The Registration Certificate of the Citizen of EU

If you are Citizen of European Union, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway and you want to live in Spain longer than 3 months you have to apply for so-called „Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Union“ or in other words so-called NIE. In this article you will learn what is the Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Union, why it is needed, the requirements in order to obtain it, details about procedure and guidelines how to do it as fast and smooth as possible.

Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión (NIE Card)

Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión (The registration certificate of the Union citizen) is also called green card or NIE card. It is required for everyone from EU, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway who is interested to stay longer than 3 months in Spain.

This bank card size green color paper card will state Your Name and Surname, Date and place of Birth, NIE number, Nationality, Address in Spain and starting date of residence in Spain. NIE number consists of 1 letter at the beginning, 7 numbers and 1 letter at the end – e.g.: Y-9999999-J


In order to be eligible for NIE card you must meet one of the following conditions:

  • you must have been working for a Spanish employer
  • or you have to be self-employed (autonomo)
  • or you are a student and have health insurance and have valid private or public 100% health insurance in Spain
  • or you have enough funds to maintain yourself and have valid private or public 100% health insurance in Spain
  • or you are joining a family member already living in Spain

Documentation needed

After you have got the NIE number you can apply for the NIE Card. If you still don‘t have NIE number and you need information about it, you can read it here.

For NIE Card you will need:

  • Fill EX18 form print it and sign it.
  • You also will need to fill the payment form (model 790 code 012) and pay around 10 euros which can be done at any bank that accepts payments by cash. BBVA, Banco Santander, Banco Sabadell, or most of any other bank should work. The form will be given to you at the place responsible for issuing such number. However, in order to avoid a long time waiting, I would suggest to print it and pay it before
  • Current address in Spain
  • Original and copy of the Passport. From our experience, we would like to note that Identity Cards will not always be accepted!
  • If you are employed by the company based in Spain you will need to provide the contract or similar type of document which includes the name and address of the company and Registration of company (tax account code). Best is to present the contract of employment registered under the public employment service (Servicio Publico de Empleo).
  • If you are self-employed you can provide one of these documents: documents of Census of financial activities (Inscripcion en el Censo de Actividades Economicas),  commercial registration (Registro Mercantil), the document of Social Security (Seguridad Social).
  • If you are not working in Spain then you need to provide: documents stating that you do have private or public insurance from Spain or other countries during the period of staying, sufficient saving to support yourself and your family if applicable during the time of stay.
  • If you are a student you have to present: tuition (Matricula) of the University, college or any other type of education institution where you are obtaining an education, Private or Public Insurance, Declaration of a responsible person who will maintain you during the period of your stay in Spain.

Process and details

Once you filled all the document, presented it and got the approval from the corresponding authority, you most likely will need to wait for few more weeks until the NIE Card will be issued. Normally they tell you the day and time to come to pick it up

Note: If some of your documents are not in Spanish you most likelly will be required to present an oficially translated copies.

Validity and Expiration Date

The NIE card does not have expiration date. However, if any of the details on the card changes ex. address, you must inform the corresponding authorities. You might be asked to redo your card.  Also, after 5 years of living in Spain you will be able to apply for permanent residency in Spain. This is not compulsory but of course good option to be considered if you are planning to live in Spain for even longer or to stay permanently.

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