TIE vs NIE: What is the difference? How does Brexit affect what I need?
What are these documents?
An NIE (Foreigner Identification Number) and a TIE (Foreigner Identity Card) are closely related but serve different vital purposes.
A NIE number has to be requested by any foreign citizen who intends to pay taxes in Spain, for instance, when purchasing a property. This is the case even if they don’t require Spanish residency. Thus, having a NIE does not imply being able to remain in Spain.
A TIE is an identity card that primarily serves as proof of permission to reside or remain in Spain for a specific period of time. Among other information about immigration status, it displays the holder’s NIE. The TIE is not indefinitely valid and requires renewal.
Your NIE number will never change, even if you renew your TIE, and will always be linked to you, only you. It appears on the driver’s licenses or health insurance cards issued to you. It fulfills a role similar to that of a Spanish citizen’s national identity card (DNI).
TIEs are not routinely issued to citizens of EU countries. They can instead obtain a certificate to prove their status as residents and their address; it is a green piece of paper. Unlike a TIE card, this is not a form of identification. For general identification purposes, EU citizens must use the documents from their own country, be it their national identity card or their passport. A significant advantage of a TIE card is that it serves as ID so you will not need to carry your passport around, even in public offices.
I’m a Brit living in Spain. Do I now need a TIE?
Britain leaving the EU puts British residents in Spain – many of whom currently have the green residency card – in a unique position. As of 6th July 2020, a new residency card has been issued by the Spanish government. This grants British residents already living in Spain a new residential status. This is in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement published by the EU and UK in late 2018. All British people who achieve residency prior to the end of the transition period will automatically receive this residential status. Applicants for residency after the period may have different rights depending on a deal.
The new status puts Brits in a position somewhere between EU and non-EU residents. They do not need to make a formal application to receive this new status, instead they receive it automatically. However, they are entitled to make an application to receive a new TIE card that confirms their status. This is not essential but highly recommended, and will make various bureaucratic processes more efficient. These applications can be made at police stations. The expiration date of the TIE card received depends on how long you have resided in Spain and what residential status you currently have.
If you have further questions or would like support for your TIE application, get in touch with us here.