The NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero), meaning – Foreigners Identification Number, is the identification number issued to people who are not a Spanish nationals.
The National Police, (Cuerpo Nacional de Policia), handle the issue of NIE’s, and any one planning to carry out a transaction in Spain, e.g. buying a car, holiday home, or various other interests, needs to have one.
The NIE identifies you whenever you do something official, or which involves the authorities. For example paying taxes, buying a property; signing a document at Notary; starting a business; or becoming a director of a Spanish company.
The NIE is not a fiscal (tax) residency identification – you can have a NIE and be fiscal resident in another country, however it is used to link payments to you that may be due, including tax amongst others. Both EU citizens and non-EU citizens are issued with NIE’s, and if you become resident, you keep the same NIE when you apply for your residence certificate or card.
The UK left the EU at 11pm on 31st January 2020 with a withdrawal agreement in place. This means that we are now in the transition period which will run until 31st December 2020.
During the transition period, EU rights and freedoms are unchanged. So for now Brits can continue to have and take up residency as EU citizens. What happens at the end of the year remains to be seen.
The UK and Spanish Governments have made clear what the transition period means for British Nationals in Spain, and what they need to do if they want to continue living in Spain
According to the withdrawal agreement, UK nationals settled and lawfully residing in Spain before the end of the transition period, will continue to be considered legal residents and keep rights they have had, and enjoyed as EU citizens.
It is also made clear what Brits living in Spain need to do to achieve and maintain lawful residence.
So What do Brits Living in Spain Or Planning to Need to Do?
All EU and EEA (European Economic Area) citizens and their family members have the right to visit, live or work in Spain. A Spanish residency certificate confirms your status as a resident in Spain. For stays of up to 3 months there is no need to register or obtain any Spanish documentation unless you are going to be working, or for example buying a property, in which case you’ll need an NIE. After that period, or if you intend to stay more than 3 months, you are expected to register as a resident.
You are given a residency certificate, or ‘certificado de residencia‘, when you successfully register. The issue of certificates is controlled by the National Police, (Cuerpo Nacional de Policia).
Now that the UK has left the EU, a residency certificate is essential for British nationals who want to live in Spain. During the transition period that runs until 31st December 2020, British nationals living in Spain, and those moving over, can apply for a residency certificate as usual.
Spanish Residency for British nationals, used to be a basic paperwork exercise. It is now a necessity due to Brexit, and the uncertainty of the last few months has made it quite difficult for Brits to get their residency certificates.
Earlier this year, the Spanish Government published its ‘No Deal Brexit’ Contingency Plan. The Contingency Plan was approved by Royal Decree 1st March, and affirms that the Spanish residency certificate will be needed to confirm legal residence in Spain. The plan makes provision for those residing in Spain who’ve not obtained their Spanish residency EU registration certificate before Brexit, to obtain residency documentation. However, it makes clear that British nationals in this situation will be treated differently to to those who have obtained their certificate BEFORE the UK leaves the EU.
A Place in the Sun is one of the UK’s most highly recognised names when it comes to property abroad and overseas lifestyle, and the A Place in the Sun magazine is always full of features and top tips help people with their property searches and plans for their life abroad, be that a holiday home a permanent move.
In the current issue, we’ve provided an editorial feature in the Ask the Experts section, offering a insight into the important considerations and steps to becoming a Spanish resident.
As Brexit draws closer, the subject is all the more poignant. And for Brits planning to move to Spain, those here already who are thinking about taking up Spanish residency, the article is a must read.
Also of interest in the issue
Can you buy two homes for a budget of £150,000 on the eastern Costa del Sol?
With Brexit creeping closer, valuable information to help you prepare for the transition period next year (and/or beyond).
Why and how it’s not too late to find your perfect home in the next six months.
The magazine is available in stores and online now.