What’s wrong with my white NIE? is a common question. A white A4 paper with a NIE number does not give you residency rights in Spain…is the answer.
If you come from outside Europe you know all about the challenges of becoming a resident in Spain. Up till Brexit, this was never an issue for the Brits. Now it is.
Brits in Spain need the right papers. We can help you get them.
Residency vs Tax Residency
You can be resident in Spain, and tax resident in the UK. So even if you only use your holiday home a few months a year, you should take out Residency in Spain.
White NIE vs Green NIE
To be strictly accurate, only the White A4 paper is a NIE: Identity number for foreigners (Número de Identificación de Extranjero). Once issued, the number becomes your permanent ID number in Spain. The Green document is recognised legally as a NIE , but it is officially a Certificate of EU Citizenship (Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la UE). The Green NIE is issued when you become resident in Spain.
If you want to buy or rent property or open a bank account in Spain, you need a NIE. The quickest way to get one, is to apply through the Spanish Consulate in your country. The white NIE number does not give residency rights, but allows you to start the process if you wish to stay legally in Spain for more than 3 months.
When you apply to be an EU resident in Spain, you will have to provide this A4 white document among other papers. When your application is accepted, your Id number satys the same, but you will be issued a green card, before it was A4 as above. This NIE card, in conjunction with your passport, will be your legal ID in Spain.
Your first Green NIE expires after five years
Your first Green NIE is valid for five years. When you renew it, it becomes ‘permanent’ , with no expiry date. It is likely that new residents will not have the same rights as permanent residents. So If your Green NIE has an expiry date (Fecha de caducidad) in 2020 or before, it is important to get it renew it before The UK leaves the EU.
Applying for Residency
As a Brit, you can still apply for Residency. This is a comparatively simple process, if you do it before the end of the transition period – probably December 2020. But getting an appointment can be difficult. So the sooner you start the better. When you get the appointment, it is best to go with a fluent Spanish speaker, as the Spanish police have little patience if you cannot understand them and they cannot understand you.
After December 2020, Brits without residency will be like any other non-european without residency. You can legally stay in the EU only 3 months at a time. At the end of 3 months, you will have to leave the EU and not come back for 180 days. You may even need a visa.
In due course, UK citizens, that are resident in Spain, with have to change their Green NIE to a TIE Identity Card for Foreigners (Tarjeta de Identificación de Extranjero), an identity card with a photo. But this cannot be done until the UK has left the EU.
For more information regarding Brexit and your residency rights: you can check these two sites:
Doing it Right
Marcela Mattenet is totally bi-lingual. She has run a language school for 15 years. For many years, she has helped her teachers and others get established in Spain. She has also worked as an interpreter and translator for five EU projects.
Since Brexit, she has worked with ‘Brexpats in Spain’ helping Brits in and around Valencia get their residency formalised. She works with a specialists lawyers, immigration or tax, when a case is complicated. So there is no chance of you being misled, that can cost you dearly.
Marcela expat service includes:
- Advice on NIE renewals, driving licences, schools etc
- Help with medical insurance, home or car insurance.
- Getting apointments for you at the right office.
- Attending meetings and making sure you get what you need.
To get some help with your papers, please fill in our contact form