NIE Certificates for non fiscal residents of Spain
What are NIE numbers and why do Spain require I have one when buying a property
Spanish NIE certificates, which hold your unique fiscal number, need to be obtained for any fiscal activity in Spain. This includes buying of any assets including buying of a property, and holding of Bank accounts and Spanish mortgages.
The certificates are required before any transaction can take place, except in the case of opening a Bank Account and the original certificates must be available for the Notary who will oversee all legal transactions at completion.The number on your NIE certificate is a unique number which allows Spain to understand and track your fiscal and asset activity and is required for property purchases, Spanish Mortgages, and for connection to utilities.
Under current rules you may be required to present yourself in person at a Police Station in Spain to pay for and apply for the NIE. In most areas and under most circumstances it is possible for a Spanish Lawyer with power of attorney to apply for the NIE on your behalf. After application it then takes between 2 to 14 days for the certificate to be produced. It is possible in nearly all instances for a third party to pick up the certificates on your behalf without you being present.
In all circumstances it is sensible and advisable, even if a property has not yet been found, that whilst you are in Spain on a first trip you apply for the NIE or pass power of attorney to a Lawyer in Spain to save an unnecessary and possibly costly trip at a later date.
What if I intend to move to Spain to live
You will still initially need an NIE certificate. When you finally move you will also then need to apply for the necessary legal paperwork to allow you to live in Spain. For EU Nationals this is a residents certificates for other nationalities a full Visa may be required. New laws surrounding residency in Spain have been passed in 2013 so legal advice from a qualified Spanish lawyer on how this affects you should be obtained.
Legally can I obtain NIE certificates if it is not possible for me to travel to Spain in person
It is possible to obtain NIE certificates via the Spanish Consulate in your country of residency but the timescales can take between 1 to 6 months and the certificate must be available for completion of a property purchase,without it completion cannot take place. All buyers of a Spanish property named on the purchase deed or named on the purchase contract must have their own NIE. You should also be able to pass Power of Attorney to a Spanish Lawyer remotely without being in Spain.
Do I need legal assistance when applying for NIE certificates
The NIE application form is in Spanish and do not expect the Police to speak any English. It is possible some assistance will be required. It is advisable to turn up for application early in the morning as the queues can get very long.
Spanish Power of Attorney
What is Power of Attorney and should I appoint one
A Power of attorney to act on your behalf will be required if you wish your Spanish legal adviser to be able to pass monies, obtain an NIE, sign deeds for both buying in Spain and a Spanish Mortgage, and if you require them to open bank accounts and set up direct debits. It is important the Power of Attorney wording covers all areas required. If for instance you are obtaining a mortgage in Spain it is necessary for the wording to cover all aspects relating to the completion of the mortgage. Power of Attorney is not required for completion if you in fact wish to do everything yourself but a translator, unless you speak Spanish, on day of signing is. Appointing a power of attorney means you can limit how many times you must be in Spain during the legal process of buying property.
Are their risks in giving Power of Attorney to a Spanish lawyer
It is good practice to ensure that any Power of Attorney given has an explicit end date or transaction type unless you wish to continue to conduct your affairs in Spain under Power of Attorney. It is not advisable to leave a wide scoped Power of Attorney open as it allows the holder to undertake any activities on your behalf without your knowledge or without prior reference to you.
Nota Simples (Simplified Spanish Title Deeds)
What is a Nota Simple and why is it important to me
A Nota Simple, less than 1 month old, should be gained immediately upon deciding to buy, or you wish to make an offer. It is in fact a requirement that the selling agent has a copy they can give you but often this is not the case or the document is out of date. A Nota Simple is a simplified version of the title deed of the Spanish property and outlines what is registered at land registry, who the owner is and whether any embargos on the property exist.
Why should I get a copy of a Nota Simple before making an offer
It is advisable to request, or have ordered and obtained the Nota Simple and had legal advice from a Spanish Lawyer on what it says, before making an offer or signing a reservation contract and passing a reservation fee, particularly if the reservation fee is non refundable. It is law in Spain that the selling agent, or owner, if buying direct, holds an up to date Nota Simple and provides this to you on request.
Spanish Bank accounts
Do I need to have a Spanish Bank Account
Before completion of a purchase you will require a bank account is opened. In the event of taking a mortgage in Spain an account with the lender will on all occasions be required. If you are buying cash you will require an account for setting up utility payments, community charges, taxes etc.
What should I consider when opening a Bank Account in Spain
Bank charges, including ongoing maintenance costs, can vary considerably from bank to bank in Spain so it is a good idea where you can, to shop around and negotiate terms. Some banks now insist you personally visit to open the account and will not accept it being opened by your Lawyer in Spain, so if you are not taking a mortgage it is advisable to take advice on best providers and open an account early on the process and at a point when you are physically in Spain.
Spanish Utilities connection and community payments
How do I set up utilities and ongoing payments
To ensure access to utilities in Spain on day of completion of a property purchase an account, and a direct debit, will need to be set up with the utility company and where relevant the community.
Do I need help to get my utilities connected
Communicating and ensuring all utilities are transferred to your name, and that the connections happen for day of completion can be time consuming and difficult unless you have a good level of Spanish and understand the system. Appointing a legal representative in Spain to assist in this process is advisable.
It is important that you make, or have made on your behalf by your legal adviser the necessary legal checks with the utility companies or community that there are no outstanding and unpaid bills as these would be inherited with the property.
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