Expat Essentials

Irina Greensitt: Here’s how I got Spain’s new Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE) card

(Editor’s note: You can jump to the official government TIE page here.)

In a little less than six months – on the 31st of December 2020 – the 11-month Brexit transition (otherwise referred to as the implementation period) will end and for first time in nearly 50 years the United Kingdom and its European neighbours will no longer be bound together in quite the same way.

How close those future ties will be come the 1 January 2021 remains subject too much discussion, debate and agreement.

Regardless of which side of the argument you’ve been on during these last few years, most people will agree the next six months will be a time of great uncertainty for the vast majority of British expats living here in Europe, and also let’s not forget those with plans to relocate to the mainland.

Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjaro (TIE)

Last week however, the Spanish authorities, to their credit, moved to introduce the new Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjaro (TIE) making them one of the first EU countries to do so. In the process they have undoubtedly set a few minds at rest.

For those of us who already have a green certificate of residence registration, colloquially know as residencia, things really couldn’t be more simple, and we can breath just a little easier because there is no need to do anything.

I’ll explain: The existing green residency document will remain valid not only during what remains of the transition period but also thereafter AND it will prove your right to reside in Spain in exactly the same way that the new TIE will, with both documents holding exactly the same weight in law.

I have actually gone through the process today (Tuesday 14 July) and can confirm It’s as straight forward a process as I’ve encountered here in Spain, very easy even for non Spanish speakers AND there is no requirement to provide evidence of income, savings or medical coverage.

I know this was a particular concern to a lot of people.

Although there is no obligation to do so, people can if they so wish change from the old paper version to the new TIE.

A temporary and a permanent TIE

There are two versions of the TIE:

• a “temporary” TIE valid for five years – issued to individuals who have been resident in Spain for 5 years or less.

• a “permanent” TIE valid for 10 years – issued to those who have been resident in Spain for more than five years.

Furthermore, if you have been resident for, say, four years and you switch to the temporary five-year TIE after only one year – and even though the five-year TIE remains valid and has not expired – you will be able to exchange that for the permanent 10-year TIE.

Are there any advantages to changing to the new TIE?

Not really, but it does give you peace of mind knowing that’s it for five or 10 years. It’s plastic and it’s credit-card sized. Therefore it’s more practical and less likely to become dog eared and illegible. Additionally, because it contains your photo, it will act as a form of ID … meaning there is less requirement for you to carry your passport around with you.

I’d like to change to a new TIE. How Do I apply?

As previously stated it couldn’t be easier, but first you need to make an appointment online here by following these instructions:

• Choose your province and accept.

•You will now be faced with a choice from a drop down menu. You will need to choose:


This will take you direct to the information site where you will need to download the application form“EX-23” and also form 790 (código 012)

• On form 790 choose option “Certificado de registro de residente comunitario o Tarjeta de residencia de familiar de un ciudadano de la Unión” the bottom of the form INGRESSO will self complete and should show the fee you’ll need to pay (in our case it was 12 euros.)

• Print and take the form to your local bank. Most, if not all, banks offer this service but don’t forget the receipt! You will need it for the appointment.

• Once you have downloaded these forms, accept and enter the next screen where you will fill in your NIE number and name. Accept and click on SOLICITAR CITA. You may now get a choice of office depending on the area, and you’ll need to choose and accept.

• On the next screen enter your email and Spanish telephone number, accept, then make your choice from days and times displayed on the screen (mine was a next-day appointment). A code number will be sent to your email. Print it off and take it with you to your appointment.

On the day, you will need to take;

• Application form EX-23 completed (see above)

• Your original passport and a photo copy

• Payment fee receipt (see above)

• One photo, Spanish passport size 32x26mm

• Updated patron certificate, in case your address has changed from the address on your residency document. The padron document should be no less than three-months old, so play it safe and get a new one. Also take a copy in case it’s required.

• Original green certificate or card of your residency (and a copy).

(Author’s note: In all cases please read the information page on the website throughly in case requirements change.)

The appointment itself takes 10 minutes during which time you will have your fingerprints taken, the documents will be checked and you will also be asked to return for your TIE card. You’ll need to make another appointment to collect the card, the officer will explain. In our case it will be 30 days).

And that’s it; all things considered very simple and painless.

Now to relax with a wine and tapas.

About the author:

Irina Greensitt is from the far eastern town of Khabarovsk in Russia, but has previously been living in the United Kingdom for seven years before moving to Spain in 2014 together with her husband and two young children.

Irina now runs an internet business and lists walking, travel and sailing (passing her skippers exam in 2016) amongst her hobbies. 

See all of Irina’s posts here.

See more from Dispatches’ Spanish archive here.

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