Watch Out: Problems with the NIE

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Some of the readers of this blog already know that there was a change in the law in 2011 and it was no longer possible to obtain a NIE number in Spain through power of attorney. This polemic decision was accepted by most of the local police stations in Spain except for a few of them who were still providing NIE numbers to those lawyers attending the police station with a proper power of attorney. Well, since the beginning of this year it is no longer possible to obtain NIE through a power of attorney and this also applies to those few police stations who defied the previous communicate and still issued NIE numbers.

Ok, so what is situation now? If you are British and you want to buy property or are inheriting assets in Spain, between other scenarios, you will have two way to apply for the NIE. The first one is to fly to Spain and attend the local police station, queue for several hours and eventually get the NIE number (although in some occassions you may have to come back 1 or 2 days later). If you don’t fancy a trip to Spain, your other option will be to go to the Spanish Consulate in the UK. This means that depending on where you live you will have to go to either London or Edinburgh. For further information on the competent territories please have a look to my post of the 16th December 2011.

This is clearly a step backwards and may affect the interest of foreign purchasers considering buying in Spain. It could also prove a real nightmare for elderly people or those who are ill who may have inherited an asset in Spain but do not have the health to travel to Spain or the Consulates to obtain a NIE number.

I hope this decision will be withdrawn but in the meantime there is no other way around it. However, if you live in the UK and require assistance with the paperwork for obtaining the NIE you can contact the Consulates or contact lawyers like ourselves as we are familiar with the procedure and can help to overcome potential problems involved in the procedure.