Getting a TIE (residency card) in Spain

The Foreigner Identification Card or Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE) is required for foreign residents living in Spain. It identifies the resident’s identity and confirms the legality of their stay in the country. Obtaining a TIE is the final step in processing documents for those who move to Spain for permanent residence, work or study.

Table of contents

This article will discuss how to get a TIE and what documents you will need.

Rights and obligations of TIE holders

TIE is required for any non-EU citizen planning to stay legally in Spain for more than six consecutive months. You don’t need a TIE if you stay in Spain for less than 6 months (including seasonal work or short training courses).

The TIE replaces the visa and grants an unlimited number of days of stay in Spain. The card also guarantees visa-free entry and exit to all EU countries, as well as to your home country at any time within its validity period. Students with the TIE are entitled to combine study and work for up to four hours a day.

With TIE, you get the opportunity to open an account in any bank in Spain, as well as the right to use various social services.

The TIE entitles the holder to reside in the whole of Spain. However, if the card was originally issued with a work permit, there may be a territorial restriction for the fTIE-required-documentsirst year: you can travel throughout Spain, but you can only work in the region where TIE was issued. If there is a restriction, it will be indicated on the front side of the card. As a rule, when the residence TIE is renewed for the first time, the territorial restriction is removed.

After five years of legal residence in Spain, a resident becomes eligible for a permanent residence permit - residencia de larga duración, in which a TIE is issued for 5 years.

Along with a TIE, you will also get an NIE alien identification number.

Do UK citizens need a TIE?

Yes. Starting in 2020, UK citizens who want to spend more than 90 days over 180 days in Spain must obtain a foreigner’s identity card.

How to get a residence permit in Spain?

The process of obtaining a Spanish residency or a permit to stay in Spain based on studies is divided into two stages:

Steps for obtaining a TIE

TIE: required documents

To apply for a TIE card, you must provide the immigration police with the following papers:

Depending on the region, you may be required to submit additional documents.

TIE photo requirements

In order for your TIE application to be accepted, make sure that the attached photos meet the following parameters:

Here is an example of a TIE card:

Spain TIE card (foreigner ID) photo

To instantly take a TIE photo online, simply upload any of your portraits taken in full-face here. Visafoto will resize the photo in millimeters and pixels, change the background to white, adjust the quality and prepare the photo for printing.

Take an image with a smartphone or camera against any background, upload it here and instantly get a professional photo for your visa, passport or ID.
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Source photo example that you need to take in order to make a passport or visa photo at


Result example: a correct visa or passport photo that you will receive

Visafoto guarantees that the photo you take will meet your requirements. In case of any problems, we will replace the photo free of charge, or you will get a full refund.

How to extend TIE?

The residence card in Spain is initially issued for 1 year. Later, depending on the type of residence permit, you may extend this period. For example, the residence permit without the right to work in Spain is issued for the first time for 1 year, the second and third time (when extending the residence permit) for 2 years and subsequently for 5 years.

TIE extension is always connected to the renewal of a residence permit. This means that you must first apply for an extension of your Spanish residency permit and then, if approved, obtain a new residence card. The package of documents is identical to that required for the first TIE.

What to do if TIE was lost, stolen or damaged?

A mandatory requirement for restoring the TIE is to report the theft or loss to the police. If it is a question of damage, it is necessary to show the migration authorities the card itself to verify that it is unusable.

The TIE card recovery procedure is considerably more complicated if the theft, damage or loss has occurred outside Spain. In this case, it is necessary to request a visa at the Spanish Consulate in the applicant's country of residence, which will allow you to return to Spain and begin the procedure for restoring the documents.

To obtain a new residence card, you must apply to the appropriate police department dealing with migration issues and pay the state fee.

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