The Complete TIE Card Appointment Process for Expats in Spain

  • July 10, 2024

If you’re an expat in Spain, obtaining your Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE) is a crucial step to legal residency. Here’s a complete, simple to follow guide to help you through the process, from scheduling your appointment to the actual visit.

First Things First

Here are the things that you most likely already have completed and will need before your TIE appointment for your identification card:

You should have a legal residence and already have an empadronamiento or padron. This is the paper you get at city hall legally registering your home address. You need this done and also need a copy of it less that 3 months old.

You should have your NIE identification number.

What is a TIE?

The TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero) is an identification card for foreigners living in Spain. It serves as proof of your legal status and contains important information such as your NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero), name, and type of permit you hold.

Step-by-Step Guide to Obtaining Your TIE

1. Schedule Your TIE Appointment

The first step is to schedule an appointment. This can be done online through the Sede Electrónica de las Administraciones Públicas. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Visit the website: Navigate to the “Extranjería” section.
  2. Select your province: Choose the province where you reside.
  3. Choose the service: Select “Policía – Toma de Huellas (Expedición de Tarjeta) y Renovación de Tarjeta de Larga Duración.”
  4. Fill in your details: Enter your NIE, name, and other required information.
  5. Pick a date and time: Choose an available slot and location that suits your schedule.
  6. Confirm your appointment: Make sure all the details are correct and confirm the appointment. Print the confirmation receipt.

VERY IMPORTANT: This process of getting an appointment for TIE card is famous for being near impossible and having no available appointments. It is not you doing it wrong, there is just rarely available appointments. Leave the page open and try throughout the day over and over. I highly recommend trying for the Patraix location. That location is small, easy, friendly and efficient. When you get there tell the police officer out front (who are very nice) tht you have an appointment and the time. he will tell you to sit in the shade. A staff member will come out ask what time everyone has and line you up. You enter as people leave and it takes about 10 minutes if you have everything.

2. Get Your Photo

For the TIE, you need a recent (almost) passport-sized photo. The photo should meet specific requirements:

  • Size: 32×26 mm.
  • Background: Plain white.
  • Quality: High resolution and clear.
  • Expression: Neutral with mouth closed.

You can get these photos taken at a local photography studio or use a photo booth that offers the correct size and specifications. There are photo booths just for this reason in Spain.

TIP: If you are in the city center there is a photo booth in the Colon metro station which gives perfect photos for 6 Euro.

3. Gather Necessary Documents

Prepare all the documents you’ll need for your TIE appointment:

  • Appointment confirmation: Print out the confirmation receipt.
  • EX-17 Form: Completed and signed. This form is available on the Extranjería website.
  • Proof of fee payment: The Modelo 790 Código 012 form, which can be filled out and paid at a bank. Bring the completed form and the little receipt the ATM machines give you when you pay it at the ATM. It’s about 19 Euros.
  • Valid passport: Original and a copy of photo page AND VISA page.
  • Letter of VISA extension: If you are doing a TIE card renewal, bring the email stating your VISA has been extended. It’s a PDF.
  • NIE number: Your NIE certificate of your old card for renewals.
  • Proof of residency: Such as a rental contract or utility bill. The can also be a newly printed out empadronamiento certificate.
  • Passport-sized (KINDA) photo: As specified above it is slightly SMALLER than a normal passport photo.

4. The Appointment Day

On the day of your appointment, ensure you arrive at the designated office a little early. Bring all your documents neatly organized. One inside you hand over the documents to the agent at the counter and you just smile and do the fingerprints when told.

  1. Document verification: The officer will check all your documents. generally, he just asks to see your passport and checks it against a list.
  2. Fingerprinting: You’ll be asked to provide your fingerprints. Both hands, flat finger and rolled finger on a scanner.
  3. Photo submission: Submit your passport-sized photo.
  4. Temporary receipt: You’ll receive a receipt indicating that your TIE is being processed. They will also give you a phone number to call and check the status of your card for retrieval. Generally, you come back in 20-40 days and get it.

5. Collecting Your TIE

You’ll be informed when your TIE is ready for collection, usually within a few weeks. Follow these steps to collect it:

  1. Check the status: You can often check the status of your TIE online through the same Sede Electrónica website.
  2. Return to the office: Go back to the same office where you submitted your application.
  3. Bring your receipt: Present the temporary receipt you were given.
  4. Verify your identity: The officer will verify your identity again.
  5. Collect your TIE: You’ll finally receive your TIE card.


Obtaining your TIE is a key part of settling in Spain as an expat. While the process involves several steps, being well-prepared can make it much smoother. Make sure to schedule your appointment in advance, get a compliant photo, gather all necessary documents, and follow through with your appointment and collection steps. With your TIE in hand, you can fully enjoy your new life in Spain, confident in your legal residency status.

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