Obtaining Your Spanish Residency Card (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero)

So you’ve arrived in Spain after having been approved for Non-Lucrative Residence Visa. Congratulations! But you’re not done yet.

When your visa was pasted into your passport at the consulate, you likely discovered that it’s only good for 90 days or so from your stated arrival date in Spain. This is because though you have been provisionally approved for a residence visa, the last portion of the process actually takes place once you arrive in Spain. You’ll need to arrange for an appointment at the Extranjería (Foreigner’s Office), where you will apply for your Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (Foreigner Identity Card, or TIE), which will be your residency permit for the remainder of your stay!

We went through the process in Granada in April and May of 2018, and found that it had changed significantly from some of the other online accounts we have read– but that’s for the better. There is less paperwork to submit, and the entire process appears to be more streamlined.

Here are the steps to apply for your TIE once you’ve arrived in Spain:

1. Upon Arrival in Spain, Complete the Empadronamiento Process (if Necessary)

The empadronamiento refers to the legal requirement in Spain to present yourself to the local government and declare that you are residing in a particular municipality. Think of it as an ongoing census that the government uses to allot tax dollars, police protection, and investment in infrastructure to a particular city or region. It’s a very low stress process, and it varies a bit from city to city and region to region. Generally speaking, you will need to provide identification (your passport), proof of residence (the lease for the property you are renting or own, and/or a recent power or water bill in the name of yourself or your landlord), and the local empadronamiento form. As always, you may need to bring photocopies of any and all documents.

If all goes well, after a few days you should be able to pick up a certificado de empadronamiento, or (loosely) Certificate of Self-registration. Note: you may need to visit the office a few times, and the time it takes to become empadronado may vary. If your region requires a certificado de empadronamiento to apply for a TIE, start early!

In our case, the extranjería in Granada did not require a certificado de empadronamiento. In fact, we are still waiting to hear back about whether we are empadronado, and we’ve already completed the TIE process! I have heard that in other cities, such as Barcelona and Madrid, it’s required to do this first.

2. Make An Appointment for Each Family Member on the Sede Electronica Site

Officially, you are required to make an appointment at the extranjería that falls within 30 days of your arrival in Spain (or in the Schengen Area). Practically speaking, this can be a little tough in cities with a huge foreign presence like Barcelona.  If nothing is available within 30 days of your arrival, get the earliest appointment available. The extranjería staff understand. If there are plenty of appointments available in the first 30 days after your arrival, I recommend making your appointment towards the end of that window to allow you the time to gather documents, complete your empadronamiento (if necessary), and to find long-term accommodation if, like us, you didn’t arrive in Spain with a signed lease.

To make an appointment at the extranjería, navigate to the Ministry of Public Administration’s Sede Electronica (electronic headquarters) site. If your Spanish is not strong, consider using something like the Chrome browser’s built-in translation capabilities. Here is the step-by-step process to obtain an appointment from the site:

  1. Click the “Acceder al Procedimiento” (Access the Procedure) button.
  2. On the next screen, select your province from the drop-down list. Since the city of Granada is in the province of Granada, we selected that. Click “Aceptar” (Accept).
  3. On the next page, you’ll need to select the nature of your appointment. Select “CNP – TOMA DE HUELLAS (EXPEDICIÓN DE TARJETA) Y RENOVACIÓN DE TARJETA DE LARGA DURACIÓN.” This option means “Taking of fingerprints (expediting of card) and renewal of long duration card.” Essentially, you are making an appointment to have your fingerprints taken and to apply for your residency card. Click “Aceptar” again.
  4. You will be presented with a list of documents that apply to your appointment type. They’ll be included in your confirmation email, but you may wish to cut and paste the list just in case. Click “Entrar” (Enter).
  5. Fill out the form with your NIE number (this is on your visa, in your passport, and probably begins with Y), Nombre y Apellidos (fill out exactly as it is printed on your visa, including any errant spaces they may have added, as was the case with our visas), and country of citizenship. Important note: Leave the Fecha de Caducidad de su tarjeta actual blank! This is only relevant if your are renewing a card, not if you are requesting a new one! If you fill in this field, you will not have access to appointments in the 30 day window after your arrival! Complete the captcha (No soy un robot) and click “Aceptar.”
  6. Finally, you will be able to select an appointment time and date. Do this, complete the process, and provide an email for a confirmation of your appointment. You will need several copies of this email (or your appointment confirmation page).

Congratulations! You’ve got your appointment, and you’re only a few steps away from picking up your TIE!

3. Gather all of your documents

If you completed the cita previa (previous appointment) process properly, you should have an email which not only confirms the date and time of your appointment, but which includes a list of the necessary documents for the appointment.  Let’s make a list of all of the documents you will need.

  1. Two copies of the Appointment Confirmation email. You’ll need to bring two copies of this email to your appointment.
  2. Two (or three) European-sized passport photos. Depending on which part of the Sede Electronica site you believe, you will need either two or three passport photos. EU passport photos are not the same size as those in the United States, so don’t attempt to re-use the photos you had taken for your visa! In Spain, search for “fotos carnet” or “fotos pasaporte” to find a photo shop that can take these for you. We paid five euros per person for six copies of our photos. We ended up needing two– one was attached to the paperwork, and one was affixed to a signature card.
  3. Carta de resolución. It may not immediately be obvious what the document list is talking about, but it’s a letter or printout showing the approval of your visa. Not to worry, it’s easy to get.  Just go to this site, fill in your NIE number, the date you initially applied for your visas (your appointment date at the consulate), and your year of birth. You’ll be redirected to a page that reads “Información sobre el estado del expediente de extranjería.” It should include a lot of data about you, and the words “Resuelto – Favorable” (Result – Favorable) indicating that you were awarded a visa. Print two copies of this page.
  4. Valid Passport. You will need your passport with the visa affixed within, and you will need to be able to show the stamp in your passport when you entered Spain (or the Schengen Area). Make a photocopy of all of these pages and bring both the original and the photocopies to your appointment.
  5. Paid M790 Codigo 012 Form. This is the part that causes the most confusion. As with most administrative functions in Spain, you will need to pay a fee to apply for your TIE card. You will need one M790 C012 form, completed and paid, for each member of your family. Essentially, you will fill out the form electronically on the national police web site, which will generate three copies of the M790 C012 form with a unique barcode and number. You will take all three copies to the bank, which will keep one of the three copies.  You’ll take the remaining two copies to your appointment, where the staff will take a copy, leaving you with the final copy showing that you paid your fee. Here’s how to get the form filled out:
    * Go to this link and click “Rellenar formulario y descargar” (Fill out form and download).
    * Fill out all fields in the Identificación section.
    * Under the Autoliquidación section, the only thing you should do is click the following option: “TIE que documenta la primera concesión de la autorización de residencia temporal, de estancia o para trabajadores transfronterizos.” This is the correct option for an initial application for a TIE on a non-lucrative residence visa. If your visa situation is otherwise, another option may be correct. For clarity: the Non-lucrative Residence visa is considered a temporary visa, not a long duration visa.
    * Under the Declarante section, indicate your current city under Localidad (as this is part of your signing and dating of the form).
    * Under the Ingreso section, for Formo de Pago, you will probably want to select En Efectivo to pay the fee in cash, unless you know that you will be paying the fee by transferring money from your Spanish bank account, and you have confirmed with your bank accepts payment for government fees with an account transfer.
    * Complete the captcha and click “Descargar impreso rellenado” to download a PDF of your form.
    * Take the forms to your bank and pay the fee (15.60 Euros per person in 2018) prior to your appointment at the extranjería.

The email you receive will indicate that you should bring a copy of your expired TIE card and photocopy as applicable, but as a first-time TIE applicant, you don’t have a card and can thus disregard this requirement.

4. Go to Your Appointment

On the date and time you selected, go to your appointment at the address in your confirmation email. A small note: if your province or city doesn’t have an extranjería, your appointment may be at a police station. The procedure shouldn’t be much different.

When we arrived at our appointments in Granada, we passed through the metal detector and showed our appointment confirmation emails to a greeter who helped us to take a number. Both the email and the people present at the office caution you to listen carefully for your number to be called, as missing it will result in you having to book a new appointment!

Our numbers were called and we were guided into an office filled with staff at desks. Honestly, this part of the process was very low-stress. We were asked to present out documents, and as with our visa appointment, we had already organized them in the exact order specified by the confirmation email, one packet per person, plus a packet of photocopies each. Being extremely well prepared seems to be the ultimate bureaucratic superpower in Spain. It will never work against you to spend an extra few minutes making sure your paperwork is well organized.

Be aware that, at least in Granada, few of the extranjería staff seem to speak English, so speaking Spanish well gives you another edge. If all else fails, I suggest bringing an adorable newborn and letting all the ladies in the office who insist on holding him or her do so. It worked for us.

If you’ve prepared your documents properly, your passport photos will be pasted onto a packet of paperwork and onto a signature card which you’ll be asked to sign. You’ll give a series of fingerprints electronically. Finally, you’ll be presented with a letter from the office indicating that you are a legal resident in the country pending the outcome of your TIE application process. You’ll be instructed to return after approximately 30 days to pick up your residency card!

5. Pick up Your Residence Card!

This is the easiest of all of the steps. 30 days after your successful appointment, return with the following:

  • All members of your family
  • All passports for your family
  • TIE letters (received at last appointment) for your family

Let the greeter know that you are picking up your Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero. You won’t need an appointment this time. You’ll be ushered in to see a staff member who will check your identification, take your fingerprints, and present you with your TIE! At long last, you are a legal resident of Spain for the remainder of your visa!

Are you applying for a Spanish visa, or do you already hold one? If so, share with me your experience getting your TIE, or ask me any questions if I can help you with your own process!

Update: If you stick around for a year, you may also need some help renewing your non-lucrative visa, and I can help you with that, too. After you do that, you’ll have to go through the whole TIE process over again to get a new one!

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166 thoughts on “Obtaining Your Spanish Residency Card (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero)

  1. Gina

    The procedure has improved so much in recent years. And the wealth of information available online to guide people is as sophisticated as ever. Great share!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Thanks, Gina! Agreed, it seems like just in the past two or three years, the process has become much more streamlined. Compared to getting our visas approved, this step was a snap!

      1. M.B. LEBLANC

        Hello, we are going to apply for our visas next years, but all the wonderful information that you are providing us is saving us a lot of time, effort and money. You will be rewarded in some many ways in your life for doing this without any interest. I really admire people who take the time to help others. Wishing you all the best.

        thanks again.

        B&J (*-*)

        1. The Vagabond Post author

          You are very welcome, and it’s really my pleasure! I know how much other resources helped me, but also how I struggled when things had changed. Just know that it’s absolutely worth it in the end! We love it here, life is good!

      2. Susana

        Thank you so much for the information you provide! It is so helpful!!
        I have a question. We just got our retiree visa and it says that it is valid from July 2 to October 14. Does that mean that we can enter Spain any date during that period? When you go for your TIE, do they stamp in your passport that you can stay for a year or how do you do if you travel to the US and enter Spain again after the 90 days period?
        Thank you for your answer!

        1. The Vagabond Post author

          Hi Susana,

          Yes, the visa says, and will always say, the initial 90 day period. Once you acquire your TIE, you will present that along with your passport when entering the country. The TIE is your real residency permit and permission to enter the country, the visa in your passport is just for the initial period to get you there.

  2. David

    Hi there, thank you so much for your very detailed blog on TIE. I do however have a question, you did not mention filling out the EX 17 form (Application for Foreigner ID card TIE), is this form nit needed? Seems like it’s a requirement for application unless I’m mistake. Thanks

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      No problem! An EX 17 is not necessary for the TIE for the non lucrative residence visa, or at least it wasn’t for us. We went in only with the items listed above and sailed right through. I suspect the EX 17 is for a different visa type or perhaps it’s a dead form— the process has changed much in the last year or two.

      1. Dr Mo

        Thank you for the amazing and detail list – incredibly helpful. FYI, the EX17 is necessary for TIE in Sevilla. I guess it might be based on whatever province you’re in? Not sure.
        For example, you can’t get an appointment online in Sevilla and have to email sevilla.oue@policia.es with your NIE # and request an appointment – which is how I am doing it currently.

      2. Phillip

        Thx for all the great info! Question: what is best way to determine if our region near Altea requires a certificado de empadronamiento for the TIE process? All the best…

  3. Brian

    It’s very cool to read your progress. Will you make some comments about transporting your pet? We have a beagle and I am not sure if I should use a pet shipping company.

  4. Karl Orner

    Is the NIE on the visa in my passport or is it something that is issued upon arrival at the airport in Spain?

      1. Kar Orner

        It is supposed to be a Long Duration visa, however the number on my visa in my passport it does not start with a Letter.

        Now what?

        When I asked the consulate, I was told the NIE will be issued in Spain.

        How can I find out and who would be responsible for the correction?

        1. The Vagabond Post author

          Which specific visa do you have? This post is tailored for the non-lucrative residence visa, which the Spanish government considers a temporary (non long duration) visa. I cant be sure how other visas might vary from what we experienced. You might have to get the consulate to spell it out more clearly— my best guess is if you are meant to get your NIE in Spain, it would probably be at the extranjeria.

          1. Christina Grundy

            I too are a bit confused about when you actually receive the NIE.

            The consulate website state for a Non Lucrative Visa: :
            Once you Arrive in Spain

            The visa from our department will only be valid for 90 days. Don’t worry, this is normal. During the first 30 days of your stay in Spain, you must go to the Local Police station to receive your full visa. They will ask for some original documents, which we certify at the Consulate, and then issue you a ”Tarjeta de Identificación de Extranjero” (NIE). This card validates your stay until the listed expiration date. Note that the dates will be formated DAY/MONTH/YEAR.


            Doesn’t that read to you that you receive the NIE during the Spain process and not necessarily on your Visa as you mentioned (which I like much better) 🙂

            Thanks again for your help!! Always appreciated!

          2. The Vagabond Post author

            The TIE and NIE are two different things. The NIE is a number that is like a social security number. Everyone from the government worker to the driver who delivers packages to your house will ask for your NIE– you’ll use it every day in Spain (or almost). The TIE is the actual physical card, which is also your authorization to live the rest of your year in Spain. The NIE you get from the page they paste into your passport, and the TIE is what you get through the process described in this post. I don’t know the origin of what you put here, but they definitely meant to write TIE in the parentheses, not NIE.

  5. Rob

    Thanks for all of this info. A few basic questions. First several times you mention going to your bank to pay fees. However, what if you don’t have a bank account with a Spanish bank before you arrive. What is required to open one, or can you go to any bank to pay for the M790 C012 form fee?
    Also, like you I’ll be traveling with my children. Do they need to go with me to every appointment or just the final pickup? I have 4 kids who are not very patient and waiting around can be hard for them.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Rob,

      You can pay the bank fees at basically any Spanish bank, but many of them may restrict payment by people without an account to very few hours a week– I visited two banks who only allowed me to pay government fees during two two-hour periods every week before I got an account opened. That said, I would start working on your account right away when you get there– It’ll be needed for paying rent and utilities anyway, so you should be able to get it opened long before you need to pay the application fees if you start early.

      Your kids need to be present for your initial visa appointment, and at the visa pickup. Since I’m guessing you’ll be headed to the SF consulate, try not to make any of your appointments for Fridays. In our experience, Fridays were the worst wait. Midweek days were basically empty!

      1. Rob

        Apologies if you answered this, but my question related to having the kids present was solely focus on the appointments once in Spain. Do the kids need to be at the initial appointment at the extranjería? You wrote that “You’ll give a series of fingerprints electronically” which sounds like they do. But then do they also take fingerprints 30 days later when everyone has to come back to pick up the TIE?
        Also, it sounds like they do not keep the passports at any point once you’re in
        country but just need to see them during your visits, right (just trying to make sure we factor this in to any travel plans during the 30 days between appointments). THanks

        1. The Vagabond Post author

          Sorry Rob, I lost track of which post I was replying to— my mistake. Yes, the kids must be present at both the TIE application appointment and at pickup. The extranjeria doesn’t keep your passports at any time.

          1. Rob

            Thx. They really do make you work for this visa! Now if only it was easier to apply for the health insurance online for a family of 6….

  6. Rob

    It appears that Granada may have made a few changes already, including requiring the certificado de empadronamiento. I was just on the website and the requirements list included:
    Copia de la resolución administrativa de concesión. and
    Certificado de empadronamiento en caso de que haya cambiado de domicilio.

    I assume the resolución administrativa de concesión is the same as the Carta de resolución you reference
    Did you also have the certificado empardomiento on your list when you applied? I’m just wondering if this is required only for a change of address or also for the initial application, since as you note it can take while to one issued (I believe you wrote you still didn’t have it – which makes the whole process a bit worrisome). Thx

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      This isn’t a change- the Empadronamiento requirement listed here says “en caso de que haya cambiado de domicilio.” That is, in case you have changed address. It only appears to apply for a renewal, and only if you have changed address. This language was all present for us, and no empadronamiento was required.

      The carta de resolución is the printout of your visa resolution from the web site listed above.

      1. Brandt Cowan

        Wanted to clarify, as we are in the process of preparing for our cita previa in Barcelona. I’ve seen multiple mentions of the empadronamiento, but trying to fill it out online has been confusing. Is it needed for the TIE appointment?

        Thanks for this fantastic post by the way!

  7. Nathan

    My family and I fly to Madrid later this month on a Non-Lucrative Residence Visa. I just picked up the passports and visas today. 🙂 Your other blog post about the application process was invaluable — thank you!

    I am now planning ahead for the TIE process. Since we will be living in Madrid, I started to scope out how that might differ from Granada by starting Step 2 above and selecting Madrid.

    Interestingly, this notice immediately popped up, which (via my terrible Spanish and Google Chrome Translate) seems to imply that it may be possible to do this all via the Internet. Do you have any insight about that? Or am I incorrect?

    Al objeto de agilizar la tramitación de las solicitudes y de reducción de los tiempos de espera, podrá presentar por internet a través de la Plataforma Mercurio, que se publica en la Sede Electrónica del Ministerio de Hacienda y Administraciones Públicas.

    Entre otras, las siguientes solicitudes:

    Prórroga de Autorización de Estancia por Estudios.
    Autorización de Residencia de Larga Duración
    Renovación de Autorizaciones de Residencia Temporal y Trabajo.
    Renovación de Autorizaciones de Residencia NO Lucrativa.
    Renovación de Autorización de Residencia con exceptuación a la autorización de trabajo.
    Modificaciones de situación de residencia por circunstancias excepcionales por razones de arraigo a la autorización de residencia y trabajo.
    Residencia Permanente de Familiares de Ciudadanos de la UE
    Para ello deberán contar con Certificado digital que incorpore sistema de firma electrónica avanzada.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Nathan,

      So glad to hear the other article helped. From the list of requests which can be processed online, none of them would apply to an initial non-lucrative visa TIE appointment. The list specifically mentions:

      * Extension of visas for purpose of study
      * Long term residency authorization (the non lucrative visa is considered a temporary/short stay visa)
      * Renewal of temporary residence and work visas
      * Renewal of non-lucrative residence visas (doesn’t apply to you since you’re not renewing, this in an “inicial”)
      * Renewal of residence visas (non working)
      * Modification of residence situation in exceptional circumstances
      * Permanent residency of families and citizens of the EU

      It also mentions that using the online system requires the advanced digital certificate/signature, which is (I believe, I haven’t hunted it down yet) a means of authenticating on Spanish government sites for purposes of official business for citizens and long term residents, and requires that you first have obtained the certificate.

      So, none of these covers an initial request for a non-lucrative residence permit/TIE. It does say that the list of requests is “among others,” so it’s possible there’s some secret squirrel way of processing an initial non-lucrative TIE this way, but given the requirement to take fingerprints, I’m not sure how it would be possible. It sounds like you may be able to renew your non-lucrative visas a year from now, though, provided you get yourself enrolled in the esignature/certificate program by then.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      We personally didn’t have to. That said, it’s a super simple form so there’s no harm in filling it out, and if it’s not needed, no big deal!

  8. 3rdNooj48

    Hi, Found your blog through Reddit. Am planning to follow your path, but probably a different Spanish city. Am also planning to obtain Spanish permanent residency. Is that your plan? If so, do you know if I can have dual citizenship (ie, US and Spain)? Any online resources that you recommend to look into? Thanks

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      I think we probably won’t, at least not right now. We’ve still got a bit more work to do before we’re truly FI, and our goal is long term slow travel (6-12 months per location, probably). You are definitely allowed to have dual citizenship with your US citizenship:


      I am not sure which specific things to offer other online resources on, other than what I’ve written here, but if you have questions I can try to answer them. Just let me know and I will try to help!

  9. 3rdNooj48

    What’s your take on managing taxes while living in Spain? Any tax minimization strategies? How about wealth tax? Am in Paris for the next 30 days and a Spaniard just warned me about wealth tax in Spain. Thoughts? Maybe a good topic for a future post…:)

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      We use the US Foreign Earned Income Exception by being outside off the US for over 330 days per year to make our first ~$100K US tax free, even though it’s sourced in the US. We expect to use the Spanish exemption on 60K EUR of foreign-sourced income to minimize or eliminate income taxes on this side.

      The Spanish wealth tax has a 700K EUR exemption for each adult in the household (so 1.4M EUR for a married couple) plus a 300K EUR exemption on the value of the primary residence. For us, that means we owe no wealth tax whatsoever as our combined assets fall under the exemption amounts. Even if you’re over that amount, the wealth tax amounts are still not exactly huge. For an married couple with 2M EUR in assets, you’re looking at 2500 EUR in tax per year or so. For a single person with 2M in assets, it would be a little under 8500 EUR in tax per year. It’s a good amount of money, but it’s not a fortune by any means.

      1. Joon Saddul

        Hi there again,

        Just a quick update and question for you. Just got back to the homeland after 2 months in Europe, including 30 days in Paris. I just decided to give France (i.e., Paris) a try for at least a year starting January 2019. Do you know of a good blog that can provide some guidance in completing my application, including documentation requirements for a long term stay visa in France? Just to recap my background: am an early retiree who rely on my US Investment Income 100% (ZERO plans to work in France). Am currently in communication with Valorama for my health insurance coverage but unclear on what minimum coverage is required. Am also unsure if I need Appostille for my FBI Clearance. Thanks for any guidance.

  10. 3rdNooj48

    Makes me wonder if that €8.5K wealth tax is deductible in US, making room for more Roth conversion or harvesting gains.

  11. Christina Grundy

    Question – Did you use a currency broker to transfer US funds to Spain for a better rate?

    IF you did, would you mind sharing that info and experience?

    IF you did not, what avenue did you take?

    Side note: My 4a. question / info came from the LA consulate (I included the link) But as you mentioned, they must of made a typo.

    Thanks for clearing that up!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      No, we just wire funds every month or two as necessary. The exchange rate is about as close as it gets to the interbank transfer rate. We pay $25 for the outgoing wire, and nothing to receive it in Spain.

      1. Christina Grundy

        Thanks for your response!

        So that I understand, you are using Wire Transfer like Western Union and pay a flat $25 fee (on any amount) plus the exchange rate markup? My understanding was bank to bank rate markups are as high as 5%?

        IF that is the case what do you think about
        the OFX Transfer Service? (If you have heard of it?)

        OFX, previously called USForex, is an online currency exchange platform that doesn’t charge transfer fees. Use the service to send as much money as you want to 91 countries on your mobile app or from a computer, and the exchange rate markup is usually less than 1 percent. You can also set up email alerts with OFX to notify you when exchange rates are in your favor. That said, OFX only allows transfers between bank accounts, so your recipient can’t opt to pick up cash at their location. You have to transfer at least $150, and the delivery usually takes several business days.

        Not discounting your method at all…literally picking your brain (and others) to find the best route!

        Thanks so much!

        1. The Vagabond Post author

          No, we are not using anything like Western Union.

          We initiate the wire transfer through our bank, and this is a capability that any US Bank will have. We do not pay markups of any kind (let alone 5%!). Our bank’s fee for an international transfer is a flat $25. The exchange rate is the interbank transfer rate, which is better than any over the counter change bureau. Our wires are generally cleared on the next business day, so we don’t wait several days either.

          It sort of sounds like the above might be cut and pasted from some service’s web site, where they are comparing to a retail money transfer service. This is different from an international bank wire.

          1. Phillip

            I believe I’ve heard TransferWise is the go-to method for these types of wires – good exchange rate and very low fee…

      2. Christina Grundy

        Additionally, do Spanish banks typically charge for incoming monies/transfers?
        I haven’t quite researched that yet!

      3. Christina Grundy

        Again, thank you for the info! I haven’t totally dove into all of this yet so you are really helping.
        Would you mind sharing who you bank with in the states and in Spain?
        Thx a ton!

        1. Christina Grundy

          Again, thank you for the info! I haven’t totally dove into all of this yet so you are really helping.
          Would you mind sharing who you bank with in the states and in Spain?
          Thx a ton!

  12. Jennifer

    I also have appreciated your detailed information. I cannot seem to locate the requirements of lease as far as duration. I’m wondering if you are aware of how long a lease is required. One year?

  13. Ali

    Thank you indeed for information. Is it nessesary to have long term rent contract for empadronamiento?i already get my visa for madrid provience and have appoitment for TIE end of september. I have plan to i prefer to submit a short term rent contract.is it acceptable for TIE?
    Thank you in advance

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Empadronamiento requirements vary by locality, so it’s hard to say with any certainty. In Granada, where we live, there’s nothing on the paperwork that specifically requires a long term contract– though I would expect them to at least require an actual legal contract in Spanish (versus, say, an AirBnB receipt). Your mileage may vary.

  14. Pamela

    Thank you so much for your very complete articles. Our situation is a little bit different, and I’m having trouble finding answers. My husband and I live aboard our sailboat permanently. We are both US citizens, and are planning to cross the Atlantic in mid-May and land in the south of Spain. We hope to live and travel in Spain extensively for many months. The non-lucrative visa seems perfectly suited for us. (We are not retirement-age, but do not work.) Do you think that the US and Spain will allow us to use a marina address for residency? We normally sign some type of contract when we stay in a marina.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      A lot depends on which consulate you need to use to apply for your visa– some consulates (such as San Francisco) don’t ask for any proof of lease at all prior to being granted the visa. Some (such as Houston) do, though some people have managed to squeak by with an AirBnB booking.

      Another question is whether you make port somewhere that requires you to get an empadronamiento to complete your TIE process, which is what you really need to unlock the full year. The empadronamiento needs a mailing address, so you might start with whether Spaniards who live on boats are empadronato. If they are, you would follow the same process they do to get your empadronamiento, then use it to get your TIE (if an empadronamiento is necessary where you end up).

      The US doesn’t factor into the equation anywhere– they don’t have any connection to either getting the visa or getting the TIE. As far as they know, you’re still sitting at home in the US.

  15. Pamela

    When I mentioned the US, I was referring to the Spanish consulate in the US. I did not realize that each individual Consulate could have different requirements! We are applying to the Miami office. When I examined their website further – it looks like they will accept a “Letter explaining the reason why you have chosen that city in particular” as proof of accommodation. That is good news for us.
    I was worried about the possible empadronamiento requirement also. Do you think that they would accept a marina address? When we stay in a marina sometimes for months if we’re traveling, we have mail and packages sent to the marina office address.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      I really couldn’t say– best bet is to figure out what Spanish citizens do when they live on a boat in Spain, and follow their lead. They have a legal requirement to do empadronamiento too, so presumably there’s a solution.

  16. Alex


    First of all, thank you so much for this information, this will be a huge help when I arrive in Barcelona next week!

    I went through the step by step process to get an appointment at the extranjería to get my residency card but after step five and I click acceptar I’m getting the following message:

    En este momento no hay citas disponibles.

    En breve, la Oficina pondrá a su disposición nuevas citas.

    I’m wondering if I should keep trying every day, or should show up there without an appointment if I can’t get one?

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Alex,

      I have heard that Barcelona’s appointments are consistently fully booked, and that yes, you have to simply try each and every day (maybe even checking a few times a day to catch any new appointments). The good news is that I have heard that they are flexible about giving you more than 30 days if necessary to get your TIE appointment. I don’t believe they will see you without an appointment at the office, though if you happen to try, definitely let us know what happens. Just a heads up, Barcelona definitely does require the empadronamiento at the appointment, so start on that as soon as you arrive.

  17. Shari Correll


    My husband and our two teens arrived in Barcelona exactly two weeks ago. After much blood, sweat and tears we were given the Non-Lucrative Residence Visa in Los Angeles and were lucky enough to secure an apartment for 8 months and a bank account (which has in itself been a challenge but now it’s done). It’s now time to work on the TIE and I’m panicking after reading all the stories on the Internet about how hard it is to get an appointment, etc. How reliable are some of the services, or people, out there offering to help make this happen? What is your advice? Thank you so much!!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Getting the TIE is pretty straightforward (see above, make sure to get your empadronamiento done first for Barcelona), I personally don’t see why you’d need anyone to do any part of the process for you. It’s a lot easier than getting the visa in the first place. Your only difficulty in Barcelona will be in getting the appointment ASAP, since you’re competing with so many expats for limited appointment slots. From what I hear, they are well aware that they are capacity-limited there, and don’t give you a hard time if you don’t get in in the first 30 days. You should still be getting on the site every day (probably a few times a day) to get an appointment for all members of your family as soon as they open up. It might not hurt to drop by the extranjeria and confirm that they won’t give you a hard time if the first appointment you manage to book falls at 45, 60, or “x” days after arrival.

  18. Alex

    Hi – Just a quick update. I arrived in Barcelona last week from the US and this week I was suddenly able to get an appointment, I went on the site on Wednesday 10/31 at 8:00am and 3 appointments miraculously popped up (this was after weeks of trying), but they were for either Friday the 2nd, Monday the 5th, or Tuesday the 6th of November. No options further out so I took the Tuesday one, and I didn’t have empadronamiento yet so I was in a bit of a panic. I went to the town hall in Placa St. Miquel to try to get empadronamiento and they said they needed an appointment for padron and nothing until Nov 15th. I explained I had an appointment for the TIE and showed them the email on my phone and they quickly gave me an appointment for today. I guess it pays to push back (a little) and be nice about it.

    I just successfully walked out with my empadron. It literally took 7 minutes and was completely painless. Next I went to Sabadell bank with the M790 form and they did so if anyone isn’t sure which bank to go to in Barcelona that one worked. (I bank there but they didn’t even ask if I was a customer and I paid cash.)

    Next step will be to get my TIE on Tuesday and finalizing my paperwork today. The one requirement which I’m still unsure about is EX-17. This is my google translation of the requirements they gave me:

    * Proof of the appointment and in case of long-term renewal and first card students, completed form EX17, which is available at: http://extranjeros.mitramiss.gob.es/en/ModelosSolicitudes/Mod_solicitudes2/17-Formulario_TIE. pdf

    I’m not sure if this is just a translation issue, but first card students seems to me only pertains to students and not non-lucrative visas? I’m also not renewing so I don’t think the EX-17 applies to me, but open to thoughts. I’m thinking of having it filled out anyway just in case they ask for it. Will keep you posted on the next step and how it goes! Thanks again for your help.


    1. The Vagabond Post author

      We didn’t need the EX17, as it only pertains to long term visas (the nonlucrative is considered a short term visa) and students. If you’re really, really worried, you can always fill one in and just keep it in your folder… it you shouldn’t need it.

      1. Alex

        Thanks! I didn’t need EX17. The procedure went super smoothly thanks to your help. He just said come back in a month with my passport and an official letter they printed out with the address to pick up my actual card.

        1. Greg_in_SD

          We are in Barcelona and have been attempting to get an appointment for our TIE on the website 5-6 times a day for the last week and always get the response that nothing is available. We followed the same procedure and place as you for the empadronamiento and it was very simple and easy. The TIE on the other hand has been a pain. We have all our documents ready and will have been in Spain 30 days this weekend so are a little panicked. Can you provide any input into how long it took you to get your appointment or the method/time of day in using the website that was successful for you?

          1. The Vagabond Post author


            I recently heard that Barcelona appointments are released at 8 AM on Mondays. Give that a shot. Don’t be late! Also, don’t worry about being past 30 days in Barcelona. They know they are bottlenecked and you shouldn’t expect a hard time.

          2. Greg_in_SD

            Thought I’d document our experience in the Barcelona TIE process which might help others.

            We kept trying to obtain an appointment from the website with at least 5 attempts per day including Monday April 1st starting at 8 AM. Always getting a response that nothing was available. So we had been trying that process for over 10 days with no success.

            On Tuesday afternoon the 2nd, in frustration, I contacted a local agency that said they could get an appointment for a fee of 50 euro/person plus 21% VAT. Had to make a deposit to their bank account before any action on their part which seemed a little odd, no credit cards, but, because they had good online reviews, we walked to their bank and made the 121 euro deposit on Wednesday and by Thursday night the 4th, we had appointments for Monday the 8th and Thursday the 11th. Interesting that while we never had any success in getting an appointment, this local agent appears to be able to get them very very quickly, for a fee; just saying…

            My appointment was on the 8th, today, at noon at the St Marti police station. My wifes was on the 11th. We took the train and entered the station at 11:30. We brought all documentation for both of us in the hopes that the clerk would process both applications. Got a number and waited about an hour, 70 appointments ahead of ours. Our clerk did not speak English but with some assistance from her associate at the next station over who did speak English we got both of our applications processed in about 20 minutes. My wife was thrilled that we wouldn’t need to make a trip to the Badalona police station on Thursday to get her application processed. We each left with a one page document telling us where we could pick up our TIE cards in a month.

            Special note, in Barcelona you definitely need to get a empadronamiento as part of your documentation to get a TIE. All the other documentation was as noted by Vagabond above although we had excess copies of everything which were returned to us.

            In the end, everything went smoothly after getting the appointment and in retrospect, I was happy to pay the fee for the appointment. The agent we used will be in the first 2 or 3 results if you google “non-EU resident card bcn”

  19. Victoria

    Dear Mr. Vagabond,

    I’ve a question about proof of health insurance for the TIE. I purchased a “Cadillac” policy from a major Spanish company prior to going to my NIE meeting: three months, $600 American dollars. This is the required coverage for an NIE.

    Weeks before my departure my broker called and said they would not honor my policy due to a mild pre-existing condition (which I had stated in my application). I have not purchased a new policy here in Madrid, but am reviewing different options.I prefer not to pay $200 a month because I’m quite healthy. I don’t want to get locked into an expensive policy for a year when other policies with co-pays suit my situation better.

    I have my TIE meeting at the end of the month. How closely do the officials examine your health insurance coverage paperwork at the meeting? I WILL have coverage, just not the premium one. Is it hit or miss (as I’ve read online)?

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      You don’t present proof of health insurance, or any other document used to get the Nonlucrative visa in the first place, at the TIE meeting. The only documents requested (at least here in Granada) are those above. The empadronamiento may or may not be required for the meeting, that depends on location– but otherwise there should be little variation.

      Just make sure to get that coverage– your health is too important to gamble with! Being a generally healthy person won’t protect you from the unexpected! Also important to consider the blackout periods for things like cancer, pregnancy, etc. with many of the policies. To get coverage for those things, you generally have to have already been a member for 6+ months, so get that clock ticking! Sorry for the lecture, just thinking of the times in our lives (we’re really healthy too) that we’ve been hit by one or more of these and were grateful we sucked it up and paid for our insurance!

  20. Victoria


    My big concern is the health insurance requirement for the TIE visit. I secured full coverage before leaving the states and Aslesas cancelled me at the last minute for “preexisting conditions.” A mild one at that.

    I want to buy less expensive insurance now.

    How closely do the officials follow the requirements on health insurance. I’ve read that it’s not that closely.

    What have been the experiences of others?

    BTW, I have a Non Lucrative Visa and my NIE number already.


    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Victoria— how is this question different from the one you posted and I replied to the other day? As in the other reply, I am not aware of any city where you are required to show your health insurance again to apply for your TIE. Where did you read you needed to present it at the TIE appointment?

      That said, I wouldn’t personally jeopardize my future renewals or other bureaucratic tasks by arriving in Spain and immediately violating one of the terms of my visa…

  21. Scott Thorshov

    Great Blog,
    Can you apply for your T.I.E. at any oficina de extranjeria that grants T.I.E.s? We are headed to Spain with our approved non-lucrative visas in our passports. We did not plan on settling in one location and can get appointments quickly in Toldedo, where as the earliest appointment in Valencia isn’t until January. We would be happy to plan travel to a location for the process to expedite it. The lack of official information is bewildering.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      You are meant to apply for the TIE only where you actually reside, as they include your “address of record.” You don’t technically produce a lease, but some of the locations do require an empadronamiento, so you have to have proved you have a long term address. My hunch is that you might be able to get a TIE someplace where you don’t have a long term address if they don’t require the empadronamiento, but I am not sure what impact having an address someplace you’re not actually residing might have on other official processes– particularly a renewing the residence permit. It might be nothing, or it might become a huge pain.

  22. Julie Moore

    Thank you for your helpful blog. With your help i received the non-lucrative visa and now am in Spain working to obtain the residence card.

    My question has to do with the address verification. I do not have a lease as I am living with a family as an au pair. (The Washington DC consulate did not have an au pair visa option and suggested the non-lucrative type). What sort of document would be sufficient for the address confirmation? A letter from the family? I could possibly get a letter from the health insurance company.

    Thank you!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Julie,

      Do you have any sort of contract with your host family for the Au Pair work? if so, I would probably bring that. If not, I would see if maybe your host family might be willing to write up a rental contract you can use for paperwork purposes only, perhaps with some token sum offered as rent that you never actually pay. Whether you actually have to produce proof of address sort of depends on the local requirements– we didn’t in Granada.

  23. niloofar m hubrich

    would you by ANY chance know why when I choose Salamanca it does not continue to allow me to make an appointment. Would this mean they don’t have an office. I’m not sure what I should do right now or just wait until I get there and ask around.

    1. Niloofar

      In your article, step 2 (make an appt). after you select your city/province and then you go to the nature of your appointment, yours has an option for
      “CNP – TOMA DE HUELLAS (EXPEDICIÓN DE TARJETA) Y RENOVACIÓN DE TARJETA DE LARGA DURACIÓN.” When I choose Salamanca, there is no drop down bar to choose this option. It has one option that has nothing to do with visa or immigration. It just has Solicitud de autorizciones as an option and even clicking that does not take you to a page to make an appt. I went back and chose a different province and it pretty much follows what you said. This is why I thought maybe Salamanca doesn’t have an office??? Then I don’t understand why the LA consulate would tell me to go online and make an appointment. Just thought maybe you had come across this.
      Thank you
      Niloofar 😉

  24. Laurel

    Thanks for this! Your blog has helped me so much, and I’ve been living in Madrid happily for the last two months! I do have one question –– I originally got my empadronamiento and TIE using the address I first lived at in Madrid. However, since then I have moved to a different apartment (in the same neighborhood) and plan on staying here for the rest of the year. Do you know if this means I have to go through the empadronamiento process again using this address? Same question goes for the TIE application as well — my current card has the old address on it and I’m not sure if this will be a problem or not. I’m having trouble finding information online about this, so any help you can offer would be much appreciated!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Laurel,

      You’re welcome and congratulations! When and if you renew your TIE, my understanding is that you will show the empadronamiento for the new address at that point (and if some other bureaucratic process requiring it comes up before your renewal, you would of course need to be current). Technically speaking, you’re supposed to get empadronado as soon as practical after moving, but for TIE purposes you have a bit of time before your renewal comes up. As far as I am aware, you are not required to do anything with your TIE in case of the address change until the renewal. Hope this helps.

      1. Laurel

        Great thank you so much! I really appreciate your help and all you do to make these processes as clear as possible, keep it up!

  25. Hannah Moore

    Hey! Thanks for all the information. Can you update the link for the Carta de resolucion? I have tried many different times over several weeks on different devices on different servers and it always says “connection is not private” and will not let me access.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Hannah,

      I’m sorry you’re having a problem with the link– on this end, it still opens correctly without any complaint about the security/certificate. I’m not aware of any updated link as the original one appears to still work on this end, so I’m not sure what to update it to, I am really sorry! Usually with browsers like Chrome, you can click “More information” in the bottom left of the insecure warning, then force it to take you there anyway, but I didn’t need to here on either of our computers. I wish you luck in getting it to load!

  26. Greg Young


    Great article and very helpful.

    Our situation is a bit different and maybe you or someone can offer advice. We are from NZ and applied for and received our Visa D/NIE. However we applied for it on the basis of living on our yacht in Spain (we plan to cruise here the next 2 years). As such we don’t have a permanent address nor a region to apply for “Empadronamiento”.

    We arrive in Barcelona this wednesday and want to apply for your TIE. The NZ visa office gave us NO information on what to do. Nor did we receive anything that would cover our situation (living on a yacht instead of fixed address).

    Once we have had our appointment – do we have to pick up our TIE within a certain time frame? The reason I ask is that we will be sailing the yacht from Turkey to Spain and would rather pick it up when we arrive, rather than get off boat and fly there to collect it part way through our trip. We would not arrive in Spain until 2months+ after our appointment.

    Any thoughts about our situation welcome. Your article was the best we read. Cheers

  27. Manpreet

    Hi, thank you so much for the helpful information. I am having trouble with my “Carta de resolucion”.. I have tried the dates I applied for my NIE, my visa, my upcoming appointment date and everything in between however nothing is working. Do you know what date I am supposed to use and where I can find it? Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Manpreet,

      What kind of visa are you on? This process specifically aligns with the nonlucrative visa, but since you mentioned applying for the NIE separate from the visa (these are one and the same date for the nonlucrative visa) I wonder if you’re on a different visa that may have a separate process. For nonlucrative visas, the day to use is the first visa appointment. Hope this helps and you manage to get it done!

  28. mark

    Hello, Thank you so much for all of the details and the comment replies – it helped me get my TIE greatly!

    I know that you wrote that you had only planned to stay in Spain for one year but wondering if you changed your mind and if you might be entering the renewal process?

    I’m trying to get my renewal done as soon as it’s possible for me (60 days before the exp) and I am having trouble finding a comprehensive resource on the renewal and it’s pretty different than the initial. Just wondering!

    I’m also a non-lucrative residence holder from USA. Thanks!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hey Mark,

      In fact, we have decided to stay the second year so we will be working through the renewal process. I meant to get it done this month but time got away from me. So it will probably be March now, but I will blog about it for sure and I hope it will be in time to help you!

  29. Rita Echavarria

    Thank you for this post, We are waiting for the month of June 2019 to open up at the Spanish consulate in Los Angele to set our appointment.

    We, my husband and I, think we finally are getting their requirements (he he); however, I am not certain about a very important thing:

    Do we have to have our tickets to travel purchased on the day of the visa appointment? It is not clear to me. Logically, I would think not because if we are not approved, we may not go.

    Thank you very much in advance. You’re awesome to post all this info for the rest of us!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Rita,

      You are correct– you only need to show proof of travel plans once your visa has been approved. You bring them to the meeting where you drop off your passports to have the visas affixed to them. Thank you for the kind words!

    2. Kelli


      I did not have to show tickets for the appointment or when I picked up my visa from Los Angeles. They just asked what date I’d be entering Spain.

      I just picked up my Visa/NIE already attached to my passport, now I’m buying a plane ticket!

      Vagabond: Thank you for your posts! SOO DAMN HELPFUL!
      Trying to get TIE in BCN will be the next hurdle!

  30. Roberta

    Dear Vagabond Friends,
    Thank you, thank, thank for your wonderful content and insights regarding applying/moving/living for/to/in Spain!

    I am so very appreciative of your passion and attention to detail that has helped me immensely in preparing to move to Granada for my non-lucrative residency visa. I apply for my visa this Wednesday in San Francisco and your site has helped me every step of the way.

    I’ll be moving to Granada (hopefully in May), staying with a new friend and starting classes at Castila in June. I hope to find a nice apartment in Albaicin close to Castila with Alhambra views. A a software engineer, I fell in love with Granada last year attending Spanish school.

    I’m planning to bring only several checked baggage items on the plane to start my new life – looks like I can use 18″x18″x24″ double-walled cardboard boxes (Home Depot) as checked luggage, plus shipping my dear iMac in the original box. The mental & physical freedom from traveling light is enormous.

    I would love to meet you and treat you & family to dinner in Granada in appreciation for all your work and assistance you’ve given me!

    Warm regards,

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Roberta,

      My wife actually has studied on and off at Castila since we arrived. They’re wonderful! Reach out when you get here and we’ll see if we can get together. Good luck with your visa appointment, I am sure it will go wonderfully! We also moved with checked baggage (plus dogs) only. I don’t regret it a bit! We had to pick up a bunch of stuff, and so were thankful we have a car here, but it’s surprising how little from how you actually truly need.

  31. Greg in SD

    Hi, I’m trying to complete start the TIE process in Barcelona for a non-lucrative visa. I’m from the US, i.e. not an EU citizen. Yesterday we got our Empadronamiento which we understand is needed in Barcelona to get a TIE. The Empadronamiento process was relatively painless.

    On the TIE, I’m having the same issue as others. I’ve been on the website to make an appointment and it keeps coming back as nothing available. In the interim, I’m trying to get the rest of the documentation completed and have a question.

    For the 790 c12, which bullet/item do I select after the fee amount section? Is it one of those under “Tarjetas de identidad de extranjeros (TIE) y certificados de registro de residentes comunitarios” and if so which one?


    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Greg,

      See above in the post, the exact option to check is there in “3. Gather All Of Your Documents.” The whole form is explained including exactly what to put and where.

    2. Martha


      I was wondering if you were able to ever get an appointment? I’m in a similar situation I see no openings on the website for an appointment in Barcelona.

      Also may i ask which office you went to for the empadronamiento? Is it just a police station or the same location where youre going to complete your TIE?

      Thank you!

  32. Najib

    Hello and thanks for the great effort,

    Two questions: will this non-lucrative visa allow you to enter all European (chengen) countries ?

    2- in the first year of residency, is there a minimum number of “staying days” in Spain to be entitled to renew my residency visa ?

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Najib,

      1) The non lucrative visa doesn’t grant you any additional privileges to enter or stay in any other European country other than Spain. Your visits to other Schengen or non-Schengen countries are governed by your nationality’s visa treaties with that country. In the case of Americans, that’s 90 days out of a 180 day period, and no more than 180 days per year.

      2) You must be in Spain a minimum of 183 days in the year your visa is effective to renew. This number is to ensure that you are also a tax resident of Spain.

  33. Lukas

    Dear Frugal Vagabond, thank you for your blog, thoughtful comments, and patience in responding to so many questions. Your guidance made our San Francisco non-lucrative visa application process a breeze. My wife and I are still waiting for a response after three weeks, but we’re optimistic.

    We have a timing challenge related to the TIE process and I would really appreciate your feedback. Because of the timing of our application, I will only have ~3 weeks in country before I need to return to the US for 2.5 months for work (after which I’m free for the rest of the year). If we book an appointment as soon as we arrive, we should be able to successfully complete the initial TIE meeting, but it will be impossible to return within 30 days to pick up the card. (Tarragona doesn’t require empadronamiento and likely has more available appointments than bigger cities.)

    Here are some of the options we’ve conjured up so far:
    1) Email the consulate in San Francisco and beg for a later entry date/visa start date (our letter listed May 1, September 1 would be ideal).
    2) Work with the three week window and beg the extranjeria for an expedited TIE.
    3) Pick up the TIE ~3 months after the initial appointment after a round trip to the US.

    Any thoughts of the inner workings of the bureaucracy re this issue would be much appreciated!


    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Lukas,

      This is a tricky situation. I would probably just share this entire situation with the consulate and ask for advice. They may allow you to go in September, but if they don’t, I see a couple possibilities:

      1) Book a refundable airline ticket with as late a day as the consulate will allow. You’ll need to show this at your visa pickup, so when you get your approval you can email back and ask what the latest date you can travel is, and explain your situation. They may let you do September, but if not, book for as late a day they will allow– let’s call it June 1 for the same of argument here. Then your visa would be for ~June 1-September 1 (90 days). Cancel the first ticket and book a second ticket sometime during the visa validity– let’s call it August 15. Get to Spain as soon as you can after your work is concluded, get your TIE application done, and if it’s going to be issued after the visa expires, do not leave Spain until you’ve picked it up.

      Option 2 is extremely unlikely. Things just don’t get expedited that way here, at least not very much. Then dealing with bureaucracy here, expect everyone to hew very closely to what any documentation says, with very little flexibility. It happens occasionally, but I sure wouldn’t want to bet on it.

      Your option 3 is a possibility, but I’m not sure what the maximum time is that they will sit on a TIE. At some point they might assume you’ve abandoned it and then you’re in trouble.

      Let us know what ends up happening!

  34. Christoph Girard

    Hey did you have to go back to the same place 30 days after where you dropped off your final paperwork, tax documents and passport photos to get your Tarjeta de Extranjero? And did you receive a letter stating that your Tarjeta de Extranjero was ready?

    I am married to an EU citizen and I basically did everything through trial and error, so I wish I found your site earlier. I am doing this in Madrid. But I am not sure if I will receive a letter stating that the card is ready, or I should just show up 30 days after the fecha de expedición.

    I have a massive pile of justificantes from all of the appointments and the school that I am teaching english with hates my guts. But it was worth it.

    Thanks, peace!!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Christoph,

      Sorry you had such a tough time with the TIE process (And with your employer!)! Yes, see step 5 above, we returned (and you should) 30 days after the appointment. We didn’t receive anything in the mail indicating our card was ready– the letter given to us at the actual appointment indicated that we should return in 30 days to pick up the card, so that’s what we did, without an appointment, and they were there waiting for us!

  35. Matt


    I just wanted to say how grateful we are to you. This is just extraordinary advice. Really just so kind of you to be helping so many.

    Thanks again!

  36. TCH

    I am leaving for Alicante (from the US) in a few weeks and have a few questions about setting up a bank account in Spain. There was a lot of helpful discussion in the comments above, it I was hoping you could clarify and offer suggestions/advice on the following:

    1. I was looking for a bank in the US (AZ, specifically) that was also in Spain, trying to streamline accounts, but found that the banks I was able to locate do not offer retail services in both. Do you know of any banks that I may have missed or do you think this is at all necessary?

    2. How did you initially fund the account in Spain to open it? Via wire from your US bank or did you withdraw euros from an ATM and open the account with cash?

    3. I noted in the comments above that you pay your US bank’s wire fee and move money every month or so as necessary. This response was from last year and I am wondering if that is still the way that works best for you.

    4. Are you happy with the Spanish bank you use, and if so, would you be willing to share which one it is? Also, if you know of any that may not be good choices, please share.

    Thanks again, for a very helpful blog on what to do when we get to Spain. I’ll start the next part of the process shortly!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi TCH,

      1) Generally, over the past year and a half I have not encountered a situation where a bank with presence in both countries would be necessary, so it’s not something I know about. My recommendation is to establish a Charles Schwab Investor Checking account (you have to open a brokerage account which the checking account hangs off of, but the brokerage can maintain a $0 balance), and you’ll get an ATM card you can use anywhere in the world, with no foreign exchange fees, and where all ATM fees, regardless of how ridiculous, are refunded. So, in Asia and find that the only ATM in town wants $10 to perform a withdrawal? No problem, you’ll get it refunded each month by Schwab. We haven’t paid a penny in fees on this account.

      2) We opened an account with no initial deposit. There are two categories about banks here– traditional banks, and cajas, which are a little like credit unions. We opened an account with Cajamar. As long as we don’t require any in-branch services, it’s completely fee-free. I wire money in periodically, then make transfers through the app to our landlord. All of our bills are what they call “domicilios,” which basically means they are auto-deducted. Again, I haven’t needed to walk into a bank since setting up the account (aside from paying government tasas/fees, which you can do in any bank, not just one where you have an account), so we haven’t paid a penny in fees. Contrast that with some of the big bancos like Santander and BBVA, where other expats have remarked to me that they have been eaten alive by fees. So, if anyone tells you that no-fee accounts don’t exist here, don’t believe it. They absolutely do. You can open your account with a passport at first if the bank knows what they’re doing, and then convert it to a resident account once you have your TIE.

      3) Yes, this still works best for us. $25 per international wire, so I try to just transfer larger amounts less frequently.

      4) Yes, happy, see above. 🙂

      Good luck!

  37. TCH

    I have arrived in Alicante and am trying to make my appointment for the T.I.E. at the link you provided above (same address was also given to me by the LA Consulate when I picked up my Visa. I can get to the Scheduling an appointment with immigration page, but when I click the Access to the Procedure button, it just goes dark and does not go anywhere. I was on my iPad and thought maybe it had something to do with my browser as it clearly states must have “Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 or higher or Mozilla Firefox 3” so I pulled out my computer, downloaded the newest version of IE and am still getting the same result. The Access box just turns red. I was going to download Mozilla Firefox 3, but that is a very old version and it was recommended that it not be downloaded. Any ideas what my issue may be or another option for making an appt? I tried to go to the National Police Station in Alicante today with a friend who speaks Spanish to see if I could make an appt. with them, but they had no idea what we were talking about. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      I suspect if you are not able to get the web site to work, that you will need to go to the extranjeria. With that said, I just went through the cita process as though I was living in Alicante and made it through to appointments available at the Campo de Mirra location with no problem and was one click away from confirming one. I suspect this might be an issue related to browser, computer, or possibly user error. Step by step:

      1) Went to https://sede.administracionespublicas.gob.es/icpplus/index.html
      2) Selected Alicante and clicked “Aceptar.”
      3) Picked “POLICIA-TOMA DE HUELLAS” (etc) and clicked “Aceptar.”
      4) Clicked “Entrar.”
      5) Put in my NIE, name, country of nationality (EEUU), left date blank, completed the Captcha (“No soy un robot”), clicked “Aceptar.”
      6) Clicked “Solicitar Cita.”
      7) Left the office at the default and clicked “Siguente.”
      8) Input my telephone and email twice and clicked “Siguente.”

      … And I was presented with a list of appointments available. Off the top of my head, I’d make sure all your inputs are correct, that you have a Spanish phone number to use, and everything should work. I did the above with the current version of Google Chrome. Hope this helps. If you’re not able to get through the process you’ll need to hunt down someone at the extranjeria.

      1. TCH

        Thank you so much! I agree that there may be an user error component, so just knowing you made it through renews my resolve to figure it out. I also just looked up the Campo de Mirro office, so if nothing else, I’ll show up and see what happens. Again, you are such a huge help! Mucho Gracias Senor!

        1. TCH

          I was finally able to go through the appointment process on my fourth device and in Spanish. I’m not sure if it was the translating of the site to English or my devices that was causing the issue, but your step by step instructions and my friend who speaks Spanish made it possible for me to make an appointment, but not until July 26 which will be 40 days after I entered the country. I’m going to go to the office on Monday and make sure there is nothing else I need to do in the mean time. Thanks again for your help and taking the time to go through and write out the steps. It helped to know I was on the right path, once I was able to start the process. Thanks, FV!

  38. Mike C

    Hi, great stuff and thank you for the information.
    Question tho, I’m married to a Spanish Citizen and we applied for my residency in Santa Cruz Tenerife, just got an answer on June 10th from the sede.administraciones.. website, what’s the next step once your application is FAVORABLE,

    Thank you in advance.


    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Mike,

      This article is really more tailored to those who arrive on a nonlucrative residence visa, so you may need to seek help at the extranjeria. It is likely that the process is substantially the same as listed here, though you probably need to check a different option on the M790 Codigo 012 Form (Possibly “Certificado de registro de residente comunitario o Tarjeta de residencia de familiar de un ciudadano de la Unión”, but I don’t know for sure). If you can’t piece it together based on the information here and what you know of your own situation, I would go to the extranjeria and take a number for “información,” and someone will attend you and answer your questions.

  39. TCH

    Let me preface this by saying I do not speak Spanish and am alone, so my navigation of this process and the communication is tough. I use Google Translate and rely n the mercy of those who speak some English to get by. I am so frustrated with my trips to the foreign office, the office to establish my residency, and a few banks. In order to establish my residency, they want a lease. In order to get a lease, they want me to pay large sums in euros, which means I need a bank, but the banks won’t give me an account without a residency card. I am wondering if anyone who has arrived in Spain and set up a bank account was able to do so without a residency card, just with a passport, as FV was able to do in Granada. I have been to the Cajamar branch in Alicante twice and they absolutely will not do so without a card. I popped into a Santander, just to see what they would say (though I understand they have a lot of fees), and they also require a card. I’m kind of stuck in the chicken/egg scenario and am not sure how to proceed. Also, an appointment to get the residency card is 60 days out (and I need my lease) and then the appointments at the foreign office’s are currently running 30 days or so out. This all could take well over the 90 days, never mind the 30 given by the LA Consulate. I know every city/providence is different, but man is Alicante tough! I thought this was supposed to be the easy part, but it appears it will be more difficult, given the language barrier and Alicante’s process. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hey TCH,

      Sorry it’s been such an uphill battle. You’re right that not speaking proficient Spanish can be hard, and I definitely remarked multiple times to my wife that if I didn’t speak it well, we might have had very different experiences all along the way. So, at Cajamar even for us it took some effort to get the account opened. The issue is that most employees are unfamiliar with the process required to open a non-resident account for an American specifically. Their system chokes when they try to do it with a US passport and because it’s not something they’ve seen before, they end up giving up. In my case, they finally managed to dig up the IRS form needed to include in the application to get the account open. They provided me with this form, which I assume they printed from their computer system, and it was the “magic handshake.”

      Failing that, Sabadell also opened us an account (despite me not even completing the application fully) on the basis of passport alone so they might be another option for you.

      Don’t worry too much about the 30 day thing. They are not looking to penalize you and will understand if you end up needing to explain it to them… which you probably won’t. Just don’t leave Spain if it stretches close to 90 days, as you need your TIE in-hand once you go past the 90 days of the visa in your passport. Once you go over 90, hunker down until you have your TIE in-hand. Again, they’re not going to come to your house, and at your extranjeria appointments the chances of you being asked about it are virtually zero. We ran up against some of these limits when renewing and never got asked about it at all.

  40. TCH

    Thank you! Yes, taking a deep dive into learning Spanish needs to be my priority! Someone on an expat group I am in also mentioned Sabadell, so that will be my next stop. I am also going to go to the residency office, with someone who can translate, and see what they say. I was finally able to navigate their appointment website today and my appointment is September 23, then I still have to go back to the foreign office who is scheduling 30 days out. My biggest issue is I am suppose to go Amsterdam to meet a friend September 17, which is exactly my 90 days from entering, and means I will come back after the 90 days. I had the same concern you expressed above about getting back into Spain. Both my friend (from the US) and I have purchased plane tickets, event tickets, and lodging in Amsterdam. I never dreamed it wouldn’t be OK to travel by then. Live and learn. Just going to keep my fingers crossed I can work something out at the residency office and keep my late July appointment at the foreign office. Wish me luck and thanks again for the kind response!

  41. Pablo

    Hi thanks for the article

    Question, the appointment for the TIE is individual? because im with my wife, can we go together with one appointment? cause i could only get one.


    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Hi Pablo,

      Yes, it’s one TIE appointment per family member, as each appointment references a single NIE number. With that said, I would endeavor to get yourself an appointment before going in with your wife, even if the appointment is on another date.

      The reason I say that is that we too had trouble getting appointments for our full family together when getting our second TIE cards (on renewal), but we did get appointments on different days. We went in to the first appointment and just all walked in together with all of the appointment confirmations. They did take, glance at, and keep those confirmations, but nobody asked about the fact that they were on different days. I truthfully think they just didn’t notice. There did seem to be an expectation that each person would have their appointment confirmation printout, which has a confirmation code.

        1. Pablo

          One more question, i need to go back to my home country, next week, for a couple of days, do you know if there is any problem with this?


          1. The Vagabond Post author

            If you have a current visa that permits you multiple entries, I can’t see a problem… but I don’t know anything about you or your visa situation, so I couldn’t tell you for sure.

      1. Christina

        Buenas! I believe when I was going through my initial visa I saw you had a dedicated thread for the renewal? Could you point me to it if so? I cannot seem to locate it! As always, thanks for this page! It helped us get approved and are living in Expand!

        1. Christina

          Even better, I believe we are renewing out of the same Granada office. Where did you get a proper list of all requirements?
          We popped into the office on a Friday afternoon and were able to have a quick chat with someone about the requirements. He gave us a list in Spanish, but something tells me he gave us some false information. I appreciate it.

  42. Phillip

    Hello, how do we know if our region near Altea requires a certificado de empadronamiento for TIE? Sorry posted in a reply thread earlier…thx a ton!

  43. Dale A Nichols

    Sanitas MAS Salud informs me they cannot sell me a health and repatriation policy because I am over age 74.

    How can I get a health and repatriation policy that meets the requirements for the non-lucrative visa for Spain for people over age 74?

  44. TCH

    I have a question about the size of photos required. I went to a shop that takes passport photos and received one photo bigger than wallet size and four photos, barely bigger than a postage stamp. I was in a hurry and didn’t look at what was in the envelope, I just said I needed three. I’m fairly certain neither are correct, and he may have thought I needed three for an ID card. I Googled later and found two different answers for Spanish Visa photos. One said 30x40mm and two others said 35x45mm. On the website where I made my appointment, all it says for size of required photo is “card size.” Not super helpful! Do you happen to know the dimensions of the correct size? Thanks!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      A little bigger than postage stamp size is about right. If you went to a place here in Spain, you almost certainly got the correct size, which is 30x40mm.

  45. Niloofar M Hubrich

    I was wondering if you knew where to look for the information regarding renewing of the TIE. Need to know if they need to keep our passports during the process because we have a trip planned. Also need to know the list of the things they need for the renewal.



    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Renewing your TIE or renewing your visa? Because those are two different steps. First you get your visa renewal approved, then you go through the process of getting a new TIE. Neither part of the process involves them keeping your passport, though.

      1. Christina

        I believe we are renewing out of the same Granada office. Where did you get a proper list of all requirements?
        We popped into the office on a Friday afternoon and were able to have a quick chat with someone about the requirements. He gave us a list in Spanish, but something tells me he gave us some false information. I appreciate it.

        1. The Vagabond Post author

          Hi Christina,

          Sorry for my delay, we have been away on travel (and I had hoped to write a longer article on the renewal process by now). The one and only official portal de inmigración and requirements list for a non-lucrative visa renewal is here. This list is what we used for our renewal, which the Granada extranjeria required us to carry out via mail– so, we only got one shot at it, and no human feedback. We were renewed without issue.

          I still hope to write that renewal article, but just haven’t found the time yet. Maybe in the next couple of months as we won’t be doing quite so much travel, but in the meantime I can try to help you here as much as time allows.

  46. BG

    Hi! Do you have any idea if though we are living in Barcelona if it’s ok for us to get the cita previa in a different province? I was thinking if I can’t get one there I could always travel to Girona or something like that. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!

  47. N

    Question on the empadronamiento required for the TIE. I understand from the above that individual appointments for TIE are required for each family member (including children), but what about the Padron? Is it just for head-of-household? Or does each person (or adult) need to have a Padron appointment and get a Padron certificate for the TIE process?

    We’re in Madrid if it makes any difference. Family of 4, 2 adults + 2 kids


  48. Laurel McCaull

    Thanks for all the help! I’ve been happily living in Spain for 10 months now, but sadly it’s time for me to return to the States. Do you know if I have to notify anyone of my departure, or take any other steps before I go? Thanks!

    1. Laurel McCaull

      Cool, I don’t even have to notify the padron or de-register from the tax office or anything? I’m looking online and a lot of sites have a whole list of things you have to do before moving back to your home country.

  49. Darch

    I’m in a panic…trying to get an appt in Madrid for my TIE from US..my mom’s passing delayed my July departure. Will be leaving for Spain end of September, There are no appts. Am I correct that as long as I enter Spain by 11/12/19 (visa expiry date) I can continue trying to get a TIE appt? Thanks.

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      You should be able to. Technically you are meant to finish the TIE process in your first 90 day visa period, but stuff happens. Nobody is likely to come to your house looking to deport you.

  50. Erin M


    Thanks for all of this great information. I’m filling out the M790 Codigo 012 form right now and am confused about the “localidad” and “fecha” section. I am still in the US but will be in Spain shortly. Should I use my US location or our Spanish city? Also, I don’t know yet which date I will go to the bank. Can I use a date prior to when I go to the bank, like today, or should I pick a specific date when I am in Spain and make sure that I get to the bank that day? Or should it be the date of my TIE appointment which will, presumably, be after the day I go to the bank.

    Thank you!

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      Localidad is where you signed, fecha is when you signed. Nobody will even be looking at this, they only care that you paid the tax, which is printed onto the forms by the bank when you go in and pay. You can really put any location and date that you like. If it makes you feel better, feel free to just wait until the day you plan to go pay it, then sign and put the city… but it makes no difference.

  51. Niloofar M Hubrich

    Can you tell me when you did your renewal process, was everything for two years (the calculation of IPREM and the health insurance)? was not sure if we needed to renew our health insurance for two years and also have in the bank two years of savings.

    1. The Vagabond Post author


      For your finances, yes, if you are using savings as your proof of financial means, you will need to have the entire two years’ amount in the bank (or investments, etc). For health insurance, no, you don’t need to be paid through the end of the two year period. For us, it was enough to be current. In our case, we emailed Sanitas at global@sanitas.es, and requested the following:

      1. That they refresh our current policy documents to show the correct term.
      2. A “certificado de permanencia”.
      3. A receipt for the last payment.

      We requested that the documents be sent via email. These are the documents that we sent as a part of our successful renewal.

      1. Veer

        Hi FV,

        I have successfully moved to Madrid with my wife. Can’t thank you enough for your efforts in replying and writing everything in detail.

        Incidentally, I visited Granada last week and loved walking around Albaicín. It’s truly beautiful.

        Although my renewal is due next year – April 2020, I’m already wondering about few things:

        1) Should we show our savings in a local Spanish bank or statements (in English) from our home bank (India) will do. I’m not sure if you have an answer, but just checking?

        2) I currently have Sanitas Mas Salud which expires in April 2020. So 1 year renewal will do, correct?

        3) Did you have to leave Spain for any formality or did you continue staying and renewed? Formality – police verification, health certificate or anything.

        Awaiting response.

        Many thanks!

        1. The Vagabond Post author

          1) I showed all financial documents from the US. They were translated by a sworn Spanish translator– so just like the initial application./

          2) See my other responses here– Current Mas Salud with the updated policy documents/letter/etc. I mentioned here are enough.

          3) I did not need to leave Spain for any part of the process. In fact, it was better to remain here after the expiration of our visas but before our renewals were approved (and backdated to begin on the expiration date).

    2. Niloofar M Hubrich

      Thank you so very much for your prompt answers every time. For the amount of heartache and worry you have saved us throughout this entire process we can not thank you enough. We will be moving to Malaga next January from Salamanca where we have been living since last January and would love to come up and take you and your wife out for a great meal to show our appreciation. If that is appropriate, let us know.
      Niloofar 🙂

  52. Pingback: Spanish Non-Lucrative Visa Renewal - The Frugal Vagabond

  53. Pingback: How to Get a Spanish Non-Lucrative Residence Visa - The Frugal Vagabond

  54. Phillip

    Phenomenal work here. One comment, and one question: It looks like there’s a problem with your appointment link for Ministry of Public Administration’s Sede Electronica (electronic headquarters) site, I get a “refused to connect” message. I did find it at https://sede.administracionespublicas.gob.es/icpplus/, so maybe they’ve reconfigured the web address somehow. My question is, once I got to the site and selected Alicante and proceeded from there, I do not see the USA as a country of nationality to select. Right now I’m just checking out the site for future use, and I wonder if I must download the electronic signature software before it will list my country or something?

    1. The Vagabond Post author

      “EEUU” is USA in Spanish. Just checked and it is still in the list. Tried my link from the post and it still works here, so not sure if the issue you were seeing was transient or something else.

  55. Darch

    Cant seem to find USA on the list of countries to make TIE appointment. Any suggestion? It won’t let me proceed with space blank. Thanks.

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