Table of Contents

1. What is the Spanish TIE Card?

In most of the cases, when a foreign citizen obtains a favorable resolution in the application for authorization of residence in Spain, the TIE card must be requested in order to complete the immigration process. This is the Spanish identity card for foreigners who are legally residing in Spain.

The abbreviation TIE stands for “Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero” – in English, the Foreigner’s Identity Card, and should not be confused with the NIE, “Número de Identidad de Extranjero” (Foreigner’s Identity Number).

Below we will explain the difference between the two concepts and how to apply for the TIE card.

Difference between TIE and NIE.

2. What is the difference between TIE and NIE?

Often the terms NIE and TIE cause great confusion and are used indistinctively. However, as mentioned above, they are two different things.

While the TIE is the physical identity document, the NIE is the identity number assigned to the foreign citizen. It is the number shown in the image above in a red frame.

It is important to note that it is possible to have a NIE (i.e. a foreigner’s identity number) without having a TIE, while the opposite is not possible as a general rule.

If you want to know which procedures in Spain require a NIE, you can read our article on this subject.

3. How to apply for the TIE card?

Please note: First of all we would like to point out that this permit is not intended for EU citizens. They have another mechanism at their disposal – the EU citizen registration certificate. 

Step 1: Make an appointment

You must first request an appointment for the fingerprinting. Due to its scarcity it can be a difficult task. Be patient. We will be at your disposal if you need help.

Step 2: Collect the documents

In order to apply for a residence card (TIE) it is important that you prepare the necessary documentation. More information below.

Step 3: The fingerprinting

On the day of the appointment you must present the corresponding documentation and your fingerprints will be taken.

Step 4: Pick up the card

After 30 to 40 days after the fingerprinting you will be able to pick up the residence card. For this you will again need an appointment.

Do you still have questions about the Spanish TIE Card?

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4. Documentation required to apply for the Spanish TIE Card

5. What is the "empadronamiento"?

The “empadronamiento” is nothing more than the census registration in Spain, but what relevance does it have in relation to the TIE card application?

This procedure is important, since in order to apply for the TIE it is necessary to provide the so-called “certificado de empadronamiento”, as mentioned above in the list of required documents.

The census registration is requested at the Town Hall and for this it is necessary to provide the identity document and the title that entitles the person to live in the dwelling in question. 

For more information take a look at our article on the census registration (empadronamiento).

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