Rechtsanwalt Dominic Porta zum Thema NIE, TIE, residency or nationality
NIE, TIE, residency or nationality
The NIE is an identification number issued to foreign persons and it is required for either of two reasons: administrative or economical.
Since there still exists quite confusion about the difference between the NIE (Número de Identidad de Extranjeros), the TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjeros) the Spanish residency and the Spanish nationality, I would like and try to explain those differences in this short overview. Especially if you are planning to move to Spain and live there, you should know what those differences are and what kind of rights and obligations derive from it.
The NIE is an identification number issued to foreign persons and it is required for either of two reasons: administrative or economical. If, e.g., you want to buy real estate in Spain or work there, you need the NIE for economic reasons. If, e.g., you need to apply for an administrative license you need it for administrative reasons. Please note that it is not mandatory for Citizens of the European Union or the Schengen Area to apply for the NIE, if they just want to visit Spain for mere touristic reasons. A passport or the national identification card from their home country will suffice. However, if an EU citizen or a person from the Schengen Area stays in Spain for a period longer than three months, he has to inscribe himself in the local registration office.
If you are not an EU citizen or a citizen from one of the Schengen member states, you need to apply for a residence permit, if you plan to visit and stay in Spain. There exist short term residence permits (Schengen Visa), like e.g. for vacations up to 90 days, or long term residence permits for studying, working or living for an extended period of time in Spain. You apply for the visa by submitting or presenting the application form to the responsible consulate. From the moment of the presentation of the application, the administration has to resolve the issue within the period of one month; unless you apply for a non-lucrative visa then it is three months. Once obtained the residence permit you can stay in Spain as long as it is granted in the permission and under the conditions outlined in it.
The TIE is an identification card issued to foreign persons, who in the first place entered Spain with a Visa or a residence permit. If those persons stay in Spain for a period longer than six months, they have the right and the obligation to apply for the TIE. In summary, the TIE is a residence permit. The confusion between the NIE and the TIE arises, because the later one has an identification number on it, as well, and is therefore treated like a NIE. Please note that persons, who have obtained a visa or a residence permit for a seasonal work, do not need to apply for the TIE because the time outlined in their permission is already the maximum period they are allowed to stay in Spain.
To obtain the Spanish nationality means to become a Spanish citizen, in other words, you apply for a Spanish passport. If you do so, you might have to give up your home nationality and passport. The general rule is that you need to have lived in Spain for a minimum of ten years to apply for Spanish citizenship. However, this requirement might be reduced, if you are a recognized refugee (five years of residence), an Iberoamerican citizen (two years of residence) or if you have any family relation to Spain or a Spanish citizen (one year of residence). In every case the requirements that need to be fulfilled differ. Once obtained the Spanish nationality you can stay and live in Spain as long as you like.
Last updated: 07/2014
Autor: Rechtsanwalt Dominic Porta
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