How to Get Your DNI in Spain as a Foreigner

Published on 14 May 2023 | Last updated on 17 October 2023

What is a DNI(spanish id card) number in Spain?

DNI in Spain stands for Documento nacional de identidad which means National Identity Document in English. Technically, it is the ID document for Spanish nationals. The DNI number is on this DNI card and consists of one letter and eight numbers, for example, 23456789B. The letter is used for security.

The purpose of the DNI document and its number is to prove an individual’s identity as a Spanish citizen by displaying some of their personal details. Also, as a citizen of Spain, you need this number when engaging in your legal and financial transactions. The DNI number is also used as a NIF number. The NIF is a tax identification number that legal individuals need so that they are allowed to carry out any tasks that may be of relevance to the tax agency of Spain. All Spanish citizens above 14 years are issued with this document by the Ministry of the Interior or the General Directorate of Police.

Are you a foreigner who wants to acquire Spanish citizenship? If yes, you also have to have the DNI document. However, the document is referred to as the NIE for individuals not born in Spain or foreign residents. NIE stands for Número de Identificatión de Extranjeros (Foreigner’s Identity Number).

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It is worth mentioning that acquiring the NIE number does not mean you have automatically become a resident of the country, albeit the residents’ NIE does more as their DNI. For instance, purchasing real estate in the country does not necessarily mean you have to be a local, but a NIE is still a necessity to be able to complete transactions. On the contrary, non-residents in Spain for a long stay are considered residents provided they meet all the requirements of their visa annually. Foreigners in the country who have attained the status of “permanent citizenship” will have a kind of DNI card that has their NIE number.

But the main questions most foreigners interested in becoming Spanish citizens ask themselves are: how can I get a DNI? Why do I need it? How much does it cost to acquire one? Continue reading this article to find detailed answers to these questions.

Can a foreigner obtain the Spanish DNI?

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A foreigner who wants to come to live in Spain cannot obtain the DNI, as this is only for people who have Spanish nationality. If you are a foreigner and you obtain a Spanish visa you will get a TIE card, when you have the visa approved.

Each TIE card comes with a different text, depending on the visa you have been granted, for example, if you are a student you will have that you can live because you are studying in Spain, if you obtain the non-lucrative visa, it will say that you can live in Spain but not work.

If you have obtained the golden visa, your tie will say that you are an investor.

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A foreigner can obtain the DNI if he/she has been living legally in Spain for 10 years (except for Latin American countries, which would be two years) or if he/she has married a Spaniard and has lived legally in Spain for 1 year, he/she can obtain the Spanish nationality by marriage.

How do I get a Spanish dni and passport?

Once you’ve settled on becoming a Spanish resident or want to have a long stay in the country, the next step is to apply for a foreigner’s DNI, which is the NIE or TIE within ninety days after your arrival. This is done after obtaining your nationality by residence and completing the oath process. Getting a national ID (DNI) is a simple process that can be summed up in a few easy steps. First, you must ensure that you have all the documents needed. Obtaining these documents to get the DNI is also a straightforward process. The documents you must have are listed below:

  • The city registration or empadronamiento -this is the first a must-have document if you need a DNI. The document must be obtained 3 months before the DNI application.
  • A Literal birth certificate that is given by the Civil Registry -the purpose of the documentation is to show that it has been given to a person in order for them to be issued with the DNI. The only literal birth certificates that will be issued are those that have lasted six months and above.
  • Coloured passport (32×26mm size) and must have a white background -note that when this photo is taken, you must not wear dark glasses or any other thing that might hide your identification.
  • If it’s the first time you’re getting the DNI abroad, you should provide your Certificate of Registration of the European Union or physical resident card (TIE) that has your NIE as a foreigner.

When all these documents are ready, it’s time to get to the next step: to ask for an appointment to give in your documents. This process is carried out at the National Police. Requesting an appointment is done via their website or phone by contacting 060. You can request an appointment at your most accessible police station despite being registered or living elsewhere.

The exercise is quite fast as you’re assured to leave with your DNI that same day. One more thing to do after obtaining the DNI is to ask for your concordance certificate. You will use this document to inform all the organisations by which you have already registered with the NIE that your new identification method is the DNI you have recently acquired. The organisations include banks, Social Security and the tax agency.

If you’re a citizen of Spain living abroad: it is important to note that your birth certificate and DNI can be requested in Spain directly or at the Spanish consulate, which in this case is the country of residence for the applicant. You can make the request through a properly accredited representative or by yourself. However, if you choose to do it through a representative, you have to be there physically or send a person to represent you. The consular representation or certification of the Diplomatic that shows the registered residence of the applicant will act as a means of residency accreditation.

When these Spanish citizens return to Spain after having gotten their DNI abroad, they will have to renew it in Spain as soon as they can so that they can have it correctly updated.

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Do I need a DNI in Spain?

All residents of Spain above 14 years and non-residents who have come to stay for a long period must have a identity card, the DNI. Non-citizens should apply for a DNI known as the NIE/TIE for foreigners in Spain within the first 90 days of arrival. For the process to be done successfully, the NIE applicant should have the documents mentioned above and the required fees.

Technically, it is mandatory to have an ID card in most countries in the world. The ID mainly acts as a document to confirm a Person’s identity and is portable. Because it is easily portable, a citizen is advised to carry it at all times. The document can also be used for taxation, social security and voting purposes.

Spanish law requires everyone to show the national identity card (DNI) to relevant authorities or the police if they ask them to. The document is obtained from the Ministry of the Interior or the Police General Directorate to recognise one’s identity, display some personal details, and prove that you’re a Spanish citizen. Some personal details on a DNI include name, ID number, date of birth, nationality and sex at the front and home, name of parents and place of birth at the back.

In Spain, because you’re required by the law to have the DNI with you always, you have to provide it when asked to by any authorities or the police. However, if you do not have the ID card, you can provide another document in substitution for the ID, even though it is not an official way to identify a person. For example, under the law of Spain, an authority can decide to use the driver’s license to identify someone, but it is not the right document to show a person’s identity.

In the case of not having a DNI or any other document that can help to identify someone, it is possible for a police officer to ask them to accompany them to the nearest place where they can get identified. If a person is asked to present their DNI and refuses, yet they are in a position to, it may be considered as breaking the law, which may result in a fine or, even worse, being taken to the police station and detained.
Other reasons you should have a DNI in Spain is because the document helps you to open bank accounts, buy property, pay taxes, start a business, work or do anything official in the country.

How much does the Spanish DNI cost?

Just like any other Spain bureaucratic procedure, the process of issuing a DNI is done at a fee. Currently, it will cost you 12€ to obtain a DNI. The fee is required to be paid in cash on the day of your appointment at the National Police. This is unlike other immigration exercises that need you to pay in advance and carry the confirmation when getting the documents.

However, you can also pay the fee online through the same website you used to make your appointment. When you have completed your appointment application, at the bottom of the page is where you will find the link to the payment process. You only have to follow the procedure carefully to complete your transaction fast. But if at one point you want to renew the DNI for reasons like wanting to change your affiliation or address, you’ll not be required to pay the 12€ fee again. It will be completely free to complete that process.

What is the duration or validity of the DNI?

You have now obtained the DNI and are now a Spanish national. The next thing you should put into consideration is always checking the renewal dates of your DNI. You don’t have to worry about the renewal date, as the validity or duration of the document will help you know the exact expiration date. The validity is written on the document itself.

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The age of a Spanish national at the time of obtaining the identity document determines the validity or the duration of the DNI document. The validity is as follows:

  • When the applicant is a kid of two years or below, the validity of the document is 2 years
  • When the applicant is between 5-30 years old, the document will be valid for 5 years
  • The validity will be 10 years if the applicant is over 30 years
  • Lastly, when the applicant hits 70 years, the validity of the ID card is permanent

And that is all you need to acquire your Spanish DNI successfully. However, if you may have any doubts about getting a Spanish DNI, you can contact immigration lawyers who are always available to give you personalised legal advice. You can easily reach most of them online, where they get back to you as fast as possible.

2 thoughts on “How to Get Your DNI in Spain as a Foreigner

  1. Bruno |

    I have been living in Spain for more than 10 years but I still don’t have a DNI, can you help me to obtain the DNI as a foreigner?

    1. My Spain Visa |

      Yes, we can help you to obtain the Spanish nationality and then obtain the DNI, you can contact us to start the process.

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