How to Apply for Your NIE in Santiago de Compostela (and Get Your TIE)


One of the most annoying parts about living and working in Spain as an auxiliar de conversación (English language assistant) is cutting past the red tape to get residency, albeit temporary. You have to wake up super early, go to a godforsaken office that’s only open mornings on weekdays, wait for hours until your turn is called, and then cross your fingers that you’ve brought all your required documents (and multiple copies, too). If everything goes correctly, you have to just…show up…in 30–40 days to pick up your ID card.

Police station in Santiago

Although it can be intimidating to undergo this months-long ordeal to get your NIE (número de identidad de extranjero—“foreigner’s ID number”) and corresponding TIE (tarjeta de identidad de extranjero—“foreigner’s ID card”), it doesn’t have to be. If you show up early and prepared enough, however, you can beat Spanish bureaucracy at its own game.

In this post, I’d like to explain how to go about applying for your number and card if you happen to be living in Santiago de Compostela, the capital city of the northwest Galicia region. Even if you end up going through the process at a different oficina de extranjería (foreigner’s office) in Galicia, it should be mostly the same—but don’t quote me on that!

Disclaimer: I’m not an immigration attorney, so please do you own research before you go.

Where to go

You can submit your NIE and TIE application at the Comisaría Local de Santiago de Compostela, the city’s main police station. It’s a plain granite building at Rúa de Rodrigo de Padrón, Nº 3, in a part of town between the Alameda park and the Obradoiro plaza and just past the high school (instituto).

What to bring with you

  • your passport
  • copies of the two passport pages that have your visa and entry stamp and the one with your personal information
  • application form EX-17 if you’re not an EU citizen (EX-18 if you are)
  • your placement letter if you’re an auxiliar de conversación (the carta de nombramiento)
  • one (1) color ID photo (foto carnet)
  • copies of your entire passport
  • extra fotos carnet
  • your empadronamiento certificate
  • your health insurance card/proof it’s being processed

What to do at the office

With all of the items above and two copies of each, get up early and go to the police station no later than 8:45am. Get a ticket for the Oficina de Extranjería and wait until your turn is called. Once you’re in, present all your documents, copies, etc., sign any forms needed, and get your fingerprints taken.

For the last step, you’ll have to run out to a bank to pay the Código 012, Modelo 790 fee of 15,30€. There’s a Banco Pastor, a Kutxabank, and a Banco Santander that can process your fee directly south of the police station about five minutes’ walking distance. Come back with the approved stamp to get your little receipt that you came to the office (resguardo).

And boom! You’re good to go and now have a provisional NIE. Congrats!

Come back to the office in around a month to pick up your TIE (ID card) and you will be officially legal in Spain.

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

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