NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero): This is your identification number in Spain. It is needed in order to file taxes, buy property, establish a business, open a bank account, and for almost all other forms you fill out. Both EU citizens and non-EU citizens get issued a NIE. The NIE format is an X, Y, or Z followed by 7 or 8 digits then another letter (example: X12345678A). See our NIE application guide.
Since the NIE is becoming harder to get, the government has created another class of NIF that begins with an M (example: M1234567A). This ID may be temporary or permanent. It is designed as a simpler solution than a NIE for people who need a tax ID.
DNI (Documento Nacional de Identidad): This is the ID number for Spanish citizens. The DNI format is 8 digits followed by a letter (example: 12345678A). The same number is used for one's driver's license.
There are two other classes of DNI for citizens of Spain:
'L' (example: L12345678A) for Spanish citizens who live outside Spain.
NIF (Número de Identificación Fiscal): This is the generic term for the tax ID number for all individuals. For Spaniards, it's the DNI. For foreigners, it is your NIE. For people registered as freelancers (autónomos), you will use your NIF on your invoices to clients.
CIF (Certificado de Identificación Fiscal): This is the tax ID number for all companies. It consists of a letter followed by 8 digits (example: B12345678). The letter represents the type of entity. The most common letters are:
Social Security Number: You will need to apply for this number when you start your first job in Spain. This number then stays with you for all subsequent jobs. If you are self-employed, you apply yourself for this number. Example: 08 123456789. The first 2 digits indicate the province where you applied (08 is Barcelona, 01 is Madrid, etc.)
CCC Number (Código de cuenta de cotización): This is the employer's social security number. Example: 0111-08-123456789. The first 4 digits stand for general employer (0111) or special type of employer. The next 2 digits indicate the province.
How to obtain an employer number.
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