being an auxiliar / how-to series

How to: Getting the TIE Spanish Residency Card

A photo of my personal TIE. The photo on the left of the card is of a blonde girl looking straight ahead and smiling neutrally. The right side of the card is filling with personal details that have been censored with black and blue pen.

You’ve just learned that the visa you just worked so hard to add to your passport is only valid for three months! Now you must tackle getting the TIE– or tarjeta de identidad de extranjero— in order to make your stay valid. But fret not! In my experience, getting my TIE in Sevilla was far easier than getting my visa!

Strap yourselves in for this huge post. It’s taken so long to finish, as it’s loaded with information since this is a really lengthy process!

Note: This particular post is aimed towards auxiliares de conversación getting the TIE. If you are not an auxiliar de conversación, double-check with the appropriate sources to see if this material still applies to you.

A gif of Han Solo from Star Wars giving a friendly salute.

First– what IS the TIE?

The tarjeta de identidad de extranjero is the foreigner’s identity card that everyone must get for long stays. You must apply for this card within the first 30 days of your arrival, and there’s things to do in order to apply, so start as soon as possible!

When I say apply for this card, I mean that you only have to start your process. The actual TIE can take 2-3 months to get to you! Your TIE will only be valid for the duration of your program. This means that once summer comes, you’ll need to renew the card or start the visa process over again from your country of origin.

Your visa, stamped into your passport after that hellish visa application process, is still valid for three months. Sometimes auxes struggle to get appointments for the first step, which is the fingerprinting and application appointment. These fill up quick, so if you’ve got the chance for one, take it. Your school will give you the day to get this appointment taken care of; you’ll just need to make up the hours another day. Try to get this appointment within the three months that your visa is valid. The sooner the better!

Related reading: My NALCAP visa experience with the Houston consulate

Next: Make your first TIE appointment!

Here’s the website!

The most difficult part of this process is actually securing the appointment. You aren’t just competing with other auxes for an appointment; you’re competing with every TIE-needing foreigner in the city. This means that getting a spot can either be really tricky or really easy. November and December are practically booked out because that’s when people on study visas finally get their empadronamiento for the appointment after they arrive.

Because the empadronamiento can take about a month to return to you, try to get an appointment a month out to submit all of your documents and be fingerprinted.

Due to exceptional circumstances involving a cyberattack on the empadronamiento website, I was unable to get my empadrón. I decided to book my appointment for October and risk denial for not having the empadrón. I got lucky, unlike some of my fellow auxes, and my TIE application was approved without it.

Now let’s navigate the website!

1) Choose your province

From the drop-down menu presented to you upon your arrival to the website, select your province. I was teaching in Sevilla and processing my TIE application there, so I selected Sevilla. Once you’ve selected, click the red button “Aceptar.”

2) Select your desired appointment office + the type of appointment

For more results, I would leave the “Cualquier oficina” where it is. This gives you more appointment options, which is vital if you are seeking an appointment during peak season. Since I was selecting an appointment in October instead of the usual November or December, I intentionally selected Plaza de España’s Torre Norte since that was the closest to me.

Under “TRÁMITES POLICÍA NACIONAL,” select “POLICIA TOMA DE HUELLA (EXPEDICIÓN DE TARJETA), RENOVACIÓN DE TARJETA DE LARGA DURACIÓN Y DUPLICADO.” This is because you are getting your fingerprints taken first and your documents processed before you can get into your TIE waiting period!

Then, if it does not process automatically to the next page, click the red “Aceptar.”

3) Information page

This page is solely for information about the TIE and its process and requirements. Once you’re done reading what you need, scroll down and click the red “Entrar.”

4) Enter your NIE (or passport number), full name, and country of nationality

These are required for the appointment. If you are from the United States, EEUU is the abbreviation.

Note: Sometimes, the website does not give you the option to make an appointment with your passport number. Instead, it requires your NIE. If you don’t have your NIE, start this website process over and see if selecting a specific office for the appointment gives you the passport option. If that office has no appointments available, select the next office and repeat the process.

Then, click the red “Aceptar” after you’ve given the NIE/passport number, your name, and nationality.

5) Contact information

This page will ask you for your telephone number and email address (and then a spot to confirm your email address by typing it again). Add your most accessible contact information so you can be sure to get your PDF and email confirmation for the appointment– you’ll need it to be allowed in the office!

6) Finally– pick your appointment time!

The moment has come. Hopefully, you’ve got at least one appointment option that works for you. Remember– your school is supposed to give you the time to get this TIE business taken care of! So if the only available appointments are during school hours, send your school’s coordinator a head’s up and book that appointment.

Remember to make sure you pick an appointment that allows you enough time to get the documents together that you need. I’ll repeat: Because the empadronamiento can take about a month to return to you, try to get an appointment a month out to submit all of your documents and be fingerprinted. We will cover all of these documents in the next section!

Next: Prepare the docs needed for your first TIE appointment

You’ll need these documents for your first TIE appointment, which is called the ‘fingerprinting appointment’ or ‘toma de huellas’. Yes, you’ll have your fingerprints taken again, just like you did for the visa!

A lady stamping paperwork with a round stamp, going insanely quickly.

Important note: These all have to be on A4 size paper. Spain uses A4 paper instead of the letter size we use in the States! If you’ve already got copies of the following documents but they aren’t on A4 paper, head to your local papelería and get them re-copied.

Depending on your agent (the person taking your fingerprints and processing your paperwork), some of these might be ignored. Some of mine were ignored by my very chill agent. But even with that said, don’t take a chance! Have everything with you.

1) 2 copies of your carta de nombramiento

This is the letter you got from your school detailing your position in the school and the details of your health insurance coverage. This is the same document you used for your visa application! The extra copy is just in case– the “just in case” mentality is good to have when it comes to Spanish bureaucracy.

2) 2 ‘Fotos de carnet’ or Passport-style photo copies

These photos are a different size than the passport photos you had printed in the United States for your visa application. If all you have are photos done in a CVS in the States, you’ll need to find a photobooth or a photo shop that does fotos de carnet. I went to Photo & Phone Fotos de Carnet Sevilla for mine and got 4 for cheap fast! Plaza de Armas bus station in Sevilla also has a photo booth, and there are many around the city to find.

My agent took one of my photos from me, scanned it, and handed it back.

3) Your passport + a copy of every page

Yes, a copy of every page. This cost me less than 2 euros at a local papelería. Head over, hand them your passport, and tell them you want a copy of every page. These do not have to be in color!

My agent ignored the copies of my passport entirely. However, one of the other auxes doing her appointment the same day with a different agent didn’t bring copies, particularly of her data page and her entry stamp page. She was told to make another appointment later when she had copies!

If you didn’t get an EU entry stamp in your passport, bring a copy of your boarding pass to show that you legally entered the country. However, some agents won’t accept boarding passes, so you might need to get a declaración de entrada en territorio español from a police station within 72 hours of arriving in Spain.

4) Your empadronamiento + 1 copy

Your agent might ask for your empadronamiento or your volante de empadronamiento, but apparently this is a half chance. The empadronamiento is your legal registration in your city. This is a whole process in itself that I have not yet had the displeasure of doing due to the website being down from a cyberattack.

My agent didn’t even mention the empadron. However, the guy next to me in the next cube had to provide his to his agent despite the cyberattack. Like I mentioned previously, I took a chance on mine, but it’s not something I recommend.

5) Your completed EX-17 + 1 copy

You can find this form here.

Your first section should look like this, with sections 2 & 3 empty and the checkbox unchecked. Sexo: H – Hombre (man) and M – Mujer (woman). Estado civil: S for soltero/a (single), C for casado/a (married), V for viudo/a (widowed), D for divorciado/a (divorced), and Sp for separado/a (separated).

If you’re an auxiliar getting your TIE for the first time, section 4 will look like this:

Of course, replace ‘Sevilla’ with your Spanish location and change the date.

Have this PDF printed at a papelería along with an extra copy.

6) Your paid Tasa 790-012 + 1 copy

Head to this website and fill out the personal information in the Identificación section.

Next, you can leave most of the “Autoliquidación” section blank, except be sure to select “Principal” if it isn’t selected already.

Also, you’ll need to check this option in one of the following groups in the Autoliquidación section:

In “Declarante,” add your location and the date.

Then, under “Ingreso,” select “En efectivo.” This means “in cash” because you will pay this at the bank.

Then, download the finished form, print it at a papelería, and then sign it! The signing is an important step. Then, take it to any bank along with exact cash and you’ll get a stamped form in return. I went to Santander and had it done really quickly! I highly recommend taking this stamped form right back to the papelería and getting a copy for your own records.

Then: Go to your first appointment!

You’ve made your appointment and gotten your paperwork together– great job!! Now you need to attend the appointment to file for your card.

Taking your paperwork mountain with you to the location you picked for your appointment, you’ll need to show off some of it to the official at the door. For me, the officer stood outside of the door of Torre Norte in the Plaza de España, and he glanced at my printed appointment confirmation and waved me through.

I went through security involving a metal detector and made my way to the waiting area for my name to be called. Once ready, I went to the booth and spoke to a bored-looking but friendly agent. He took my paperwork and gave me a good chunk of it back, like my passport page printoffs and a few of the copies of other materials. I scanned my fingerprints, and finally, he gave me a piece of paper confirming my successful TIE application submission. He then told me to make a second appointment to pick it up 30 days from then, but we will talk about why 40 days out is the safer bet in the next section.

For you, keep note once again that not every agent is the same! You might get a very indifferent and passively friendly agent like I did, or a strict, angry agent like a few of my fellow auxes did. The key to not being rejected is to plan ahead, have all of your paperwork and copies ready, know your plan of attack, and know a little bit of Spanish.

Next: Make your 2nd TIE appointment & pick your card!

Making the appointment

Unfortunately, you can’t just go back to the office yourself 30-40 days after your first appointment. You’ll need to head back to the same website that you used to make your initial appointment. You’ll select the office you want to pick up from (pick the same one you first attended) and select in the drop-down menu, “Recogida de Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero (TIE).”

If you can get an appointment for 40 days out instead of 30, do so. Sometimes, the cards aren’t ready by day 30, and auxes have shown up to pick up a card that isn’t ready yet! The safest window is 35-40 days. I set mine for 40 days out.

Go through the similar motions you went through for that first appointment for any information they need and get that confirmation printed off. You’ll need to present it to the security officer in order to get in the building, and then again to the agent who will give you your card.

For this appointment, you’ll just need your passport (original, not the copies!) and your appointment confirmation. Shouldn’t be too hard!

Going to your appointment

You’ve arrived and handed your card to the security officer at the entrance. Now you’re inside, and you need to wait your turn.

For me, this wasn’t a waiting room like the last appointment. In Torre Norte, I stood in a standing line at the left. Within 15 minutes, I made it to the front of the line and showed the agent at the desk my appointment details. He searched my name up in the computer, probably to confirm my card’s existence, and then pulled a big box of alphabetized TIE cards out of the cabinet next to him. Once he found mine, he set it on his desk, and asked for my passport. He scanned my passport and took my fingerprints again, and then shooed me away with my new TIE!

Two teenage girls face each other holding hands. They are jumping up and down with excitement.
A couple other foreigners and I were actually jumping for joy outside of the tower once we had our TIEs.

After giving the agent your confirmation, passport, and fingerprints, you’ll be on your way out the door with your new TIE. Congratulations!! You’re officially a Spanish resident! 🙂

With this card, you’ll be able to get some free stuff and discounts on some other things now that you’re a Spanish resident. In Sevilla, residents with proof of residency (your TIE) get free entry into Las Setas and other places in the city!

Helpful TIE-related Spanish for your appointments

If you’re not fluent or even well-versed in Spanish, you’ll appreciate knowing these words and phrases to help you look less like a clueless guiri in the foreigner’s office. It’ll help you to not frustrate your agent, who will be determining your TIE’s fate!

If you know nothing in Spanish, at least know how the vowels sound! Spanish vowels are always pronounced the same way in every word. A as in father, E as in pebble or elephant, I as in pizza or casino, O as in open or donut, and U as in ruin. For more phonetic help, check out Language Transfer’s free Spanish podcast (not affiliated with this blog). It’s a pretty great and easy way to learn basic Spanish phonetics, even for absolute beginners.

It’s best to know:

  • How to get yourself inside the office
  • The common fingerprinting verbs
  • The finger they ask for: the index finger!
  • Left/right directions

So let’s go!

  • “I have an appointment for [YOUR NAME] at [TIME]” – “Tengo una cita para [YOUR NAME] a las [TIME- 2:30 would be dos y media, etc]”
  • To turn – Girar
  • To put/place – Poner
  • Index finger – Dedo indice (note: in Andalucia, you might hear “indithe”)
  • Left – Izquierda (note: in Andalucia, you might hear “Ithquierda”)
  • Right – Derecha

Thinking of renewing for a second year?

If you decide to stay a second year, you’ll need to do a similar process over. Unfortunately, I have no advice for you. I haven’t renewed yet, so I can’t give my experience and would rather not write an instructional post for something I have no experience with. When I do, I’ll make a separate post for this complicated process since this post is long enough already!

Note: if you move into a different region (or even city) for your second year, things get more complicated for the TIE renewal process.

Thanks for reading!

You’ve made it to the end of this monster post, so you deserve a pat on the back. Good luck on your TIE journey! See you in the next post! 🙂


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