The TIE, or Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero, is necessary for foreigners residing in Spain for more than six months. Applying for it will likely be your first run-in with the notorious Spanish bureaucracy. Reading other language assistants’ blog posts had me dreading the day I’d have to wait for hours in the stuffy extranjería office all the way across town only to be turned away because I had made two photocopies of my passport instead of three. In reality, my experience was quite painless. If you come prepared with all your documents, theoretically, you shouldn’t have any problems… but at the end of the day, it’s still Spain.
What is the TIE?
The TIE is an identification card which indicates that its owner has the legal right to reside in Spain for a period longer than six months. You’ll notice that if you’ve applied for a student visa, the visa is only valid for three months from the date you plan to enter Spain. The TIE is what gives you the right to stay in Spain past the expiry date of your visa. If your stay is less than six months long, the visa is the only identification you’ll need.
While I haven’t run into any situations where I absolutely needed my TIE yet, it’s much more convenient than carrying around your passport as ID. One place you’ll certainly need it is at the airport. Customs agents will likely ask for your TIE when they see your visa is out of date. Make sure to have it on you at all times when travelling.
What you’ll need to apply:
- Completed EX-17 application form (original & photocopy)
- Two recent photos on white background (ask for tamaño carnet)
- Carta de nombramiento (language assistants) or acceptance letter from your university stating how long you will be studying there (original & photocopy)
- Passport (original & photocopy of picture page)
- 15 euros bank fee
- Empadronamiento (proof of address)*
*I was not required to be empadronada in order to receive my TIE in Granada. However, I have heard of other cities requesting this certificate. When you make your TIE appointment (which I’ll explain how to do below), the confirmation email you receive should have a list of required documents. If you do need to get empadronado, the process is very easy. You can find information about it here.
How to make a TIE appointment
Ensure that you book your TIE appointment as soon as you get to Spain. Appointments may not be available until at least two weeks into the future and the card takes up to 40 days to arrive. You don’t want to be stuck with an expired visa and no TIE, so don’t delay.
To book an appointment, you’ll have to request a cita previa at the foreigner’s office, or extranjería, in your town by following this link. From the drop down menu, select your province. Click ACEPTAR.
In the next drop down menu, select TOMA DE HUELLAS (EXPEDICIÓN DE TARJETA). Click ACEPTAR.
The next page will tell you exactly what you need to bring to your appointment. You’ll also get this information in the confirmation email once you’ve completed the booking process.
Next, you’ll be asked for some identifying information. Select NIE or PASAPORTE, then fill out the form accordingly. Leave blank the spot that says FECHA DE CADUCIDAD DE TARJETA ACTUAL; this is for renewals only. Click ACEPTAR.
You should now see your name and ID number at the top of the page and a button at the bottom left that says CONSULTAR CITAS. Click it to see the next available appointment date.
Fill in your contact information and click ACEPTAR. The next page will show you a calendar of available appointment dates. At the time of writing this post, the next appointment is nearly two months away! If this happens to you, one thing I suggest doing is booking the first available appointment then checking back daily to see if an earlier date has opened up. At your appointment, they will give you a sheet of paper confirming that you have applied for your TIE in case your visa expires before you get your card. This will serve as proof that you can legally be in the country until your TIE arrives.
Once you’ve selected an appointment date, go through the next couple of steps to confirm it. You should receive a confirmation email shortly reminding you of what to bring to your appointment.
At your appointment
Double- and triple-check that you have all your documents. Arrive at the extranjería for your scheduled time slot, but don’t expect it to actually be taken into account. Booking an appointment seems kind of silly because (at least in Granada) everyone is required to take a number as they walk in anyway.
When your number is called, the worker will take your documents as well as your fingerprints. She should give you a form with an amount you must pay to the bank. Take the form directly to the bank and bring it back to the office. If everything is good to go, you’ll be sent home with a confirmation letter and told to come back in 40 days to pick up your shiny new identity card! Hooray!
Do you have questions about the TIE that I haven’t answered? Leave me a comment below!