How to Apply for Your NIE in Jaén (and Get Your TIE)


If you’re a language assistant in Spain (auxiliar de conversación), by now you’ve applied for the program, gotten your visa, and at last arrived in the country.

But, because your student visa is good for only three months—and because you’re supposed to be working for eight—you need to apply for an NIE (número de identificación de extranjero), a foreigner’s identification number, and get the corresponding TIE (tarjeta de identificación de extranjero), a foreigner’s identification card. This will make your stay in Spain valid for around a year after arrival. Sweet! So, how can you get one?

Spanish NIE and provisional TIE
My provisional foreigner’s card (TIE) with my number on it (NIE)

Well, I’ll get to the nitty-gritty details, but first, let me say that my experience was totally abnormal from what you should expect.

As I’m teaching in a town in the province of Jaén (northeast corner of Andalucía), I had to go to Jaén capital to get the NIE. I made an appointment online for the earliest date possible, and my bilingual coordinator, Pedro, went with me to the foreigner’s office. We waited in line, took a number, and sat and waited some more. When we went into the room with police officers, I told the officer at my assigned desk that I wanted to apply for an NIE and showed him my placement letter and special letter from the regional government in Sevilla. Pedro also explained what I was doing in the country.

Foreigner’s office, Jaén
Foreigner’s office, Jaén

The police officer asked to see the ID page of my passport, glanced at the letters, asked where I was living, and took my photos. He didn’t even ask to see my application form, copies of every. single. page. of my passport, or proof that I had health insurance. He was super chill about everything; at the end he gave me a form and just told me to go to a nearby bank, pay the fee to the account indicated, and come back to get the provisional card with my number on it. So I did, and I got my card. Pedro and I were both surprised, but we didn’t complain!

Now, how did I prepare for all that? Well, Pedro and the headmaster at my school helped me out a lot, so my first advice is to ask your school for help. They have probably had many language assistants in the past and know the drill. They happened to have a document directing us to make an appointment at this website.

So, go to that link, select “Jaén” under “Provincias Disponibles” and then select “Expedición de Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (Huella).” Then, make sure to enter in your passport and personal information before selecting an appointment date.

What to bring with you

  • your passport
  • copies of all the pages of your passport
  • 2 color ID photos on a white background in carnet size (they have cookie-cutter-style trimmers if your photos are too big)
  • application form EX-17 (assuming you’re not an EU citizen)
  • your placement letter (carta de nombramiento)
  • letter from the regional education department (Consejería de Educación) saying the same thing as the placement letter but basically begging the police to process your application ASAP
  • confirmation sheet for your appointment
  • your health insurance card (tarjeta sanitaria europea) or proof that you applied for it (I had a sheet called Anexo I)

What to do at the office

Subdelegación del Gobierno, Jaén, Spain
Subdelegación del Gobierno, Jaén

The building you’re looking for is the Subdelegación del Gobierno, a white, Art Deco-style three-floor structure on the west side of the Plaza de las Batallas in the city of Jaén. This plaza is at the intersection of the Paseo de la Estacíon (a road where the tram line runs) and the Parque de la Victoria, super close to the bus station.

The entrance to the foreigner’s office (oficina de extranjería) is on the north side of the building, facing the Calle Cruz Roja Española.

Inside, wait in line at the front desk to explain why you’re there to get a number (turno), and then wait until it’s called. Go to the table called, present all your documents, and if all goes smoothly, the police officer will give you a payment form. Take that with you to the La Caixa bank across the street and pay the fee (tasa) of €15—Código 012, Modelo 790—come back to get the provisional card, and you’re good to go! (Some days La Caixa doesn’t process such requests, so try the Unicaja to the south like I did.)

You’re supposed to come back in a month and a half to pick up the card (TIE), but…they didn’t ask for my email or phone number so I guess I just…show up? More posts to come, for sure.

Spanish TIE

UPDATE: Today, November 26, I went back to Jaén to pick up my TIE—the ID card—having waited more than 40 days, and was in and out in literally one minute. After I showed the lady at the counter my provisional NIE with proof of payment, she told me to come into the office (bypassing everyone in the waiting room!) where a police officer went to go retrieve the card.

The only problem is that it expires on May 31, 2013, the last day of the program; my plane back home leaves Madrid in the middle of June and I am planning on walking part of the Camino de Santiago in between the last day of school and that flight. I hope things go smoothly for me. But…that’s a problem to worry about another day!

If you have any questions post below—or if your experience was different, please, do tell!

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