- Residency Permit (Tarjeta de Residencia)

How to apply for residency in Barcelona

Please see above – applying for an NIE if you plan to be in Barcelona for more than three months – this in fact is applying for your residency.

The form is exactly the same: Registro de residencia comunitaria. By applying for residency you will also get a NIE.

How to Apply for a Social Security Number

TGSS – Tesoreria General de la Seguridad Social is the official name for social security in Spain. The main Social Security office near Castelldefels –  Gava is located at Avda. Maresme, 21 – 08940 Cornella de Llobregat (BARCELONA)

Tel: 93 480 14 14.


If you are working in Spain you need to register and obtain a social security number. You can also register as a self-employed person and choose to pay the minimum or maximum contributions. If you stop working, you must also notify the social security office.

The people who are eligible to register for social security in Spain are: employed and self-employed workers, students, civil servants and military personnel.

If you don’t yet have a social security number but have found a job in Spain, the company employing you must apply for your social security number.

How to apply

In order to apply for a social security number you need:

- Número Identificatión de Extranjero (NIE) or some form of national identity

- Your passport (or certificate of residency)

Form TA1

There are many different social security forms for each different type of procedure, here’s the link to all social security forms:

On registration you will be given your certificate with your social security number.

- Empadronamiento or Registering at your local town hall

This is obligatory for anyone staying in Spain for more than a short stay. Each city has its own town hall (ayuntamiento) and you need to register there.

If you have a rental contract for where you are living this is a very easy process. Simply take your passport and rental contract to the local ayuntamiento and you will be registered.

You will be given a piece of paper certifying this, and it’s a good idea to ask for a few copies, as you will need to show or give your empadronamiento certificate for many other administration processes and it’s good to have extra copies.

You may have problems registering at your local ayuntamiento if you don’t have a rental contract. The Ayuntamiento will accept a utility bill in your name such as a gas or electricity bill, and you could also try a mobile phone bill. Basically you need proof of identity and proof that you’re living at your address. The main thing that they seem to be interested in, is that all the documents are originals, they will not accept photocopies of anything.

If your name is not on the rental contract – you are sharing a flat with another person, for example, who holds the contract – you will need to ask the person who has the contract to complete a form called Autorización de Empadronamiento, which you must first obtain from the ayuntamiento.

This form requires that the person who is registered at your address (they must be registered at the Ayuntamiento at the same address) verifies that you are also living at that address.

The person needs to complete and sign the form, and also give you a photocopy of either their DNI or passport (in this case a photocopy will suffice).

Take this documentation back to the ayuntamiento together with your passport and you will be registered.

If you are sharing with people who are not registered at that address then you have more of a problem.

You have to show the original copy of the rental agreement to the ayuntamiento (so you have to request this from whoever holds it), together with the completed Autorización de Empadronamiento form, plus a photocopy of the person’s DNI, and, it goes without saying, your passport.

- Use a gestor to help with your NIE application

It is very common that nobody speaks English at any of these offices, so you need to have some knowledge of Spanish, take a friend who speak’s Spanish or use a gestor.

Gestor’s are similar to accountants. For a reasonable fee (it will save you a lot of time) you can employ their services and they will arrange all of your documentation, wait in the queues for you and help you to obtain your NIE, residency permit or act for you on any number of issues.

If you don’t speak Spanish, a gestor can save you a great deal of time and frustration. Even if you do speak Spanish it may be worth hiring a gestor simply because they know the system. The application process for residency and an NIE has now been made so much simpler that this is probably not so necessary, if you have a little Spanish, but for registering a car or obtaining your Spanish driving licence, etc, it’s probably worth your while to hire someone.

The official website for gestors in Catalonia enables you to search for a gestor by postcode in order to find someone in your area who can help. You can also search by town, name and specialty:

Go to Colegio Oficial de Gestores Administrativos de Cataluña

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