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Halifax: Get your NIE before buying property in Spain

any Britons dream of owning a property in the sun and, for many, Spain offers it all.

However, when purchasing property in Spain, it is important to make sure that you work with specialists who are aware of all the necessary rules and regulations, says Banco Halifax Hispania.

If you do this, you will certainly be advised about the importance of making an early application for a ‘Nmero de Identificaci쟤e Extranjero’, which is an identification number for non residents and frequently referred to as an NIE.

Previously, British citizens buying in Spain were able to buy property before obtaining an NIE.

Recent changes in Spanish law now require all foreigners buying a property in Spain to obtain an NIE and its accompanying letter before completing on a purchase.

It is essential to apply for your NIE well before you are looking to buy a property as it can take two to six weeks for your number to be processed.

The NIE is also of prime importance for other reasons including:

Setting up utility connections for electricity, gas and the telephone, you cannot be connected without an NIE

To be used during all substantial financial transactions

Applying for a Spanish driving licence and to validate an EU driving licence

Applying for a business permit

Any dealings with the tax authority, including rate payments

Making purchases above 3,000 euros

Inheriting any Spanish assets.

Before you can begin your Spanish property purchase, you must already have obtained an NIE.You can apply in person to the Oficina de Extranjeros (Foreigners’ Department) at your nearest Polic쟠Nacional (National Police Headquarters). This used to involve an early morning start to avoid queuing as only the first 70 applicants were processed each day, but this restriction has also been lifted.

When applying for an NIE, an applicant from the UK must provide the following documents:

Completed and signed original application form and a photocopy of the completed form

Passport (original and photocopy.)

Address in the UK and address in Spain (you are able to the address of a friend, solicitor or estate agent if you do not already have a property in Spain)

Written justification of why you need the NIE (issued by an accountant, a notary, a solicitor, an estate agent, a bank manager, an insurance agent, a future employer, etc.)

It is also possible to apply whilst outside Spain, either to the Central Police Headquarters in Madrid or to your local Spanish consulate.

In addition to the above documents, applicants applying for an NIE whilst still in the UK must also include two recent passport sized photos, a self addressed envelope and an envelope addressed to The Central Police Quarters in Madrid, which is large enough to contain all the above documents plus the NIE application form.

Once you have collected your NIE, it is advisable to make several photocopies and keep the original in a safe place. As many different bureaucratic processes require a copy of your NIE, it is important to ensure you keep track of it at all times. You will also need to make the local Polic쟠Nacional aware of any changes to your address.

Ian Smith, head of European Operations at Halifax, says: For many people, buying a property abroad is a very exciting time, but it is important to plan well in advance for your purchase.

“You need to get your NIE as soon as possible, as any hold-ups later down the line may mean that you miss out on your dream home.”

Banco Halifax Hispania offers a range of current accounts and mortgages for Brits looking to buy a second home in Spain. In addition, there is also an English speaking helpline within the UK for customers who wish to sort out their financial options prior to arriving in Spain.

The helpline also answers queries about what is involved in buying in Spain and will guide customers through the application process.

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